We are looking to book our 1st Cruise on Enchantment of the seas over labor day for our 25th wedding anniversary to Bermuda out of Baltimore. I have a ton of questions.
1. There are 3 of us (we are taking our 8 year old daughter - due to not being able to find a sitter), what level room would be best?
2. Will there be things for our daughter to do? I am so afraid she will be bored.
3. Any tips or suggestions on how to make the cruise better for us?
4. The cruise we are looking at has "Deals" next to it on the website, what does that mean?
5. What hidden costs should I be expecting and how much extra should I put away.
Welcome to Cruise-Chat
"Deals" is a clever way the online booking engines market. I would highly recommend you find a cruise oriented travel agent and work with them. They can talk with you one on one and address all your questions and concerns. They will be able to guide you and help you make your first cruise effortless. The Enchantment is a nice ship. I went on her in 2005 right after they stretched the ship. She is an older and smaller ship than Royal Caribbean's mega ship they have today. I would recommend you at least get a family ocean view or balcony cabin. The regular ocean view or inside cabins are tight on square footage for the three of you.
Royal Caribbean has plenty for the children to do. You can sign your daughter up for her age group and she will meet others her age. Since you're looking at a three day weekend, I suspect there will be plenty of children on that sailing.
Your cruise cost will include all your entertainment and meals in the main dining room and buffet. Cokes and alcohol are extra and include a 15% gratuity. Casino, gift shop purchases, bingo, spa treatments, and shore excursions, anything of a personal nature are at your discretion. It is customary to tip the crew. Royal Caribbean will give you the choice to place your gratuities on your onboard account or pay them individually to the crew. The gratuities cover the wait staff and cabin steward. If you have them put on your onboard account it will be approximately $10 a day per person. So if you're going on a 5 day cruise, then that would be $50 for each of you for the whole cruise.
You will receive a daily program in your cabin every day. It's called the Daily Compass on Royal Caribbean. It will tell you a lot of information on what is happening on the ship, what time shows are, dining hours, etc. Read it carefully each day. Things will come more natural once you're on the ship and not be as confusing as it seems now. There is a guest relations desk on the ship whenever you're in doubt about anything.
Sodas are $1.95 per can, or $2.24 once the 15% automatic tip is added. You can purchase a soda package which allows unlimited fountain sodas (no cans), but I think it's cost isn't worth it unless you drink a lot of soda. It can be a good deal for kids since it gives them some independence when they want a beverage. Plus the price is cheaper for kids than adults, and each person needs their own package (no sharing).
Beer ranges from around $4 to around $6. They have mostly gone to 16 ounce bottles except for those brands which only come in 12 ounce servings.
Liquor drinks and wine are around the same - $6 to $10.
I know these prices are not cheap, but they are comparable to those at a hotel or resort bar. And frankly bar sales (and the other revenue centers aboard) allow the cruise lines to keep the cruise prices as low as they are.
Your onboard spending is really a personal thing depending on your habits and so forth. We generally expect to spend around $100 per day in onboard purchases. However, a trip to Bermuda means less time aboard the ship than on a typical cruise, so you'll need to consider how much cash and which credit cards you'll bring to use ashore. All onboard purchases are charged to your ships account, which you secure at check-in with either a credit card or with a cash deposit. Once aboard, when you buy a drink, a t-shirt, anything, you give them your cruise card to pay for it. Cash is allowed in the casino, and of course for tips if you don't add them to your account.
Thanks Guys for your info. I do have a question, if we do not purchase the soda package what types of beverages are available?
Also I have found a cruise.com is offering prepaid gratuities for this cruise for passenger 1 & 2. Is this a good thing or should I skip it? Amex is offering a free spa treatment, is that better or should I skip it?
Thanks for all of your help. I have had a difficult time finding info on this ship.
You should have the choice to pre-pay gratuities on ALL passengers no matter where you book. Pre-pay means the gratuities will be paid ahead of time before you even leave for the cruise. They can't be adjusted once you're onboard. If you choose to put gratuities on you're onboard account they can be adjusted.
Question 1 - If I do not purchase the soda package what types of beverages are available?
Question 2 - Cruise.com is offering a deal of free prepaid gratuities if I book this cruise with them (in otherwords, we do not have to pay them because they pay them). Is this a good deal or should I skip it?
Question 3 - Amex is offering a free spa treatment to book the cruise with them. Is it worth it or should I skip it?
Our forum rules do not allow endorsements of any travel agent or other entity selling cruises. Thus nobody can comment on the "deals" you mention.
I will say that, in general, when those types of offers are made they can be a shell game and in the end the price you pay will be the same as what you'd pay anywhere else.
I also strongly discourage first time cruisers from booking things online with either the cruise line or whatever ".com" cruise agency you see in google. Inevitably, when we get a report from someone that their first cruise was a disaster we learn they booked it on their own and didn't use an agent - or even bother to ask questions. Just remember that if a problem develops, "whatever.com" isn't going to be an advocate for you. All they want is your money.
Sodas are the same regardless of if you buy the soda package. It's just the delivery system that is different. The package is bar fountain sodas by the glass. Individual sodas are a can plus a glass of ice. Royal Caribbean uses Coca-Cola products.
Got you on the .com booking services. Now my question was not with the soda package and how it works, it is:
If I do not purchase the soda package what types of beverages are available? Is there anything besides water? Will my daughter be able to get milk during meals?
Milk is available at meal time, ice tea, lemonade, coffee and hot tea. Juices are available at breakfast. These are all available complimentary in the dining room and buffet. Speciality coffees cost extra. Also, if you were to order a regular coffee or tea at a bar it will cost, just like it does when you order coffee or tea at a bar on land. The soda program offers coke, diet coke, and sprite.
And if you order a juice at a bar it will cost you.
Bottled water is available at bars for a fee. Ship's water is perfectly safe to drink and it is what I use.
Also, in your cabin you will find several cans of sodas and a bottle or two of water. If you use them they will be charged to your account at standard bar prices.
It isn't hard to find something to drink that doesn't require you to fork over your cruise card. Although Royal Caribbean is quite strict about bringing personal beverages aboard, some people will bring along those little packages of powder (like Crystal lite) and their own insulated mug. You can always get ice and water so they make their own flavored drinks. There is one thing free at a bar...a glass of ice water! Sometimes they'll put pitchers of it and glasses on a table near a bar or by the pools for self-service.
If your cabin has a refrigerator, grab a couple cartons of milk in the buffet at breakfast and stow them in the cabin.