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Royal Caribbean International: Enchantment of the Seas

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Feb 1, 2017

Wedding

I booked with RC Enchantment of the Seas and purchased the Paradise Package (only option for having the ceremony on a beach). Not only did the package come with NOTHING for the over priced cost, I had to pay additional costs for other small things that should have been included. Below are some of the issues I had to deal with for the wedding I regret doing with RC. - During the planning processes with royal weddings I had to go through 3 different

event planners because I was told that the first two had left the company. I had to constantly call and email to get a reply back as to what was going on. It wasn't until A FEW DAYS before my wedding that we finalized the ceremony/reception for the wedding which was VERY STRESSFUL and FRUSTRATING. - On the wedding day we had to walk a long distance until we finally got to our car to get transported to the ceremony location. They did not warn me of this as it was very difficult walking the distance in my wedding gown and would have worn more comfortable shoes had I known. - We never received a wedding photographer that was part of the package. - Laptop was not provided as listed in our wedding confirmation. - The ipod dock used at the ceremony was old and not compatible with our phones (was told we could bring ANY apple ipod/phone to play music) so we didn't even end up using it even though we paid for it!! - Sound system to play ipod was NOT WORKING (event planner had to bring in small portable speaker to play music and was not loud enough to hear music - Event planner played the WRONG ceremony music!! - Arch was set up in an area really CLOSE TO PUBLIC GARBAGE can and was VERY visually DISPLEASING!!! - Event planner was not aware of when guests were arriving when I had instructed her to let me know when they were about to arrive which resulted in me having to race back into the car but guests had already arrived in the parking lot by then and saw me. - Event planner was not informative as to how the order of the wedding was going to go and everything was rushed and very chaotic!! - Food for the reception was terrible and cold. There wasn't enough food to serve 38 guests which left some guests not being able to have a main. Since we paid additional for the gold buffet package, we would expect there to be enough food and to be better than the main dining/windjammer but it was very very disappointing. - I was unaware and very disappointed to find out the day before that the reception area would not be arranged to have tables and chairs set up and that the lounge arrangement would remain as a lounge layout! When I had a phone call appointment with the event planner, i was told that the table arrangements would be made with the event planner on cruise but nothing was done. If I had known all of this I would have NOT done my once in a lifetime wedding with Royal Caribbean. I would NOT recommend ANYONE to do their wedding or go to this cruise based on my first time experience with them. Since it was my very first cruise experience I would think that because I have nothing to compare to that it would be good but I regret doing my wedding with Royal Caribbean completely. The whole experience was unorganized, disappointing and a huge embarrassment.

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Jul 22, 2015

Bahamas

As a Gold member with RCCL we are very loyal and choose them whenever possible. Until this cruise, we have never experienced the deception and poor quality from this cruise line. The food was also sub par. Bland flavors, including rubbery eggs in the morning, burgers and chicken during lunch, and steak or seafood at dinner. When you asked for something extra, for example, anchovies on a Caesar Salad, you always had to ask again when it

arrived to the table. Our cruise began upon opening the door to our stateroom and seeing a padded support pole 3" from the foot of our bed. This was never revealed in the expansive information on the RCCL website, in multiple communications with RCCL CSRs, or my travel agent. I immediately called Guest Services on-board the ship to complain. I was told I had to wait until after the ship leaves port to determine if any other suites were available. To make a long story short, a supervisor insisted there were no other rooms available. I find that hard to believe that EVERY suite or higher was occupied. (editors note: Royal Caribbean ships typically do sail with all suites occupied). He offered a measly 30% standard discount of a future cruise with a one year expiration. Total BS coming from what I assumed was the best of the mass cruise lines. However, Royal is no longer the "royal" of cruise lines in my estimation. On two occasions I stubbed my toe in the middle of the night walking into the support pole. I now have a black & blue toe. The website indicated there were 2 shows a night. It turns out there was only one show per night and then a lame family event. Stay away from state room 8062 In addition to the pole issue, the overall look and feel of this refurbished ship was also disappointing. Paint over bubbling rust spots inside and out, state rooms that were just dull looking, mis-matched balcony furniture, and years worth of dust accumulated in the light fixtures. Apparently this is acceptable to RCCL as they just responded to my complaint and stated they would not compensate me any more than the measly 30% discount. I will no longer choose RCCL for any future cruises. Thank you RCCL for helping me make this decision.

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Jul 18, 2015

bahamas

Being self employed and not wanting to miss a lot of work days, Royal Caribbean's 3 night cruise out of Port Canaveral on the Enchantment of the Seas is perfect for me. My wife and I have taken this cruise three times, twice on the Enchantment and #4 is coming Oct. 2015. Yes the boat is not as modern or as large as the newer ones but for the price, I basically have no complaints. We have always booked on cruise.com and gotten great prices,

on-board credits and 1x even free paid gratuities. The food in the Windjammer is a step above a "golden corral" but we have always been very pleased with the formal sit down dining. If you haven't done the sit down breakfast...you need to...no Windjammer for breakfast unless you simply want to pig out. The Park Cafe also has lighter/healthier choices. Service has always been excellent. Personally, I think the boat is just the right size. I have talked with others who have sailed on the "big boats" and they didn't really feel like they were on a ship...lots of fun things to do but felt more like a trip to the mall...including longer waits at the elevators and crowded pool areas. Enchantment has three pools and six hot tubs...that's as much as boats with a much larger passenger capacity. The staterooms have always been clean, no "septic smells" AC worked fine and the bed was adequate. Remember, a Disney cruise will cost you double the price. We love the fact that this cruise stops at Coco Cay for a day...worth the whole trip. Pull up a lounge chair on deck five and watch the sunset and listen to the ocean; take a seat in the rear of the Spotlight lounge and enjoy the view and the show. In summary, it's a 4 star cruise, Disney is a 5 star but Enchantment is a great value, accommodating schedule, always great service, good food, clean and comfortable. Would recommend it highly and will probably cruise it again...also, Port Canaveral is easy to get to and the embarkation has always gone smoothly.

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Jul 8, 2015

Bahamas

This was not a good experience. We traveled with a large group, but my family consists of 5. four of which had never cruised before. We will definitely not go on this boat again. I am not sure I would do Royal Caribbean again. I would not recommend this boat to anyone. It was not clean, nor updated. The windjammer is basically a cafeteria, with decent food. We tried not to eat there to much. The highlight of our cruise was our server, he was

amazing best service I have had from a waiter. The food in the main dining room was good. Our room was disgusting. Mold in the bathroom, paint chipping. Sheets and blankets stained. The room smelled of mildew. We could not shower and could barely sleep. We were told the ship was sold out. We did get new sheets, but they were stained as well. Unfortunately the room set the whole cruise to a bad start. There were not many family friendly activities going on. We didn't sign up for excursions, thinking that might have helped. We were hoping there would be things to enjoy on the boat. The pool is so small that there was no room to go in. There was a comic show that was good and a love game, that was funny. That was about it for entertainment though that we enjoyed. We loved the Coco Cay Island. It was beautiful. The staff was fun and the beach was great.

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Feb 16, 2015

bahamas

First and last cruise It was a joke, We could not get anything hot and the buffet was disgraceful. A lot of items were not replenished , so what you see whilst getting a salad was not there when you went back up, especially the desserts. We had a job to find a table in the buffet that was not full of dirty plates and food. When getting a coffee we were told we had to have paper cups as they were out of regular cups. Frosties are my favorite

cereal but everyday I was told they were out until I complained and they went and got some,,lol We had an interior room as that is all we could afford. I am quite a big guy so it was far to small especially the shower We went to one show and that was ok We did not like this cruise. Apart from the food being luke warm and un plentiful, we complained twice about the odor on our deck but nothing was ever done about it. It made us heave every time we went to and from our cabin.

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Nov 22, 2014

Nassau

Food was ok, nothing special. A bit disappointed, but service was excellent. More quantity than quality. Our stateroom was roomy enough for 3 with balcony. Our Stateroom attendant was very attentive and professional. Our room was clean and the shower water pressure was great for a ship! I definitely recommend a room with balcony. There was plenty of activity for all ages. The fun night life didn't start until 11:00pm. Wish

there was more dancing earlier. Casino was ok No big winners that I saw! Don't waste time going to Atlantis unless you want to gamble. Aquarium was a disappointment for 40 bucks. Nothing but a big fancy building to look at. Can't get in shops if not a guest. Best excursion would be going to Paradise Island Beach. If you do go to Atlantis take the taxi. The water taxis hurtle is crammed with people and it's quite a walk after getting off. All in all it was a great cruise. Three nights went by quickly. I would definitely go at least 4 nights. Coco Cay offers a relaxing spot for everyone, sun or shade! It took a full day to find our way around the ship and still got lost. I'll definitely cruise again but on a newer ship.

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Jan 14, 2014

BAHAMAS

RC needs to improve their customer service, maybe take a class from my favorite grocery store, Publix! This was a cruise to celebrate my daughters college graduation, we had 3 staterooms, 3056, 3044 & 3042. It was my mothers first RC cruise and I'm sure her last. It took much convincing to get her to take RC as she had not heard good things in the past. 1. On our first day while sitting on the pool deck, we had not even left port yet, my niece

was accused of getting my drink with her drink pass. After the bartender rushed over to our table, I showed him my receipt, he offered no apology! 2. On my nieces next drink, the same rude bartender did not put the alcohol in her drink, trying to making her wait in line again for service, her mother had to go up and complain to get her drink made correctly!!! This is the bar next to the smoking area! My mom bought a bottle of wine which she was over charged by $2.00 and they did not give her the 20% off as described on her drink package. We had to argue that point and show them the price of the wine and the drink package writing! 3. My mom had to get 4 new room keys and again it did not work on the last night, our room attendant had to let her in. She also had the drink package so she need her card to work! 4. We only went to the My Fair Lady dining room once! Our table was next to the service station and 2 of the seats were constantly being bumped into! we asked to be move and were told they would try the next evening. However, the food was horrible! Sea scallops appetizer, ICE COLD! French onion soup, was "ok" some had bread in them some didn't! We waited 20 minutes for our meals, as the waiter filled our water glasses, my mom asked for more coffee, he responded "After I fill all the tables with water, I will then ask who wants coffee, it will be about 10 minutes"! Several tables had already left before our dinner arrived. Just as we start to eat the entire cooking staff comes out to be thanked. They were standing right in front of our table, constantly having people rush over to get pictures. This would not have been a problem if we were done with our meals. We had to ask for desert menu's! We were seated at 5:50 and did not get desert until 7:20 every table around us was empty!!! 5. As I mentioned, my mother's room key kept not working. She loves playing the slot machines. Her card was excepted in the slot machine when we began playing, however, at some point it stopped! We asked for a attendant to help, Louis was quick to shove the card in and out several times and then informed my mom that she should have payed attention to when it stopped working! He was VERY RUDE and only offered 20 points on her card! 6. The midnight buffet was a joke! Ice cold chicken wings for the main entree??!!

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Nov 18, 2013

Bahamas

Problems started at booking, price jumped $60 in two days from inquiring to booking. The ship is no way up to Royal Caribbean standards; it's a rusted, old dinosaur. The shower floor in room 3015 is very stained with dirt as well as the toilet seat. Room smelled musty and moldy. On first night a broken sign in the casino ripped my shirt while walking through to the dining room. On second night our waiter took our order and was not seen again all night,

after 40 minutes of no service at all the matre d' took over our table as well as others around us, he said there was a problem with orders going to the kitchen. Took over two hours from time of order to food at the table. During this time our 7-year-old daughter went to the restroom located outside the dining room. She was locked in the stall for over 30 minutes due to a broken handle, maintenance crew had to be called to get her out, needless to say she was traumatized. On third night the matre d' waited on the tables from the get go, we felt lucky that our food only took an hour to reach our table. After dinner, my wife and I visited the casino, wife hits a jackpot on a slot machine, the tube that's full of 20 dollar bills lights up and the lights on top of machine light up and the bells sound off, we notify the attendant. The attendant comes over, opens the machine, resets it and says she won $5. RIP OFF!!!! Worst part of the whole cruise is that upon docking in Nassau, the Capt. announces that they are canceling the Coco Cay part of the cruise, which is the sole reason we booked this cruise, and that we would be leaving the next day at 1pm instead of 5pm, four hours of port time lost. All of our excursions were in the Coco Cay part of the trip; we really wanted to go to a private island with no cars and hustle & bustle of city. When we went to the excursion-booking desk to do something in Nassau, we were told everything was booked. We were left to fend for ourselves. We now have a 7 year old with a bad experience on her very first cruise and she doesn't want to cruise again. I called customer service on 11/05, she offered us on-board credit for our next cruise, I felt insulted. She said a supervisor would call me with 48 hours. No one ever called. I called back on 11/11 and she offered the same offer. She said her supervisor would call me.... it's been 7 days and I'm still waiting for that call....

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Sep 19, 2013

Bahamas

My husband and I really enjoyed this cruise, we love sailing with RCCL, our goal is to try and sail on all of their ships. We enjoyed the food, most people on reviews love to complain about a cruise ships food, but I say you can't please everybody so I don't look at reviews for food comments because everyone has different taste buds. Our stateroom was spacious and clean, they clean it twice a day. When you stay in a hotel they clean it

only once a day so to have your room cleaned 2 times a day is a blessing :) I loved the activities and the director of activities. Our Cruise Director Marc was awesome!!! RCCL is the best, I would recommend them to anyone!!! Staff is so courteous and friendly and I enjoy mingling with them. They serve well and I love to let them know just how well they are doing.

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Aug 9, 2012

Bermunda

Cruising to me is like staying at the Hilton and eating at 4 and 5 Star Restaurants not staying at the Motel 6 and eating at the Old country Buffet. Enchantment was unfortunately the later. Dining (dinner) Recently we have started requesting early seating we were unable to get it and were not offered a chance to change once we were on board. The food in the main dinning room at dinner was very good I would give it 4 out of 5. The waiters

were very good and properly attentive without being in the way. The food was served hot, of good quality and without any undue waiting. While ostensibly there was a dress code and the two formal nights were supposedly at least a jacket and tie. The dress code was totally ignored with equal disdain by both the staff and passengers. A table of about twelve people showed up on formal night with matching logo tee shirts and shorts alongside a table with guests in gowns and Tuxedos. * The dinner experience was good and comparable to our other cruises. Dining (Breakfast) Breakfast was open seating as usual with out being overly crowded. (I believe most people went to the buffet on the 9th deck). The selection was limited to eggs to order, pancakes and hot cereal. They have however, introduced a new "feature" they put all the cereal, fruit and pastries on a BUFFET IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM! With some cajoling a waiter with trepidation would get you something off the buffet but it was obvious they did not like it. My point is if I wanted the "buffet experience" I would go up to the 9th deck and make believe it's Hoss's Steak house. They also tried to hawk "fresh Squeezed orange juice" for $2.25 a glass (tacky). The service at breakfast unlike the dinner service was lack luster at best... Food 3 out of 5 services 2.5. Perhaps the like of any tips may have induced this situation. * Every other cruise I have been on had an attentive breakfast service with a greater selection of items and no "go and get it yourself" requirements. Dining (lunch) Lunch was open seating and unfortunately very similar to breakfast with a Salad bar (feature) in the middle of the main dinning room with the same comments as above. The menu selection was very limited to one or two featured items and maybe a burger and vegetarian dish but was generally good. The major fault I had with the lunch was it was only available at sea the 4 port days it was closed. You were forced to go to the overcrowded buffet on the 9th deck. I would like to mention how small and overcrowded the 9th deck was (Windjammer Market). The ship was designed to have about 1800 passengers. They cut it in half and added space for about 600 additional passengers but did not increase the size of the public spaces to accommodate the increased load. * I have never seen buffets in the main dinning room on other ships and the selection was considerably better than on the RCL ship. The Buffet restaurants on other cruise lines were not overly crowded and the staff on Holland America or Celebrity would The room, 3156, is and outside window cabin. We usually have a verandah or mini-suite but had an outside window on the SUN PRINCESS and were satisfied with it. This room however was the smallest by far of any cabin we have had. The set up with the window above the bed offered no view out the window unless you knelt on the bed and looked out. The steward must have been aware of this as he always closed the curtains when we were out. There were also no toiletries in the bathroom. There was good storage space, however. They also had so called mini-bar items laid out at the usually extraordinary expense but NO REFRIGERATOR how you can sell cold drinks that aren't cold!! When I asked to have the items removed one Steward told me it was not allowed but our room steward just hid them away so we did not see them the rest of the trip. * On the SUN PRINCESS we had a similar outside cabin that was at least 50 square feet bigger with a window that was so large it went from my ankles to above my head. The couch was next to the window and you could enjoy the views while sitting. It also had a refrigerator which was, emptied of the mini bar, at my request. Entertainment staff and Shows This was the high point of the cruise. A high energy cruise director and staff worked very hard to provide varying activities during the day. The shows were varied and the performers were excellent and diverse. The entertainment was defiantly geared towards the 40's and younger crowd which was not a bad thing. The casino was good, although smoking was allowed it was restricted on formal nights and there were no smoking areas. The payouts were reasonable on the slots while still loosing giving a lot of play for your money. * Here the Enchantment is in the top two or three cruises I have been on. Nothing more pathetic then some guy doing impressions of people who have been dead for 30 years or more. RCL did not have that I would give entertainment 4.5 out of 5. Facilities In a word overcrowded. The aforementioned increase in size of the ship made for a very crowded pool and activities area. I try and swim every day and was able to only by going at 6:45 am and getting my laps in. After 9 and for the rest of the day till 7 or 8 in the evening the pools were literally standing room only folks simply talking to one another while standing elbow to elbow. Hugely overpriced they wanted 40 dollars for a shuttle bus from the pier to downtown Boston for two people. I took the "T" for $10 for two all day and it was only about a twenty minute walk to the Commons from the pier. Similar overpriced excursions in the other ports. We took one a glass bottom boat cruise with "cocktails" good enough but the cocktails were a plastic cupful of rum punch and twice as many people on board as there was room to see the glass bottom you had to take turns looking. * I have never been on any excursion booked through any ship that has offered any value for the money. We have booked many before and I have always been underwhelmed by the trips. I don't believe we will be sailing on Royal Caribbean again. The small cabin, self service food, generally poor staff are not what we have come to expect on our cruises. We like the convenience of sailing out of Baltimore and hope more Cruise lines will try the market. We may even try Celebrity again as we had a very good experience on that line even though it is a RCL subsidiary I believe the Royal Caribbean Brand is just too mass marketed.

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Jan 4, 2012

Baltimore to Bahamas

After reading other reviews, I wanted to offer some comments. When rating the cruise, be sure to rate things that are actually under the control of the cruise line and crew. Complaints about excessive noise in the dining room (I am shocked that talking is allowed in the dining areas!) and hating your tablemates for using their cellphones during dinner do not fall under the control of Royal Carribean. The water in Florida was too cold in the winter!

Another shocking oversight by RC! Rude children? Why this never happens on land? I need to bring my kid somewhere right? This was my first cruise so I had nothing to compare it too. Overall, my family had-(my young (9 year old) daughter- a nice vacation. Was the ship perfect? No. Did we enjoy every activity? Some were better than others. The ship is on the older side and doesn't offer the newest and greatest ammenities. The ports visited were not high on my list when booking, but next time I will research ports more carefully. Would I take this cruise again or recommend it? Probably not. Go for a newer ship, but give up the ease of Baltimore and travel to another departure point. Food was plentiful and as others have noted a notch better in the dining room vs the windjammer. You have to pick and choose during breakfast (windjammer) to get something you may like, but there is certainly something for everyone. The fresh omelets were nice and the more european deli meats were appreciated. Staff is quick to help with drinks. No issues with seating and our cruise was full. Perhaps we ate at off times. Food was generally fresh as we were told food items could only be out 4 hours or less. My Fair Lady was consistantly nice. Was it a 5 star event? No, and if you come with that expectation, be prepared to be disappointed. Service was fast. My only issue was sometimes our drinks came later than I like and no refills were offered. Coffee after dinner wasn't offered until day three. However, the staff was pleasant and seemed eagar to please. Fine. Nothing special, but who stays in there room long? Yes, bathrooms were aging and the shower was a tight fit. Activites were average. Nights offered comedy shows, magician, bingo, kareoke, game show type events, RC singers/dancers, a few movies. You are always going to please some and not others. The games were cute, but the prizes were truly cheap- pens, highlighters and if you were lucky a key chain? Not sure what other lines offer but a free drink ticket (or two) or ben and jerry's voucher would be a step up. What about a ship board credit? The kids program was popular with my 9 year old. There was coverage for the dates in port, if you wanted to leave the kids behind. Late night events )after 10 pm were offered at a small charge. Don't miss the 70's party. I missed the first 1/2 and regretted not getting a look at the shirtless indian and policeman dance YMCA ever since. Really. The weather didn't warrent swiming the entire trip. The indoor pool was ok, but not huge. The whirlpools rotated being closed- not sure exactly why. Some were actually hot, others not really. We missed cococay due to weather which was dissapointing. Did RC make up for the loss? No, just another day at sea. We didn't do an excursion but a family we sat next to at dinner seemed less than impressed with snorkeling in Nassau (too many people, not enough help for beginners, "here is your stuff, there is the water" little thinks like how to clear your mask or de-fog would be nice.) Sounded like they didn't do a head count before or after which is disturbing. Others said they did the Atlantis trip and it was passable but pricy. Experienced cruisers seemed to think there were better options. It was easy to reach the port of Baltimore and you must trade this for something I suppose. Did I get what I paid for? Yes, I do believe so. When asked about my trip, it was pleasant, but not fantastic. I understand the Enchantment will be dry docked in late 2012 for upgrades, and rightlfully so.

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Aug 10, 2011

Caribbean

We enjoyed our first cruise! We flew into Baltimore and had a family member to transport us from the airport to ship and back. This greatly lessened the expense (Parking is $15 per day, airport transfer $36 per person per trip) and allowed us to see family. We were celebrating our 10th anniversary on this cruise and had a fantastic time. While it was a full ship, we were able to find quiet places to read, lay in the sun and just relax throughout

the trip. We encountered a bit of Tropical Storm Emily but managed to generally stay out of her way, by leaving Labadee, our final port, an hour early. We had a few nights of rougher seas, but it really wasn't bad. It is a matter of when not if we cruise with Royal Caribbean again. We ate one breakfast in the Windjammer and then enjoyed the dining room for breakfasts. Windjammer gets quite crowded with people who seem to think this is the last meal they will ever see. Selection in both places was good, the dining room offered a fresh fruit and cereal bar and a special of the day in addition to a classic breakfast menu. Service in the dining room was good. We enjoyed most of our lunches in the Windjammer. We learned that one of us would sit at a table while the other got their food. We felt the selection was good, including unique foods that you do not always have access to at home. We ate in the dining room twice, and this was good food, but not a lot of choice. Salad bar was excellent. Dinner - all I can say is wow. We received a call from the Matre' d asking if he could move us because the family we were seated with wanted to eat alone. He moved us to a table for two by the window. We ended up talking to the family next to us daily and enjoyed our new spot. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent, setting the bar very high for future cruises. Even our original waiter knew us by name after seeing us on the fist night and again at breakfast on day 8. My husband and I are both eating healthy and portion conscious. We felt the portions were appropriate and we both managed to still loose weight while enjoying wonderful foods. You could always request more if you wanted, but we were always satisfied, never hungry. We'd often take a piece of fruit with us for a snack later in the day. Free snacks were available though out the ship. I really don't see how anyone could go hungry and understand how the average weight gain can be 10 lbs per person. We just ate smart and continued our exercise routines. My husband is 6'8" and we really didn't have a problem in our interior stateroom. The shower is of course small, but functional. Our cabin attendant was thorough and excellent. The room was clean and well cared for. We had an issue with the safe not working but that was fixed within 10 minutes of my request. Nothing was dirty, ripped or broken and we had ample space to unpack and stow our suitcases and belongings. We came on the cruise for relaxation and found plenty of quiet spaces. I enjoyed the Sunday morning worship service. We both enjoyed the Captain's meet and greet, the Q&A with the captain and staff. Some of the bands were a bit loud in the Centrum and repetitive but it was tolerable. We also enjoyed the Love and Marriage Game show and several shows. We enjoyed para sailing on St. Thomas and snorkeling on Labadee. We took a walk around San Juan and Samana. If I did the same itinerary again and did not book an excursion on Samana, I probably would remain on the ship. It is a very poor area, but I understand that this does bring in money for the locals, but they were a bit aggressive for my comfort zone. Amazing, wonderful and will do again. Would even consider same ship and itinerary.

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Jul 6, 2011

Caribbean

First of all we love cruising from Baltimore. It is an easy port to get in and out of. Our drive is only about an hour from home. We have cruised on the Enchantment when she was only 6 months old and she is still a great ship. The cruise was soooth sailing all the way, service excellant and a wonderful trip. Will cruise on her again. This is our favorite way of travel and this was number 34, and hoping to do more. My one complaint I have is they

should "BAN CELL PHONES from the dining room". We couldn't believe the first night at dinner at a table of ten of which there were 8 three men took out cell phones and carried on conversations with people. One did it the whole time and two left them on the table and kept checking them during the meal. This is very rude of people manners seem to have gone out the window in the Cell Phone era. People are on vacation and if it is so important to them to do this they need to leave the room and go off to themselves or stay home. We do no need to be a part of their personal business. We do not appreciate this kind of behavior. This needs to be addressed before it gts further out of hand. The next morning I had our table reassigned. Part of the cruise is meeting other people from all over. Our state room was wonderful and cabin steward was right on top of everything, even knew us by our first names.

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Apr 23, 2011

Bahamas

This being our 17th cruise (all with RCCL), I can honestly say that this was by far our worst cruise ever!! This ship should be condeemed by the health department. The entire ship reeked of septic stench throughout the entire cruise. My advise is to sail on any other ship.. NOT on the Enchantment. We chose this cruise out of Baltimore because it is only a 2 hour drive from our home in Northern Virginia. We scheduled this particular week as my wife

is a teacher and she had off for spring break. The weather in Baltimore was terribe (can't control mother nature). Our departure was delayed (we were told over the PA system by the CPT) due to weather. We talked to people on board and were told they had a major drug bust on board Saturday night which was he real reason for the departure delay. Of course once the CPT told everyone we would be delayed due to the weather, there was never any additional information provided by the staff. The overall cruise was adequate (we were on vacation after all) but the delay caused an iteniary change and we spent 4 days sailing at sea with only 2 days ported (Cape Canveral and Nassau). I understand this is an older ship which needs upgrading, but RCCL has to honestly look at this ship. I would have hated to be on this ship for my first ever cruise as it would have convinced me that I would never cruise again. Food was as expected. Not great but the selection of so many options meant that you could definitely find something that you would like. Only comment here is that in the Windjammer Buffet, although you could load up your plate, havefun trying to find a table to sit down to enjoy it. Spring break meant lots of kids (I'm not complaining just a statement of fact) and the layout of the tables found many setup for 6 people with only people sitting at the table. RCCL might conider re-looking the layout and setup more 2 seat tables. Stateroom was a balcony room. Our attendant was superb!! Only comment is the bed was very uncomfortable. Hard as a rock and woke up every morning with a back ache (not because I'm old) just really hard sleeping surface. Since this is a small ship, there is really no room to support an all out ship celebration of any type. Events were often scheduled in the centrum area of the ship and were always over crowded. Normal events as on all ships where people seem to participate in what interested them. Nothing special. ALSO it was evident that RCCL does not inforce any of their established rules. Kids ran totally unsupervised, played in the elevators non stop (of course pushing every floor button), many seats in both the showroom and pool deck were always being "SAVED" for people who never semed to show up. Upon approaching the staff, they seemed to just turn away (of course after asking if you wanted to purchase a beverage). Not much advise here. The stop in Cape Canveral had us go on a trip to Coco Beach. It is just a beach. Two chairs and an umbrella = $27.00. No on beach food or beverages were for sale although there was a 7-11 across the street... Nassua we went to Atlantis and enjoyed the water activities (Adventure pass to Atlantis = $150.00 each). What I would tell anyone who asked me is that this cruise was a bad experience. RCCL had never disappointed us before so I believe that this review is warranted. I suggest anyone considering this ship, read, read and read as many reviews as you can. Some people who sailed this ship have given it rave reviews and that is certainly expected. Having sailed on 17 different RCCL ships, I feel this review to be honest and from the heart. It's your money and your vacation. I only offer my views and opinion for you to know that there are probably (definitely) better options out there. The terminal access to board and depart was very easy and efficient. Ample parking for those driving to port ($105.00) to park for a week cruise. If you sail on the Enchantment, may you have a great cruise vacation and enjoy yourself...

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Jan 18, 2011

Eastern caribbean

My first cruise out of baltimore and it was great! The service was excellent in all aspects. The enchantment had plenty of entertainment available at all times and it made for a great 9 days aboard the ship The windjammer food was pretty good, not great but i wasnt complaining. The dining room food on the other hand was excellent, every meal i had was fantastic from start to finish Small of course but that is to be expected on a cruise ship

Various activities for all ages Fantastic all around, royal caribbean does a great job of making sure that its passengers enjoy themselves through out the cruise

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By Tara_CR

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Jan 6, 2011

Baltimore-New England- Canada

I was on the same cruise as Jeffrey, a few reviewers below me... In fact, I remember Jeffrey from trivia. I, too, took some minor entertainment in the trivia sessions, as there was not much else for the under 70 crowd to do on ship. (Anyone without grey hair got to recognize one another by the end of the trip!) There were several over priced and deserted bars and dance clubs, but that's not my style. Programming was severely lacking. Even the

ship's library was small. The spa was decent but pricey, though the gym was well staffed and supplied and the swimming pool in the solarium was wonderful! We had some unseasonably beautiful weather out of Baltimore and the first day at sea meant lounging around in the sun! Can't beat that for September! Food in the main dining room was very good, as was the service. It was, however, hard to hold a conversation in the main dining room, as residual noise with that many people having conversations was definitely not under control. Food in the Windjammer Cafe was boring but usually passable. A decent place for lunch, though the breakfast offerings were identical every day and got really really boring by the end of the trip. Salads were fresh in both dining rooms and there was plenty to choose from. Some of the desserts in the Windjammer were stunningly awful, though... things that look delicious and have tasty looking names but end up tasting like something served in a low grade nursing home. Not how I want to end my meal!!! Never had a bad dessert in the main dining room, though. Coffee in the Windjammer (Coffee; the essential part of any food review!) ranged from passable to shockingly horrid. In the main dining room it was more consistently passable. Seattles Best has a stand midship where lattes are actually cheaper than on land and they give you a free pastry with it; that became my breakfast haunt. Only consistently decent cuppa coffee on board. Small, boring. I try not to spend much time in room except to sleep and read. Comfy enough. Stay away from the stocked snacks, the price was insane! Kind of like the stateroom, small and boring. I was travelling with my mother who likes to shop. She got bored with the ship's stores really quickly. I'm not a shopper and I don't gamble, so there wasn't much left except onboard programming, most of which was lackluster. I heard part of a lame comedy routine one night... skipped out on such events as Big Band, Karaoke, cake decorating contest, and the goofy poolside stuff that I can't imagine anyone actually likes. The spa educational programming was geared entirely at selling services. Halifax Walking Tour is a definite don't miss. Our guide (Bruce!!!) was knowledgeable and friendly. The pace was perfect, and Halifax is a charming and walkable city. I wanted to go back the minute I left!!! Tour hits the highlights (Citadel, Gardens, Historic buildings) and the pace is light and casual. Its about a mile and a half, mostly downhill. A pleasant morning walk with a cool dude in a kilt. Portland Historic and Lighthouse tour was a waste, mostly tied down on a bus. As was Peggy's Cove, the biggest bust of our trip, an hour's bus ride with a poor guide and then shopping at the junk/trinket stores and an hour's ride back. Bleh! Shipboard service was excellent, especially in the dining areas. On the whole, we had a great trip. But fun is where you make it and we were often left to make our own fun. My mother was one of the "young" people on board.... Excursions were not, overall, active type excursions and the more active ones I signed up for got cancelled for lack of interest. Oh, and we found a serious patch of nasty weather that made for some great sea tales when we got back! Crew worked hard to make even that rough patch enjoyable, though. Really you can't beat the positive attitude of the crew members we encountered! Probably won't go back to Enchantment, but if they're sailing where I'm going and the price is good, I'd consider it... definitely would consider Royal Caribbean again for a second chance, though.

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Dec 25, 2010

Bahamas

A horrible experience that I will never subject my family or clients to again. Royal Caribbean should be ashamed of themselves. BOARDING Boarding on the 19th of December was very well organized and we were on amazing fast. I have no complaints here. Final Grade for Boarding: A+ --------- CABIN Yes, Enchantment of the Seas is an older ship, but, boy is she showing her age. Torn furniture, well worn carpet, and, small, dirty cabins. Yes,

dirty! I did a test I do on every single cruise I take. I drop a clump of hair in a fairly oblivious spot to see if it gets picked up or vacuumed up. It's the 25th and this cruise started on the 19th and the hair remains on the floor. I kid you not! I also make a tiny mark on one of the bed sheets. Nothing to ruin the sheets by any means, but, it is just another test I do to see if the linens get changed. You guessed it. Nope. Not once since December 19th were the sheets on my bed in my cabin changed. DISGUSTING! Final Grade for the Cabin: D- --------- FOOD The food was terrible and it is oblivious Royal Caribbean is cutting corners in this area. I am not someone who thinks because I'm not cooking it or not cleaning up, it automatically rates "good". The buffet was about on the same level a "Golden Coral" - horrible. Absolutely tasteless, dry meats. Poor vegetable selections. Dessert selections were limited and not good. The main dinning room wasn't much better. As someone from the greater Washington, DC area, I know good food and have been to some of the top restaurants in the country. The slop that tried to pass off as "elegant" because it was smothered in sauces was insulting and disgusting. If you're a foodie - avoid this ship and Royal Caribbean at all costs! Final Food Grade: "D" - It was edible and that's it. --------- ENTERTAINMENT The shows are fair and the cruise director is ok, not the best, not the worst. However, it's the same tired routines that Royal Caribbean has had in place for a number of years now. It's grown tiresome. Let's see something new - give us new games and new demonstrations. If I have to sit through one more napkin folding class or ice craving demonstration, I think I'll be able to lead the next group myself. Final Grade for Entertainment: "C" - not horrible, just tired for those who have been on Royal Caribbean previously. --------- ITINERARY When Royal Caribbean moved Enchantment of the Seas to Baltimore, I thought "finally we have year round cruising", well, to be honest, I'd rather fly to Florida to start my cruise after this experience. The ports were fair: Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau but it wasn't really warm enough to swim, and, it was far too much time at sea. This is NOT an itinerary suitable for Winter, however, for Spring and Fall it would be excellent. Final Grade for Itinerary: "B" in theory, "D" in reality --------- OVERALL Royal Caribbean just lost a lot of business from me. I have been telling people how great it is to sail out of Baltimore and be so close to home and not having to fly. Outside of that fact, there is nothing positive I can say about the ship or the cruise line at this point. I am extremely disappointed. I will steer all future clients to other cruise lines including Carnival. That's right, Carnival. Final Overall Grade - "D" I cannot, in all honesty, recommend this ship nor am I able to endorse Royal Caribbean as cruise line that my clients will enjoy

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Nov 4, 2010

none

Our family vacation this year was aboard the Enchantment of the Seas. It was our first cruise and overall, it was very fun! We had a balcony room which was very convenient to sit out and look at the ocean without being crowded like you would on the upper deck. The room and overall ship was also very clean; we had no problems at all. Our dinner was great, in my opinion, but some of the desserts were too fancy for me to really enjoy. :) Also, the

ports of call were very fun! We went to Bermuda and the weather luckily, was fantastic. During the afternoon we walked around and did some touring (there was a beautiful Church ruin thingy) then in the evening after we had dinner on the ship, we did a Bermuda Triangle Ship Wreck Glassbottom Boat tour. That was great also.

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Oct 31, 2010

carribean

I loved the ship even though it was an older ship but was still really nice. Being that i live in Pennsylvania and the cruise terminal was in Baltimore the trip only took less than 2 hours The food was not too bad loved the windjammer, would come get a burger for lunch every day of the cruise. Dinner was nice the waiters were really nice and the one waiter came to our table and did amazing magic tricks! My family had a few issues with the stateroom

because it got hot in the room but other than that the room was still very nice There was a good amount of stuff to do like, rock climbing going to the arcade, adventure ocean especially the teen club, the entertainment was really good, I really enjoyed every stop of my cruise I got to do rock climbing and made it to the top! We went to San Juan, ST Thomas, Samanna, and Labadee and we are expected to go back on the enchantment next June

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Oct 24, 2010

New England

Boarding was efficient. However, nothing was open but the Windjammer Cafe. This meant long lines and no tables. I did the only logical thing: bought a soda card and started drinking diet coke. After that initial despair, things got better. Some of the weather was not the best, but I didn't let it stop me from enjoying the ship. The food was good, with a large variety. It rates above Carnival, but below Princess. The real problem with the

food was the number of dishes that contained alcohol. It seemed about a third of the desserts used it, including tiramisu. No non-alcoholic versions of certain desserts were available. The hamburgers served at the buffet and the Solarium were the worst I have ever had on any ship. They were not fresh, and were completely overcooked. Indeed, they were more like hockey pucks than burgers. I had an inside stateroom that was far forward. A support beam ran through the middle of my stateroom, and the television set did not face the bed. Indeed, the support beam location made lying on the bed and watching TV very difficult. The television was small. The desk space was also small, not helped by the large amount of space occupied by the minibar items. The stateroom was also cold. Even with the heat on high, I was cold. I requested an extra blanket from my cabin steward, which was provided. The ship was full of senior citizens, and the activities reflected it. Cake decorating? Motown entertainers? Big band music? At 44, I was too young to appreciate them. Still, I enjoyed the trivia sessions on the ship. As I don't care for dancing or karaoke, I found little to interest me on the ship after my late dinner seating. Three nights I watched movies in my stateroom, while the first night I just went to bed after a long day of travel. I never buy ship excursions as they are overpriced. I really didn't do much except walk and ship in Portland, Maine, Bar Harbor, Maine, St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. In Boston I bought a trolley tour at the port. I enjoyed that a great deal, and it was much cheaper than the similar offering from the ship. I highly recommend the Upper Deck trolley in Boston. The tour takes 2.5 hours, with hop-on, hop-off rights. Trolleys show up every 15 minutes. With limited time I toured the USS Constitution. With more time I'd have liked to see more historical sites, the Boston Library, Harvard and MIT, and the sports museum. Every day I got what I put into the day. The first day I was working on 2 hours of nightmare sleep over the last 52 hours, so I was not having a good time. I was depressed the second day. I got better as time went on, and found enjoyment in trivia, reading books, using the hot tubs and pools, and walking around the various ports of call. Day 7 was clouded by fog at sea, but as I was feeling good then, I simply liked the fact that I could enjoy the hot tub without competition. Day 9 had very rough seas, and most of the passengers and some of the crew became seasick. I always use anti-seasickness medication, so I was not affected, and spent a quiet day reading midship (my stateroom was far forward and the ship was pitching quite a bit). I learned new things about the ports of call, had a lobster roll in Maine, and had a fantastic time in Boston. I would do it again, but I would prefer more people my own age. I felt like I was in a senior center the entire cruise.

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Oct 9, 2010

new england

We enjoy cruising but will never even consider another cruise with RCL The ship was very clean but there is stains on the carpeting. We were very disappointed in the food. The first night we waited in line for at least 30 min. to finally get to the front of the line and be told we had to get in the other line which was twice as long. The steaks in the formal dining room were tough as shoe leather. The buffet food was tasteless and all the beef

was tough. I had doughnuts twice and both times there was no flavor . Even the chocolate frosting was flavorless The fruit bar was very good. The couple we were with has been on 15 cruises and thought this was the worse food they have had . We will never go on an RCL ship again.. Our stateroom smelled like sewer gas when we first got on the ship but slowly went away as we got under way. . The ship was very clean but there is stains on the carpeting. The entertainment was very good. The departing party was a joke. Our last cruise (not RCL) had a bar-b-que on deck and a lot of entertaining. This cruise was a flop. Some line dancing and that's about all I saw. Bar Harbor was great. We will never book shore excursions again if we don't have to.. We saved at least half the price taking taxi cabs. The Canadian ports were boring to me but then I'm not a city person. I love Canada on the western side .Boston was real nice. A whole lot of people but I liked the visit. The historic sites are awesome.

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Sep 18, 2010

New England

Leaving from Baltimore is a positive. Cabin attendant was very good. Meals were ok. All other cruises had provision for Catholic mass. This cruise had only a inter denominational service. As a Catholic I am supposed to attend mass on Sunday. On Sunday we were in port in Bar Harbor and it required us to be tendered to shore. My wife and I managed to locate a Catholic church and attend mass but we were speaking with a woman who has 91 years

old. She had recently lost her daughter and would have felt comfort from a Catholic mass. Because of her need to use a mobile scooter she was unable to go a shore. I would expect RC to be able to get a local priest to come aboard and say mass when RC is in port on a Sunday. The food was prepared good and selection was good but I was used to five courses rather than just three. Both our waiter and his assistant were very good. We had a small inside stateroom and our attendant separated the beds for us. This arrangement is better and gave us more room. Over all our trip was very positive.

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Sep 5, 2010

Western Caribbean

I had a good time. Leaving from Baltimore without having to fly is really nice. I think the ship is in need of some modernization but it is well kept and very clean. I've only been on one other cruise (Carnival), also out of Baltimore. I thought the RC crew took a little bit more care of you than Carnival. Some cruise ships allow you to take travel irons if they are steam only. Royal Caribbean does not but their web site doesn't say this.

We had to wait through a long line of mostly people with steam irons waiting to get their bags. I also recommend don't take any alcohol. A lot of people did try and got caught. We had to wait through the same lines to get our bag. They'll take your steam iron and you'll get it back after arriving at port at the lost and found. There was a lot (emphasis on a lot) of alcohol taken. I asked what happens to it once taken and the crew member said it goes to the bar. Taking alcohol unless you can really conceal it will make paying for that $8.00 drink a little less tastier. This one was a big one for us "SMOKING". I think I smoked packs and packs of cigarettes aboard Enchantment of the Seas through second hand smoke. Everyone seems to congregate outside the doors and on the decks to smoke. So for those who smoke - good for you. For those who don't - be prepared. I do like Carnival's smoking policy that said "If you do smoke - here's where you can smoke!" I thought the food was very good but not great. We had dinner at Chops scheduled for two nights but cancelled the second one. The food in the Windjammer is typical buffet food but sitting in "My Fair Lady" where they serve you, the food tended to be better. Also, getting a seat up in the Windjammer was difficult at times. The wait staff was excellent. Stateroom was nice. Bathroom was small but I guess they all are. The stateroom attendants were really nice and if you needed anything, I just had to open my door and say "Kenneth" as he instructed me to do so. They were nice. Bingo is super expensive. They now have electronic bingo where you purchase the use of a contraption and it keeps track of bingo for you. You just kind of sit there. They have daily movies, casino, trivia, painting, and so on. The Segway tour of San Juan was awesome. Sign up quick as these go fast. If you've never been to San Juan, there are a lot of hills. We did 12 miles and got to see a lot of awesome historical stuff. Significantly more than that of those who were on the walking tour. The private island escape "Malfini Beach" in Labadee Haiti was nice. The waters were rough elsewhere because of the hurricane but this was somewhat secluded. Plus, drinking rum flavored punch of coconuts was neat. While in the Dominican Republic, we had lunch on the beach. I ordered a lobster and the young man went out in the water and came back with a lobster. Probably the freshest lobster I ever ate. Be prepared, for the marketplace in the DR. They sellers will mob you. Because of Hurricane "Earl", we missed St Thomas. I would of given a higher rating for value but I thought the cruise line would take you to an alternate port but we just road at sea an extra day which was a bummer. The convenience of leaving from Baltimore keeps you at sea longer and adding an extra day at sea instead of a port is a bummer. When we registered through RC, we asked for private dining but instead were seated with another couple. However, that turned out great. We had two couples sitting next to us and they all were great. Met a couple that was celebrating 69 years of marriage. That was really cool.

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Sep 5, 2010

Western Caribbean

I had a good time. Leaving from Baltimore without having to fly is really nice. I think the ship is in need of some modernization but it is well kept and very clean. I've only been on one other cruise (Carnival), also out of Baltimore. I thought the RC crew took a little bit more care of you than Carnival. Some cruise ships allow you to take travel irons if they are steam only. Royal Caribbean does not but their web site doesn't say this.

We had to wait through a long line of mostly people with steam irons waiting to get their bags. I also recommend don't take any alcohol. A lot of people did try and got caught. We had to wait through the same lines to get our bag. They'll take your steam iron and you'll get it back after arriving at port at the lost and found. There was a lot (emphasis on a lot) of alcohol taken. I asked what happens to it once taken and the crew member said it goes to the bar. Taking alcohol unless you can really conceal it will make paying for that $8.00 drink a little less tastier. This one was a big one for us "SMOKING". I think I smoked packs and packs of cigarettes aboard Enchantment of the Seas through second hand smoke. Everyone seems to congregate outside the doors and on the decks to smoke. So for those who smoke - good for you. For those who don't - be prepared. I do like Carnival's smoking policy that said "If you do smoke - here's where you can smoke!" I thought the food was very good but not great. We had dinner at Chops scheduled for two nights but cancelled the second one. The food in the Windjammer is typical buffet food but sitting in "My Fair Lady" where they serve you, the food tended to be better. Also, getting a seat up in the Windjammer was difficult at times. The wait staff was excellent. Stateroom was nice. Bathroom was small but I guess they all are. The stateroom attendants were really nice and if you needed anything, I just had to open my door and say "Kenneth" as he instructed me to do so. They were nice. Bingo is super expensive. They now have electronic bingo where you purchase the use of a contraption and it keeps track of bingo for you. You just kind of sit there. They have daily movies, casino, trivia, painting, and so on. The Segway tour of San Juan was awesome. Sign up quick as these go fast. If you've never been to San Juan, there are a lot of hills. We did 12 miles and got to see a lot of awesome historical stuff. Significantly more than that of those who were on the walking tour. The private island escape "Malfini Beach" in Labadee Haiti was nice. The waters were rough elsewhere because of the hurricane but this was somewhat secluded. Plus, drinking rum flavored punch of coconuts was neat. While in the Dominican Republic, we had lunch on the beach. I ordered a lobster and the young man went out in the water and came back with a lobster. Probably the freshest lobster I ever ate. Be prepared, for the marketplace in the DR. They sellers will mob you. Because of Hurricane "Earl", we missed St Thomas. I would of given a higher rating for value but I thought the cruise line would take you to an alternate port but we just road at sea an extra day which was a bummer. The convenience of leaving from Baltimore keeps you at sea longer and adding an extra day at sea instead of a port is a bummer. When we registered through RC, we asked for private dining but instead were seated with another couple. However, that turned out great. We had two couples sitting next to us and they all were great. Met a couple that was celebrating 69 years of marriage. That was really cool.

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Aug 7, 2010

Eastern Carribean

To all potential customers of Royal Caribbean...PLS SPEND YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY ON ANOTHER SHIP AND WITH ANOTHER COMPANY! My Wife and I just spent almost $10,000 on a 9-night cruise with RC, and by the 3rd day we both couldn't wait to return home. I was so extremely upset with almost every aspect of the trip, I've had to wait a few weeks to even write this reveiw. The Ship is Clean, but our stateroom wasn't, as Housekeeping neglected our Balcony/Honeymoon

Suite three days in a row. I was constantly calling just to have towels since they refused to make our room up as one would expect. The Staff, with the exception of the main Dining room, was Rude and not Helpful at all. Waiters would not return to serve you anywhere on the ship if they did receive an additional tip the 1st time they got you a drink, keeping in mind you are already tipping 15% on everything ordered. Room Service took between an Hour and 2 Hours the three times we ordered it. Unfourtanetly, not a great Honeymoon for us. So I once again beg you to use another carrier so you don't find yourself constantly angry on what is supposed to be a nice relaxing Vacation. PS...Don't think that being in a Suite will get you any perks from this horrible company. Overall, I would rate the food as barely edible. After almost every meal both my Wife and I had stomach aches and other stomach issues throughout the trip. During certain peek hours you can only get dry Pizza that had been sitting out or a Hot Dog or Burger that took 20 mins to prepare. Service in the main dinning room was decent but the food was Horrible. Carnival's food was fine dining compared to the slop that we were forced to eat during this trip. I can't imagine that convicts have it much worse! Our Stateroom was Gorgeous. We went with a Suite with a large Balcony because it was our Honeymoon. Other then some obvious stains on the Carpet and a very small TV, the room was everything it should have been. One negative is that the room had 3 light bulbs out on the first day? Not much attention to detail by our extremely unwelcoming stateroom attendant. Two of them were still not fixed when we disembarked. I thought for $7,000 they could have been a little more on top of things. Not much to do Onboard for the 21-40ish crowd, unless your a gambler, which thankfully i am. The activities during the day were catered to either a very young crowd or to the over 60 folks. If you are in the middle, i hope you enjoy laying out because that is all there is to do. So you better hope the weather is good and that you can find a Beach Chair, if ur not by the pool by 10am forget about getting a spot in the Sun. Sea Turtle Cove Snorkeling was Great is St. Thomas Horse Back Riding in the Rainforest in Puerto Rico was also a really good time Our trip was POOR beyond description. I felt like Royal Caribbean stole my money and my memories from me. People only get one Honeymoon and due to many factors brought on by RC, ours will never be talked about again. The staff, food, lack of fun onboard activities, alchoholic beverages (that are made with next to no liquor in them and cost $10 per drink...plus extra tip of course), and worst of all the lack of attention to our Suite as far as Housekeeping is concerned all add up to making this cruise the worst trip of our lives. Our Stateroom Attendant, who's job it is to make our trip comfortable, was at fault for many things that angered me onboard and they need to demote him to the laundry room or just get rid of him before he alienates anymore customers. RC should be ashamed that even one person had this onboard experiance. I hope for eveyone else's sake that others had a better time. As far as onboard conversation went, we heard many of the same complaints from other passengers in our age bracket. It is heart breaking to work 7 days a week, for more then a year to pay for what you think will be the best time of your life, to come home with nothing but Complaints.

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Jun 19, 2010

BERMUDA

This was our 3rd cruise and 2nd on the Enchantment of the seas (6/2007) and (6/2010). We had a wonderful time and everything was smooth sailing ! My wife and I are in our early 50's and my daughter is 25. We love RC and highly recommend this cruise line and this ship in particular. The food was excellent. Every thing was well prepared, wonderful presentation, and lots of it ! Both the formal dining and the open dining buffet was outstanding. The

food selection was unbeliveable. The waiters were the most friendliest, kind people I have ever met. They truly love their job and will go to any extreme to make your dining experience a perfect 10. I wish everyone could experience the same service we did. It was sad having to say good bye to our stateroom attendant and waiters. We formed a bond of friendship that we will remember for years to come. Stateroom was average. We had an inside room with 3 people so it wasn't bad. Besides you are only in the room to change clothes and sleep. The mattress was a little worn out but other than that no complaints. The activites were great. Lots to do and something for all ages. We had a blast ! My daughter and I took the kayak adventure on Bermuda and were very happy with the excursion. The guides were helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. They really want to make you happy and don't treat you like a tourist. We left on 6/12/2010 out of Norfolk VA and sailed to Bermuda on a 5 night cruise. The parking and shuttle bus to and from the cruise ship was smooth and hassel free. RC really knows what they are doing and treat you with respect.

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Feb 24, 2010

Eastern Carribean

Have tried to explore and book a cruise on Royal Caribbean. On two separate phone calls the agent taking the call did not seem to care. They (the agents on both occasions)took little effort to help on the call. A subsequent talk with Resolutions, a customer service supervisor and someone who seemed to be a manager gave no additional cause to see if any one cared or was going to help - again no one seemed to care. With this kind of service, I would

not expect to get any better service on the cruise. With all the cruise lines offering services - Royal Caribbean has cut it self out of the running.

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Feb 24, 2010

Eastern Carribean

Have tried to explore and book a cruise on Royal Caribbean. On two separate phone calls the agent taking the call did not seem to care. They (the agents on both occasions)took little effort to help on the call. A subsequent talk with Resolutions, a customer service supervisor and someone who seemed to be a manager gave no additional cause to see if any one cared or was going to help - again no one seemed to care. With this kind of service, I would

not expect to get any better service on the cruise. With all the cruise lines offering services - Royal Caribbean has cut it self out of the running.

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Sep 26, 2009

western caribbean

I have cruised on this ship 5 times so they must be doing something right. The staff is very friendly and go out of their way to make sure your experience is the best. The pool deck on this ship is one of my favorites, it is very large and very easy to get a chair by the pool. It is an older ship now than when I was first on it in 1998 so I have seen it age but it got a huge face lift a couple of years ago and is not showing its wrinkles. I read in

another review that someone said Carnival is as good or better than Royal Caribbean to that I say I disagree. Will you have a great time on this ship? YES. The food in the main dinning room is OK but what do you want for about 100 bucks a day. It's still much better than Carnival and much better than NCL. Its about the same as Princess. The Wind Jammer is average at best but still blows Carnival out of the water. Chops is the best deal on the high seas. It's RC pay for play steakhouse well worth the 25 dollars. It's as good as Mortons or Ruths Chris, but all you can eat. Rooms are small but so are all of them, If you care how big your room is stay home because there is nothing to do in your room the fun is on the ship.

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Sep 23, 2009

Western Caribbean

This cruise was a great experience! There were two great ports of call: George Town, Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, Mexico. I did a Stingray City excursion in Grand Cayman, and a beach day in Cozumel. There was lots to do on the days at sea, as well as on the days in port if you want to remain on the ship. I met lots of people to socialize with, since I went by myself. The food and stateroom were good, nothing too fancy, but enough to get me

by for the 5 nights. The crew was amazing and funny, which I think is important to have on a cruise to keep passengers entertained. Personally, I only attended 2 of the evening shows. Otherwise in the evenings, I was either by the pool or at bingo or karaoke night. I had a large interior stateroom on deck 7, which was an ideal size for me. I was really only in the stateroom to shower, change, and sleep. I had a great dining room waitress, and she knew by the end of the second night, that along with dessert, I wanted decaf coffee. She did most of the work at dinner, and I tipped her accordingly. There were a few instances where I felt motion, because of the wind and the waves, but nothing too serious. One minor setback I heard that didn't affect me. There was a broken pipe that first full day, affecting passengers that were on deck 4 on down, which included the dining room. Because it affected the dining room, there was no water, and they couldn't brew coffee since they had no water. Again, I saw this as a minor setback, and it didn't keep me from enjoying the cruise. There was an excellent variety of food. I kept it simple most nights for the appetizer and just had a caesar salad. For the entrees, one night I had shrimp ravioli, the next night roasted duck, the third night tiger shrimp, the fourth night mussels, shrimp, and scallops over pasta, and the final night lobster tail and shrimp. A great quality of food, and with the exception of the night of the roast duck, I cleaned my plate. The roast duck was delicious, just too big of a serving for me. The food in the Windjammer was also adequate, although I only ate there a couple days for lunch, and one day for breakfast. The dining room breakfast and lunch was also very good, and they have a variety of choices for breakfast, but the lunch menu doesn't change, and neither does the breakfast menu, but there are several choices to choose from. I just stuck with the basic eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast for breakfast most mornings, and for lunch I either had a hamburger or hot dog up in the Windjammer. There were lots of choices to choose from onboard on the days at sea, and you will never get bored. Lots of fun activities for all passengers to either just watch, or participate in. I mainly did the bingo nights and karaoke nights. There is also the rock wall, jump zone, and of course the pool just to name a few activities. However, due to weather and/or gusty winds on the sea days, some days the jump zone and rock wall were not open. The 70s street party is an event that is fun to watch, and if it's on your cruise, I would recommend that you watch it from one of the decks overlooking the centrum (decks 4, 5, 6, and 7). In Grand Cayman, do not miss Stingray City. I did an excursion offered through the ship, and you can actually pet the Stingrays and feed them. It may take about an hour to get there from the tender area in Grand Cayman, including the bus ride, then the boat ride, but it is worth it. This was my vacation from work. A great trip overall, and I would recommend this cruise to anybody who is looking for a short cruise. This cruise was just about the right length for me. Even though I wasn't ready to leave, I am glad to be home and have a more spacious bedroom and bathroom. There was a broken pipe that first full day, but I was unaffected by it, but the dining room was for breakfast, as they had no water, and couldn't brew coffee. A minor setback, but nothing to keep me from enjoying the cruise.

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Aug 29, 2009

Cozumel and Grand Cayman

This was our first experience on Royal Carribean. We were told that there was a significant difference between Royal Caribbean and Carnival; Royal Caribbean being a considerable notch above Carnival Cruise lines. I found the experience on Royal Carribean disappointing considering the grand reviews I had gotten. The ship was very clean, the cabins were small but the storage space was more than ample. I found the food to be mediocre (the first

2 days) compared to our experiences with Carnival cruises. The service, although good, was not as outstanding as the Carnival experience. The food experience was greatly improved when the head waiter (L. Mota) took a liking and interest in us and asked us what we wanted the next 3 nights. L. Mota was definetly the highlight of our evening meals; both positive, warm and entertaining. The ship, although considerably older, and smaller than those we had taken on Carnival, was nontheless very clean and elegant. The entertainment was good,towards the end of the trip and the cruise daily entertainment was a lot more subdued than that of our past cruises on Carnival (perhaps due to the fact that it was obvious that there were a lot more elderly people than one would see on Carnival cruises). The last evening 1980's entertainment (with the Village people crowd) was incredibly fun and entertaining. We did enjoy the cruise. I will definetly try Royal Caribbean one more time. I feel perhaps that a newer and larger ship will be a better experience. We will also read reviews before booking.

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Jun 7, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I just returned from a cruise on RC on the Enchantment of the Seas. It was four nights. We had cruised once before with our kids on the Carnival Glory for 7 nights. The check-in process was easy and no problem. We were able to get on the ship at noon and they had food prepared for us in the Windjammer. At one o'clock we were allowed in our staterooms. When my husband unlocked the door, I was in shock. It was SOOOO small and if

I was claustrophobic, I would have had to have medication. The room was too small and smelled ''musty'' On Carnival, we had an inside stateroom and it had plenty of room. . The food was fair at best. I can only remember one meal that I actually said,''Mmm, that was great.'' The Windjammer was just aweful. The food always looked great but the taste was fair. Also, I paid for a soda fountain package so I could have my Diet Cokes. You had to ask a waiter to get them for you and when you did, you felt like you annoyed them because you were not ordering an alcholic beverage and so they made no tip money. So, I stopped ordering them and just drank the free tea and juice. Do excursions on your own. It is MUCH cheaper and you can do the exact same things you want to do. My husband and I had an enjoyable time but the actual cruise ship leaft MUCH to be desired. We will not cruise with RC again. Do not let anyone tell you that Carnival is not as nice as RC!

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Jun 1, 2009

Western Caribbean

BEWARE - ROYAL CARIBBEAN CREW TOOK OUR CAMERA! The cruise we took with Royal Caribbean was ruined due to an incident involving Royal Caribbean staff taking our camera, and the response from Royal Caribbean following the incident. On day 2 of the cruise, a camera was removed from my wife's purse. We reported the missing camera to Guest Relations and searched the lounge where the camera was taken. We checked in with Guest Relations daily looking

for the camera but felt that nothing was done for us. On the final day of the cruise, repeated announcements were made about another missing camera (not ours). We checked again with Guest Relations (useless) and asked the lounge staff again about our camera. The repeated announcements about the other missing camera spooked the Royal Caribbean crew, and we were mysteriously told to come back in an hour to check on our camera again. After several more visits to the lounge, Royal Caribbean crew acted as if the camera had been found behind the bar. We were excited to see our camera again. However, there were multiple photos on the camera of a Royal Caribbean crew members' room. We brought the matter to the attention of onboard security and spent much of the final cruise evening with security interviewing suspects and providing a written statement. We left the cruise without a single photo of any of the amazing excursions that we took, just the memory that we were robbed by Royal Caribbean staff while onboard their ship. In response to this incident, we have been offered a small discount on a future cruise. Why on earth would my wife and I want to cruise with Royal Caribbean again? Royal Caribbean did absolutely nothing to recover my stolen property, minimized the incident when I was able to recover the camera myself, and took no responsibility for ruining the vacation that my wife and I spent thousands of dollars on. We'll definitely be looking into another cruise line that treats its customers with respect.

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Apr 4, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

This was going to be my first cruise expierence, I was young enough to be unexpecting what it would be like. From the very first day I got on my cruise in march, I had an excellent experience, the employees are very friendly, it wasn't hard to get the jist of things fast. I was very delighted with the amazing programs they had available for my age group - fuel 12-14 year olds. This kept me busy, and I met a ton of new friends, probably like 25 fellow

teens who most I still keep in touch with. Dinner was always a relaxing time to meet up with my family and meet others as well as the food was delishh (: I went to Grand Cayman, and had a great time there, and Ocho Rios Pier, Jamaica where I swam with dolphins (recommended)! I had no problem with ANYTHING. I had full freedom at sea on a ship that was great. Enchantment of the SEAS !!! The food was delicious, I remember there was one chicken dinner I got 3 nights out of 5, it was so good. Prime rib was another delicious one. The vitality entrees and appetizers were very yummy! desserts were very awesome! I had a Jr. Suite with a balcony, and it was good state room wise, but we were located on the seventh deck at the back of the ship (verrry back) the one thing wrong with that is that we would get sut on our balcony every day daily... I dont recommend the back! My age being 14 (13 then), I was eligible for FUEL, ages 12-14, this was a great way for me to socialize and meet new people my own age, the orgainized activities were so fun, I was never bored - EVER. from 8 am to midnight something was going on! Don't miss out on trying everything - I found out the last night everything in shops goes ON SALE so wait the last night to shop. DONT MISS planned events, they're fun. STAY AWAY FROM the shopping tips seminar, the back of the ships' state rooms, and that's about it. My overall 5 night cruise on Enchantment of the Seas was everything and anything. I still remember everything a year later. I would recommend this ship for families, it's not too new but it's not too too old. GO ON, THIS IS SOOOO MUCHHH FUN AND EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE!!! MEMORIES FOREVER!!!! This is why i am going on Liberty of the Seas on April 11th (: EEEEKS 6 days. gotta get a' packin!

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Sep 13, 2008

ocho rios and grand cayman

This was our second cruise, our first one was on the Carnival Pride in 2002. Our embarkation was very smooth. We arrived at the ship around 1:00pm and were on board within 15 minutes. Our cabin was on deck #2 an outside cabin and considering it was only 154sq ft it was surprisingly spacious. We went to lunch in the windjammer dining room for the buffet lunch which was excellent. In fact the food during the entire cruise was wonderful.

We ate all our breakfasts and lunches in the windjammer and all our dinners in the My Fair Lady dining room. We had a table of 10 and our tablemates were fun to be with. All the shows in the Orpheum theatre were great. There were two production shows, as well as a comic-magician, and the group Beatlemaniacs who were terrific. We went to karaoke twice in the Carousel room where they also played the adult game Quest which is not to be missed. In addition, they had name that tune in the Schooner bar with Jim the piano player which was a lot of fun. I did find that the pictures the photo staff took were on the expensive side so we only bought a couple. Shopping on the ship was good and we found many bargains in the stores. Both ports were excellent. In ocho rios we booked a private tour online from phil Lafayette tours. Not only was it cheaper but it was more fun and informative. We were traveling with another couple and we were the only one on Phil's tour bus. Phil was a funny and entertaining guide who sang to us , took pictures of us, took us to some interesting out of the way places and made us feel special. You can book him on www.phil-lafayette-tours.com. (1-800-427-5829). We climbed Dunns Falls in Ocho Rios and it was great fun and only mildly challenging.We had Phil drop us off At Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville's restaurant where we had lunch and used the beach next to the restaurant for free.. The beach was great, we rented chairs for $5.00 and rented Kayaks and spent the afternoon there. It was only a few steps back to the cruise ship when we were done so we were able to walk back. Our next port was Grand Cayman were we also booked a private tour From Nativeway tours. We went to stingray city where the water was beautiful and though the stingrays were intimidating at first you got used to them very quickly. After that we did some snorkling than back to town. Unfortunately there were 7 cruise ships tendered that day so it was very crowded. We did a little shopping than headed back to the ship. Our de-embarkation was smooth and I would say that everything went well during the week. The ship was beautiful and the staff couldn't have been more accomodating. I would definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again. Jerry and carol Bloom

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Aug 24, 2007

NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Glenn Debarkation: We flew into Ft Lauderdale Airport without a problem.  We decided to forego the ship’s transfer ($17/per each way) and opt for a cab.  The ride took 10 minutes and cost $17 with tip for 3 of us.  The terminal is not as fancy as the one at Port Canaveral, but was clean and efficient.  We registered online and

were on the ship in less than 20 minutes.  Boy were we excited to be on our second cruise! Day 1: We decided to wait 40 minutes until 1pm to drop off our bags at the room before going to lunch at the Windjammer.  It was so much easier than dragging our bags with us.  We attended the “Sail Away Party” on the pool deck and I won a spa treatment for my dancing abilities.  The only catch was that it had to be used during port times.  The rest of the day was spent getting acquainted with the ship.  My Dad gave us a great tip to tape a colored balloon from home to the door of your stateroom.  That way, regardless of which elevator/stairs you come down all you have to do is look down the hall for the balloon.  There was many a lost soul looking for their staterooms throughout the cruise.  Other people even used our balloon as a landmark to find their rooms. Day 2: Key West: The boat docks very early and we were some of the first to get off of the boat.  Not much is open, so we spent the time exploring the Sculpture Park off of Mallory Square and chasing the chickens.  My daughter has at least 20 pictures of those rats with wings.  We took the Conch Trolley and had a great tour.  The tour zig-zags all over the island and it is hard to keep your bearings if you want to walk back to see something.  Taking pictures of the historical buildings is tough because there is so much vegetation growing in front of the homes.  I would suggest going early on the tour.  We had only a dozen people on the trolley.  After we returned, there were at least a hundred people lined up in a queue and each trolley was packed.  After, we wandered the streets and did a few things on our life’s list, like eat Key Lime Pie at the Blonde Giraffe and have a margarita at Jimmy Buffets. Before returning to the ship we stopped at the CVS to get some bottled water for our room.  Key Lime Juice was $2 a bottle, whereas it was $5 in the other “gift shops.”  Returning to the ship for the early departure, we met very long lines to get back on the ship.  It took almost 45 minutes in line to get through security.  WAIT TO GO UPSTAIRS FOR LUNCH UNTIL ABOUT 3pm.  Everybody gets back at the same time and wants to eat.  We searched for a table for 15 minutes with plates in hand.  I finally gave up and went back to the room.  The girls went to a scrap booking class.  There is also a BBQ on the pool deck, but that was packed as well.  By 3pm the Windjammer was less congested and we made a dynamite plate of nachos. Day 3: Cozumel: We booked a Jeep Tour/Beach Break Excursion through www.cozumelcruiseexcursions.com.  It was significantly cheaper than booking on the ship.  Once we got to the meeting spot, we learned that we had a private tour with a retired architect from Houston.  It was awesome even though it rained lightly most of the day.  He took us all over the island, we ate with the locals, and did some snorkeling just down from Chakkannab.  The guide made a special effort to make the tour exciting for our daughter and we looked for shells on one of the beaches for over an hour.  The best compliment came from my daughter at dinner that night when she told our tablemates that the guide felt like we were visiting family.  I would definitely recommend this excursion service. Day 4 Belize:  We booked a Zoo and City Tour through the ship because we were not comfortable with going it on our own after reading other reviews on this site.  The tour was excellent and the zoo was the best we’ve ever seen.  All of the animals were active and close.  The sound of howler monkeys roaring in the forest is something I’ll never forget.  It was very memorable for our daughter since the rainforest was an exit project for past year’s class.  I would highly recommend this tour as well.  We were dropped off outside of the Tourism Village at the Smoky Mermaid Bar.  We had to walk a few blocks back down an alley.  We did feel uneasy as the locals seemed very seedy.  We did stop at the Wet Lizard in the Village for some Lobster Ceviche.  It was excellent. Day 5: At Sea: The last day at sea we enjoyed the ship’s activities.  My daughter spent quite a bit of time at he Adventure Ocean Program and loved every minute of it.  RCI really caters to everyone.  Food in the dining room was top notch and the service was impeccable.  The selections seem to be the same on every ship and I could see you getting bored of the same things if you cruise often.  I did ask the head waiter about the dress code because so many people interpreted it so liberally and nothing was done about it.  He told me that their hands are tied because so much of the wait staff’s salary is based on tips.  If they were to become more strict, they tips would likely decrease.  He did inform me that RCI is seriously thinking of moving to a “freestyle dining” experience like other ships use.  If that occurs, dress code will be enforced more strictly.  The Grand Buffet was a work or art. All in all I can say that a cruise is the best value for the money.  If you are patient, have an open mind and do your homework these can be the best vacations around.  For a short time, I can escape from our busy lives and feel like royalty.  Thank you to all of the RCI staff aboard the Enchantment from the officers to the housekeeping staff.  You have allowed us some precious family memories.          

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Aug 12, 2007

NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Mandy Severt This being my first cruise, I can honestly say it was beyond anything I ever imagined. Reading through the numerous reviews and filtering the opinions of friends had us a little excited and weary at the same time. My husband and I work all the time so we were looking forward to our first cruise, and being able to get away from it all.

We had such a small time frame with our jobs that we ended up booking a 5 night, when we really wanted a 7 night. Our Western Caribbean Cruise on the beautiful Enchantment of the Seas, took us from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, on to Key West, Cozumel, and Coco Cay Bahamas. A little about Ft. Lauderdale: Ft. Lauderdale is absolutely gorgeous. My husband had been there when he was much younger and this was my first time. We flew down from Georgia a day early to get settled into the city and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66.  The Hyatt is directly across the street from the pier. We could see the Enchantment from our balcony tower room. It was parked there the day before in the port and we loved being able to see it and enjoy the gorgeous ocean and marina views. Ft. Lauderdale is like no other beach town. It is a major city with many things to do and see. The sights from our balcony were worth every bit of the stay we had there, and I would rate it a 5 star room. There are lots of little inlets that lead to the ocean/marina and houses galore. Everyone has a boat in this city, otherwise it would be hard to get around. Boarding: We arrived at the port at 1:45pm and were told to arrive no earlier. We had heard others say that you could board at 12pm or so, but this is not true, or at least no one did this day. When you get out of your taxi, they immediately take and check your luggage prior to getting on the ship. We were not allowed to carry it on ourselves which made us nervous. We saw so many bags just sitting idle on numerous carts, so we made sure and tipped our baggage guy 20 bucks and said a prayer that our luggage would make it on the ship safely. Everything went very smoothly when getting on the ship, we only waited about 15 minutes and got through the line and they set up our sea pass cards, took a security picture, and we walked on the ship. The Beautiful Enchantment: Upon walking aboard, we saw the magnificent Centrum, which is truly breathtaking. We were so excited and could see all the others passengers with the same looks on their faces. The crew is set to go as soon as you get on the ship. People already were eating and had drinks in their hands. but we couldn't wait to see our room so we hurriedly took the stairs up to Deck 7. Our Balcony Room 7548: I must say it was not as small as people say it is. I was very relieved to see that we had plenty of room. I enjoyed having a balcony and would do it again every time. There are nooks and crannies, drawers, doors, shelves and closets. There is no reason to complain at all here. Our stuff fit wonderfully and we had 6 bags, yes 6 bags total. We had a big couch that could fold out and sleep 2 if need be. Our queen size bed was plush and slept like a cloud with the white down pillows and bedding. As a matter of fact, it was hard getting out of it, it was so comfy. The bathroom was fine. There is a medicine cabinet that fit all of our toiletries and towels to last you for weeks. The shower had awesome water pressure and our toilet was higher than most which made us want to change ours at home. After checking our room out it was then time to go see the rest of the ship,  Upon leaving our room we met our stateroom attendant “Earl” who was there for our every need. We never once didn’t see him outside our door. He was on top of everything down to the mints on the pillows. The Schooner Bar: This being the first place we congregated, we met our bartender "Ambrose" he was by far the most crafty and sincere bartender we found. This is a small bar but became our favorite. It was decorated with wood and brass portholes and a big piano that we would enjoy the whole time. Now don't get me wrong, there are about 10 other bars possibly more on the ship but this one was just our favorite. Later on we would meet "Alfredo" who also made some awesome drinks here as well. Make sure you stop by here, if you tip them well they will take care of you & surprise you on your check. The Windjammer Marketplace: This is a huge buffet, I read a couple of reviews that rated this mediocre which stunned us! It was exceptional! Anything you can think of they have here. We never once went there and didn’t like it, and it was always open. I am a vegetarian, and it more than suited my liking.  My husband is not however and he raved and raved. We met the manager here and he always checked on us and made sure that everyone was happy, there wasn’t a time in which we went there and he wasn't there visiting tables and making sure everything was superb. The only thing we didn’t like was there was only one drink station. The Windjammer is great in size, and if you found a seat farther away, you had to walk a great distance to fill up your drink cup, which were small in size. The Dining Room: We were scheduled to have 2nd seating at 8:30 at table 94. We decided that the Windjammer was so great, that we only went to the dining room one night, which was our second night, as we were told this is where we could meet the Captain at the Captain's Dinner. It was Formal night and my husband and I dressed to the nines in black and white tie. However upon walking in there was no table 94, we had to ask a waiter where to sit, so he preceded to sit us at table 96 which was in the farthest corner possible by the kitchen door. He then asks us like children, "Where were you on the first night?" However, it was a table for two, just no view of anything at all except the hurrying of waiters rushing by. We were greeted very nicely by the assistant waiter "Rosemary" who was very sweet and turned around the sourness of our waiter. We ordered a bottle of  Riesling, in which the price was no where near the quality. We are big wine drinkers and when it arrived it came as a miniature bottle, which was mediocre for the price we paid. We were proceeded with a very small menu, which mainly consisted of meat. I am a vegetarian and the only option I had for the main course was eggplant, which I'm not that crazy about. So I asked our waiter, I think his name was "David" if he could make a vegetable plate and he proceeded to tell me they couldn't, so I just ordered a child’s spaghetti instead. I was pretty disappointed, especially when I found out that we missed meeting the captain because it had already happened earlier in the night before the first seating. Another waiter then managed to breeze by me with a red sauce and spilled it on my white dress. I was then just ready to leave the dining room, but "Rosemary" saved the night, she came back in seconds with seltzer water and it lightened up the stain. Of course we hadn't had pictures made yet, but the photographer was nice enough to strategically place my husbands hands over the stain, so it wouldn't show in the pictures. "Rosemary" was the only one who received a tip that night. We didn't return to the dining room. Chops Steakhouse: Chops was wonderful. It was by reservation only and we finally got a call from being on the waiting list on the 4th night. We went down and were seated at a table for two by the window. It was excellent. It only cost 20 dollars a head. In Atlanta we never get out of Chops for under 200.00. They actually made me a wonderful vegetable plate. I had steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce, whipped mashed potatoes, and snow peas.  My husband ordered a steak to his perfection and could cut it with a fork. We were more than pleased. The Pool Areas: The pools were kept very clean and were crowded but there was plenty of room to soak. We only ordered a couple of drinks from the pool bar in which they had a minute teaspoon of alcohol and even when asked to  make them stronger with a ten dollar bill they refused.  Now by no means are we alcoholics, but they tasted like virgin drinks, and heard the same things from many other passengers. Ambrose and Alfredo made our drinks in which we took to the pool from then on out. They were happy to receive our tips. We loved the adult atrium pool. It was more relaxing being around adults. There are times when you don’t want someone doing cannonballs by your pool chair. This is a great place where that doesn’t happen. The hot tubs were wonderful. And had the smell of chlorine which was nice. There is a Solarium Café where you can get pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, and fries. They are wonderful except the girl working there couldn’t speak English. I had to point to things so she could understand., As did  the rest of line. This was the only encounter we had on the whole ship with communication so I think we were pretty lucky. The Ports Of Call: Key West: The first port was Key West. We had a wonderful time. We didn’t book an excursion, we just wanted to do our own thing. We walked around town which has a lot of history to it. There are museums and art exhibits and lots of shopping. We took many pictures at this port showing off the beauty of the town. We just so happened to meet a retired photographer from Hollywood who was also on our ship, who took our pictures the whole day, which was amazing. We were thrilled with the photos we got from him. We went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and drank some real exceptional margaritas that will sneak up on you in a quick manner. After this we went directly back to the ship and had to take a nap. We both laughed because we had never had margaritas like that before. Cozumel: Cozumel was a disappointment to me, only because I have been spoiled with going to Cancun before. I had drummed up this beautiful beach vision in my head which I had experienced there, and here its no where near that. The weather was bad, hurricane Dean was on its way so it was really windy and overcast. The town had a really bad smell like Cancun did, but great shopping. Be careful there are a lot of beggars and it is a very touristy but poor town. We ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant, but I had much better in Cancun. I guess maybe my expectations were too high at this port. My husband had never been to Mexico before, and I had told him so many wonderful things about Cancun that I think it was a let down for both of us. Coco Cay, Bahamas: Coco Cay  is a private island owned by  Royal Caribbean International. It is stunningly beautiful and this was one of my favorite places.  This is where we enjoyed our beach time. We did a snorkel excursion here and it was definitely worth the 60.00 for both of us. We saw tons of fish and shipwrecks, sponges, and jellyfish.  I was only stung once, so I did pretty good.  Since it’s a private island, we were the only ones there.  The crew off the boat actually tenders there before we do and sets up all the food and drinks beforehand.  The little bars and shops are huts and are painted kind of  bright and gaudy, but I guess they wanted to make it tropical. The tender boat took about an hour to load us and get us there even though  we were in clear sight of the island. We had to stand in a long line to get on the tenders and people were getting restless and pushing which was pretty childlike, but it was worth that to get to that piece of paradise. We  were there most of the day  and the drinks were expensive, since our normal bartenders weren’t there. You can use your sea pass card for everything there which was nice. We rented lockers to put our stuff in while we snorkeled which was great. We were wondering how we were going keep our stuff safe while on the island snorkeling, so that worked out beautiful. We got a lot of sun due to perfect weather here and rode the tender back which took about and hour and a half to get back to the boat.  My husband and I didn’t get to sit down because they overcrowded the tender, This was the only downside. I got seasick from the tender and had to go lay down, but felt better being back on our ship. Entertainment: We didn’t go to a lot of the shows due to being so tired from getting up early. We usually went to bed at about  12:00 midnight so we missed a lot of them. However there is a TV in your stateroom that replays all the shows and entertainment so we enjoyed watching what we missed out on. I know that sounds cheesy but it was entertaining just watching them on TV. We bought a lot of our pictures they took of us on the ship and they were really good quality. They were a little high, but hey they are your memories! Getting off the ship: The only thing bad about the ship was leaving it. We hated to go. “ Earl” allowed us to stay in our stateroom until the last minute which was at  8:45. Then we had to go by colors and floors. We loaded up our luggage the night before and set it out but we knew “Earl“ would take care of it. When we went to our allotted floor for waiting, it took forever. We waited two hours in the Bolero lounge, until our color was called. When it was finally called we then had to stand in line to get off the ship which took about another 30 minutes. That was a huge bummer. But everything about leaving is I guess. We loved everything about the ship and our vacation and are already planning to take another RC Cruise in May of 2008 porting from San Juan, Puerto Rico. We will more than likely even cruise on the Enchantment again as well. It was one beautiful ship with memories that will last us a lifetime.        

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Jul 25, 2007

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Robert K. Having cruised several times, I have "reasonable" expectations for what would be considered a good cruise. My requests are simple...a clean, decent sized stateroom, friendly staff, good food with varied selections, efficient waiters and at least average entertainment. On those criteria, the Enchantment of Seas would rate a B+ from

me, my girlfriend and my two children (ages 8 and 13). We were happy with the location of our stateroom on Deck 8. It was an interior room with two pull down beds. The room was small, but we managed to make due for 5 days without killing each other. There was decent storage space for our belongings. The bath/shower/toilet combo-room was very small though. Our room attendant was very pleasant and the room was always clean and straightened up when we returned. She even filled our large cooler twice a day (we brought our own sodas and bottled water for the adults to save time and money and the kids each got a soda card for the same reasons). Both kids enjoyed the "kids clubs" on board. Both were out until 1:00am on most nights. They charge an extra $5.00 per hour after 10:00pm for the younger one which added up to over an extra $50.00 for the cruise. The food was decent. The Windjammer seemed to offer mostly the same selections each day though. The My Fair Lady dining room food was good with portions slightly on the smaller side, though you can get "seconds" if you asked. The ice cream for dessert was always half-melted though, despite our requests to the waiter to try to make it to the table before it started to melt (which never happened). The waiter was decent but hard to understand at times. The service was decent, but given the number of passengers eating, I can't really complain. We did eat one meal at Chops Grill which was fantastic. I had a large shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque soup (OK tasting) and a 10oz filet mignon (perfectly cooked). The desert was a mud pie cake dish which didn't thrill me but my girlfriend liked it allot. We went to most of the production shows and they were surprisingly good! The comedian and the magician were also very good. I also liked the fresh water pool. A few dislikes were a lack of children's food items on the buffet. They typically had to go to the Solarium for pizza, burgers, etc. since there was nothing they liked for lunch. The Solarium is located in a way out the way place on Deck 10. The Solarium is the covered pool area with no A/C so it can get quite hot in there at times. Another dislike is that they have a frozen yogurt machine located in the smoking section near the pool area which my kids did not appreciate. It should be relocated and offer ice cream not just yogurt. Another dislike was the location of the art auction. We typically attend those and this time is was located in the Centrum area on Deck 5 which is a public area with too much noise and commotion to hear the auctioneer and see the artwork. It should be moved to the auditorium so more people might attend and be able to browse more. (I did win a $500.00 voucher towards artwork which I used). The casino was nice, except for the smokers. They did have one non-smoking night which was GREAT. It was a breeze exiting the ship. I would recommend this ship!          

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Jun 17, 2007

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Megan MacGillis Our decision to sail on the Enchantment was influenced by immediate family members’ excellent recommendations from sailings on another Voyager class ship (Explorer). We chose to ignore secondhand comments from people who had never actually sailed before but has “heard” that one cruise line was better than another. Recent renovations

must account for upgrades in our cabin such as the newer shower door, metal wine bucket, and updated linens on the bed. After reading Berlitz, and other comments on this website from earlier sailings on this ship, I was expecting a less than average room. Boy were we wrong! The cabin exceeded our expectations. Everything was spotless and fresh. There were spaces tucked everywhere for extra storage and our four LARGE suitcases fit easily under the bed, which is more than you can say for most hotel rooms. Housekeeping services were better than any luxury chain we’ve stayed at, which includes Fairmont and Hilton hotels. Our friendly cabin attendant Dianne only knocked on our door once on the first day to introduce herself and then she quietly took care of our every need without being seen again. We wanted complete linen changes twice during our five night stay and she complied. She also changed our soggy pool towels one evening during turn down service and we hadn’t even thought of asking her for that (we had looked on deck for the towel exchange at the pool but they were out of new towels so we thought we’d just dry them overnight). We had “friends” waiting for us on the bed three times (a monkey, an elephant, and a sting ray). Plenty of chocolates too. Delightful Let me start from the beginning concerning check-in, each day of the cruise, and disembarkation. Since this was our first cruise, not just our first time on Enchantment, we had prepared for the worst. We’d heard about long lines, rude porters, and other inconveniences but we didn’t have a notably bad experience. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before the ship sailed just to make sure we had enough time to get to the port (which was a good choice due to USAir losing one of our bags). We saw a few families scrambling to collect their things and make a transfer on time for their cruise line (Princess) as their ship was about to leave. I am glad we avoided a scene. When we arrived at the port the next day to board the ship, we had not gotten luggage tags sent to us by mail, so we had to ask for them from a porter and then fill them out ourselves (our shuttle driver from the hotel had already taken our bags off his truck and we did have to wait to get a porter’s attention). As you can imagine, no porter tip was necessary- we pretty much had to do everything for him. When we got inside, the directions were clear regarding where to walk and what to fill out. The line flowed smoothly, no waiting necessary. This was at about 11:30 AM. There were a few hundred people arriving then as well.   Inside the ship, we were greeted with a map of the decks and we started walking around. We immediately ran and made reservations for Chops, but it turns out there were plenty of tables available. We also bought one unlimited drink package for my husband, “the Coke drinker”. At 1:00, we went to our stateroom and looked around. Since it was raining by then, we could not go swimming but we had lunch at the Windjammer instead and then watched the boat pull away form the dock. After that, our bags had arrived so we went back to our room to unpack and prepare for the drill. After the drill, we got ready for dinner (second seating) and had drinks and looked around some more before going into the dining room. We also went to the welcome show with the comedian magician. We tried the slots at the casino but we blew through $20 so fast, it was not worth it. We like the penny slots at Vegas because you can sit and drink and play for a while. We were a little hungry by about 11:30, but we forgot that Solarium is open until late. We keep looking around for a place to grab munchies but the only things we saw were the midnight bites being passed around on trays occasionally. There should be more specific foods available like, "Fresh muffins at Schooner at 11pm!". We had friends tell us later in the week that one night there were sandwiches in the casino - if we’d known, we would have gone that night! A note about the food services - the cohesiveness and experience of the main dining room staff was excellent from Day 1. Though portions are modest, the availability of extra servings kept everyone satisfied. Our waiter, Antonio, was amazing and he told us he could get us whatever we wanted. The wine and dine packages need to be better explained to new guests onboard. The waiter at Chops on Day 4 was the only person who took the time to explain that they could send a half finished bottle of wine to our table the next night to have with dinner in the dining room.  We would have bought more bottles of wine for meals if we had known. My only other complaint about the dining services regards room service. This is funny! The night before our day at Coco Cay, we filled out the room service breakfast card and it was promptly picked up from our door handle while we were at dinner. I put a tip on the desk and laid out my robe so I’d be ready when the door knocked since it is pitch black dark at night and there’s no clock in the room either. So, the door knocks and I wake up to go fetch the meal. Only, when I come inside the room, I realize that not only is it the wrong meal, it's 3 AM!!! I sent the tray back to the hallway and called room service to make sure our breakfast was still on order for a few hours later. My husband still laughs about this. RCI is lucky they didn’t wake up some grumpy old lady…I was very good natured about it and found it very amusing. Hope whoever ordered a sandwich and French fries at 3AM finally got their munchies!! On days 2, 3, and 5, we went ashore for tours and excursions. Our favorite was the dune buggy ride through Cozumel. This was hands down one of the most fun days of our lives. We got to see the whole island, stop for a little shopping and some “pee pee station” pit stops, and try snorkeling for a mini-lesson at a local beach. But it was the Mexican lunch and swim at a private beach that was truly unforgettable. Eating snacks under a hut while we listen to waves crashing and friends playing volleyball was the best treat we could have imagined. It was not cheap (trip fee and shopping totaled over $200) but it was completely worth it! Hint - wear junky clothes, the buggies are hot, sweaty, and look like they could use the car wash. The conch train/trolley ride through Key West was ok, but I’ll never go to Key West again. It was truly gross. The t-shirt shops were of the lowest class I’ve ever been exposed to in the US - this includes most downtown city areas, Ibor City Florida, Provincetown, etc., or anywhere else crazy people and tourists proliferate. The day spent at Coco Cay in the Bahamas was about as fun as going to your local water park. You have to pay for everything extra (besides the free barbecue which closed at 2pm and we were not notified of this - there should be an announcement). But it was a nice beach with clear water and quiet surf which makes it safer for families with children or new swimmers. We went on the wave runner jet ski trip and it was very fun and action packed, but again, not cheap. It cost over $100 for my husband and I to ride together for an hour. We both agreed that the next time we ride of those things it would be on a friend’s dime. Our day at sea was very enjoyable. Lots of events were planned for everyone since we had to obviously stay on the ship. The belly flop contest was fun to watch because one of the guys competing was someone we’d met the day before in Cozumel while we waited for our dune buggy rides. We mostly spent our pool time in the Solarium because it is adults only. Only a few times did we see children poke their heads in or walk through, which is a relief. I like when people follow the rules!!! We spent about 5 hours in the pool during our at sea day. There are showers for rinsing off the salt water and two hot tub spas (thought one of them was broken and not producing bubbles on Day 5 after we got back from Coco cay). I love having the café right there so you can take a break and have a snack without having to change out of your wet suit or even cover-up like you have to do to go into the Windjammer. The only things I noticed while having a full day at sea were the reluctance of bartenders to talk to folks who were sitting directly in front of them. This is no doubt due to their automatic gratuity of 15%. I wouldn’t hustle if I were getting paid for each drink either. My drink orders were always below average. The only great drinks I had were the wine at Chops and the coffee at Latte-tudes. One drink tip- if you buy a soda package, you usually have to fill your cup at a dining place or a bar, which is awkward for children. There should be a soda fountain at the coffee and ice cream place- makes sense. In terms of the quality of the ship, I did notice that the old sides of the pool where the chairs and tables lie against the windows behind the rows of lounge chairs really need some extra care or updating. You can see the joints where the new section was fitted and it doesn’t exactly blend; the paint is chipping and rusting. The carpet on the pool deck is absolutely disgusting, but kids don’t notice that stuff so we don’t really see it being a problem for us- we don’t have children, and we always went to Solarium anyway. For a ship that wants to be "first class", the flooring should be tile or teak. The rest of the ship is perfect- the glass, brass, and marble floors on the stairs and windows and doors in the Centrum were always shiny and clean. We never saw trash, cigarette butts, etc. anywhere. Yes, there are glasses and trays left behind in hallways and on tables, but what do you expect where then are no trash cans around? Everything gets picked up eventually by wait staff. It’s their job. The carpeting looked well cared for inside and I am a carpet freak. I only saw wear spots and stains in front of the waiter stations in the dining room and only because I was looking for them. The mirrors in our room were always sparkling. All amenities like napkins, coffee stirrers, ice, etc. were always stocked at food stations. I always had a hot plate at Windjammer. Unlike Doug Ward’s report, the silverware is now wrapped in cloth, not a paper napkin. He was also wrong about people being too large for the lounge chairs and sofas in gathering areas. We found them to be plush, clean, and comfortable. All of the décor matches in whatever area you’re in. For instance, in the Centrum, all of the blue and beige chairs are together, then one floor down, all of the pink chairs are together. Everything is well coordinated. There is wood (though most of it fake paneling) everywhere, but it blends with the glass and carpeting well. The lighting and air temp. were fine too. The artwork was not memorable but added some design to the public areas and hallways. We could always find out room because there were two red pictures on the wall by our door! We liked the ship models at the elevators which showed which decks held which rooms but I found the public restrooms difficult to find. I always had to ask! Our favorite games and shows onboard were the comedians, “Majority Rules”, and the “Not So Newlywed Game”. I liked how you had to “think” about them- it wasn’t completely mindless entertainment like the large musical shows which really involve a lot of skipping, stomping, twirling, and jazz hands. I found “the Quest” to be overrated and too juvenile for my taste. It would be better for college aged folks. My husband didn’t really want to get up and get into it, so it was a waste of time. We did like watching the karaoke contest but they should have made it clearer that each night is a separate competition to enter the finals on the last night- we didn’t realize that until after we missed one night in the middle of the trip. Maybe a lip-synch contest would be funny too for those people who want to put together a little sketch and not embarrass themselves with their awful voices??? I also think having a costume shop for those old fashioned black and white pictures (or themes like dressing up as pirates, princesses, etc. even for adults) would be a money maker for the photographers. In general, I’d like to have seen more themed nights. The only night when it was clear what the theme was turned out to be formal night. I’d actually dress up more for that night on my next cruise. Gloves or a tiara would have been perfect- when do you ever get to dress up like that besides a wedding or a prom??? In response to the cruise director and his staff, they did a fine job. A lot of recycled jokes and way too much Borat speak, but they had energy, were always approachable and friendly, and seemed to work 24-7.  We can’t wait to go back again on another cruise and try new things. We’ll definitely want to get our old room, 3579, back again if we go on Enchantment. RCI should stretch their other Vision class ships since they are becoming dated and are among the smaller ships in RCI’s fleet now and the stretching seemed to really send Enchantment into a whole other world (from what we've heard). We plan to sail on a Radiance- or Voyager-class ship some time, too. They seem to have the widest selection of longer itineraries and newer ships. Bon Voyage!        

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May 30, 2007

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Len This was the first time my wife and I went on a cruise. We were surprised about the ease of boarding. We found our cabin quite comfortable, and spacious. We had the large stateroom, (not the suite) but the outside view with the rectangular window (not a porthole). Upon arriving in Key West the tropical storm Barry hit us. No one can control

the weather of course, but the cruise line should be prepared to shorten the boarding by increasing the personnel checking the documents. We had to wait under the rain for about 6 to 8 minutes to go to the tent where the checking was taking place. If they had more people checking the documents then the wait could have been shorter. We never met the cabin attendant except the last night (tipping time). Cabin, though, was always ready and clean. But I would have expected to have the attendant to come by and say "hello" in person; it did not happen. The attitude at the Guest Relations desk in the ship by the personnel is far from being friendly. Actually some are not too patient. Some of their faces seem to be made out of granite.  The personnel at the Windjammer is just doing their job. At the restaurant the service was pretty good, efficient, friendly and at the same time respectful. However, there is a problem in communicating with the crew: quite a few of them are limited on the English language and to maintain a friendly exchange of comments is just impossible. Simple questions/answers are just the extent of the communication. Such a situation does not encourage a pleasant, light communication.   I don't know how can the crowd around the pools can be tamed down, but even though there are signs reminding people not to reserve chairs, it is just about  impossible to get one. Some larger groups took over the chairs by placing towels on them, these chairs became "reserved." Crowd is just fine although a little rowdy in some cases. The Orpheum Theater is impressive in its size and seating as well as in its decor. The sailing was quite smooth except around the tropical storm Barry on Friday, June 1st in Key West. Cozumel is just a locale but nothing out of this world. The bargains aboard the ship were abundant and attractive in prices, and selections. We did not go to the Casino; we are not gamblers. The Library has comfortable large chairs and a good selection of reading material.  The waiting time to disembark is rather long; our turn took about 3 hours of waiting, although comfortably at the Theater. Once the authorization was given to leave the ship the Immigration and Customs process went quite fast and efficient. In our opinion, this being our first cruise was uneventful and a little disappointing. Will we go in another cruise? Don't think so. What happens is that it takes a bunch of passengers to become rowdy and pushy, that takes away the fun out of the trip. Prices for drinks are reasonable and drinks are readily accessible, this makes it easier for those passengers who do not how to behave around others. Will I recommend this trip to friends, relatives? We may but with some footnotes. If those like us, who are first time vacationers on a cruise, expect to find a "Love Boat" environment, they are for a letdown.        

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Mar 21, 2007

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Brian Sibbald This was my third cruise to date. My second cruise on the Enchantment of the Sea. My first cruise was one week before they cut the ship in half to add the new suspension bridges. That trip was absolutely perfect. The ship was clean and the crew was fantastic. My second cruise was on a Holland American ship, which is also owned by Royal

Caribbean lines. This too was a perfect cruise with friendly and personal crew. This brings me to my last cruise on the Enchantment of the Sea. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale sailing to Key West, Cozumel, Mexico and back to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. What a change. Not only in the ships appearance, but in the attitudes of the crew. Now don’t get me wrong, the ship is beautiful with all the new bridges, rooms and decorations. I was really put off at the rudeness of the new crew. Most crew members acted is if we were in the way or interfering with whatever they were doing. We were cut off in doorways with no excuse me. On past cruises, they would open the doors for us and wish us a great day. We saw crew members roll their eyes at us, shake their heads in disgust and just stand and stare at us with distaste. We even witnessed a member telling other passengers how after a few days with us they all get irritated by us. Now we did have two very wonderful ladies in the Bolero lounge sing to us and treat us great. (Jennifer Lopez and a girl we called Lakisha…she looked like the girl from American Idol) They need a raise. We also had an issue with our table in the main dinning room. We had reserved a quiet table for two as this was our anniversary cruise. When we arrived at the table…#159, it was a four top. There was a pair of very young girls sitting at it and we were forced to sit across from each other. We asked our main waiter if we could have a table for two. Well, he couldn’t speak or understand English well enough to figure out what we were asking. He kept telling us that there was a large group of people at the window and he could do nothing for us. We didn’t care about the window. We just wanted a table for two. He said we could talk to the head waiter. I asked if it would help us get a table for two and he said no. Frustrated and dressed to the nines, we left. We changed our clothes to go to the Windjammer buffet. Just before we left the room, the head waiter called and said he would seat us at a table for two. We said we had already changed, our mood was not that great and we would just try again the next day. We proceeded to the Windjammer for dinner and we were turned away at exactly 9:00pm. We ended up eating, and paying for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Happy anniversary honey. No food on the ship between 9:00pm and 10:30pm. The rest of the trip we sat at table #201. Great seats and the waiter treated us like royalty. I wish I could remember his name as he was outstanding. Patsy the drink girl for our table was a hoot as well. Oh yeah, our room guy shorted us pool towels twice. Enough bad. On the other end of the spectrum, the ship was beautiful with more than enough activities to keep you hopping. Key West was fine with plenty of art shops and small museums to check out. We did the Hemmingway house to see the cats. The back corner of the property over by the new bathrooms just reeks of cat urine. Didn’t even have a real copy of “old man in the sea” Some interesting art in this very small home. Next stop was Cozumel, Mexico. For us, it doesn’t get any better than this. All the bad was worth the time had in Cozumel. We would recommend staying away from the six and eight hour excursions and rent a car. $77.00 gets you a funny little Pontiac, Matia. (I think it was a one cylinder Briggs and Stratton) Or a Jeep or a VW slug bug. That includes insurance. Head south and follow the new road until it turns into the old road and keep going. You will come to an opening and end up at Bob Marley’s. From there on it is the most beautiful beaches you have ever seen. Crashing waves, little souvenir shops and tons of sand. We continued back north on the east side of the island to a small place with a natural cove. The water was much calmer and we snorkeled for an hour and a half. We saw hundreds of fish and I even found a new pair of sun glasses. Back through the middle of the island to the center of town where we bought a ring for my lady. We saw street musicians and many street vendors all selling there goods at what they call “almost free”. The day was perfect and we will vacation back to Mexico next year. At an all inclusive resort of course. The next day was at sea. All food stations and bars reminded us of herds of cows pushing and shoving for the best place in line for the grazing. The pool area was the funniest display of a runway fashion show. Granted, we were in the midst of spring breakers. What a wondrous group of adult children. Again, not the ships fault. We just had to find our own hideaways like Bolero’s and the Viking crown lounge. Great place to sit and watch the show. The Orpheum Theater had the same show that I had seen in 2004. The jugglers dropped stuff each show. The comedian told the same jokes I had heard on two previous cruises and the singers were…well, cruise ship singers. The cruise director, Paul Rudder had the personality of a rock. No enthusiasm at all. The pirate children at dinner said it best…Blah, Blah, Blah! All would be great fun for first time sailors. It was for me. Would we sail with Caribbean cruise lines again?...no. Would we sail with any cruise lines again?... doubtful. Too much time on the ship and not enough time to explore ports of call. I also want to feel as if the crew is happy that we are there, not disgusted. Last but not least, the ship's representative at the shuttle busses who loaded us for our shuttle to the airport was a complete jerk. Look for Jay Mendelson and run with all your might. He was totally rude, arrogant and argued with another rep about the bus count. Which the other rep was correct and Jay overloaded the bus forcing four people to get off and retrieve there luggage. Jay even said to a third rep that he would like to punch the second rep right in the head over the count issue. How professional Jay. The ship is beautiful. Key West has great art and history. Cozumel just plain rocks. Boarding and departing the ship was a breeze.      

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Mar 11, 2007

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Pete Plajer We arrived a day early in Fort Lauderdale on a beautiful sunny day. I always recommend you get to your port city a day early so there is no chance of missing your ship. We went to the Las Olas river walk area for a day of shopping and sightseeing. What a beautiful area. We took the water bus to various parts of the city. The homes and yachts

are truly amazing! The next day we left our hotel at @11:00. We were checked in and lunching at the Windjammer by noon. Went to our inside cabin on deck 7. Was pleasantly surprised at the size and storage space. We unpacked our carry-on luggage and changed into our suits and went up to deck 9 to the pool! An hour later went to see if our luggage was there yet, and it was! We unpacked and went back to the pool. We also made a spa appointment for a couples massage. We had a late dinner seating so we had plenty of time to enjoy the pool area and people watch. With the late dinner seating I feel you don't have to rush around when you are in ports of call. Dinner that night was very good and the service was good, but not what we expected. The service was better for the rest of the cruise. Dominic our waiter would cut up my iceberg wedge salad every night to the amazement of Jim, one of our table mates. The first stop was Key West. What can you say about Key West that has not been said already? Did the trolley tour which you can get on and off at 10 different point of interest, including southern most point bouy. The only part of this port I don't like is you are not there at sunset! This is a big deal in Key West. The next stop was Cozumel. Very good shopping. Jenna, our shopping director was very helpful as to where to buy certain items and where not to. You do need to take a taxi to town as the ship dock is three miles from the main shopping district. We ate lunch at Poncho's Backyard restaurant which we highly recommend. We actually saw two of our table mates there and they asked us to join them. We did and had a very good time with them and they even bought our lunch, which was very generous and thoughtful. After lunch we did more shopping and went back to the ship to enjoy the pool and basking in the sun. That night we ate at Chops Steak House. It was very good with excellent service and a great manager. The next stop was Belize city. We didn't care for this port that much. Here you have to tender, which was fine. The water is very clear and blue. The pier area is where the shopping area is. We walked from the pier to town. Went for 10 minutes and turned around. Remember, this is a poor country and it looked like it. Did some shopping at the pier and went back to the ship for lunch and pool time. It was hot down there! had another great dinner and hit the casino and won!. The next day was a day at sea. We did the couple's massage and did the pool thing. Later that day in the Centrum the Nelson Brothers (Ricky Nelson's sons) did an hour concert. They were very good. My wife had two pictures taken with them later that evening before dinner we saw them at the coffee bar, Latitudes. We sat with them and had a great conversation. Had another great dinner! lobster. my favorite! went back to the room to pack and the sadness sets in. the cruise is about to end. Overall is was another great RCI cruise. The ship is outstanding and very clean. There were more spring-breakers on this cruise than I thought there would be. They did behave themselves for the most part and they were very entertaining most of the time. Overall I would rate this cruise 8 out of ten.        

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Jan 13, 2007

NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review   A. Gooderum 13th cruise. They say 13 is unlucky. This was only the second Royal Caribbean so I have had experience on many other ships. I arranged this cruise for 16 of us. It started out nice enough. Since we live in Florida we drove to the pier. We were early but pleasantly surprised that we could board. One couple was delayed about 20 minutes because they

had an expired passport and a birth certificate. They were told they needed a drivers license for proof of a picture with a birth certificate. What if you didn't drive? Finally they accepted their expired passport for the picture, it was 5 years past. First thing was our group was not seated together. 2 tables far from each other. After waiting in a long line, I was told they would change it at the first evening, which they did. That was very nice. The meals were good but not a great selection. Staff was professional, but we felt hurried since we were the first sitting. The first evening there was only one show. We could not get in. It was filled up with the second seating people and early departing guests. First stop was Key West. Having been there many times, we just walked around and had drinks at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville bar. Fun, long walk and not nearly as pretty as other ones I have been to. The cabins were fine. Inside, but ample. Our weather was pretty calm the whole cruise except one night- to be expected. We only made the late buffet 2 nights and didn't eat. The gala buffet was worth taking pictures. Maybe smaller than some. First cruise I actually lost weight on!! The ship is beautiful. The Windjammer was good and much variety. Bad note: Last day I was told the buffet closed at 3 pm. We had a late breakfast so we went in at 2:15. They ended up closing the best part at 2:30 and would not let me get the good desserts I had seen. There was some bland mousse left and when some of our group came to eat they had to go in the part they left which was mostly pasta and light fare. I was told tea would be later with dessert. Ha! Same bland choices and more food, which I didn't want. One evening at 11:15 I needed to take a pill with food and there wasn't any available, even the ice cream station was closed. I had to take it with the chocolate from the pillow! Some had trouble with their room card. The magnetic strip would get damaged. Cell phone? The problem was you had to go to guest services and there was usually a long line. Who wants to spend at least a half hour with a wet suit because you couldn't get in your room. I was told on the phone that the cabin stewards were not available at that hour. What??? 3 pm?? In fact, I never saw him after the first day. I didn't like the fact that the Captain's party with champagne and appetizers was after our dinner. Too full at that point. Fine for the late seating which was 8:30. They need to have 2 parties. I felt there were not as many activities offered as other ships. The photos were too expensive. First time I did not buy any. We had 3 couples that were celebrating 50th anniversaries this year. Guess that isn't important because I was told that all they do is give you cake in the dining room. Well, don't they anyway? The worst part of the whole cruise was the disorganization with the excursions. We swam with the dolphins in Cozumel. This was the highlight of the trip. No pictures were taken by Royal C. We were to meet on the pier. There was about 500 people on the pier and we could not find where to meet. After asking several times we found one group that seemed to be where we were supposed to be. We waited quite a while when we got there but it was worth it. It cost $145. I would like to have had pictures. No representative from the ship. It was so busy after and we did not see our pictures so we wanted to shop in Cozumel and left. Otherwise, we would have to wait an hour for the next and last ride back and miss shopping. There were several other incidences of other tours in our group that could not find their meeting places. The piers are too crowded to meet there and they don't hold up their signs. 2 couples got a partial refund on the Tulum ruins because there was not a representative from the ship there and they were 1 and a half hours late in getting back. They missed dinner and almost the ship! One couple with us was on a tender that kept hitting the ship because of the waves. Scary. The talk on ports was all about shopping. I would have liked more information and tips on the ports themselves. I didn't like the fact they were selling a shopping pass for $25. And to pay for Ben & Jerrys? Not on a cruise. The lounges were good. Entertainment good. Bingo, we did not go. Not enough games for the money. Of course, no one in our group climbed the wall or bungee jumped. All in all I had 20 things I listed that I felt were not up to par compared to other cruises I have been on. I will not book on Royal Caribbean again. It may be for some but not what I like.    

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Nov 6, 2006

NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review   Cheryl We had flown in the day before. We stayed at the La Quinta in Hollywood. The hotel is nice. But we were not crazy about the service. We arrived early so they had to find a room for us that was ready. The room was clean and the view out the window of the court yard was nice. My DH went to take a shower and notice that there were no large towels. I called

the front desk. They answered the phone “I am here to serve you”. I told them we had no towels. She said if I needed them right away, that I would have to come up to the front desk since she was the only one in the hotel or I would have to wait for the shuttle driver to get back from the airport. Huh? I went up to the desk to get them. After we returned from sight seeing, I realized that she only gave us 2 big towels and we would need towels for the morning. I called again. She said they didn’t have any clean towels left and that I would have to call in the morning to get them. I told her that this is terrible, I never been to a hotel that had no clean towels! She was sorry and that she needed to learn how to use the washer and dryer so she can help out. What? We use hand size towels. The free breakfast buffet was terrible too. Get there early or there is nothing left and it is a big mess. Embarkation: The shuttle from the car rental picked us up at 11am. Had to show ID when we entered the port. Our driver pulled up at the front door and we were waved further down. We got out, they took our bags and then they told us we had to walk back to the front door with our carry-on. From there everything went smoothly. They handed us a form to fill out for Coco Cay, sat down to fill that out and before we knew it we were moving and getting our sea pass cards. It pays to do the online stuff. Everything went so fast that I didn’t have a chance to look at my watch until we sat down for a drink at the pool bar and it was noon. That was after we walked around the ship, took pictures and called our parents to say we were on board! The ship is beautiful. We left an hour and half late, because there was about 37 people that were late because their flight were delayed. So we missed out on seeing the ship move away from the pier. We were in the middle of dinner and it was dark out already. Really windy, we had 9 to 12 foot waves. The Captain was trying to make up time so he was going full speed. The ship was swaying at times, you stumbled as you walked. We didn’t get sick…it was fun trying to walk around inside. It was a little scary when walking on deck. We stayed close to the inside of the walkway and held hands as we walked. Stateroom: Large ocean view deck 3. My DH and I own a small RV trailer. So we were not surprised in the size of the room. It had lot of storage, didn’t even use all the drawers. DH ordered room decorations for our anniversary, a photo album and beach towel. All were there when we arrived. The bathroom is bigger then ours in the RV. So we were in luxury. The room was nice. Linens were new and really pretty. The bathroom showed signs of wear and tear but nicely set up. It had bars of soap, shampoo dispenser in the shower and clothes line in the shower, nice for the bathing suits. Room steward Roy kept the room up nicely. Love those towel animals! Food: Windjammer: We went there for lunch on the day of embarkation and for breakfasts on port days. They make you use hand sanitizer before you walk in. Food was really good. Lots of different things to try plus a lot of American type food, burgers, carved ham, French fries, sandwiches etc, something for everyone. Service was good. If you looked like you needed help, the staff helped you. One morning I dropped a napkin with the silverware in it.  The staff was right there and said "No problem ma’am, I will get it". Only disappointment was the watered down orange juice. It wasn’t watered down in the dining room or room service. My Fair Lady: We had main seating 6pm. Food was really good. Service was good too. Sometimes I felt bad for our server Brenda. She had to carry all those meals by herself. All the way from the kitchen, we sat at the front of the restaurant. Bar service was kind of slow at times. Not because he was slow, more so where we were located and it was really busy. They need more help. On the first night our tablemates were there before we sat down. A newlywed couple that coincidentally got married on Nov 4th. The same date as us. What are the odds? They were kind of freaked out when we sat down. They had no idea you sat with other people. They were nice, but we never saw them again for the rest of the cruise. The next day, the head waiter asked where our children were?! Yikes, I hope I don’t look that old? They were very young and on their honeymoon. Chops: Well worth the money. Service was great. The steak was bigger then the plate! Disappointed that I could not finish it. Food was excellent. DH had the lobster Bisque in the dining room and at Chops. At Chops it was twice as big and it actually had large chunks of real lobster which the dining room just had the broth, no lobster. Entertainment: Shows were excellent. The “Love and Marriage game” - Hilarious! The Quest game no one would tell us what it was about except that it was great adult fun. OH MY!! Hadn’t had that much fun in a long time. I think my sides are still hurting from laughing so hard. Would highly recommend all the shows and the games, the comedian was kind of funny. I really liked our cruise director Carly; she had a great sense of humor. Bands were excellent too. The Solarium was really pretty. It was so nice to sit in the pool/hot tub and have a drink. Loved those drinks. (Where’s the waiter…I need one) You don’t have to have the souvenir classes you just tell them you want a regular one. But they have some really pretty glasses available. Ports: Key West: DH & I were there for our honeymoon 16 years ago. So we just did the normal stuff. Took a taxi to southernmost point and walked back. Had a “cheeseburger in paradise” at Margaritaville, (really good), and had a chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick at Blonde Giraffe, that was so good. We also shopped. Cozumel: Did the Tulum Express tour. This was not an express tour. As soon as you got off the ship you jumped on a Water Taxi to the main land so that you can jump on a charter bus. Getting to the bus required you to walk about 8 blocks through a touristy section where the locals tried selling you their stuff. All you heard was "For you almost free" from the shop owners. That was interesting. It was a long drive to Tulum. There was a rest stop with a tourist (trap) shop. They told you to bargain with the shop people. That was very difficult. There were no prices on the items; you didn’t know where to start. They told you the price. I thought it was me until we got back on the bus and some were complaining about it too. We finally arrived and the weather was in the 90's with 100% humidity. It was long and it was so hot. The traveling time there I understood. But our tour guide within Tulum was so long winded he was repeating himself all the time. So we had little time to walk around we were running late so we didn’t have much time to shop when we finally arrived at shopping area of Cozumel. Then got a taxi and arrived at the ship half an hour before time was up. Coco Cay: It was really nice, clean and pretty. We did the glass bottom boat. It was hard to see the reef. There were too many people on the boat so there was not much room in front of the glass so you had to take turns, but most people really didn’t move so others could see. But the staff tried to get everyone a turn. Nice boat ride. We feed the yellow tail fish. That was cool. They also had a dance contest to island music that was fun. The food on Coco Cay was good. But a bit of a free for all. People are crazy and I think they were running out of food. One area had no more ribs, but DH was able to find some at a different location. They were really good. Oh…keep an eye on your food. Don’t leave untended, because, the birds will attack it. One guy just went to get something, came back and in seconds his food was all over the table. Debarkation: Went smooth. We had time to take a tour before our flight. Our color was lavender, so we were first off the ship. When we got inside the port, I could not believe the sea of bags. Wow. So glad we had lavender, there were only about 10 bags to go through in our group. We took the Everglades tour. It was good. If you have the time to take a tour, it well worth it just not to go through all those bags. I think we would still be there looking. We would highly recommend this cruise. We had an excellent time and can’t wait until we can afford to go again.    

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Sep 15, 2006

NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review   Ed & Christine Shaheen My wife and I had planed this vacation to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! I strongly suggest this type of vacation for everyone to try it! Our first cruise we went thru our local travel agent. This cruise we booked on line. It was so much easier using the Set-Sail pass. We originally wanted to get to the ship at 11am to board

early to eat and explore. But we got there about 1pm and walked right on the ship. We still ate and explored the ship. We found our room it was small but very nice and very clean. It was perfect for the two of us. We got our bags just in time to change for dinner. We met our table mates, they were a very nice couple. Our waiters Vivak and "Bala" were super and very attentive the whole trip. The food was excellent. The only "problem" we had was the coffee. but "Bala" fixed a special brew for my wife. I somehow was able to drink it. We ate dinner every night in the main dining room except the night we had at Chops, we celebrated our 20th anniversary that night. Wow what a meal. Great service also.We had breakfast 2 mornings in the main dining room. it also was great food & service. Met new people also. We ate some of our meals in the Windjammer Buffet, once again great food & service. We ate at the Solarium Cafe a couple of times. They have burgers, hot dogs & pizza. Good food again! We tried to follow all the actives on the daily "compass". But we couldn't. We had to take our naps. We did allot of the trivia games. We never did play bingo? We even took a line dance class (allot of fun). We gambled a little also. We hung out at the pool a couple times, the Solarium pool "adults only". one of our favorite things about this cruise was the adult pool! The entertainment was wonderful. the comedian was very funny. The juggler was awesome he got a standing "O". The magician was great. The other singers & dancers were very good also. The ports of call, Ocho Rios, Jamaica is beautiful. we did the Dunn's river falls WOW. What great time we had. it was part adventours, part sight seeing! then they took us to two differ ant shopping areas. we wasn't crazy about these places. The other port of call was Georgetown Caymon island we took a taxi to 7 mile beach WOW what a beautiful place we just hung out on the beach. Then we went shopping for t-shirts! Overall it was a wonderful vacation. we would do this trip again! Enchantment of the seas is a beautiful ship. It has a great staff very personable and professional.    

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Aug 27, 2006

Western Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review   Patricia I recently returned from my first cruise. We sailed on the Enchantment from August 28th-Sept 2nd. (Yes, it was hurricane season, yes we sailed during tropical storm Ernesto!) We flew into Fort Lauderdale early on the 28th. We had bought the transfer vouchers, which worked out very well. We had to pick up our baggage at the terminal and there were

RCCL agents everywhere to direct you to a bus. Buses were leaving the airport about every 30 minutes, so we really didn’t have to wait long to get to the ship. Once we got to the pier it was easy to check in. I would suggest checking in on-line since it makes things go much quicker. We were able to get on the boat right away, even though our stateroom wasn’t ready until 1:00. I would recommend bringing any medication, a swimsuit, and a change of clothes with you in your carry-on. The cruise line has to check all the bags for security reasons, and even though we were on the boat around 11:00, our luggage didn’t arrive until almost dinner time. There is a buffet lunch ready for you at the Windjammer when you get on the boat (deck 9). You are also able to explore all over the boat so you can really get a feel for where everything is. I wouldn’t suggest buying the soda package unless you really drink a lot of soda. My boyfriend and I didn’t buy the package since coffee, ice water, lemonade, and ice tea are free all the time. At breakfast there are also some other juices available. Originally we were going to go to Key West, Cozumel, and Cococay. However, because of the storm we had to skip Key West and went straight to Cozumel. We were a little disappointed that all we received from the cruise line was $3.65 as a refund for port tax for not going to Key West. We paid to go there, but didn’t really get anything back for not going there. We spent the first day at sea and made it to Cozumel on the second day on board the ship. We had to get on a smaller boat to be taken to shore. We had booked an excursion to the Mayan ruins at Muyil. We were taken to Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. We had booked a really long excursion, which I probably wouldn’t do again. It turned out to be a really long day, even though it was worth it to see the ruins. Our tour guide was awesome and very trustworthy. He made the trip very interesting. Because our excursion was so long we really didn’t have anytime to shop, and we never got to the island of Cozumel. After another day at sea we went to Coco Cay in the Bahamas. This is a private island owned by RCCL, which is nice because you can leave your stuff right on the beach and not have to worry about it being stolen. We went snorkeling there, and it was great. People said that the snorkeling was much better in Cozumel then it was in Coco Cay, but we ended up snorkeling for 5 hours. I was very disappointed in the shops on Coco C ay. I know that it was obviously geared toward tourist merchandise but beside T-shirts and bags there was really nothing else to buy. We had the second seating for dinner. It was nice because there really were no kids at the second seating, but 8:30 was a little late for us to eat. Next time I think I would book the earlier seating. There are a lot of shows and things at night to go to—comedians, magicians, dance shows, singing, there are also some fun interactive game shows. We tipped pretty much everyone. Most of the people on the ship, the bus drivers, and the tour guides, make very little money. We tipped our stateroom attendant very well at the beginning of the trip and he took very good care of us. We were so pampered that it was actually hard to get used to! Even at the informal dining, they clear your plates for you and bring you drinks. One night I actually got into a race with one of the people at the Windjammer because I insisted that I could get my own drink and he insisted he would get it for me. (He came back first and proudly exclaimed that “I am faster than you!”) You will never get board on this ship. There is so much to do. Some people were complaining but you have to go into it with an open mind. The staff on the boat is very helpful and accommodating. You will have as much fun as you let yourself have and you can do as much or as little as you would like to do. Have fun, don’t over pack, bring lots of sunscreen, and plan on gaining at least 5 pounds!  

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Aug 18, 2006

Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Key West-Cozumel David Hanon Overall the cruise was very good. The itinerary and price was acceptable for a 5 night trip. 1. Check in. This was very fast indeed. We used the Sail Pass which really speeds things up. Before the cruise, you can sign up for excursions which is great. However, one a big tip: Wait until you get to the islands and bargain with the taxi drivers

to take you sightseeing..its way LESS expensive!! 2. Tha cabins are of course small but again acceptable and something more people should know..they are SMALL!!! Expecially the less expensive cabins. 3. The nightly shows were not what I remember RCCL to be in the past. It seems like coswt cutting is going on. The last night was excellent though with a multicast show unlike the previous nights which were one or two 'man' shows. The line does PUSH an awful lot of extra's on to you, eg CD's of the performers,cruise-review CD's, etc, Bingo, the ever present bar waiters, etc etc... 4. Fellow passengers: Maybe it was just the time of the year, but there were a lot of 'newbie's on the ship. You could tell by the way they stuck to each other in their little clique's. There were a surprising number of reunions of families as well. Not too friendly folks I would say in general. 5. The evening dinners were excellent. A tip: I asked for chicken curry and rice as a special request and they cooked it to perfection!! Usually if you ask the waiter for something you want, they will cook it for you. The quality of the dishes was very good, however the taste was 'bland'...you know, one garlic clove as opposed to like 10!!! I like my food spicy and with flava!! 6. The usual casino, belly flop competitions etc at the pool. mig night buffet. 7. We were not impressed with breakfast and lunch at the WIndjammer. The food was tasteless 8. Sanitation was in evidence everywhere which was commendable. At each entrance to the dining rooms, they had the Purell Disinfect Dispenser there. 9. Overall, a good cruise, the itinerary could have been more imaginative. I did not like the days at sea, but it seems to be the way cruise lines are going 10. Departure was very orderly and timely. Port Everglades is an excellent port compared to Miami Port  

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Jul 12, 2006

Key West/Cozumel

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Key West-Cozumel Michael Bell I have to start by saying that this was one of the better trips I have been on, from start to finish. I'll try to highlight without going too long. Boarding the ship was a breeze. Without a doubt, do your Set-Sail pass online, because if you don't you will be forced to wait in a holding room to do your paperwork. Having completed all

the paperwork online allowed my girlfriend and I to breeze right through! We arrived at the pier at 11:10 and we were on the boat by 11:30. Lunch was being served at the Windjammer Buffet (on the pool deck) and bars opened at 12:00. We were in our room at 1:00 on the dot. We booked the large ocean view stateroom, which was a little small but it worked fine, as we were hardly there. The rooms were very clean and our stateroom attendant was always on top of things. We had a water line break on the toilet right as we were leaving for the muster drill, and by the time we got back it was fixed! Very impressive. KEY WEST - Arrived at 7:00am, and we walked off the ship at 7:15am, no lines and no hassle. We had coffee at a little shop right at the pier, which was very nice, then we rented scooters for the day. I have to say, this is a great way to see Key West. We were there until 2:00 but we felt we saw quite a bit. I would highly recommend the Hemingway House, if you don't mind cats. We had lunch at Sloppy Joes, which is pretty touristy but the food was very good and not too expensive. We left port about 25 minutes late due to a Carnival ship that blocked our way out. Oh well, the bar was open! Had our Formal night that night. Very nice - people dressed well, suits and ties for men, cocktail dresses for ladies, and I only saw a few tux's, which is fine with me. Had some pictures taken, which came out very well. I would recommend if you would like professional pictures to wait for the "Lifestyle" pictures that they do on Deck 6. These are done with a white floor and background, and they encourage you to do "whatever" - laying down, back to back, on your stomachs - these pictures looked natural and came out great! COZUMEL - Great port! We were able to dock (only ship that did). We were a little late getting in, not arriving at port until 10:30, but we were again off the ship right away. We rented a Jeep Wrangler right at the cruise terminal and commenced on our own tour of the island, stopping at small seaside bars that had views that you would not believe, as well as cheap food and even cheaper drinks! If you are a drinker, you will appreciate this - 2 Coronas and 2 shots of tequilla, $6.00 - you can't go wrong. After touring the outer areas of the island (where, by the way, the Hurricane devastation is still very noticeable, however they have done a great job of repairing it) we headed into downtown for some lunch and shopping. We got back to the ship at around 7:15pm and were in our way right at 8:00pm. Keep in mind that Mexico does not observe daylight savings, so we did have to adjust our watches back one hour the night before we got to Cozumel. LAST DAY - At sea, very nice to be able to relax. The pool area gets crowded but you can still find out of the way places to set up a lounge chair. If you are not bringing kids, I would recommend if you want to jump in the pool take a few extra steps to the Solarium area. Much more peaceful! Great meal that night at Chops. If you don't mind the $20.00 a person, I would do it, The food is incredible and the service is top-notch. All in all, the service and facilities on the ship are just great. Every person was ready to serve you. Great food, great drinks (just ask the bartender to put a little extra rum in that drink, he'll do it and then some, don't be afraid!!) Got off the ship quick and through customs even quicker. All in all, just a great, great trip. I only wish I went longer, but I can't wait to go back. Enjoy!!    

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Jul 2, 2006

Key West/Cozumel

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Key West-Cozumel Joe Turner I love reading reviews from others on this ship. One of the recent ones praised the size of the ship, staterooms, etc. The fact that they hadn't cruised in 12 years says allot. On this ship, yes, the staterooms were the average size, but the bathroom was smaller than I have experienced in the past. The shower curtain would get sprayed by

the water and push it out, so that the water would end up on the floor of the bathroom and not stay in the shower. BIG flaw! The food was average for Royal, which is good for the most part. The food service in the Solarium was slow. There was a line quite often, and food by the pool in the Solarium was actually a little weird. The Windjammer was always crowded for breakfast, and it seemed like they condensed the service from two to one station during lunch a little sooner than would have been convenient. The recent "stretching" of this ship actually made the pool deck look huge. I loved the bar under the "bridge" on the pool deck. VERY cool. The lounge "Boleros" was very nice. The theater was also beautiful. Speaking of the theater, the shows were not up to the quality that we expected. The actual "shows" seemed a little less than inspired, which is unusual for RC shows. The comedian was very good, and we saw him often on the ship. The jugglers were ok, but the other guy, a vocal impressionist, was pathetic. This show was funny 20 years ago, but is dated by today's standards. His jokes were funny, but his impressions were weak at best. We live in Florida and have been to the Keys allot, so we didn't bother. If you've never been, don't bother with an excursion. Just walk around. Maps are everywhere, so it's pretty hard to get lost. We didn't get the chance to go to Cozumel as our excursion was in Playa Del Carmen. If you like ruins, DON'T go on the Muyil tour. There's not that much to see. Having said that, if you like ruins, you MUST do the Cahal Pech ruins in Belize. Absolutely fantastic, though the ride is quite long, it is well worth it. Reading another previous review lends me to comment on the downside of the cruise. Don't take a one-year-old on a cruise! Why would you? Simply insane. On this cruise there were LOTS of kids, several of them obviously NOT brought up the way I was. Ill-mannered, rude, and completely void of manners and respect. Then again, lots of the parents were the same way. And speaking of respect, how about respect for the rules? If it says "no shorts in the dining room," it doesn't mean maybe. But I hold RC responsible for not enforcing the rule themselves. Too many kids on this cruise for us, but it is vacation season. RC is ok, and we'll cruise them again, but next time it's back to Celebrity.  

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Jun 28, 2006

Western Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review   Evelyn Maples This is my Second cruise on this ship. The first one was before they stetched it. I love they way they have stretched the ship. I love the front of ship, it is more open then it was and you can actually stand there and watch the ship in sail to ports. I went on this cruise with my daughter and my grand-daughter (which is 4 years old). Do not

hesitate to take a small child with you, My grand-daughter loved it. The Enchantment of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. We had a short cruise this time. The staff are wonderful as always. Key West is an old town but we did a tour of the city, that was really nice. In Cozmel, we just got us taxi at the pier and went shopping. We had no problems at all. My other cruise was on Princess, the Caribbean Princess. We are now planning a cruise to Alaska!!!  

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Jun 14, 2006

Key West/Cozumel

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Key West-Cozumel Kathy Smith This was our third cruise, the first one being with Carnival on an older ship about 16 years ago, and the Big Red Boat about 12 years ago. The ships have gotten bigger and better since then! We were impressed with Royal Caribbean. Getting on the ship was smooth and expedient. I recommend doing the Set Sail pass information online, as well

as booking your excursions online before you go. The RC people met us at baggage pick-up and within 10 minutes we were on our way to the pier. We arrived onboard about 11:30, and there was a nice buffet lunch at the Windjammer (pool deck buffet which we ended up eating most of our meals). Our inside rooms were ready about 1pm, they were clean, and roomier than any room we had previous ships. We booked 2 inside rooms next to each other, as we had 2 children 12 and 14 who used one of the rooms. We don't regret saving some money on inside rooms, honestly we weren't there much. There are a lot of quiet places onboard to read, etc., and we liked the darkness at night and when we elected to sleep in. Our cabin steward was awesome! You will like the special touches, and they are very available. My daughter lost her room key/charge pass and he was there to help. We took walkie-talkies to keep in touch which I suggest for anyone with kids. There are a lot of floors to travel looking for them if you don't! My husband also bought a soda card, up on the Windjammer deck (avoid the long lines at Guest Relations) which I recommend if you drink a lot of soda. Since I don't there was plenty of iced tea, lemonade and water available. We ate in the dining room the first night, second seating, and didn't finish till 10pm. Since we didn't want to eat that late every night, we ate the rest of our meals in the Windjammer, which had excellent quality and selection. (We eat healthy and lighter food, enjoyed the fare available there, it served us well, and there were also main courses such as chateaubriand, roast duck, beef, ham, fish, etc.). It had very flexible hours, and fit our style of catching a meal when we felt up to it, or even just snacking and eating larger meal at night. The desserts were awesome, even the sugar free ones! There were also hamburgers, pizza, etc. available for anyone in the Solarium, (the "adult" pool) if the Windjammer was closed for cleaning, etc. They also had fruit, and a nacho bar with great hummus. We were impressed with the work out room, excellent tread mills. The ship has a 1/4 mile strip to run on outside, but it was too hot and humid to take much advantage of it. We enjoyed the shows very much; the comedian was very funny and there was a magician who was also very good and funny, some jugglers who were funny and talented, and a Broadway-style salute which was good. There were fun things like splash contest, sexy leg contest for the men, which were humorous. The atrium part of the ship was very pretty, it is part of the section they added last year. I think our room was one of the new section parts. The ship was very stable, since some of our family is prone to sea/car sickness I was concerned. We didn't have to take any Bonine or use the wrist bands. The pools are salt water. We power snorkeled in Cozumel, which was very fun. The heat kept us from doing much else besides a little shopping pier side. Our ship was the only one docked, the hurricane last year wiped out the other docks that were available. The other ships had to use tender ships, smaller ships to transport you to the dock in Cozumel. We didn't do much in Key West, again, the heat was a factor. The Ripley's Believe it or Not museum is within walking distance. They had Karaoke some nights, I was amazed at the quality of the people who sang on our cruise. We didn't do the formal night, though many did. Some people really dressed tuxes, etc. There were photographers set up for pictures. Overall the atmosphere was more sedate than the Carnival ship, more of a mix of ages, more families. I was a little disappointed in the children's activities for the young teens group. Perhaps it was because of poor participation, or kids thinking it wasn't cool, but our kids were itching to meet others right away and it didn't happen till later on. The little ones seemed fine. There weren't a bunch of drunks staggering around that we noticed. The ship was very well staffed, and they were polite and eager to serve and please. Getting off the ship was also very smooth, and expedient. We didn't do the rock wall or bungee jump things. My daughter appreciated the internet availability so she could quickly email (50cents a minute) her friends. I would recommend this ship to singles, families, middle aged couples. Seniors would probably want a more sedate ship, though some may not.  

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May 26, 2006

Western Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Kari We sailed on Enchantment of the Seas on May 27, 2006. My family (including a 6, 3 and 1 year old) had a wonderful time. My parents and brother and sister-in-law also were onboard with us. Our two oldest children loved the Adventure Ocean Program, and couldn't wait to get to our stateroom to find out the activities for the next day on the daily

compass. The ports were fun, and the weather was perfect. We enjoyed Ocho Rios & Grand Cayman for our ports of call. We did the Dunn's River Falls & Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios, and the Reef & Rays combo in Grand Cayman. Climbing the Dunn's River falls was an awesome experience - You will get wet. I love dolphins, so Dolphin Cove was a must for me. We did the dolphin encounter swim. It was wonderful. The dining experience was incredible. We would take our 1 year old with us, and our two older children would join us for dessert. Our waiter did magic tricks for our children and went above and beyond to make them comfortable in the dining room. The splash pool was so enjoyable for our children. What a great addition to this ship! You can really tell that Royal Caribbean caters to families with children. However.....the in-room sitting for children under the age of 3 is a joke. You have to reserve the sitter immediately upon boarding, and making changes to the schedule is impossible. Also, having an in-room sitter is impossible for shore excursions. My mother had to stay on board while in Grand Cayman to stay with our 1 year old, and we had to do some serious complaining to receive a sitter while in Ocho Rios. I highly recommend Royal Caribbean if you have children old enough to attend Adventure Ocean (3 and potty trained) or if you don't care about shore excursions while in ports of call. We will definitely take another cruise, when our 'baby' turns 3.  

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May 12, 2006

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Shannon This was my second cruise and my first on one of the big ships. I was very impressed with the organization of departure. We checked in online which I recommend to anyone who is cruising. We stayed at a nearby hotel and the shuttle service to the port was also very nice. About 15 minutes after arriving, we were onboard. We got onboard somewhat

early – around 1 p.m. – to have lunch. Then around 2:00 p.m., we were allowed to check into our rooms. The rooms were nice. We had two rooms – one oceanview and one inside. They were basically the same with the exception of the window, which wasn’t a very big deal since we didn’t spend much time in the room. It was actually nice to be on the inside because you never knew what time it was when you woke up so you could truly relax. The bathrooms were much roomier than I expected. This was a nice addition to the previous ship I had been on. Our room steward welcomed us on the ship and was very friendly. We liked the different animals he would make out of the towels each night. He wasn’t push or demanding but very accommodating. We got one drink card and it was a pretty good deal since I drink a lot of diet sodas. If you don’t drink a lot of sodas, I wouldn’t buy the card. It wasn’t huge savings but it was nice that you didn’t have to sign a ticket each time. The shows were okay on the ship. I don’t enjoy much of that stuff anyway so we just went to one – the Broadway show. It was entertaining and the theater was nice. The other activities were interesting but nothing really stood out. Most of all, we enjoyed being by the pool. The pool was nice because there were two right by each other. And four hot tubs. So, space in the pool wasn’t bad. It is a good idea to get out and get a chair early. Don’t save chairs because it just annoys everyone else. You can eat around the pool too if you get lunch or breakfast at the Windjammer. The bad thing about the pool was the waiters constantly asking you if you wanted some type of tropical drink. But, I guess it is where they make their money. I’d ask them to tone it down though. I was disappointed with the hours of operation on the rock wall and bungee. If you do this activity, make sure you do it early in the cruise. One of us waited too long and then didn’t get to do it because they were “pressure washing the ship,” which created too much water on the rock wall. The food was fabulous. Much better than I expected. This ship didn’t have great reviews on food but I was very pleased. It is nice to eat most meals in the main dining room as you get better food and service. There is something for everyone – Asian, southern, Italian, American. The banana split at lunch was my favorite. Dinner was also very enjoyable each evening. Our waiters were nice. They got funnier as the trip went on. One BIG note about wine. We were told by two different Royal Caribbean representatives that you were not allowed to bring wine on to the ship. Once we were on, we purchased a wine package. When we did the sales guy told us we could have brought our own wine. Being “winos” this was a big disappointment. So, make sure you take your own wine if you would like to. We wont make that mistake again next time. The ports were nice. Jamaica was my favorite. Yes, it is remote and could be considered unsafe but we felt very safe. We booked an excursion to go to the Beaches all-inclusive and it was great. Free alcohol, food and water sports including a ride on the hoby-cat. We also snorkeled and met some really nice people staying at the resort. We weren’t bothered by any of the locals although there were men in the water selling pot. You just knew to stay away from them. Grand Cayman was a disappointment. Everything was so expensive. It was also a lot more built up than I imagined. After Hurricane Ivan, they have really commercialized the island. If you go, I’d advise you to go snorkeling. It was very nice. We didn’t book an excursion but instead went to Eden Rock, very near the dock, and paid 10 bucks each for equipment to use all day. If you decide to buy anything there, know that it is in Cayman currency and is more expensive than US dollars. This was a great cruise. It offered something for everyone. We didn’t spend much time in the casino but a lot of people had a fun time in there. The entire family danced in the disco and really had a nice time. I’d make sure that you are prepared to pay very high prices for alcohol on the ship if you drink. A Corona beer will cost $5 since you add 15 percent to everything. That was the most unexpected cost. I figured you could buy a beer package just like soda but was wrong. I’d go on this cruise again. Royal Caribbean impressed me.

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Mar 13, 2006

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Rhonda R. Jennings This was my first cruise. Prior to my cruise, I had read reviews on this website and asked others about their cruise experience. With regard to the ship itself, I would say that the Enchantment of the Seas is a very nice ship. The food in the main dining room is wonderful and the service is great. I had a room with a porthole and

found the room to be comfortable. Having said that, I was surprised to see so many teenagers on the ship. I was even more surprised (and disgusted) to see the skimpy attire and the amount of drinking going on. My biggest disappointment was the ports of call. While I enjoyed Key West, I really didn't have enough time there. By the time I went through security to get off the ship, it really shaved time off of my trip. I was really disgusted with Cozumel and Belize City. Cozumel looks like a war zone. Cruise lines should not stop there until Cozumel has been rebuilt. I was also shocked at Belize City. It really looks like the slums. However, if you read the excursion summaries that Royal Caribbean posts on each of these cities, you would think that these are fabulous places. I really think the excursion summaries are misleading. While I think the ship itself was nice, I do think that Royal Caribbean should be more forthright about the ports of call.

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Mar 4, 2006

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Patricia This was my 5th cruise. I have cruised once with Royal Caribbean on the Sovereign of the Seas; once on Carnival’s Sensation; and twice on Carnival’s Inspiration. Overall I was very happy with this cruise experience. The Enchantment is very elegantly decorated and the food was amazing as well as the service in the dining room. We did have

a few problems with our seapass card. We deposited over $500 on it and for some reason every time we tried to use the card it would not work. So we had to correct the problem at the Purser’s desk multiple times which was very frustrating. Our room steward was also not the friendliest person. He yelled at me down the hallway and basically ordered me back to my room to insert the “please clean my room” card in the door. I did not know that this was a required policy to do when you leave the room, but after his determination I did not forget a second time. We also noticed that when he would leave drink receipts for soda in the room for me to sign he would add more soda to the receipt after I had already signed it. I found this to be very disturbing. We kept track of our soda consumption on the last day and were very frustrated when we noticed that he overcharged us for 3 sodas. We tried to have the pursers desk fix the problem but it was not corrected. I find this very disturbing and we were highly upset as dishonesty is uncalled for and is highly insulting. The activities onboard were pretty much the same as my previous cruises. They had a belly flop contest, a men’s hairy leg contest, bingo, ice carving, a deck party, art auction, wine tasting, and the normal nightly shows. I’m sure that I am leaving many things out as there is always something going on. The dance shows were good, but I was not highly impressed. For some reason I was expecting better costumes and themes to the shows. I found them to be very dark and somewhat boring. They all had a movie theme. Ocho Rios Jamaica was beautiful. I would definitely recommend the Dunn’s River Falls and the Dolphin Cove shore excursion. I would also definitely recommend booking any excursion through the cruise line and not going around on your own. I have heard that Jamaica is not the safest place for travelers. We encountered many locals who would not take No for an answer. They wanted to braid our hair and kept trying to give us “free necklaces” which were not free. If you go to the Dunn’s River Falls I would highly recommend bringing water shoes or renting the ones there. The waterfall is pretty steep and not the easiest thing to climb. Also when leaving the Falls be aware of the shopping market where you will be pressured by the locals to buy their merchandise. Just keep going straight if you want to get out. Whatever you do, do not separate from your party, you could be stuck there for a long while. They do have lockers there to hold your stuff when you are climbing the waterfall. It is $8 to rent and you will receive $3 back when you return the lock and key. At the Dolphin Cove be sure to go on the Jungle Trail. There you can hold the macaw’s, snake, and iguanas. Also check out the tiki bar on the deck for some great $5 margaritas in cool dolphin souvenir glasses. We didn’t do a touch encounter with the dolphins, but they put on a show which you can watch and enjoy. There is also a nice beach there if you want to relax and snorkel. It’s a great place to spend the day. At Grand Cayman we visited the Turtle Farm. It is a $12 per person ride in a cab. The driver will give you about 25 minutes at the farm and then take you to the seven mile beach or any of the other beaches. The turtle farm was a great pick. They have so many turtles, some are as large as 500 pounds. If you are looking for some good snorkeling ask your cab driver to take you to the snorkeling beach. We had a great time and saw tons of fish, lobster, sting rays and eels. The cab ride from the beach back to the port is around $5 per person. I think in the future we will probably book a shore excursion through the cruise line, as Grand Cayman is pretty expensive. We also wanted to do the Stingray City but we did not have a long time. At this port you have to get tendered in and that takes around 20 minutes each way. Also be aware that at the port there are tons of people trying to get you to go with them in their cabs and shuttles. This can be somewhat overwhelming. I was not expecting this sort of atmosphere in Grand Cayman. This was a great cruise, however I think that in the future I will stick with Carnival. I believe that their prices are cheaper and there are many little things that we enjoyed about Carnival that Royal Caribbean didn’t have. Including: a sushi bar, quick room service (our room service on Royal Caribbean took over an hour each time, on Carnival room service was never more then a 15 minute wait) I also found it odd that the room service menu said that service is expected to take 40 minutes, that is just too long for room service. Carnival also has the best beds ever!! Our beds on Royal Caribbean were 2 twins put together which were so uncomfortable we felt like we were in a cheap motel, and the comforter was basically a sheet..nothing compared to the soft duvets that Carnival has. Also Carnival gives you a welcome basket of toiletries in your bathroom which is always a nice treat. Oh and Royal Caribbean had the same souvenir glasses on each night of the cruise. Carnival had 4 or 5 different glasses to purchase. I try not to be a cruise critic, but I think after sailing a few times you tend to have higher expectations and you know what you like and what you don’t like. Oh and I was a little disappointed at the hours of operation on the rock climbing wall and the bungee jumps. They were only open for a few hours a day. I was expecting them to be open all day long.

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Feb 28, 2006

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Ken Trock Web Site - The Royal Caribbean website can be confusing to use. For example, I’m reasonably sure I took all the proper steps to book an excursion only to turn out that the system never took it. My wife and I were traveling with my bother and his wife and we thought we booked our dining together for the early seating. Again confusion;

Mary and I were actually waitlisted for that slot. Crew - No problems here. Once onboard all of the issues mentioned were easily taken care of. In fact, the crew members we dealt with were nothing but helpful. If I didn’t know better I’d say that our particular voyage was the most important they’ve ever served on. And they run an efficient ship. There are only 3 or 4 passengers to each crew member. Actually I’m told most cruise lines are like this; they have this down to a science. Ship – I haven’t been on a cruise before so to me the Enchantment of the Seas looked awesome. I understand they enlarged it by literally cutting it in half, putting a new section down the middle and reattaching the 3 pieces. Like they say it’s a floating hotel. The food was excellent. The rock wall was accessible and enjoyable as was the fitness center. Good shows in the theatre. As large as the upper decks are, when half the ship comes up to sun on a day at sea it’s going to get crowded. And don’t make the mistake I made of opening your eyes without wearing goggles in 1 of the swimming pools. That hurt like heck. Excursions – Our cruise covered the Western Caribbean. This included stops at Key West, Cozumel, and Belize. The trolley ride thru Key West was actually entertaining and informative. We took the dune buggy excursion in Cozumel where we drove the vehicles. That was a fun day snorkeling, doing a little shopping, and being provided with an authentic Mexican lunch on the beach. Hurricane Wilma really did a number on that island. In Belize City the Mayan ruins are a LONG bus ride from the pier. The ruins are a sight to see but in my opinion unless you’re actively interested in that subject matter you try something else. You can also visit ruins in Cozumel. Summary – This cruise was a good bang for the buck. Royal Caribbean seems to cater to a younger, wilder crowd. For example we couldn’t find a game of bridge, even at the specified get together time. But this was still a good time. I would consider cruising with them again. Lastly I want to give a shout out to the customs agent who, in a post 9/11 world, showed some discretion and allowed the 2 of us, absolutely American citizens, back in to Ft. Lauderdale at the end of the trip. Let’s just say our papers weren’t completely in order.

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Jan 7, 2006

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review 7 Day Western Caribbean Troy Myers After reading the last post about Royal Caribbean I must say he stole much of my thunder. Most people write reviews because of a bad experience and I do not want to sound as if I was disappointed with what I got with RC. However yes the food could use some improvement. If you eat in the main dining room you will not be disappointed

with the service at all. The waiters go above and beyond what they are suppose to do. Its a shame people bust out without tipping them after receiving A+ service for five days. Other than that the windjammer and other eating establishments have a very limited selection in what they have to offer. One of my biggest complaints is the art studio who tries to pawn off art on the passengers. At the first auction the head auctioneer was upset that no one was buying his $10k artwork so he acted like a two year old and said they were not going to be giving out anymore champagne or free art if people were not going to start buying this art. Most of it is Thomas Kinkade reproductions. They had some nice artwork there, but when you asked them what their reserve was I felt like they were talking to you as if you could not afford it. So just a heads up for that you might want to enjoy an evening on the pool deck. The bingo games are surprisingly fun, but way overpriced. You'll pay $35 bucks a person for five games of bingo. They are seriously cleaning house with this. Get ready as well to be pictured to death and then pay $20 bucks a picture. They just nickle and dime you to death which is that way on most cruise ships. Dunn river falls was an awesome experience. Just make sure you bring good rubber shoes along. I wore sandals that were really tight around my ankles because you will do some climbing. They'll try to get you to rent their $12 dollar shoes, but you do not need to. You must put anything that you do not want to get wet in the locker. We brought a waterproof camera and that worked out great. If your afraid of slipping on the rocks don't. I think they sand them down or something because I had really good traction. If you get off the normal climbing trail you might find some moss to slip on. After you have finished up the falls tour you'll have to walk by a few shops on your way out. Get ready to be bombarded with people wanting to give you stuff and then wanting a $40 dollar tip. Its the typical stuff you get in most countries however I found these vendors to be very demanding. They'll tell you come in my store friend and then start carving your name in a piece of wood and give it to you as a gift for your first time in Jamaica. Then they'll say I do not ask for anything but a tip and most people give me $50 dollars. I recommend just waiting til the bus takes you to the market downtown and you can price shop. One of the vendors called a buddy of mine I met on the cruise "Satan" for not looking around his store and buying anything. I met one vendor in that entire setup that did not get upset at us for not buying anything. So just a heads up on that. The shows are not very good. The first night I saw the dancers it was nice, but the second time I watched them it just got weird. I would recommend seeing the magician he is very good. Top notch! Its just sad when some of your main events are karaoke. I hope you'll have better luck with the singers because the night I watched it was horrible. You know when people are actually trying to sing and they can't. I don't mind it if they are being funny, but these folks really sucked and didn't know it. Now that I talked bad about the ship I want to add some good things about it. The cruise director does try to get people out and do things. I recommend watching the game show "love and marriage". That was very entertaining. As much as I love my kids I was glad they were not there as you will not see many around. This was great because it gives the adults more time to be adults. You will meet great people on the ship as we met a jersey couple that we will never forget. Your friendship will last a lifetime. The cabins are of nice size. We stayed in room 3000 and were not disappointed. As stated in previous reviews I'll stick with Royal Caribbean, but I will find a different ship next time around. Good luck to all and have fun on the vacation. ;-)  

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Dec 19, 2005

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Royal Caribbean International Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Ken Wilson My wife and I decided to take a pre-Christmas cruise and with the help of our travel agent, selected the Enchantment of the Seas. We had cruised before on an RCI ship (Rhapsody) and had enjoyed that so doing another RCI cruise was not a hard decision. We have friends that live in Boca Raton, FL so we flew in a few days early to visit with

them and then headed to Port of Everglades on 12/19. We arrived at pier 25 around 12:30 PM and check-in was very quick. You are forced to turn your bags over to "porters" (hands out for tips) but other than that, it was smooth. Since I had already submitted our information online for the SeaPass cards, we just went right up to counter, showed proper documentation, and onto the ship we went. Signs were up saying our cabins wouldn't be ready until 1:00 PM so we headed up to the Windjammer cafe for a nice pre-cruise buffet. Let me stop here and say that for those that prefer a buffet atmosphere as opposed to the regular dining room (Fair Lady Dining Room), the Windjammer is more than adequate. There are large salad and bread bars and the main entree tables were quite numerous, well stocked, and provided all sorts of choices from American to Mediterranean to Mexican, etc. Standard fare for beverages - note that you'll have to pay for sodas at the nearby pool bar unless you get the Soda package (which is $6.00 per day - bargain if you drink a lot of sodas). We ended up eating at the Windjammer a few times but primarily for either breakfast or lunch as the dining room was so much better than the Windjammer. We were able to check into our cabin, a balcony stateroom on deck seven, just a bit after 1:00 PM. We were very pleasantly surprised at the space in this cabin - bed for two, couch, nice sitting desk, bathroom that was very adequate with a suitable sized shower, and of course a balcony large enough for two chairs and a dining table. After this cruise, we will probably never get a non-balcony cabin again. There were several hours during the cruise that we retired to our cabin to just read on our own private "deck" and look out over the ocean. I ate that evening as every night in the Fair Lady dining room. We had the late seating (8:30 PM) and as expected, all service staff was very attentive. My wife was not feeling up to dinner the first night and when I mentioned this to our head waiter (A.J.), he promptly bundled up a TO GO bag with a nice chicken salad for me to take back to the cabin for her. Formal night was our second night (the Key West day). Each evening was a very nice dining experience with excellent food from the appetizers to the available desserts. My advise - if you eat most of your meals in the Windjammer, you are really missing out on the best food of the cruise by far! Our first port of call was Key West. My wife and I had never been to this part of Florida so it was an interesting stop for us, if for nothing else than to explore the town a bit. We didn't do an excursion here as it was an easy walk from the pier we docked at into town. We visited many shops and considered renting a motor scooter (which several of our cruise-mates did do) but ended up just walking around the town. Complaint about this port stop was that we arrived at 7:00 AM and departed at 2:00 PM - didn't get a chance to experience the famous Key West night life which was a disappointment to say the least! The next day's port of call was Cozumel. My wife and I have been to the Mexican island several times so we opted for our own day at sea. After breakfast in the Windjammer, we staked out a couple of recliners on the walkway overlooking the pool and relaxed while the tendering process to Cozumel began. Hurricane Beta (I think) wiped out the piers in Cozumel so tendering has now become necessary. Anyway, the water became too choppy for safe tendering so all tenders to the island were cancelled. Cozumel as a port was cancelled and everyone now had an extra day at sea. The problem was that there were not that many activities planned for this "extra" day at sea so the pool area became extremely crowded. Being ones that were already camped out, my wife and I had an all day view of the mad scramble for deck chairs and space. The inconsiderate chair saver people were in abundance and the pool attendants seemed to give up with the mad scramble for chairs. I have to say that on the real day at sea (scheduled for our last day of the cruise) I did not witness this nearly as much as there were many activities designed to keep people spread out over the ship. Belize was the next port of call and although a tendered port, the seas cooperated and everyone made it to shore. We opted for the Aerial Trek/Cave Tubing combo trip which turned out to be a blast. Zipping through trees in the jungle on cables was really fun and the cave tubing was as advertised - very unique. I would recommend either or both of these activities. Belize is still an impoverished nation and this was evident in our bus ride to the planned activities. The port was not that impressive although there were shops available for shopping for those so inclined. The last day, as mentioned, was a planned day at sea. The morning was windy but sunny however as the day wore on, the wind picked up and the clouds won out over the sun. Most people cleared off the pool deck- the Solarium was a big hit on this day as it was enclosed. I still noticed chair savers - people would leave towels on chairs and then be gone for over an hour. Very inconsiderate. I watched four chairs underneath us (we were on the overlooking deck again) with four towels that were never occupied for over two hours! Again, the pool attendants did not seem to notice this even though some people still had some problems finding chairs. The entertainment on the ship was average (but included, of course). The best show we saw was the comedy juggling act - Team Root beer. Very funny and skillful at the same time. The genuine comedian on board, Rich Gannon (I think) was also very funny. We did use the fitness center a few times but it seemed to be a bit too small for this size ship with a constant wait for machines. I jogged around the deck on the track but after 45 minutes, I gave up as the monotony of "round and round" got to me. Advice - if you drink sodas, pay for the soda package. Well worth the money. If you like wine, there is a wine package that will save money (better for larger groups however). My wife doesn't drink wine so I just bought a bottle of nice Chianti at dinner and they kept what I didn't finish for the next evenings. Very convenient. Check out the Schooner Bar - great martini specials in the early evening and a very nice secluded bar. There is also a nice champagne bar in the Centrum area. On formal night there are different picture stations set up on decks 4 and 5 with different backgrounds being taken - steps in the Centrum, backdrops of the ship, Titanic steps, etc. Get one or all. Don't be cheap - tip your waiters and especially your cabin steward. They all deserve it - I was disappointed to see people skip out on the last night in the dining room just so they wouldn't have to tip the waiters. We made a point of giving a pre-tip to our cabin steward and he was very attentive for the whole cruise, leaving nice towel animals all over our cabin during the week. We used the prepaid gratuity service, which was can be charged right to your SeaPass card. Saves counting our bills for your tips and you are given a nice voucher to pass on to each of the service personnel you tip. If you need cash, go to the casino cashier. They will give you cash off your SeaPass card and it is free (no ATM fees). Take a carry-on because you'll need to put all your bags out the last night by midnight - you'll need the carry-on for a change of clothes etc. If you have taken a previous RCI cruise, even if it was several years ago, sign up prior to your cruise for the Crown & Anchor club. As members, you will be invited to a previous cruisers reception with free champagne and a nice band as well as receiving coupon books to use on the cruise. We also received nice tote bags as members of the club. Best advice - try to relax. You can't do everything even though there is a lot to do. Overall - a nice cruise and cruise ship despite some of our weather problems. The ship itself is large but not nearly too large to explore and enjoy on a 5 day cruise.

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Dec 5, 2005

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  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review Western Caribbean Donna Rowling Our cruise vacation included my husband, four children (11, 9, 5, and 3), my mother-in-law and uncle. Overall we had a wonderful time, and while I have no major complaints about the cruise, there were a few minor annoyances. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and that worked out great. We rented a car and were able to

pick up some last minute stuff the morning we left. This made for a very stress free start to the vacation. Embarkation was a different story. While trying to hang on to four kids, carry-on items, and all our paperwork, I completely missed the sign that directed us to priority check-in. We had two junior suites and an inside cabin booked, but when we got up to the counter (after waiting in a long line), they did not have our Sea Pass cards (they were upstairs) and it took a long time for the representative to get everything straightened out. This portion of the journey was a little hectic with the confusion and the kids and relatives, but after that it was smooth sailing. We found our rooms and were very impressed with the size. Even the inside cabin has a nice layout so it does not seem too small. Our luggage arrived with no problem and the cabin steward came right away and introduced himself, very friendly and helpful. We were able to unpack and store the empty suitcases under the beds, there was plenty of room in the cabins to hang and put things away. We found the Windjammer and decided to eat. It was very crowded but not overwhelming. There were plenty of choices and we all agreed that the food was very good. My favorite was the Pasta Bar. The service in the Windjammer was very good. We had purchased the soda cards for the kids (an excellent investment) and the waiters in the Windjammer were very attentive (and friendly). My recommendation is the soda cards for the kids, but there were plenty of other beverage choices that were complimentary, like juice, iced tea, and lemonade. As the cruise went on, we realized that the best times to go to the Windjammer were when they first opened (for lunch and dinner) and close to closing for breakfast. The lines around the buffet always moved well but the “cook to order” stations lines moved slow during peak times. We had booked one shore excursion in advance and decided on another one. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to turn the form in, and had to wait in a very long line to book the excursion. My advice is to either book the excursions in advance to avoid waiting in the line. We were on our own in Key West, booked a snorkel trip in Cozumel, and Cave Tubing in Belize. Key West was okay for the adults, but the kids found it boring. We all enjoyed the chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick and found an interesting winery. The snorkel trip in Cozumel was a lot of fun, after snorkeling we went to a beach area and were able to kayak, which was a lot of fun for the kids. We had booked Reggie’s Cave Tubing in Belize via his website and this was one of the highlights of the trip. I was a little leery of booking something outside the cruise line but worried for nothing. Reggie does a fantastic job and the excursion is WONDERFUL. My uncle, who has some disabilities, really wanted to join us, and it was a little difficult, but the guides were great and made sure that he was able to experience it. I really cannot say enough about what a well-run operation he has and how much fun the excursion was. We enrolled the kids in the Adventure Ocean Kids Club after attending the opening night program. The program was great and really got the kids enthusiastic about going. My 11 and 9 year old were in the same group and 5 and 3 year old were together. Both programs were great and the kids loved going. I liked the layout of the area where the kids were (you could watch the little ones from the outside through the windows), and they gave us a pager in case there was a problem. All the counselors were great and set my mind at ease about leaving the kids there. I would take the kids to Windjammer for dinner when they first opened, and then the adults could have a nice relaxing meal (we had late seating). I would go back and pick the little ones up and bring them to the dining room for desert, but the older ones always wanted to stay for the “after hours” program, which was $5 per hour. The food and the service were both good, just a little mechanical and hurried. Overall, the ship was beautiful and we had a great vacation. As far as the entertainment on board, I cannot really comment as we did not see any of the shows. My daughter and I played Bingo just about every day and that was a lot of fun (they made it very entertaining). It was a little pricey, but a lot less than I would have lost in the casino. I used the fitness center in the mornings and it had a nice selection of cardio machines. I attended a wine tasting seminar, which was a lot of fun and informative. My only complaints are minor ones, like the (outrageous) price of video games and internet access, the room service was very slow, the hard sales pitch at the end of a wonderful massage, and the sometimes mechanical and rushed service. The pool area was great (the kids loved the ice cream machine) and the older kids enjoyed the rock climbing wall. We had a great vacation and I highly recommend this ship. The length of the cruise (5 days) was perfect for us.  

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Nov 10, 2005

Western Caribbean

E. L. Williams I love cruising with RCI. The service is superior to anything I have experienced on Carnival. This was my sixth cruise, fourth time with RC and twice with Carnival. I was let down by the Enchantment's activities and entertainment. I did not like the entertainment in the Centrum (the central area of the ship where you can access all decks from one stairwell). It was noise pollution.....the music was ear-piercing and permeated

throughout the ship. It was quite disturbing if you wanted to spend time doing another activity....like talking to someone or surfing the net. I would like to see more lounges added to the ship. The singers on board seemed to be American Idol rejects. Heat Wave was good, but they did not play enough for me. The service that I have grown to love on RC was displayed by our waiter Memhed from Turkey, asst waiter Raj from India and our stateroom attendant Lorene from Jamaica. They were all fantastic, helpful and super nice. They all made the cruise a pleasurable experience. The food was delicious, in the dining room. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room everyday. We did not like waiting in line at the Windjammer to fight over food. It also helps with portion control when you sit down and order what you want versus grabbing what you think you want..and grabbing what you saw someone get...lol. I did not find a piece of sushi on the entire ship. That was disappointing. I was hard pressed to find a hot french fry. The Solarium (the adult pool area) offered burgers and such. The pizza is similar to what you would find in a school cafeteria and my burgers were luke warm at best. The gala buffet was not up to the standard I have come to expect. The food selection was limited and I have cruised smaller RC ships that have offered more than the Enchantment. Sailing in the winter is also recommended for those living in colder climates. It helps make the snowy days at home much more bearable. p.s. Memhed said he would put in a bid for the Freedom of the Seas, and I will look for him there!! We cruised to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We were not brave enough to climb Dunns River Falls but did enjoy splashing around at the bottom of the falls. You have the option of walking out in the falls from different observation points, which I recommend. We also toured the island with a local driver, it was quite nice. We ventured thru the rain forest and were able to stop and have lunch at the Jerk Center. In the Cayman Islands we went on a tour with a local driver and went to Hell, a popular tourist stop and a rum factory to grab some delicious rum cakes. Overall, I will continue to cruise RC, but not again on the Enchantment. I would suggest that RC put some umph in the Enchantment and bring it up to the standard of other RC ships. I also like the amenities the larger ships offer. I have also had excellent cab drivers on the islands. They tell us that pre-booking your excursions with the ship cuts them out completely. Most of them are happy to have your fare and therefore will go the extra mile to make your day enjoyable.

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Apr 29, 2005

Western Caribbean

My girlfriend and I decided it was time for a vacation, a small getaway so to speak. I had no idea that this "small getaway" would turn into one of the most fascinating experiences of my life. To put this in perspective for you, I live in the middle of nowhere (Kansas) and have taken very few vacations in my life. I have never really “seen” the ocean before, let alone ever dipped a toe in it. I had absolutely no expectations

coming on board this incredible ship except that I wanted to have a good time. I had a WONDERFUL time! I have read many negative reviews on cruise ships. The only people that have a legitimate complaint are those who have suffered through an engine failure or some other event that cuts their cruise short or diverts them to a different itinerary. Quite honestly, I don’t understand all the other people who complain. Vacations are supposed to be fun, but I guess if you don’t enjoy room service, activities galore, swimming, dancing, being treated like royalty and eating some of the best food in the world then you are probably going to complain. It is important to remember when reading reviews that people who have had a bad experience (so they say) will be quick to tell anyone that will listen/read about it. And a lot of times, those bad experiences will be amplified to make it so others won’t want to have the same experience. There were 1800 people on the Enchantment of the Seas; I will guarantee that you will hear from the people that are upset far before you will here from those that had a wonderful experience. We had a wonderful experience and I am writing to tell you about it. Remember, a cruise is about “cruising” and experiencing the different ports of call and what they offer. Cruising is not about sitting in your stateroom because you found something not to your liking. The ships are huge and I guarantee you can find something to your liking somewhere onboard and away from the upsetting things. Now, with that being said……. The embarkation process was incredibly smooth and quick. The Royal Caribbean packet said the ship didn’t start boarding until 2:00. So what did we do? We arrived at Port Everglades around 12:45, checked our luggage curb-side, and went straight into the boarding process. Once inside we found there were no lines and we went straight through security and up to the check-in desk to set up our account. Once done at the desk, we were on our way to the ship. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. We were on the ship and exploring by 1:00. The only thing about boarding early is you can’t go to your room until after they open up those sections of the ship, which is usually around 3:00 pm. Your luggage will find you around 5:00, leaving plenty of time for those with early seating to get changed and ready to dine in My Fair lady. One great thing about taking the cruise on April 30th was that the Ft. Lauderdale Air show was there that weekend. My girlfriend Corey and I were able to sit in the Windjammer Café eating lunch or lounge on the deck and see most of the Air Show. We were treated to acrobatic flyers, bombers, fighter jets, the Air Force Thunderbirds, and many more. We set sail around 5:30 and headed out to sea past a Navy Aircraft Carrier and Destroyer. Being that I had never really seen the ocean before, both were fascinating to see. The ship itself is a complete work of art and at times is breathtaking to look at. The formal dining room is impressive to say the least. The wait staff is incredible and is always right on top of everything making sure you have all you need to eat. Don’t be shy, go ahead and order 3 of everything if you want. The food is excellent and there is plenty of it! After a fun day at sea, we stopped in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The weather was great, blue sky and around 85 degrees. We booked our own excursion rather than use the ship excursions. Our excursion cost a lot less than the ship excursions and we got a lot more. We did Dunn’s River falls, tubing, and got a great drive through the country side with stops for some wonderful pictures and history lessons. If interested you can book a tour with the same tour guide we had. We were the only ones on the tour bus! Check out www.phil-lafayette-tours.com and let him know Brian and Corey from Kansas sent you. Jamaica was the only part of the entire trip that I was a “little” disappointed in. I had forgotten that Jamaica is a 3rd world country and is poverty stricken. You can easily forget this by simply looking at the pier where around 40 million dollars of improvements have been made in an effort to beautify the place. Once outside of the pier area you will see a lot of poverty. Poor people in the street, wild dogs everywhere, people bathing in the river……. take Jamaica for what it is and have a great time. After Jamaica, we stopped at George Town, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is part of Britain and is much cleaner and nicer than Jamaica. Other than being hit by a hurricane in September of 04’ and still cleaning up from that, Grand Cayman is very nice. The ship does not dock at a pier and you have to take tender boats from the ship to the dock. This process is not as bad as some say. Figure out what time you need to be on shore and get moving. Everyone told us that passengers that did not book excursions through the ship would be the last off. We did not find this to be true as we booked an excursion through a local and we got on one of the first tenders leaving. We simply walked down to deck 1, went through security, and boarded a tender. Nobody asked any questions and we got to where we needed to be with plenty of time to spare. Grand Cayman is one of the top places in the world to scuba dive and snorkel so if you don’t take advantage of that opportunity you will really miss out. We booked through www.captainmarvins.com and got 2 snorkel stops and stingray city. Snorkeling was AWESOME! We saw fish and corals you could never see anywhere else as well as 2 very hungry and large moray eels. Great underwater picture opportunities so take your water proof cameras. After snorkeling, we went to stingray city where you jump in the water and the stingrays come right up to you. This is an experience not to miss!!! These creatures are like puppy dogs. They come right up to you and eat right from your hand. You can touch, pet, hold and swim with them. These are not small stingrays either - they are large creatures. The stingrays are intimidating at first, but you soon realize they want to be your friend. After the 4 hour excursion you are pretty much spent so head back to the ship and enjoy lunch or dinner. Both stops hold different experiences. Take each port of call in and happily add them to your list of places you have been and experienced. There is never a lack of anything to do on the ship. It ranges from BINGO to the ever popular scavenger hunt Quest which is not to be missed. There are plenty of good shows to take in plus gambling if that’s your bag. There is an adult’s only pool that is enclosed and has a retractable roof to let in the fresh air during the day. This part of the ship (The Solarium) is never crowded and hardly anyone was ever swimming. There is an art auction where you can buy some incredible works of art for very cheap prices. There is plenty of night life as well as buffets and night time snacks to satisfy everyone. Matt, the Cruise Director, is hysterical and simply one of the most talented individuals you will come across. His energy level will tire you out by just watching him – 100mph all the time. Do yourself a favor, take part in some of the activities or at least watch them. You will miss out on part of the cruise experience if you don’t become a “joiner.” There where 1800 passengers on our cruise and only 80 of them were children. We booked with an inside cabin guarantee and when we got our paper work we had been placed on deck 7 which was more than up to our standards. The stateroom, though small, is very comfortable and was far better than some hotels we have stayed in. Absolutely no complaints! Our stateroom attendant went above and beyond what was asked of him everyday. He was a true joy to meet and interact with. You meet so many wonderful and unique individuals on the cruise. You feel like you become a part of their family as well as them becoming part of yours. When it is time to leave it does become a little sad, you hate to leave your little Royal Caribbean family and you wonder if you will ever meet that diverse a group of people again in your life. The answer is yes, because you will probably be hooked on cruising for life. The disembarkation process went very quickly. You are given colored tags by what time you have to catch a flight home and you leave the ship by color. Your luggage is in an open area waiting for you to pick up. You do have to do a little looking for your bags, but all things considered it is a very effective process. Once our color was called it probably took 15 minutes to get through customs and to our luggage. Not bad at all. Our flight left the airport at 11:30; we were at the airport, checked in, through security by 9:15. Now that is service. I can not say enough good things about Royal Caribbean, the staff, and the ship. The next time anyone sails on it, it will be 73 feet longer and grander than ever. The ship is currently in Holland being cut in half and elongated. We will definitely cruise this ship again just to see what RC has done to it. We have scheduled another cruise on Carnival Glory for September (due to the fact I am addicted to cruising) and are going into it with the expectations we have gained from Royal Caribbean. All I can say is that Carnival better be on top of its game! I could easily write for ever on this cruise and yes, there were a few things that I found to be annoying, but were due to the ship getting ready to go to dry dock to be cut in half which is very understandable. All things said and done, I give RC, the Enchantment of the Seas, and the cruise overall 10 out of a possible 5 stars!!!! You can’t go wrong! Happy cruising. Brian & Corey

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Apr 15, 2005

Western Caribbean

On April 16, 2005 my wife and I embarked on a five day cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas bound for Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. After visiting Ocho Rios we were informed that the ship had starboard engine trouble and would have to bypass Grand Cayman and return to Port Everglades at a reduced rate of speed. We were given a $200.00 shipboard credit for our troubles. Is this fair policy? Is there any course of

action available to us? We and many others we talked to felt cheated. I am especially suspicious of this company’s action in light of the fact that while boarding at Port Everglades on the 16th I noticed that the starboard exhaust was heavy and black while the port exhaust was grayish and thin. I suspect that the Captain and the Chief Engineer were aware of an engine problem before leaving port.  

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Apr 15, 2005

Western Caribbean

I thought that I should express my feelings about my family's cruising experience aboard the Enchantment of the Seas. It was my 2nd time cruising, but the first and last time aboard the Enchantment. My husband and I decided to book a cruise for my daughter's high school graduation gift and it was my husband's very first cruise, and needless to say he says it will definitely be his last. As I am sure you have read in two other reviews

from the same trip, our cruise was cut short due to engine troubles. We arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica approximately 2 hours late, and we were never told the reason for arriving late. After re-boarding and while getting ready for the 6:00 p.m. dinner, the captain came over the announcements and stated that due to engine difficulties we would not be going to Grand Cayman Islands and would instead be heading back to Fort Lauderdale because it would take double the time to return. I spoke with a lot of very upset people, some of which were on the cruise chapperoning a group of middle school chorus kids. The teacher of this group of kids did not let the kids get off the ship in Jamaica so that they could practice for their performance. They were going to allow them to get off ship at Grand Cayman Islands for the day. This poor group of students never did get off because of bypassing Grand Cayman Islands. Another couple was to be married at Grand Cayman Islands and therefore their wedding was ruined because they also were not able to get off ship. What happened to their friends and family that were to meet them on the island for the ceremony? Another issue that I would like to bring up was the amount of papers, plastic glasses, etc. that were flying around on Deck 9 (the pool deck), as well as dirty dishes that were sitting on the tables yet at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. When we did finally sit down for breakfast, someone was swiping a dirty mop around and under our table and chairs while we were eating. How much of this garbage actually went overboard and polluted the waters? Lastly, I was informed by my 18-year old daughter that a Jamaican Bar Server in the Viking Lounge was consistently trying to "hit on her" and even went as far as grabbing her behind and asked her to meet him in his room at a certain time when he was on break. Needless to say, my daughter never left our side for the remainder of the trip. I will say that I am very upset in how RCCL handled our shortened trip. I would have thought that our trip would have been at least pro-rated by a day for each of us, or even given us 30-40% of our money back or to be used towards our next cruise. By giving us $150 of on-board ship credit, we basically gave the money right back to them. I am very sad in knowing that our trip of a lifetime, and probably our last trip as a family, was ruined. My husband has vowed to me that he will never set foot on a cruise again, which really upsets me because I do want to continue cruising, but I know he will never go with me again.  

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Feb 28, 2005

Western Caribbean

Don’t know what I was waiting for! My husband, Dennis and I have been together for 33 yrs and have taken many vacations (mini and extended) but never on a cruise. He had mentioned taking a cruise on several occasions and I’d respond…. Out there in that deep water.. no thank-you. Although, I do like the ocean – I am not a swimmer and am not very comfortable around deep water. Well, let me tell you our 5-day cruise on the Enchantment

of the Seas was one of the best things that we have ever done. Last November, 2004 we had made a decision to take a mid winter vacation and head south. The winters here in Vermont can be long. Needless to say, I began spending many hours on the computer viewing the many vacation spots available. As I began to compare pricing, it hit me that a cruise was the best for our money. The Royal Caribbean name came to mind from the TV adds so we decided to “Get out There” with them. Once I had the cruise line chosen, I began to compare ships, ports of call and the length of each cruise. We had been told by different people that the 3 day is only a tease and so we thought for our first time, let’s try the 5 day with my fear of water. The Enchantment had a 5 day to Western Caribbean that fit into our schedules and it was booked. I was very pleased with the help I received over the phone and on-line from The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. They answered all my questions about cruising in a very comforting and professional way. It was a long 4 months waiting to set sail on our first cruise. The process of getting that many people on board and settled was amazing and well planned. Our ports of call were Key West, Cozumel and Belize. All great fun! Key West: We choose to take an early walk around Key West visiting Duval Street then get back on the ship to enjoy what the ship had to offer because we felt that we could always drive to Key West and visit at another time. At our stop in Cozumel we went snorkeling and visited Playa Mia Grand Beach Park where we experienced a delicious Mexican buffet then soaked up some sun on the beach for a few hours. The tour for this excursion was terrific. Our dive masters were the best. Especially, Tony. He truly made our visit to Cozumel memorable with all the shots of tequila and of course his great personality. The snorkeling was as spectacular as described. The third port of call was Belize. There we took a ferry boat to Belize City and boarded a bus for the excursion to the Mayan Ruins of Altun-Ha. Once again, Royal Caribbean did a superb job of arranging a tour guide (Donald) that was very knowledgeable and passionate about his country. Seeing the Ruins are worth the 30 mile bus ride from Belize City. The Enchantment offered everything we could have wanted and the staff/crew was truly special. Our stateroom attendant (Carl from Nicaragua) well spoken, polite and the best. He made our inside stateroom a warm and welcoming place to come home to each night. The food, entertainment and all the relaxation was more than we had ever imagined. To sum it all up! From the time we arrived at the Pier in Ft. Lauderdale until the day we stepped off the Enchantment at the end of our cruise, it was a truly exceptional experience and one that we will never forget. To be honest, there wasn’t one thing I would change, it was all great. It made such an impression that after being home for 1 week, I booked a 3 day cruise on the Majesty of the Seas to the Bahamas for our 19 yr. old daughter and me for June 2005. We will definitely take another Royal Caribbean cruise next year and it will be for 7 days. We are hooked.

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Oct 29, 2004

Western Caribbean

Since this is my 3rd cruise, I feel I kind of know what to look for and what to expect so here’s my experience on this cruise I just came back from yesterday. My first cruise was on Norwegian Cruise Line and now I’ve had two cruises on Royal Caribbean. The arrangements for this cruise were a mess. My friends and I were suppose to be taking our cruise at the end of September but due to all the hurricanes, we were forced to delay the

trip because of flights canceling to Florida and so that we could get our money’s worth for all of our days. We experienced confrontation with very nasty and mean customer service people at Royal Caribbean in trying to get the money straight we paid and get the refunds we were due, to the fact that we were sailing at another time, had we been able to make it in September. They were not pleasant at all from the beginning of the conversation to the end. We didn’t make our air arrangements through the cruise. So, on Saturday morning once we got off the plane in Florida and got our luggage, we jumped right in a cab and paid the $8.00 to get to the port. I liked this much better than last year. Last year we went with a group and had to wait at least an hour for the bus to come pick us up from the airport to take us to the port. That was my vow to never travel with a group again. Two of my friends got their transfers through Royal Caribbean. They had to wait for more people to board the bus at the airport. So it took them longer to get to the port. Well, the porters were waiting for us, got our luggage out of the cab and after we paid them a tip, ($1.00 dollar per suitcase) our luggage was off, not to be seen anymore until it reached our cabin room. Checking in was a piece of cake. If you are going on a cruise, get their early. We arrived around 12 noon even though they say don’t arrive until 2pm. There were no lines to check in and no crowds. Have all your info ready because you have to show it a few times. After they check you in, pass you through security, and give you your on board SeaPass card, they rush you through a group picture and then you board the ship. The buffet in the Windjammer Café is already open, however we went check out our room first. Here’s some advice, try to book a room as close to the center of the ship as possible. The further you are away from the center, the more you feel the ship rock. I went with 3 other girlfriends of mine. I had a cabin with two single beds and a window with one of my friends and my other two friends had two single beds in an inside cabin. I enjoyed the window and we realized that my cabin had more room in it than the inside did. My bathroom was bigger also. After we checked out our rooms we went to eat. Don’t expect the food to be like in a 5 star restaurant. Remember, they are cooking for a whole lot of folks on the entire ship. But the food was good, prepared well, seasoned slightly and presented in a clean environment. After we ate, our luggage was in our room. This ship was much bigger than the others I have been on in the past, and had two separate swimming pools. I like the water, however I also like to participate in the shows and see the activities they have on board on the sea days. I was a little disappointed that this cruise didn’t have as many activities to do during the days while we were at sea than the other cruises I had been on. Make sure you check your drink bills that you sign for. We ordered one drink at one bar on the ship and later that evening we ordered the same drink at a different bar. They charged us an extra $2.00 for the same drink. We caught it and made the waiter correct the bill. So watch what you sign for. Before you sail off, they make you do a mandatory life vest drill. It takes a painless 15 minutes or so to grab your life vest, go to your designated life station and stand there while they make sure all the rooms are accounted for. If you don’t show up, they do call your cabin number out looking for you. Once that’s over with, you can take your vest back to your room and get on with your day. We had a late seating for dinner (8:30pm) and ate dinner in the dining room every night. We liked the late seating because we didn’t feel rushed to get to dinner early. We felt that cut our day short. Our table mate family was teriffic. There were a family from Canada and were a lot of fun. The last day, we took pictures with everyone and the wait staff. The wait staff was great. They sang and performed a few nights. So the ship left Saturday evening at 5pm, we sailed all day on Sunday and arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on Monday morning. The ship docked about 8am that morning. Our room steward was a really nice guy, Anvil, from Jamaica. The night before we asked him if he was going to town and he explained that if he can get all his rooms cleaned early then he will be able to go. If not, then he has to wait until everyone is out of their rooms before he can go. If they aren’t out, he can’t go. So we told him we would be out so he could do ours early. He was very appreciative of that. OK here’s the short version of Jamaica. Only chose the cabs with the red license plates. They will take you where you need to go. We paid up front, they took us shopping, came back to get us and took us to the beach. Go to Mahogny Beach. It was great. Then they came back to get us and took us back to the ship. The guy was on time. Shopping at the market was a bit nerve wracking. The locals harass you to buy from them. A couple of them argued over us to purchase stuff from each other. Just tell them no and keep walking if you aren’t interested. You can always talk the price down. Make sure you do. On the way back to the ship, we saw Anvil, our room steward. He was able to see his family and was on his way back to the ship. I was glad. This is very important. When you are shopping at one of those outside markets where they have the huts and they fight over you, do not use your credit card or debit card. Only use cash. We were advised that they write down your number and use it. The next day (Tuesday) the ship docked at Labadee, Haiti. We were suppose to go to Grand Cayman, but it got hit by the hurricanes. Labadee was a private beach and Royal Caribbean provided the food, drinks and music. You can use your SeaPass card for the drinks. Pay cash to the locals selling the island things. There are locals there that have a market where you can buy pictures and island things. They harass you just like in Jamaica. You can talk the price down with them also. My friend bought a picture for $40 dollars. The Haitian lady selling the picture asked for $180 bucks originally. She was able to talk the lady down to $40 dollars. We just told them we don’t have it. I bought a statue. The Haitian guy wanted $35 bucks for it, I waved a $20 dollar bill at him, he took it, put my statue in a bag and gave it to me. You can talk them down. The last day back was a sea day (Wednesday). There still were not a lot of activities to do. There was fun stuff going on by the pool so we basically got in the water, had drinks and watched the games. One of my friends likes the casino so she went there but didn’t really win. The ship gives you different color tags to place on your luggage the night before. It depends on what time your flight leaves how early you leave the ship the next morning. You have to place your luggage outside your room door by midnight the night before and at midnight is when they start collecting everything. They are on time. What we did was, after dinner, we went back to our rooms, packed up everything and changed clothes into what we were going to wear for the flight home. We packed everything except our toiletries and pajamas. It was less stuff for us to carry off the ship. We purchased liquor in Jamaica so we had to carry that off too. Here’s some advice. I packed a small bag with wheels on it in my suitcase because I knew I would be buying stuff to take home. So on my trip home, my clothes went into my big suitcase that I put outside my door the night before and I was able to put the liquor, my toiletries, and my pajamas in the smaller one with the wheels on it to carry off the ship myself. Instead of carrying all that heavy liquor in the cardboard boxes that they pack it in and it hurts your hands, stick it in the one you keep and wheel it off the ship. If you forget, the ship has bags that you can buy for about $30 dollars with wheels on it. One of my friends bought one and she put her stuff in it for going home. The departure on Thursday morning was a mad house. You can eat in the Windjammer Café buffet for breakfast until 9am. After that they are basically shutting down because we found out they only have 2 hours to stop breakfast and be ready by 11am for the next group of people coming on. We waited until our color was called and got off the ship. Our luggage was in this huge room in sections by color. However, not only are you searching for your luggage within your section, there are people that have found their luggage that are standing in the way trying to get through customs. Everyone is all right there together with no place to go. It was a mess. The people that found their luggage and are waiting in this extremely long line to get out pass customs were trying to get out of the way but had no place to go. Here’s my advice. If you have a lot of luggage and stuff, get a porter. He will come pick it up for you, navigate you through all the folks and take you to a totally different line that has less confusion and less hassle. That’s what we did. Once again, the cab was right there, we paid the porter for taking our stuff to the cab and off we went back to the airport.

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Sep 17, 2004

Western Caribbean

FANTASTIC!!!!!!! This was our 1st (and not our last) cruise. We were so excited and a little anxious with all the hurricanes that were affecting Florida and the Caribbean. But our Captain, RCC Staff made it clear that we were completely safe. They were right. We never knew how close Hurricane Jeanne was during our trip. The waters were calm, the weather was sunny and beautiful. Getting on Board. The smoothest experience ever. Everything

was so organized. We never stood in a long line, and they had everything posted which made the entire process effortless. We were on the ship before we knew it. Once we got on board, they let us know that our room was ready and that we could go to the Windjamer for lunch. We were sooooo excited. The Room. We selected the inside cabin for this trip. Everyone kept telling us how small and cramped the rooms are. We were surpised at the amount of room that we had. It was not as small as we expected. We've showed pictures of our room to friends and family and they were surprised as well. We met another group on the ship that had an Outside Cabin, and they said that they wished they saved the money and had an inside cabin. The Window is really over-rated. If you want to splurge, get a balcony. If not, an inside cabin is the best bang for your buck. Ports of Call. Our's changed because of the Hurricane's. We were suppose to go to the Cayman Islands, as well as Jamica. The Cayman's was hit pretty bad, so we were diverted to Labadee. Can I say BEAUTIFUL!!!! It was great. It's really Haiti, but it was a private port for RCCL. We had the best time here. We picked the excursion to a private beach. It was about a 20min boat ride with a guide giving you information along the way. But the beach was perfect. It was about 20 of us, and we had our own beach chairs, floating mats and snorkeling gear. They had men on the island serving as bar tender's. It was the best! We had time to relax and enjoy the beach. My hubby got a lot of great pictures while snorkeling. Jamica was okay. We were disappointed because the excursion that we picked did not really allow for much time to shop or take in the local food. We were really rushed. By the time we had a chance to go shopping, we had about 30 min's before it was time to get back on the bus to head for the dock. We really needed more time. Maybe if we had picked a better excursion we could have enjoyed this island better. BTW, Ochios Rio was not affected by the hurricane. It's still a great stop. Things to Do On-Board. There was always something to do. There were great shows, musicals, games, and dancing on board. The Cruise Director, Matt, was the best. It's true, he does look and act like Mike Myers. But he is great. If for some reason you missed a show or a party, they record some of them and you can watch them in your stateroom at your lesuire. It was really great. Food and Waiters. The food was great. Our waiters were great. My hubby and I were sad to leave the ship. We were so used to our 3-4 meals a day (with someone else cooking), and being waited on. There were a few days when the waiters dance and sing for you. Great. It's always ineresting listening to 40 different accents singing a song. :) Heading Home. Getting off the boat was a little more effort. Everything was fine until we hit Customs. The day we were leaving the Groupies now. We are in the process of planning our next cruise!!. :)

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Aug 29, 2004

Western Caribbean

This was definitely a cruise like no other!! We were on the 8/30/04 sailing of the Enchantment of the Seas; however, thanks to Hurricane Frances, we got 2 extra days at sea!! Traveling on the cruise was myself (27), my husband (29), and my brother (26). We booked the cruise directly through RCL online, back in early January because we wanted a shorter cruise that took us to Belize. This was my 10th cruise overall and 7th on RCL. Day

one – Arrival in Ft. Lauderdale We took an early American Airlines flight out of LaGuardia and arrived at Ft. Lauderdale airport a little after 11 AM. I booked the Embassy Suites online directly through Hilton.com and got a pre-paid rate of $99. This was the third time that we have stayed at the hotel. We liked it, but noticed that it needed a little refurbishing. There was some wear & tear that you could see in some areas of the hotel, rooms, and the pool. However, for $99 the rate included a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the pier the next morning, made to order breakfast for everyone and a cocktail reception. The suite was made up of two rooms. One part was the bedroom with a TV, sink, and the bathroom with another sink & shower and the other room had a small kitchen sink, fridge, table & chairs, another TV, a chair and a large couch that pulled out into a bed. The pool area was nice, but some of the tiles were broken and the gate to the pool was broken. However, we still spent the afternoon at the pool in the sun and then had dinner at Outback Steakhouse across the street. We stopped in the Publix across the street to pick up some bottled water for the trip. Then we watched the MTV music awards that night before bed. Day Two – Embarkation We awoke to see the Enchantment at the pier from our room. We had a small balcony and were in the back of the hotel and could see her perfectly!!! We had breakfast downstairs and then packed everything up to head over to the pier. The hotel gave us the first time slot for the shuttle to the pier. We were in the lobby of the hotel to check out at 10:45 AM and at 11 AM the shuttle took us over to the pier. Because we are Platinum Crown & Anchor members and in a Junior Suite, we got to go to a separate check-in reception area and skip the whole line downstairs. We didn’t get to the take the traditional pre-boarding picture; we saw that downstairs as we took the pictures to validated our Sea Pass cards. But, by 11:15 AM, we were on the ship ready to start our cruise!! It was the quickest that we had ever boarded! Everyone else that was not a Platinum or Diamond member or in a suite, had to wait until 12 Noon to board the ship. We were handed a letter that stated our staterooms would not be ready until 1:00PM, but we were invited to enjoy other areas of the ship. We went straight to the Schooner Bar to check out our favorite place and then the Solarium. We walked around the ship until 12 Noon when lunch was severed in the Windjammer. There were a lot of people in there because there was really no place else to go since you could not go to your staterooms yet. We visited the wine steward and ordered wine for dinner that night. Then it was finally 1PM and we went to check out our cabin!!! We were booked in Junior Suite Cabin 8550. It was identical to the cabin we had on the Legend in May. There was a king size bed, a full size couch that pulled out into a bed, 2 chairs, a coffee table, desk / vanity area, small TV, safe, and a big closet that had a small dresser in it. The bathroom was gorgeous with tiling all over. (Our bathroom on the Legend was the basic pink bathroom that was very rusted.) The bathroom looked brand new except for the stopper in the sink that was completely rusted and the shower curtain stunk of mildew, otherwise it looked really nice! We had a large balcony with 1 lounge chair and 2 smaller chairs and a table. This cruise I really got a lot of use out of the balcony. After checking out the cabin, we headed down to the dining room to meet the Maitre’d. My husband is severally lactose intolerant, so we have to let RCL know ahead of time about his dietary needs and then reconfirm them when we board. They did not have any notification of his dietary needs, so I gave them copies of the e-mails and faxes that had been sent to RCL. They took note of his dietary needs and said that our head waiter would come visit us the first night at dinner. We also changed our seating arrangements, as we asked for a table for 3 because DH hates explaining his dietary problems to strangers. We were accommodated quickly as they saw in the faxes, that I had previously requested it. We were moved to table for 4, for just the 3 of us. Afterwards, we went up to the Schooner Bar to meet our Cruise Critic friends, Sedfar & Kayak. Sedfar recognized us right away, and we spent a lot of time with them throughout our journey! However, we never met up with Kayak . Before we knew it, it was 4:30 and time for the muster drill. We got our life vests and headed out to muster station 7. They called every single cabin and we were sweating in the heat in humid with all those people packed together on deck! We returned to our cabin to see that it had already been turned down for the night. And because we were sharing the cabin with my brother, the couch had been pulled out and turned down, leaving no where to sit. We then headed up to the pool deck for the sail away party and then changed for dinner before the “Welcome Aboard” show. It was a mix of all the shows that they would be doing during the week, hosted by our cruise director Dan Whitney. We had second seating dinner, but sometimes we felt it was a little too late for us. Especially because at the end of the cruise, the shows were before dinner and there was not much to do after dinner. We were seated at table 252 right next to the window. We had the best head waiter that we have ever had, Sean Borthwick from India. He was always checking on DH to make sure that he could eat what he was given and even personally made special deserts for him every night. Our waiter was Florindo from Portugal and our assistant waiter was Angel from Trinidad & Tobago. We think that it was the assistant waiters first week on the ship because he didn’t exactly know what to do and sometimes just disappeared. The assistant waiter to the table next to us would sometimes fill our water glasses because he was no where to be found!!! Our waiter was great and very friendly and accommodating! The first nights dinner was casual and I had seafood ravioli. After dinner we headed up to the Viking Crown lounge for the 70’s night and had fun watching the ABBA tribute and the Village people perform! Day Three – Key West, Florida This was our third visit to Key West and we did the Old Conch Train tour of the town. It was an hour long tour and we saw the most southern point in the continental US (we have been to the most southern point in the US in Kona, Hawaii!!!) and Hemmingway’s house, and the Little White House. It was a nice tour, but after while, it just looked like the same place after the next! After the tour we bought a few souvenirs at the shops and visited the Key West Aloe Store and the Key West Lime Shoppe. We then headed back to the ship because it was so hot and humid out that we were practically soaked! We had lunch in the dining room and the ship departed at 2PM. They kept paging a couple over the PA system and we ended up leaving them behind because they never came back to the ship in time. They supposedly met up with us in Mexico! There was Bingo in the afternoon and we played movie tuna trivia. It was also formal night and the captain’s reception was held in the carousel lounge. They had any type of drink that you asked for along with Hors D'Oeuvre’s. The captain announced some of his staff and told us a little about the ship. There were lot of people there, but it was not packed. Someone asked Captain Per about the hurricane, but he said that it was too early to tell. Afterwards, we had dinner in the dining room. Everyone was dressed up. The attire varied from sundresses to gowns and tuxes to dress shirts and ties. After dinner, we hung out in the Schooner Bar with our cruise critic friends. **We turned our clocks one hour back before bed. This was the first time we have ever had to do that on a Western Caribbean Cruise.** Day Four – Cozumel, Mexico This was our fourth visit to Cozumel. There were 6 ships in total in port that day, 3 Carnival, Disney, Century and us. So the streets were really packed. I booked the Royal Dolphins Swim online through dolphindiscovery.com. ( really recommend that you book ahead of time as the tours sell out quickly. We booked our tour in January and it was sold out by May.) After w quick breakfast in the Windjammer, we took a 10 minute taxi ride to Chankanaab National Park ($10) and paid the $12 a person fee to enter the park. We checked in for the dolphin swim and watched the dolphins in the holding area and checked out the gift shop. Then it was time for our swim. They showed us a short video on what to do and what not to do with the dolphins. We walked over to the platforms and got into the water and they brought over 2 dolphins for us to kiss, shake hands, touch and hold. Then they brought us into the center of the water for us to swim with them. However, it was mating season and they were not cooperating with us too well. The trainers ended up bringing over 4 more dolphins for us to finally get to swim with. We got to hold their fins and they pulled us in the water and we laid flat on the water and they came underneath us and pushed our feet, pushing us up and out of the water. It was an experience of a lifetime!!! After we showered and changed, we headed back into town ($16 taxi ride) to Pancho’s Backyard. We always go here when we are in Cozumel. They have the best authentic Mexican Food and great prices. We had fishbowl margarita’s and tortillas with guacamole and fresh pico de gallo!!! It was great! Then we did a little souvenir shopping in Los Cinco Sols and headed off to Carlos and Charlie’s for drinks and lunch! Afterwards, we went back to the ship and got ready for the Crown and Anchor Party. There were over 300 C&A members onboard and they had drinks of choice and Hors D'Oeuvre’s. The hotel manager talked about the ship more and the C&A program and all the places that RCL sails. He too was asked about the Hurricane, but he said that was not his area of expertise! Dinner tonight was Smart Casual and people were dressed anywhere’s from sundress, to gowns, to Capri’s and suits to dress shirt & khaki’s. They also served shrimp scampi with lobster tail for dinner and you could have as many as you wanted. The table next to us was having a contest to see who could eat the most lobster tails and one guy ate 7 of them!!! We visited the Schooner Bar after dinner again (the bar staff knew us by name at that point!) and then headed off to bed as we had to get up early for our Belize tour! Day Five – Belize City, Belize This was our first time visiting Belize and the reason for booking this specific cruise. We booked the barrier reef snorkel tour through RCL. So after a quick breakfast in the windjammer, we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:45 AM. They gave us stickers to match up what tour we were on. There were 109 people on our tour and we were lead down to deck 1 to the tender station to load the boat that was taking us on the snorkel excursion. The crew was very nice and mostly made up of people who used to live in the states. They took us on a 35 minute ride to a tiny island and they just let us off the ship to snorkel. There were wooden platforms that we were supposed to stay to the right of, but people didn’t. The tour was supposed to be for experience snorkelers, but a majority had never snorkeled before and was hyperventilating. The water was very shallow and people were swimming all over the place and we were almost pushed into the coral several times. So we decided to turn around and swim back. We did see some fish and large shells, but because the water was so shallow and so many people were in the water, a lot of sand was kicked up making it hard to see well. They then took us back to the tourist pier at the end of the tour and a lot of people were upset because the tour was supposed to bring us back to the ship, not the pier. We walked around the pier at the shopping village for not more then 20 minutes. There was not much there to buy except beach bags and shot glasses. I did see that the pharmacy prices were much lower then in Mexico. We got on the ferry and headed back to the ship. ** Two notes on Belize….1. The ship anchors 2 ½ miles off the coast of Belize City because the water is so shallow. You do not use the ships tenders; the city of Belize has tender service to and from the ships. They are anything from huge ferries that take 45 minutes to go one way or small yachts that have you back on the ship in 15 minutes, so make sure you leave enough time to get onto the shore. 2. RCL highly advises you, that if you go into Belize City, that you are on a tour. They city is so poor and once you leave the shopping area at the pier, there are armed guards watching on the other side. It is the poorest country that I have ever seen on any of my cruises. After we got back on the ship, we had lunch at the Windjammer and then I headed off to the Solarium, this where the adventure really begins!!! I was in the hot tub when 4 other people joined me. They were taking about there day when one of them mentioned that we were going to be on the ship till Monday. I was like, excuse me, did you say Monday???!!! They told me that an RCL crew member operating the tender station earlier in the morning told them that the port in Ft Lauderdale was closing because of the hurricane and that we would not be able to return until at least Monday morning. I was like “WOW!” I went back to the cabin and told my brother the news and we called my father to see what the report was on the hurricane since we had no US television on the ship, we had no idea what was going on. My father said that he had been waiting for us to call and told us that the hurricane was going to hit late Saturday night and that they were closing all the ports and the airports from Miami to Jacksonville. They had already canceled the Sovereign & Majesty’s weekend sailing and cut the previous cruise short by 1 day, to go back out to sea during the storm. I then went down to the pursar’s desk for something and there was a woman paying to get off the ship because she had to be home by Sunday. I over heard her say that it was $300 to get off the ship early and her flight home from Belize City was $600! Wow….I hope that what it was that she had to be home for really important!!! We then went to play bingo and there was an announcement made, however, the cruise director’s staff never mentioned what the announcement was. Afterwards, we found out that it was Captain Per announcing that because of Hurricane Frances, that all the ports were closed and the airports were closing, and that we would be spending a few extra days with him at sea. I was really shocked that they never cut into Bingo or announced it afterwards. (This was my only complaint of the whole cruise, the lack of communication). By then there was a line at the pursers desk of people yelling that they had to get of the ship for one reason or another. Anyways, we got ready for dinner and had a drink at the Viking Crown Lounge. Win a cruise Bingo was in-between dinner seatings, but there was hardly anyone there. (They were probably still inline at the pursers complaining!!!) Dinner was casual and it was 50’s & 60’s night. The Quest game was after dinner and it was played a little different then we had seen other versions played. It was really funny watching everyone! **We turned our clocks forward one hour** Day Six – First Sea Day We slept in late and had a light breakfast at the Windjammer. We played trivia, bingo, and I had a massage. There were not enough platinum and diamond members onboard to have a platinum & diamond C&A party, so everyone was sent a bottle of wine thanking us for sailing with RCL again! Dinner was causal. We still had no idea when we were getting home. Day Seven – Second Sea Day We were awoken by “Captain Per on the Air” as he would say. He told us that we were between Cuba and the Keys and we would be sitting out the storm there until we could get back into Port Everglades. He advised us not to sell our beds, that he didn’t know how much longer we would be at sea for! The cruise director’s staff did their best to put activities together for us. They added a passenger talent show, line dancing classes and more trivia. The drink special of the day was a hurricane!!! There was a country Hoe Down after dinner. Later on in the day the Captain brought the ship seven miles off the keys so we were close enough to get cell phone signals to use our cell phones to call home to make new travel arrangements. The bars were pretty packed at night! The dining room staff created special menus for our extra days at sea and were very accommodating. Day Eight – Third Sea Day Welcome to day 7 of our 5 day cruise!!!! The water was really rough and it was nasty outside. Pouring on and off at times and there were 20-25 ft swells. The crew had to tie down all of the deck chairs because they were flying off the sides of the ship into the water. Eventually then ended up locking all of the doors on decks 9& 10 to the pool deck and most of the doors on deck 5 because the wind and rain was so bad that it was coming into the ship and people could not walk outside!!! The swells were so high at some points that they were coming over onto deck 5. Most people must have been in their cabins because the ship was really empty. They showed the movie “Cold Mountain” in the afternoon in the theater. The ship started to run out of some things like lemons, cherries, cocktail napkins, peanuts, skim milk, and lactose free milk. But nothing major, there was still plenty to eat. The dinner show was a special game they put together called The Liar’s Club game show. They had 5 people dressed up into a character. The characters were a Southern hillbilly, preacher, yoga instructor, Latin lover and a genius. People in the audience grouped together to form teams. They gave a word and each person on the panel had to say what they thought the definition was. Then everyone would show their number as to who they agreed with. And the team who got the most correct, won. It was funny! Dinner was casual. After dinner, most people went back to their cabins to pack. Day Nine – Disembarkation, Finally!!! We got up early so we could finish packing our carry-on’s. It was still dark, but from our balcony we could see Princess’ Caribbean Princess already docked when we entered the channel. We then had had breakfast in the main dinning room while we were docking. We saw Celebrity’s Century docked as well. Then we saw RCL’s Sovereign of the Seas dock as well. Turns out there were six ships docked in total. They didn’t start calling tags until after 9AM. We had early disembarkation because we were in a suite and Platinum C&A members. It was about 10 AM when we were called and we got off the ship and collected our luggage. We got a taxi right away and went to the airport. We must have been the last ship to clear customs because the airport was mobbed with cruisers from all different ships. There were even passengers from ships that had docked in Miami already at the airport. We were luck though, because when our original flight was canceled, my father booked us on a new flight for late Monday afternoon. Some people were told that they would not be able to fly home until Tuesday or Wednesday because the flights were so booked. Our flight was a little rough with turbulence, but we made it home by around 8PM Monday night. The Ship Review Ship The Enchantment of the Seas is a beautiful ship. The only places where we saw signs of wear & tear were on the balcony there was some rust and the stopper in the bathroom sink was rusted. Otherwise, the ship was immaculate and very well kept up. We really enjoyed the Solarium, and the public lounges were nice, especially the Schooner Bar and the Viking Crown Lounge. Cabin As I mentioned before, we booked a Category JS Junior Suite cabin 8550. It was well worth it for the extra space of having 3 people in the cabin. The cabin had a regular sized couch that pulled out into a bed, 2 chairs, 2 ottoman’s, a 13” Sony TV (not like the 20” one we had on the Legend ), a desk with 6 drawers, a full size closet, with a small 4 drawer dresser. The mattresses on the beds were awesome, but the pull out couch was horrible my brother said. The bathroom had a large tub in it and lots of room to get around in and was beautifully tiled. The balcony was the largest yet with 2 chairs, 1 lounge chairs and a table. Our cabin attendant was Sylvia. She was the worst cabin attendant we have ever had. We asked her the first day to remove the sodas & water; it was still there on day 8!!! Sometimes she would forget to give us the compass for the next day or she would remove our dirty pool towels and forget to give new ones. She also forgot to give us our C&A commemorative gift, which I had to go to the Loyalty Ambassador to get. I am not sure how many cabins she cleaned, but every time we saw her, she was just standing around in the hall area. Dining Room and Food Service We were seated at table 252 located on the deck 4 of the ship. We had a great window table and our waiter Florindo was good, along with his assistant Angel who was ok. They were very kind and friendly and got you anything you asked for. The food on the Enchantment, in my opinion, was the best that we have ever experienced on any RCL ship. I am not saying that it is outstanding, but it surpasses all the other ships that we have been on. However, there were still some days there were 3 things that you wanted off the menu and other days there was nothing that stood out at all. The windjammer food was the same as all the other ships, and had the same things that we have seen on other ships. The Solarium Snack Bar was good and still has the BEST French Fries!!! The menu gave you choices from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and pizza. Sometimes there were more people getting food from there then the windjammer! Also, the menu for lunch and dinner was on a TV channel 24 hours a day. You could order anything on the menu for room service as long as it was during that time frame. I.e. Lunch was served from 12:00-2:00, so you could order anything off the lunch menu during that time frame to be delivered to you room. Other Things to Mention *The water the first couple of nights was so clam that you didn’t even realize that you were on a ship. It wasn’t until Friday when the waves really picked up and the water got rougher. *Because we were only supposed to be on a five night cruise, if you pre-paid your gratuities, you only had to pay for the five nights. We felt this was wrong and ripped the waiters off of money that they would have gotten from the new passengers had we returned to Ft. Lauderdale as originally planned. So we gave them even more then the suggested 7 day amount for what they had to go through those extra days. * On the Legend, they never opened the solarium glass roof; however, on the Enchantment, it was opened everyday that the weather allowed it. The Viking Crown lounge was laid out a little different so that the roof would go underneath the Viking Crown Lounge. Where as on the Legend, if they were to open the roof, it would have covered the miniature golf course. * Because we were stuck out at sea due to Hurricane Frances, they compensated each person with 15 free minutes on the internet. However, like I said before, communicate was very poor and it was never announced. I only found out because I was down at the pursers desk and heard them mention it to someone else and I inquired about it then. *The C&A commemorative gift was a really nice hanging toiletry kit with the RCL Logo and Enchantment of the Seas embroidered on it. They look really nice and I think they are better then all the fanny bags!!! Overall We chose this cruise for the price, the itinerary, and the good reviews that the Enchantment received. We really like Cozumel and I would like to go back to Belize to snorkel again. I would do this cruise again in the future because there is so much to do in Cozumel and Belize! Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions!

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Aug 25, 2004

Western Caribbean

Sue/Mike McCulley \ · No time to read the entire review? Check out the tips!! This was our third cruise together, the first being on Royal Caribbean for our Bahamas honeymoon, the 2nd on Princess cruise lines for a fantastic trip to Alaska. We had not planned on taking a vacation this year but to much overtime led my husband to believe I needed a break from work (who was I to argue?!!) so we booked only about a month in advance, quite

a contrast from the usual 6-7 months we usually plan around. We enjoyed our honeymoon cruise on Nordic Empress but did not have nearly enough time to spend on the boat (being only a 3 night cruise) so we decided to go with a 4 night for this vacation and when I saw the Enchantment spent one entire day at sea, we were sold! Our flight down went smoothly and after retrieving our luggage, we were able to easily find the Royal Caribbean personnel around the baggage claim area. Although we chose not to use R. C. ‘s air/sea program and booked our flights separate from the cruise, we did purchase the bus transfers to and from the dock offered through the cruise line. I do not know if a taxi may have been cheaper (transfer cost around $22 roundtrip) but it was nice to sit back and know that for the next several days the cruise lines would take of everything. Let the relaxation begin! · Try to bring $2 bills along if you can, they work great for tipping your driver, etc. The embarkation went smoothly as we arrived at the dock around 1:30 to find fewer lines than expected but numerous personnel standing by to prepare for the larger crowds. Make sure to have your cruise documents filled out in advance (you can also do so online up to a few days prior to sailing) to help speed things up. First up was the photo taken for security purposes (a change from our last cruise in 2000) followed by the obligatory “can’t-wait-till-we-get-on-board” ship photo before being issued your sea pass card and boarding the ship. We originally booked the cheapest inside cabin available and were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded to slightly larger inside cabin (#7123). Although it still seemed small, the location was in a nice spot, two decks below the food, and two decks above the entertainment so it worked out well. The cabin was very clean and plenty of storage space. I also liked the heavy curtain that can be used to split the room so as not to disturb someone sleeping in bed (although it can be hard to find time to sleep!) We had debated going with an ocean view but decided against it, as there were numerous viewing areas around the ship, hard to find a bad spot in which to watch the world go by! We had booked our excursions online (recommended if you really want a particular excursion or time slot—excursions can be booked online up to 10 days prior to sailing) but the tickets were not waiting for us in our cabin like the ships compass (newsletter) stated they should be. A quick visit to the purser’s desk and we were assured they would be there by 7, sure enough, problem solved! They were having “open houses” around the ship, letting you see the salon, gym, etc. and giving mini tours. If you have any interest in getting a massage, getting your hair done, etc, sign up a.s.a.p. as slots fill up fast! We signed up for a “partner massage” class where you each learn a few basic techniques to use on your significant other. Relaxing and they give you a free bottle of oil to take home. We had signed up for the second seating but chose not to eat in the My Fair Lady dining room so we cannot comment on the food served there. We ate all our meals in the buffet style Windjammer Café, with the exception of grabbing a cheeseburger once at the solarium grill. My husband and are not fancy eaters and I tend to eat very bland foods so my concern was finding items my finicky taste bids could be happy with. Not a problem! The windjammer served a variety of foods ranging from soups, salads and chicken to lamb, beef and pasta. Even my picky taste buds were encouraged to try new things (although most I admit, were from the desert tables!) I thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast buffet in the mornings but we mostly ate by the pool as the main dining area filled quickly. In Key West we had signed up for the parasailing. At this point I must reveal that I am terrified of deep water (although being on a cruise ship does not faze me at all!) so I was ok until we got up 400+ feet in the air and all that below was the beautiful blue-green ocean. To late to change my mind! It was fun however and a gives you a great bird’s view, even if for just a few minutes. · Make sure to take a camera (disposable only) up with you when parasailing for some great aerial shots. · Wear your swimsuits under your clothes (shoes, etc are left in the boat), as you will get “dipped” in the water as you are pulled in. If you do not want to get wet, just make to tell your guides so they an accommodate you—otherwise enjoy the warm water! We roamed around Key West and visited the Mel Fisher museum (a good stop for any one interested in treasure hunting) and hit several stores, including one specializing in just flip-flops/sandals. Key west is very easy to negotiate and pretty laid back with the boat dock within sight of the main street. Just keep an eye on your watches. The cruise ship had to leave 6 people behind in Key West, as they did not board in time! · You will always need your sea-pass card when exiting the ship. Upon reentering you will need your sea pass card and a photo id or you will be denied boarding!! This is done for security reasons and they will check these cards! The next day we went to Cozumel where I had booked us on the Tulum/Xel Ha combo tour. We had seen the ruins of Chitzen Itza several years back and really enjoyed them so I was looking forward to seeing the picturesque Tulum. Xel Ha looked to be a refreshing break from the heat so booked the combo tour even though we knew from other reviews our time would be limited at both. After taking the ferry to Playa Del Carmen, we walked about five minutes to an air-conditioned bus. They were selling sunhats and baseball caps for $5 USD at the buses and in hindsight should have purchased one. The bus did make one stop at a souvenir shop along the way. Many interesting items and they did sell small bottles of water for $1 USD in case you forgot to bring some. It was extremely hot at the ruins; even with a good breeze there was little comfort. (The heat index was 110 degrees at Key West so I did not even ask what it was at Tulum!) Our tour lasted about 45 minutes, which only left about 15 minutes of free time before you had to walk back to catch the bus. Again keep your eye on your watches! The ruins were interesting and the water gorgeous blue green and tantalizingly close. You can walk directly on the beach but unless you have your swimsuits underneath your shorts, you will not have time to enjoy it. On the way back to the bus, the sweat started to roll into my eyes so I headed for the restroom to wash up. Surprise! They charge to use the bathrooms (.25 USD) and they even had a limit of two paper towels per person. Interesting. · Wear light comfortable clothing and make sure to bring plenty of water. A small towel or washcloth on your person might not be a bad idea wither. A sun hat would help prevent sun burnt faces and scalps. · It is roughly ½ mile walk from the parking lot to the ruins. There is a trolley that will take you (one way) for $2 USD On to Xel Ha! We lost about 15 minutes of our time at Xel Ha due to a young couple not boarding the bus at the ruins. The driver waited as long as he could but did not want to put us any further behind schedule. (Fortunately the couple did reunite with our group later after having to borrow pesos from a tour guide at Tulum to pay their way to Xel Ha). Xel Ha was nice, pretty easy to get around and lots to see. Unfortunately for water-phobic me, it took my supportive husband a good 20 minutes for me to even get a few yards from the shore, even with the life jacket on. That, along with the delay getting there, plus needing time to shower and change meant our time at Xel Ha was over far to soon. The water was wonderfully clear and easy to see the variety of fish swimming about. In the water, even at just a few yards out, you could physically feel the temperature change difference between your head to your toes, the result of fresh water against ocean water. I would really have liked to see more of Xel Ha and if we were to take a trip to Cancun sometime, I would try to arrange for a day trip. · You can rent the snorkel, mask and fins separately, or as a package for $10 USD per person. You must leave an id (driver’s license, etc) as a deposit. You get to keep the snorkel tube and you are welcome to use a life vest for free. · You can rent a locker (big enough to hold two person’s belongings) and two towels for just under $10 USD · The lockers are wooden but they are sturdy, (our locker key was worn on a necklace) and there are several attendants walking the locker area to keep an eye on things and make sure you are only using approved suntan lotions. Upon boarding the bus we were offered refreshments (water, soda or beer) to go along with our box lunches. The box lunch contained a sandwich, cookie, muffin and crackers. We then returned to Playa Del Carmen to board the return ferry back to Cozumel. The ferry ride was a little choppier in the afternoon than it had been in the morning but still manageble and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset along the way. While we were at Tulum, a photographer (working for R. C.?) took our pictures in front of the main castle. The same woman magically appeared on the return ferry, glossy photos in hand available for purchase. It would have been a nice souvenir if I did not look like I had just spent an hour walking in 100-degree heat! Since the combo tour took pretty much the entire day, it does not give you any time to wander through Cozumel. - If you plan on shopping in Cozumel, make sure to hit the shopping lectures given on board the ship, or catch then replayed later on your TV. Often times you will get coupons on board the ship to hit certain stores or they will tell you certain sales going on. I don’t know if these stores “partner” with the cruise lines but at the very least they will have information regarding stores that are not so reputable, best to know before you make that jewelry purchase so you don’t get “burned” 3000 miles away at home when you’re getting that “bargain” appraised. The next day was spent at sea. My husband climbed the rock wall (again) and I made myself slow down enough to catch some sun out on the deck. As long as you don’t have to sit by the main pool, there are plenty of deck chairs to relax on. There are always numerous activities to do, so check out your cruise compass to see what's available or carry a copy with you. · They give you a mini map of the ship when you board, however it is only a side view. More detailed maps showing all decks from the top as if you were floating above them (similar to what you are shown in the R.C. cruise catalogs) can be found in a rack attached to the wall across from the purser’s desk. You can also pick up extra copies of the daily cruise compass there as well. · Bring some comfortable sandals or light shoes for just wandering around the ship. You can wander barefoot of course around the pool but it can be hot! I guess my only complaint would be the size of the two pools. The main one was only quiet in the early morning or late evening. The pool in the solarium was not as crowded but often time’s parents would bring their children over even though there is a sign stating it is for adults only. Both pools were saltwater and they did not seem to have any set operating hours that I could see. -Make sure to see as many shows as you can for they are top-notch. The comedians on our ship included Carl Strong and jugglers Howie and Bert. Try to see both at least once! Excellent! The singing/dancing shows were great, very talented groups all around. On the last night I lost my cruise pass card. I was done buying all my trinkets but I knew I would need it to exit the ship for the final time so I went to the purser’s desk where in about a minute I was issued a new one. The morning of departure (sigh) we had to exit our room by 10. We went to our designated waiting area (Carrousel lounge) but the doors were locked so we waited outside for a few minutes. Promptly at ten, a gentleman unlocked the doors and we sat down to wait for our departure color to be called. Around 30 minutes later we exited the ship, were reunited with our luggage, and boarded our transfer bus to the airport. Our flight did not leave until almost 1:30 and we were in the terminal shortly after 11 so plenty of time to wander and grab a bite to eat before the flight home. Overall a very pleasant cruise and would do it again.

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By _CR

  • New

Jul 4, 2004

Western Caribbean

First, the bottom line: the cruise was fantastic! One of the most fun vacations I’ve ever had. This was a first time cruise for myself and my husband, another couple and their single male friend. The three of them were celebrating their 40th birthdays, and my husband was celebrating his 50th (and I’m somewhere in between!) We’re an active, fun-loving group of professionals from Denver who wanted to cruise in order to meet people,

see new destinations and enjoy the luxury and conveniences cruising has to offer. PRE-CRUISE IN FORT LAUDERDALE Since the cruise departed on a Monday, my husband and I went to FL two days before embarkation. To economize a little, we stayed in a motel a bit off the beaten path called the Wish You Were Here Inn. It’s a smaller, older place, but it’s just a block away from the beach and right on the Intracoastal Waterway. Certainly not luxury, but clean and pleasant, with a helpful staff. I’d certainly recommend it if you’re not up for paying $100+ per night at the more well-known locations. This was my first time in FL and I thought the area was pretty nice. The public beach is quite extensive and has the usual mix of loud beach shops and bars, as well as nicer restaurants and patios. We didn’t have time to stroll around the Las Olas area, but driving by left me with a good impression. The homes and boats along the Intracoastal Waterway are spectacular; a good way to see them would be to take the Water Bus. My husband a scuba diver, so we booked a dive trip on Sunday. I went along to snorkel. Pro Dive is the big dive shop in town with its own boat. It was full of divers on this trip, but they have the whole procedure down pat, I would say. They got about 25 divers in and out of two locations very efficiently; one was on a wreck, the other on the reef. Unfortunately, the seas were very choppy and the boat rocked quite a bit. A few of the divers lost their lunch over the side and didn’t have a great afternoon. I enjoyed the roller coaster ride myself and snorkeled on the last stop. It was shallow enough to see the reef and a number of fish, but I wouldn’t describe it as spectacular. My husband enjoyed his dives quite a bit. For dinner, we decided to try the 15th Street Fisheries, which turned out to be an excellent choice. It has a very pleasant location overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. Their menu has some unusual items on it including kangaroo and alligator! I stuck with a more tried-and-true selection, crab-stuffed flounder, which was outstanding! With cocktails and a bottle of wine, the dinner was about $100.00, but well worth the price given the quality of the food and the ambience. A word about the taxi drivers in FL. I’d recommend that you make sure they know where they’re going before you get in… on our ride to the dive shop, our driver had no idea where the address was and we had to call on his cell phone to get directions; no big deal really. That evening, when we called for a cab, it turns out it was same driver from the morning! We assumed that any driver would know how to get to a restaurant as famous as the 15th Street Fisheries. He looked at us blankly as we pulled away. No clue, no map, didn’t offer to call anyone. I dug out of my purse a map from the Water Bus which gave a vague idea of which direction to go. He finally called someone and spoke in Creole, but afterwards didn’t indicate he’d been able to figure where we were going. We drove around for a half hour until I realized I’d phoned the restaurant on my cell phone earlier and still had the number. We finally made it, but I was a little shocked at the cabbie’s helplessness and lack of map! We also had a cabbie who was very talkative; I asked if he was from Haiti (which all our cabbies were). Oh boy, did I open the proverbial can of worms! For the rest of the ride, we were treated to an angry tirade, mostly unintelligible, on the political situation in both Haiti and the U.S. Remind me to stick to comments on the hot weather next time! EMBARKATION/DAY 1 On Monday morning, I woke up early, already too excited for my own good – we were finally going to see and board Enchantment! I hurried my husband along, who kept asking if they were going to let us on the ship this early! We got a cab around 10:00, but we had an important mission first; get beer and champagne for our departure toast! The cabbie knew right where to take us: Crown Liquors, off A1A, near the pier entrance. My husband ran in while I stayed in the cab (this is when I made the mistake of asking the driver if he was from Haiti, which elicited a tirade for the rest of the ride!) We finally entered the pier area and at last I could see her – there was Enchantment! So huge, very white and gleaming. We pulled up to the curb and gave our luggage to the porters. I did mention to my husband that perhaps we’d like to take at least one of the big bags with us instead of chancing that it might not show up until late (I hadn’t really packed anything of importance in my carry on). The porter told me that it wasn’t allowed to take your big bags with you (although I’d read otherwise on these boards). It was just as well – we were pretty loaded down with carry-ons as it was. Embarkation was nothing like I expected – I had visions of walking right on the ship, according to some posters’ experiences! We arrived at 11:00. It was mobbed and we had to wait over an hour until we boarded. Flyers from RCCL were handed out explaining that no one could access their cabins until 1:00 pm at the earliest. We were ushered into a specific area to sit. At least it gave me a chance to check out some of our fellow passengers. Quite a mix of people; neatly dressed families, older folks, those with lots of tattoos and dirty muscle shirts… everyone checking out each other! Soon, some chair areas were asked to proceed to the next checkpoint. A kind of funny scene developed between two of the staff members (not sure if they were RCCL or port people); they were intensely arguing over which area got to go in line next! We were finally asked to proceed to the x-ray machines, but had to stand in line for about 15 minutes, which is hard with lots of carry-ons. Got through x-ray and stood in line for the embarkation photo. Got into another line for check-in. Our check-in took awhile because of my Canadian husband (those darn foreigners are always causing trouble, LOL!) I thought this was strange: RCCL insisted that they had to hold onto his U.S. Residence (“green”) card until the end of the trip. They gave him a receipt and a photocopy. I finally surmised the U.S. government doesn’t want to take the chance that he would sell it while out of the country. Your government – always looking out for you! Our check-in agent was a riot. He asked me my citizenship and where I lived, then he asked the same thing of my husband. My husband gave him the same address as mine, explaining, “well, we’re married, you know” (we have different last names). Our agent leaned forward, and said in a low voice, with a straight face, “well, for all I know, you may be lovers for the last 20 years, or you may have just met him last week and he asked you to sail away from your spouses on a romantic cruise…” That alleviated the tension regarding the green card! Then one more line to scan our Sea Pass cards and up the gangplank… Finally, we were ON THE SHIP! I felt like dropping to my knees and kissing the carpet when we set foot on board! I felt like a kid with a free pass to a candy store – where to go first? We did check out our cabin area, but the fire doors were closed and no access allowed. We decided to try Windjammer for lunch. It was very crowded, but we were able to snag a table. We dropped our bags there and went up one at a time to the buffet tables. I thought it was a very nice selection of hot and cold foods; I took way too much to eat and vowed to be less wasteful on my next visit! The cabin (2106, outside small stateroom) was ready for us when we descended. It’s a bit of a shock how small it is when you first enter, although the size of the windows was good. Eventually, I was impressed with the layout – lots of nooks and crannies to store things. I unloaded the carry-ons and we went exploring. We had very good first impressions of the ship. Very clean, shiny and so many different venues; bars, lounges, seating areas, etc. We ended up back in the pool area. It was absolutely time for a boat drink! I had a pina colada and my husband had a beer. We toasted to finally being on board and to the start of a great adventure. The muster drill was interesting, and hot being on the sunny side of the ship. I left my life vest unfastened as we went outside; oh, no, that’s not allowed! A crew member got me all buckled up. One young man started to faint and had to be taken inside. Luckily, it was over quickly and we got back into the air conditioning. We bumped into our three other friends coming in from the opposite side and agreed to meet near the pool with champagne in hand for our departure. We got some seats in the shade and enjoyed watching the land slide further and further away while sipping cold bubbly. Ahhhh, we were cruising now! We attended the early show since we had late seating in the dining room and finally got to see our famous cruise director, Matt Baker! He was everything they said he was – goofy, talented, enthusiastic… After a mediocre song-and-dance number, a comedian was introduced, Phil (I forget his last name!). He had a great routine, very funny. I was happy to hear that he would be giving a late-night, adult-oriented performance the next night. Then off to dinner, the experience I was really waiting for. So much has been written on these boards about the food, the table mates, the staff… What would it really be like? The My Fair Lady dining room is quite an elegant venue. It’s very large, encompassing a main floor and balcony seating on the floor above, with a grand staircase connecting the two. A pianist and a violinist play in the background during meals. I’m glad to report that as the cruise progressed, our evening meal became our favorite part of the day! The food was pretty good overall. I liked being able to choose more than one appetizer and the entrees I selected were all decent. I wouldn’t rate the food as the best I’ve ever had, but when the kitchen is cranking out about 1,000 meals AT THE SAME TIME, it’s as good as it gets! My two beef entrees were cooked to order, nothing was horribly dry or badly seasoned (maybe a little bland overall) and the presentation was very nice. I also enjoyed the lobster tail/shrimp dinner and had a so-so pasta dish one night. I believe my travel companions would agree with me. The best part of the dining room was our table mates and waiter. We’re VERY outgoing, so we hoped we would get lively table mates which is why we chose an eight-seat table. We got what we hoped for. Our table mates showed up a little late (which didn’t delay our food). They were two very attractive, well dressed women; one in her 40s and the other, older. One would assume they were mother and daughter, but they were just friends who like to travel together. We hit it off immediately and went on to spend our late evenings together at the lounge or casino. We also got the BEST waiter in the place. Bantic (we used his last name because his first name had way too many consonants and not enough vowels to even begin to pronounce) was from Croatia, a young guy who seemed very serious at first, but quickly warmed up to our table of crazy folks. He performed magic tricks with cards or making objects like sugar and cream disappear from his fist! He always had something funny to say and I think he hung out more with us than his other customers… Later in the cruise, I was chatting with a woman during an excursion. I asked her about her dining room experience and she complained that she was way in the back and had quiet table mates. She wished she were at the table near hers that was always laughing loudly and had their waiter doing tricks… guess whose table it was?! DAY 2 – KEY WEST We woke early to find we were pulling into Key West, a city which I knew from over 20 years ago when my father lived there for awhile. We took our time having breakfast, then left the ship, avoiding the aggressive ship’s photographer insisting that everyone have their picture taken on the pier. We rented some old coaster bikes in order to pedal over to the seaside condo where my dad used to live. Oh boy, I was not prepared for the heat and humidity. Key West is totally flat, so biking shouldn’t have been so difficult, but when the heat saps your strength like that, it’s a chore. It took about 45 minutes or so to get to the place, over by Smathers Beach. I enjoyed seeing that Key West hasn’t changed that much in the time since I’d been there. We returned to the main tourist area and met our friends in Sloppy Joe’s. By then, I thought I was going to pass out from heat stroke; my face was the color of a tomato. They quickly sat me down inside and got some cold water. I revived pretty quickly, and regretted I’d worn a new outfit instead of my old gym shorts and tank top! I was soaked through, to say the least. My girlfriend and I went shopping while the boys drank some more – that’s Key West for you! We had to be back on the ship so early (1:30) which did not leave as much time as I would have liked. Oh well, next time… Our group signed up for a wine tasting seminar that afternoon on the recommendation of our waiter. We all like wine very much and my husband and I have toured wineries and know something about the subject. There were about 75-100 participants in the dining rooms with a nice spread of cheese, fruit and bread to go with the wine. I got a look at the bottles of wine they were going to use and was immediately very disappointed. These were very low quality, cheap wines, which would all retail for under $10 at home. The lecture was very rudimentary; anyone who’d ever toured a winery would know these basic facts. There was also a major problem with how they served the wine; they reused the same wine glass for all the whites and another for all the reds. I couldn’t stomach some of the wines and didn’t finish them. Real wine connoisseurs never use the same glass, even if you finish the wine – it would contaminate the next wine. The charge was $9.95 for the seminar, so it wasn’t a fortune, but nevertheless, I expected to learn something new or taste something different. After wine tasting, a little nap by the pool seemed appealing. The pool area was quite crowded. My husband and I were disappointed by the size of the pool and the number of people in it, and we never actually went in it at any time during our trip. It’s far too small for the number of people on the ship. And I really don’t get the popularity of the hot tubs during this hot humid weather, yet they always seemed to be in use! Luckily, we don’t sunbathe, so we easily found lounge chairs in the shade on an upper deck. It seems to me that there are plenty of chairs available, both in the sun and in the shade, if you’re willing to step away from the immediate pool area. I’m not sure why it’s so vital to lounge right on the edge of the pool! It was formal night for us; I truly enjoy the chance to get dressed up and I have to say, “we looked mah-velous!” I was very impressed with the fashions of all the other passengers – everyone looked great! I was a little put off by the photography crews. There were very long lines at a number of different stations and the photographer is very demanding about exactly how you stand. We were pleased with one of the photos and bought it, the only photo we did buy during the trip. After dinner, we attended the late night comedy show – hilarious! This comedian has recently opened for Seinfeld on tour and has been on Leno and Letterman. Yes, it was pretty adult material and we loved it. I was almost surprised that something this risqué would be available on the ship. DAY 3 – COZUMEL/TULUM Spending the day in Cozumel drinking heavily with the kids did not appeal at all to me and my husband (do people really come all this way just to go to Carlos & Charlies?? To each his own, I suppose…) I'd always wanted to see the Mayan ruins in Tulum - it's so picturesque with such a gorgeous location right on the ocean. I knew it was going to be hot, but I was hoping the ocean breezes would mitigate the heat and humidity, which is true, but only right on the coast - a few steps away canceled them right out. Be prepared for HOT! I mean, life-sucking, soaked-through, why-didn’t-we-go-to-Alaska-HOT! As long as you're mentally prepared (as well as equipped with hats, water and sunscreen), you can enjoy it! Really! Being adventurous types, as well as economical, we decided to travel to Tulum on our own. We did have a great trip and no problems getting there and back on time. We took a taxi to the ferry downtown, took the ferry to Playa, and took a second class bus to Tulum which was very comfortable and punctual. I’ve posted a more detailed account in the portreviews.com under Cozumel. After another great dinner, our group went to see the Beatlemaniacs show. I have to say I’m a bit skeptical about “tribute groups” and such, but what do you know, I really enjoyed the show! It was a great production with costume changes, set decoration and excellent musical ability. It’s a real sing-along type show and everyone got up to dance a number of time. My favorite number was “A Day In the Life” which mimicked the real song almost exactly. Lots of fun for everyone! DAY 4 – BELIZE Since my husband is a scuba diver, there was no doubt that we would get a scuba trip for him in Belize, one of the world’s best dive destinations. I tried (but failed) to get certified before our trip, so I could only snorkel. We contacted a couple of dive shops in Belize City before our trip, but they wouldn’t commit to a dive/snorkel trip for us because they couldn’t get enough participants. My husband finally signed up on the ship’s dive excursion, but they only took divers, and I couldn’t go along. I debated about what to, whether to chance going into town and seeing if I could find a snorkel trip or not. At 8:00 am, I ran up to the excursions desk and asked for whatever snorkel trip they had space. 15 minutes later, I was in the Orpheum Theatre with a huge crowd waiting for their group’s number to be called. This was one crowd control aspect that could have been improved. Hundreds of people had to wait in one long line to get their group’s number and the line snaked all through the casino. I’m surprised they didn’t ask people on certain excursions to gather at different locations. Oh well. About a half hour later, I was on a small boat with 20 others speeding towards Shark Ray Alley. This excursion was the highlight of my trip! Fantastic snorkeling, excellent scenery, relaxing afternoon in Ambergris Caye. Belize is the best! Check out further details on portreviews.com under Belize – San Pedro. Our group attended the “Love and Marriage Game” show, Enchantment’s version of the “Newlywed Game.” Hokey, but funny. The couple married for “50 years, two days and nine hours,” according to the wife, won the game. There was some rumor about the outcome being rigged, but who knows. It’s a popular show on the ship. It was finally time to go lose a little money in the casino. My husband and I like blackjack, but we did not have good luck on those tables. Our single friend knew how to play craps and had won hundreds on the previous night. Since the table wasn’t too crowded, I got a lesson from him and started to play a little myself. Lo and behold, it was a good night for beginners! I won quite a bit, covering our blackjack losses and initial stake, and more! Nothing like walking up to the cashier’s booth with two fistfuls of chips and getting lots of good ol’ American money in return! I may have even covered our bar tab! We also took a stroll, for the first time, through the Schooner Bar and the Carousel Lounge at the end. The piano player (Nat?) had a lively audience singing along with him. The famous Midnight Buffet was held this night. For those who eat at the late seating and had just finished eating, it’s not worth standing in line. We didn’t even go in to see it, although reports were that it was fabulous. We were all pretty pooped, so we decided to call it a night. DAY 5 – AT SEA As much as I loved our ports of call, I was really looking forward to the day at sea. I felt like I had hardly taken advantage of all that the ship offers and had an ambitious agenda planned. Yeah, right! My husband and I had a late breakfast in the Windjammer, then went back to the cabin to plan our day. Don’t ever lay down to look at the Cruise Compass… we slept for another two hours! We needed it though, right? One note about our room steward (name withheld for apparent reasons). Now all during the trip, we didn’t see much of him, but the room was always cleaned and we got our famous towel animals in the evening. He also filled our small cooler with ice every day after being asked to do so on the first day. There wasn’t much more I needed than that. Today, after reading the hand-outs about disembarkation, I still wasn’t 100% sure about exactly when we had to be out of our cabin in the morning. I tracked down our steward in the hallway and asked my question. It immediately was obvious he had been drinking given the stench and the rambling answer I got. He insisted that if we wanted to stay in our cabin until we left, “no problem, mon, because I am the man!” I felt very sorry for him; I’d probably be an alcoholic too, if I had to clean up people’s crap all day, every day, without a day off in months. We had no reason to reduce our tip, or to report him either. He did his job. That afternoon, my girlfriend wanted to play bingo for the big jackpot (over $8,000) but the rest of us wanted to play the classic shipboard game, shuffleboard. It’s a lot more fun with a few beers in your hands, of course. We had quite a good time. I joined my friend for the last bingo round for all the money. I’d never played bingo and it was an interested experience. The Orpheum Theatre was packed, upstairs and down. The host, “Bingo Allie” is quite terminally perky! As the game progressed and anyone could win on the next number, the tension was incredibly thick. Finally, a young man yelled “Bingo” and he and his young wife came up on stage to have their card verified. They did win the money, then announced that the wife was expecting. I thought that was a nice way to end the game. Our group also used the card room later to have a cocktail and play cards before dinner. How civilized and elegant is that? It was hard to believe it was our last night for dinner in the dining room. We took lots of pictures of group with our friend, Bantic and all the others we had come to know. All the waiters did a performance, standing on the grand staircase, singing “Hey, Look Me Over!” Too funny. We toasted with a round of after-dinner drinks that our friendly dining room bartender always had on hand after every dinner (but we’d never purchased before). We lingered for quite a while, reluctant to say good-bye to our favorite part of the cruise. Our group went to the lounge for Karaoke because my friend insisted he had to sing “Kung-Fu Fighting” or a Barry White song in public before he died! Luckily, he’s going to live for quite a while longer. We watched others perform and had to get out of there before long. Yikes, what a little alcohol and a teleprompter can produce! Matt Baker was at the bar with a few officers, including the ship’s Captain (who’s name is not Ole Olafson, but somehow we ended up calling him that...) It turns out it was Matt’s birthday and everyone in the lounge sang happy birthday to him. It was also Matt’s last cruise before a well-deserved vacation. I’m so glad we got to see him before he left! Then off to the casino again to the craps table. Another good night for the beginner! I like craps not only because I’ve had good luck, but because everyone at the table is rooting for the same thing. If you’re the shooter and you’re having a good run, everyone loves you, even though you’re not really responsible for what numbers are coming up! My husband and I returned to our cabin to finish packing. We didn’t get our suitcases out into the hallway until around 2:00 am, but that didn’t appear to be a problem – at least they were gone in the morning! DISEMBARKATION I awoke before 6:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I watch the ship slide into the Ft. Lauderdale port in the sunrise. Post-cruise depression was already setting in! My husband and I had breakfast in the dining room for the first time (we actually forgot you could do that until the last day!) It was very nice and I’d wished we’d done it sooner. We returned to the cabin to get our carry-ons around 8:30 and said good-bye to our steward (still smelling boozy!) Our waiting point was supposed to be the Solarium on the ninth deck, five decks above the gangplank. I didn’t want to lug everything all the way up there and wait in that hot pool area, so we easily found seats on Deck 5 in the Centrum, overlooking the departure area. We just waited until our color was called, in the second group. A lot more line-waiting ensued. Of course, my dear foreigner husband had to wait in a longer line through US Immigration than his American-born wife! For some reason, I was not allowed to wait immediately outside the desks, and couldn’t wait at the foot of the escalator and couldn’t wait anywhere except in the chaos of the huge baggage room where hundreds of people are trying to locate their bags at the same time, all lined up in enormous groups according to their color. I was able to snag our three suitcases before my husband caught up to me. We hailed a porter and went out to get a taxi to the airport. That process was not fun! There is no taxi queue and it’s a free-for-all trying to hail a taxi, especially if you’re at the far end of the curb. People cut in front of us left and right. We almost got into a shoving match trying to get into a cab after about 15 minutes of being polite! That is a problem that the Port of Ft. Lauderdale has to remedy! Off to the airport to catch an 11:50 flight. A lot of other cruise ships and vacationers were departing on a Saturday morning and the line through security was endless. A man came around calling for passengers on our flight about an hour before departure; we were able to go to the front of the line and get right through! The flight home was uneventful and our trip was over. Boo hoo! THINGS I LOVED Dinner in the dining room and our waiter and tablemates Every crew member on the ship was friendly and helpful. The public areas of the ship – very appealing and clean The ship itself – the most beautiful in all the ports when compared to the other ships docked there! Our itinerary was terrific Learning to play craps! THINGS I LIKED The food, the selection The cabin, although small, was clean and functional All the passengers that I met casually around the ship and in port – very friendly and nice to talk to Despite all the warnings, no problems with children! I hardly saw any at all, except for a very cute “show” the Ocean Adventure tots did in the dining room one night dressed up as pirates, singing about “We want sugar! Give us your desserts!” THINGS THAT COULD BE IMPROVED The chaos of all excursion participants gathering together in the same location The high-pressure photographers trying to take official cruise pictures all the time The wine-tasting seminar Having more than one server at the Solarium café (hot dogs & hamburger place) – two times we used it, it took a lot longer than necessary The pool is way too small (fresh water would be nice too, although impractical) HOW CAN PEOPLE BE THIS STUPID? Not to realize that if you throw a cigarette butt over the glass partition into the wind, it’s going to come right back onto the deck, one time onto my friend’s bare leg. It’s a good thing we got an abject apology from the young man, because tempers were flaring… The amount of food wasted in the Windjammer was atrocious, judging by the abandoned plates still heaped with food left on the tables. No one will ever be denied something to eat, but try to eat most of what you take! BEST KEPT SECRET ON ENCHANTMENT If you want a quiet place for a cocktail before dinner to watch the sunset and the sea, go to the Viking Crown Lounge. We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed it immensely. WHAT I’D DO DIFFERENTLY ON MY NEXT CRUISE NOT GO TO THE CARIBBEAN IN THE SUMMER – too hot and humid! Get a balcony cabin. Bring more “play” clothes for excursions, less dressy clothes for casual dinners. Not bring books – I never even looked at them and they were heavy in my carry-on

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Jun 6, 2004

Western Caribbean

We decided to become "cruisers" due to our daughter deciding to do a wedding on the Enchantment of the Seas. So, here is our dream vacation: We drove to Fort Lauderdale from Indiana (21 hours in the car!). My husband and I and daughter and son-in-law were in one mini-van with all the luggage and the wedding dress. Following behind were our other daughter (the bride-to-be) and her fiance. Thanks to walkie-talkies and a portable

dvd player, the time went fast. When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, we registered at the Embassy Suites on 17th street. It was fabulous there. The service was great, the happy hour was wonderful, and the breakfasts were outstanding! The next day we drove to the airport (a 5 minute drive) to pick up the groom's mother and sister and brother-in-law. That night we walked across the street to the Outback Restaurant for our "rehearsal dinner". What a relaxing 2 days after driving for 2 days! On Monday, June 7th, we packed both cars and drove to Port Everglades. We dropped off our luggage at 10:00 (we had early arrival due to the wedding). The guys parked the cars in the parking garage ($12.00 a day per car). We sat in the terminal with all of our wedding stuff when our wedding consultant from Royal Romance showed up. She gave us a quick overview of what we could expect and asked the kids some questions about the ceremony and then we were taken to the front of the embarkation line with another wedding party to wait. After about 15 minutes, they let us go through security. This was a piece of cake. We put all our carry-on stuff through the x-ray machine and got our first "official photograph" taken...these are on-sale in the photo shop on ship later. Next, we showed our passports and got our seapasses and the next thing we knew we were walking up the walkway to get onboard the ship. Because we were with a wedding party, we immediately were able to get into our cabins (other passengers had to wait for a while, so they just sat in lounges or wandered the ship). After dropping our carry-on luggage and wedding clothes in the room, we went to the Windjammer Buffet to get something to eat before the wedding. WOW!! Pork loin, poached salmon, prime rib, sandwich bar, fruits, vegetables, dessert bar...it was unbelievable. We then went to our cabins to change. The cabins were great. We were on the 7th deck and had balcony cabins. The groom's family were on the 8th deck and had inside cabins. All the cabins had plenty of storage and the beds were so comfortable. We dressed for the wedding and went to the Viking Crown Lounge for the ceremony. Everything about the wedding was perfect, except our daughter had requested a minister from Fort Lauderdale and had paid extra money for this, but ended up getting married by a wedding coordinator who was a minister. I felt we kind of got the shaft on this, but Gina at Royal Romance refused to give us this $200 back....oh well. After the wedding we changed and settled in for our cruise. We had our "muster drill" and everyone on ship is required to put on their life jackets and report to their lifeboat station. Our daughter wore her wedding dress for this...great photo opportunity! Then, we got some drinks (you are charged 15% gratuity on all drinks) and watched the ship leave port. The first dinner (we had first seating) was casual night. We had gotten our luggage by 3:00 pm., but there were still some people that didn't have their luggage. Be sure to pack things in your carry-on in case you can't get your luggage by dinner. Our waiter was Adrian (from Romania). We had a table for the 9 of us and it was the greatest experience for the 9 of us "first cruisers". Adrian seated us, put the napkins in our lap, and gave us the most wonderful service. He was so wonderful the entire week. The food was excellent. We tried everything...escargo, shrimp, lobster, steak, duck, catfish, salmon, mahi-mahi, grilled chicken...and everything was great. The desserts were out of this world. The appetizer, Strawberry cosumme was our favorite. My daughter got this for dessert one night! The waiters singing and dancing for us was great and while we first cringed about "having to tip", we ended up giving him extra tips added to the suggested tips on our seapass cards. he was so wonderful. My daughter wanted to get his address so she could send him a baby gift (his wife was 5 months pregnant back in Romania). Other meals....we ate breakfasts in both the dining room and Windjammer. The Windjammer's made to order omlets were my husband's favorite. I loved the fruit and french toast. Lunches were great also...we usually did the buffet again. Entertainment: Matt Baker, the cruise director was fantastic. The comedy and other entertainment was great. We missed the one night (Thursday) due to very high seas and seasickness on my part. I wore the "patch" the entire time, but I still was sick that night...as were many other people onboard. While onboard, we tried our hands at slot machines and blackjack (set a limit of what you want to lose). We went to the karaoke shows, but there was a group of 18 year olds who had just graduated from Georgia. There were about 50 of them and they were drunk most of the time and took over the karaoke shows. They were pretty annoying. My big negative was the smoking in the dance clubs and lounges. Hard to breathe even in the no-smoking sections. The pool was crowded. Supposedly the "indoor" pool had a retractable roof, but it was always closed and usually was pretty hot. But we always were able to find deck chairs by the outdoor pool and it was fun to people watch. Excursions: We went to Key West. It was way too short of a time there. We went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for lunch. Then we did some shopping. The next day we went to Cozumel and did the Playa Sol Beach Club. We took taxi's there and for $28.00 a person we got to swim, use the floats, chairs, and got all the drinks we wanted. It was a great way to relax. The last day was Belize City. This was a waste of time as far as we were concerned. All we did was shop here and there were armed guards at the gates to the shopping area. We didn't snorkle, so I wish we would have chosen a different cruise port-of-call. Since the boat was anchored outside of Belize City, we had to be tendered in on small boats. My husband and I got soaking wet on the way back. Thursday night was the night we got into a storm and had 10 foot waves. The ship moved from side to side, drawers opened up in the room during the night while we were sleeping, and thankfully I had taken bonine for everyone to take. I wore the patch and my relief band bracelet and still threw up! but, on Friday, I was fun. I loved the day at sea. My favorite part of the cruise was coming into ports each morning. It was wonderful to watch each port come into view. Friday night we put our luggage into the hall and we stayed up late and partied. The next morning we were out of our rooms by 8:30 and ready to leave the ship. Since we had driven we were the last group off the ship, but it was so much fun to watch everyone leaving the ship. What a great wedding and a great vacation. By the way, we had a reception for 300 people last week for the bride and groom. The video and pictures from Royal Romance turned out great and was a wonderful reminder of our tirip. We are ready to cruise again.

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Apr 11, 2004

Western Caribbean

After reading various message boards for several months, and taking in every last bit of information I could find on particular ships and cruising in general, it’s time to give back. And I’ll give back to the extreme. The one thing I couldn’t get enough of, were greatly detailed reviews. They seemed few and far between, but this one will be lengthy. Ridiculously long probably. I hope that less experienced cruisers will find it insightful.

The veterans will likely find it quite boring. When it comes to cruising, too much info is never enough, so off we go. The Cruise We selected the 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on Enchantment of the Seas out of Ft Lauderdale primarily for its timing. We needed something during my son’s Easter break, and this filled the bill. And while we’ve been to Key West a few times, we had not been to Cozumel or Belize, so that sealed the deal. We departed Monday, April 12 and returned Saturday, April 17. Background Another thing I’ve wondered as I’ve read various reviews and comments is, Who are these people? What are they like? Seems to me an inexperienced cruiser on a limited budget might have different impressions and opinions than a veteran cruiser with deep pockets. I think having a little background would put a reviewer’s comments in context. That said (and probably violating some board protocol), I’d describe us as a fairly typical middle class family, perhaps in the middle, or just above, of that category. That position may fluctuate depending upon how many calls we get from my daughter at college seeking “loans!” For my wife (49) and I (48) this was only our second cruise, the first being a 3-nighter on Majesty to the Bahamas back in September to celebrate our 25th anniversary. This was the first cruise for our 16 year old son. We’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled extensively in the US—including Hawaii—the Caribbean, and a bit of Europe. We tend to be very independent, if not adventurous, preferring to make our own way, sight-seeing without a group, and at our own pace. We’re also essentially land-lubbers. Our ideal vacation to this point has been to find a condo on a stretch of beach and park for a week with a cooler and blender near by. We have a timeshare in St Thomas on Sapphire Beach. The Majesty anniversary cruise was a special case, and we enjoyed it enough to try another cruise for this year’s spring break. I also do a lot of research so as not to be surprised by anything. I knew what things might not be perfect on this cruise, but I was prepared to deal with them. An enjoyable vacation is all about expectations. On to our cruise vacation. Arrival in Ft Lauderdale Here’s another twist. To save some money, and because we enjoy road trips, we drove to Ft Lauderdale. Doesn’t sound so crazy until I mention that we live in Wisconsin. Like I said, we’re a bit adventurous. The idea was to enjoy a day or two lounging on the beach, and getting a little sun before we set sail. This worked out well. For our accommodation on Saturday the 10th I used Priceline for the first time ever on anything, and bid on a 3 star beach location at $65. We got the Sheraton Yankee Clipper, which is a resort hotel right on the beach in the heart of Ft Lauderdale. So what was the catch at this price? None really, except the room location was certainly not beach front, and was in fact across the street in their “annex” (my word). Still, a perfectly good two bed room that still had an ocean view. A skywalk took us across the street to the main building and down the stairs to the pool and beach. An absolute steal of a deal I thought, and the weather was perfect to boot. A bonus was that on Easter Sunday, a sunrise service was being held on the beach just down from the hotel. A huge interfaith crowd, with a gospel choir providing the music. I’m not super religious, but this was really neat. A great brunch was had at a place called Charley’s Crab, located right on one of the waterways with great views and a bountiful buffet of both breakfast and dinner items. So a great spot all in all, but I blew it. We were two nights in Ft Lauderdale before sailing, and I was looking for a place for the second night where I could leave the car without being charged, and that had transport to the pier. Didn’t want to take a chance with Priceline considering those requirements, so we opted for a Sleep Inn near the airport that met the specs. Almost twice the cost, but seemed worth it at the time. But when I found out they wouldn’t take us to Port Everglades any sooner than 11AM (and I started to worry about leaving the car) we decided to drive to the pier ourselves and park in the garage. Cost us $12 a day, but I also started to think about what kind of hassle would be involved with getting the hotel van to pick us up, and the time that might be wasted. Remember, we needed to get back on the road as soon as we returned. Driving to the pier ourselves was a smart move at the end of the day, but it meant we could have stayed at the Sheraton both nights and the cost difference would have paid for the parking. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Embarkation and Accommodations We awoke on sail day, Monday the 12th, to tremendous thunderstorms. It was making national news on the morning talk shows, and watches and warnings were everywhere. Tornados were possible. Not a great start, or so it appeared. But as the morning wore on, the storms passed through, and by 10 AM we were seeing some clearing. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but I mention this to remind you that the weather can change dramatically in the tropical zones at a moment’s notice, so don’t worry if things look like a wash-out. It was warming nicely, and we could see blue skies by the time we got to the pier. Let me say here that for me, getting to the pier and going through the process of boarding the ship is the most exciting time of the trip. All of the planning and anticipation is coming to a head, and unlike boarding an airplane, the vacation starts the minute you walk down the gangway. It may sound corny, but it’s tough to beat the thrill of finally getting there and stepping foot on your ship. Old news, even to novices, but do ignore the 2PM boarding time stated in your cruise docs. Two reasons for this. First, they do board much earlier than 2, allowing additional time to enjoy the ship and lunch. The second has to do with upgrades, but more on that in a minute. We were parked in the garage and in the Enchantment terminal (#25) about 10:45. Based on some board postings I’d read, I was prepared for a less than good experience with Port Everglades. I’d read reviews that described it as much less convenient and organized compared to Miami. Well, don’t believe everything you read. This was smooth as silk. I have no idea what those people could have been talking about. The first Royal Caribbean employee we encountered was still outside of the terminal building, politely directing us. Inside, there were more RC reps, but signage was adequate enough that they didn’t even have to be there. They checked our RC docs (not the passports and other ID), and directed us to the waiting area. The sign said boarding would begin at 11:30. The good news here is that they filled the waiting area based on everyone’s order of arrival. They ushered people into row one, then opened row 2, etc. And when it was time to board, you went through security, the obligatory arrival photo, and then the check-in counter in the order in which you arrived. Very well done I thought, and VERY important if you’re seeking an upgrade. A note about “smuggling.” Anyone who has read the posts on these boards knows I’m referring to drinks. Bringing your own, somewhat discretely, is absolutely no problem. At least it hasn’t been on my first two cruises. If caught and asked to dispose, I’d fully understand. But in one of my carry-ons I had about 12 beers, 12 sodas, a six-pack of juices for mixers, and 2 pints of rum. Yes, a bit heavy, but it sailed through security without a peep. A note about luggage. Strictly a matter of personal preference, but we are a “carry-on only" family. This can get dicey on airplanes where there is a limit, but you absolutely do not have to check your luggage with RC as long as it fits through the X-ray machine. If you can lug it, you can take it yourself. This saves the worry of when and if it shows up in your cabin, and allows you to disembark at your leisure. No checked luggage, no color coded tags. Get off when you want, which in our case was first. I think this is another hidden fact about cruising. We managed fine with 3 overhead bin-sized wheelies, two mid-sized duffles and 2 back packs. Strongly recommended if you can pull it off. Tough with small children, as they can’t serve as Sherpas like my strapping 16 year old son! On the subject of upgrades I was an absolute neophyte. I see some discussion on the boards, but very little detail about the hows, wheres and whens. So I’ll tell you how it worked for us, with no guarantee that it would work the same way at another port (or even this one). At the check-in counter, you go through a process very similar to boarding an airplane. It was here I made my first inquiry about upgrading our cabin. We had booked an inside cabin on the 8th deck, (8033). Just before leaving home, I looked up this sailing on the RC web site and saw that there were still some window and balcony cabins available. Much like an airline with available first class seats, I figured RC would rather get SOME money for them, rather than leave them empty. I also figured that there may have been some Category X bookings (where you book at lower cost without knowing your cabin assignment) RC would prefer to fill with inside cabins. Happy to give ours up for something nicer! I’m about to commit another breach of protocol (perhaps) by talking about costs. It’s discussed very little on the boards, and maybe there’s a rule about it somewhere. I think its valuable info to have for comparison purposes, and to give folks an idea of what is possible for what costs. I also know that costs of exactly the same type cabin on the same cruise can vary greatly depending on when, and with whom, you book. I know I may have received a better deal than some, and have no disdain for those who may have done better than I. We paid just under $1200 for 3 of us in the inside cabin on 8—a Category K room. When asking the agent at check-in about upgrading, she completed the process for checking us into our assigned cabin, and then directed me to the Pier Coordinator which had its own section in the check-in area. There was no line there, which I believe was a very good thing. I got the impression the available cabins go out first come, first served. My minimal Crown and Anchor membership (only 2 cruises) may have helped the cause, but as I was among the first to inquire, I’ll never really know. It sure does feel like whatever the case, GET THERE EARLY if you want a shot at upgrading. I did not expect to get anything for free, but again, board discussion never really made that clear in my mind. I went in prepared to pay up to $500 additional for a window cabin. I asked, and they had none, but was offered a Junior Suite (Category C). Two beds (or Queen), sofa bed (rather than a bunk/Pullman), nice-sized sitting area, refrigerator, a bathtub, and of course the ultimate Holy Grail—a balcony. Can’t be in my league I thought. The cost? An additional $600. Sold!! So the grand total for us was $1800 for a cabin just about as big as a standard-sized hotel room. The only comparison I have is the early booking rate in the brochure which says $1189 per person for this cabin. And even if a travel agent could do better, I doubt it would get down to $600 each. This seemed like one heckuva deal to me. The cabin was 8078, the last aft balcony cabin on the port side. Great for privacy and low noise, but more walking required than if we were further forward. That’s NOT a complaint—just an observation, and quite good for working off the additional calorie intake! So new Sea Passes were issued, and it’s on to get your picture taken for ship ID purposes. A very painless process. Then it’s down the gangway, and after months of preparation and anticipation, we were on the Enchantment of the Seas. The Ship For those of you still with me, the details will continue. I’ve seen very little written about Enchantment compared to other ships, and will try to fill that void now. You board the ship on Deck 4, with the Centrum spanning 4 decks high above you. This seemed more elegant than what I remember about Majesty, with the colors here primarily gold, silver and white compared to the multi hues of the Centrum on Majesty. The Enchantment felt more up-scale. A minor disappointment was the lack of a welcome drink which was provided on Majesty. Those with younger children were immediately met by reps from Adventure Ocean with info about the programs, but mainly to get the kids “tagged.” Those under a certain age (9 or 10?) must wear a color-coded wristband for the duration of the cruise. For security reasons I imagine, and it certainly helps with locating “lost parents” of which we did have one incident during the trip. Deck 4 is the location of the Champagne Terrace, located mid-ship. This is a very open lounge area, with a small bar, lots of seating and windows galore. There was a piano player, some form of strings and a singer that were performing individually or collectively for what seemed like 24/7. It was not really an imposition I guess, but you could hear this music from almost any level in the middle of the ship while waiting for elevators, or using another area (like the Internet Café). The whole scene reminded me of the old Saturday Live bit with Bill Murray playing the lounge singer. This guy was better of course, but I was pretty sure he’d be singing “Feelings” at any moment. Forward are cabins, and aft is the lower level of the My Fair Lady dining room. No other public areas on this deck. Nothing but cabins below on decks 2 and 3, so I’ll continue the tour working our way up. On Deck 5 aft is the upper level of My Fair Lady (more on the dining room later). Moving forward, you pass by the Centrum and the elevator bank—glass enclosed through the Centrum, as well as the regular kind. Just beyond the elevators are the Purser’s and Explorations desks, and beyond that is Casino Royale. We’re not big gamblers, but I always “contribute” when I get the chance. The video poker and slots seemed really tight, and I probably didn’t drop 50 bucks in there the whole cruise. Continuing forward is the main level of the Orpheum Theatre. The shows are held here, as well as some of the games. Amazingly enough, you can’t get here without walking through the casino. On Deck 6 aft is the Carousel Lounge, which is sort of “night-clubbish” in appearance. A bar, a band stand, dance floor and lots of cocktail table seating. Obviously, there was some dancing here, some games, and the Captain’s Reception. Going forward, if you veer off to the port (left) side you’ll come to the Fascinating Rhythm Lounge. Totally unused this cruise as far as I could see. Maybe a shopping talk. And the one time we walked through it, I noticed it had no bar. Perhaps just a lounge in the truest sense of the word. Directly across on the starboard side is the Schooner Bar. A dead ringer for the one on Majesty, and probably for all the ships in the fleet. This had a piano bar in it, with the “Piano Man” going at it every night from Happy Hour on. He seemed to be drawing good crowds—never an empty seat at the piano. And when folks knew the words they sang along, which was clearly welcomed by the guy. We enjoyed this location for a happy hour or two, and a good spot to watch the sunset from inside if the ship is going in the right direction. In between these two lounges is the Conference Center. Never appeared to be accessible, which was fine as I had no conferences planned for the cruise. Continuing forward on Deck 6 you come to the Centrum balcony once again (Feelings, nothing more than feelings . . . . ), and just beyond is the Photo Gallery where you can see the ugly, bedraggled snap of you taken after a long day of travel. Just past the gallery are the shops. About the same variety as on Majesty, but this seemed more congested to me. On Majesty, the shops surrounded the Centrum, and felt more open and mall-like. Here, they seemed closer together, strung along winding narrow passageways. But of course the liquor, sunglasses, clothing and souvenirs are all still available and your Sea Pass is more than welcome! Finally on Deck 6 furthest forward is the upper level of the Orpheum Theatre. Note that you can get here without walking through the casino, but not without walking through the shops. Don’t you just love a good marketing floorplan?!?! This theatre by the way looked very much like the Chorus Line Lounge on Majesty. Deck 7 is mainly cabins, with a Card Room (port) and a Library (starboard) on either side of the Centrum area. Never made it to either of these spots, so nothing to report. I did notice they were both enclosed areas (with doors). Deck 8 is also mainly cabins with the Internet Café (port) and the Crown and Anchor Study (starboard) on either side of the Centrum. These are both open areas, which is fine for the internet area, but problematic for the C&A Study. The internet had more stations than Majesty, and I did break down once to check e-mail at 50 cents a minute. Got in and out for 5 bucks. The C&A Study also serves as the Cigar Lounge, which is odd considering the aroma (I call it stink) is available for any passer-by to “enjoy.” It is very nice in appearance, but my two cents says it should be enclosed. Deck 9 is where we spent a whole lot of time. Let’s start forward and work aft. The Windjammer Café is at the front, and is a slightly different configuration than on Majesty. On Enchantment, the Windjammer seating is mostly inside and on the same level as the buffet lines. On Majesty there is lots of seating on the level above, mostly outdoor. The Enchantment seating arrangement is in the shape of an upside down U as you face forward. Windows all around, and the front provides exceptional views. The extended sides of the U make up buffet lines on each side. In the center of the U is the waffle, pancake, French toast, biscuits and gravy area for breakfast, desserts in this area for lunch and dinner. Looks like it’s time to start commenting on the food. We are not food connoisseurs, but know and enjoy a good meal when we see one. We are not regular patrons at 5-star establishments and maybe that tells the tale, but in our opinion there was absolutely nothing wrong with any meal, at any location, on this ship. Breakfast was the best. All the unhealthy food you’re not supposed to have too much of, available for you to take in unlimited quantities! I went back and forth between waffles with strawberries and eggs (there is an omelet station), but every day included bacon, sausage and hash browns—the good crispy kind you get at fast food outlets. And if I felt like going over the edge, I’d throw in a donut and a cinnamon roll. Needless to say, I missed a few lunches due to the size of breakfast. Lunches in the Windjammer were good too, but not the type of selections I would normally have for lunch. The items were more like dinner including a carved meat of the day, ribs, fried chicken, baked fish, stir fry, lots of various potatoes and veggies. There was also a sandwich bar that had pre-made wraps that looked good, as well as a guy making huge subs and cutting them into individual portions. You might have been able to get a made-to-order sandwich there, but I’m not sure. Didn’t ask. And no review would be complete without commenting on the coffee. No winner there, but we all know that. But I refused to give in to buying any Seattle’s Best in case the lousy coffee was another marketing ploy to get us to spend more money on the good stuff. So, ½ to ¾ of a cup, add hot water, throw in double the amount of sugar you’re used to and voila! It works, and it won’t kill you. Interestingly, there is a Seattle’s Best sign on the Windjammer coffee urns. Heading aft on Deck 9 from the Windjammer is the main pool. Salt water, about 5 feet deep, very nice, and plenty of chairs, including a fair portion of the fabric kind with a little built-in pillow. The rest were of the plastic strap variety. Shade could be found on the section of the deck covered by the sun deck above. The 4 hot tubs were situated around and near the pool unlike Majesty where they were set pretty far away on either end of the pool. The hot tubs were a popular spot, but I could live without getting in one. The one time I tried, I found one uncrowded but as I approached, the pool attendant was clearing it of people. I asked if he was closing it down, and he said no. It was just full of unattended children under 12 and he was enforcing the rules. I gave him a hearty “You da man!” and soaked alone for a while until I was discovered by others. At the aft end of the pool is the pool bar, probably the busiest on the ship. Continue aft, and on both sides you see protected areas where ping-pong tables were set up, and just beyond there is the door to the Solarium on the port side, and the entrance to the Ship Shape Center (gym) on the starboard side. The Solarium is the indoor pool with a retractable roof. The roof wasn’t open very often to my knowledge, but even if it was you couldn’t get much sun in there unless the angle was just right. Good for a windy or bad weather day though. It seems the Solarium became the de facto hangout for the teenage set, especially in the evenings. Definitely not in an obtrusive way by any means. The few times I went in there to escape the noise and swim a few laps were very pleasant. Probably a good time to comment on kids and teens in general, and many were aboard. It was Easter break after all, and we expected nothing less. The good news is I found no evidence of the horror stories we’ve all read on the board about out of control kids. Younger children would shriek and laugh in the pool as expected, and the teens would gather in little packs around pool chairs or in the Solarium and gossip about each other. Since the hot dog, hamburger, pizza and French fry stand was in there, it made perfect sense that they would gather there. Lots of kids seemed to know each other, or got to know each other quickly, and all appeared very well behaved. I heard lots of Yes Sirs and No Ma’ams when encountering adults not their parents, and was pleasantly surprised considering all I’d read. Kudos to these kids AND their parents for being great cruise companions. No review on the gym as I was too busy eating sausage, bacon , potatoes, ribs and cheesecake to ever get in there. Deck 10 is the Sun Deck and jogging track. Tons more chairs, and actually a better spot for sunning in my opinion to escape the frenetic pool activity. The Adventure Ocean Club for kids is forward on this deck, as well as the Fantaseas Lounge for teens. The V-deck (video games) is also here. The activities for kids seemed well organized and well attended. The teens however were another story. We knew we were taking a chance bringing my son (16) along without a friend, but had convinced him there would be others in his shoes, and the teen activities would serve as good ice-breakers. Wrong. The teens tended to do their own thing as I’ve often read here, and the programs for 15-17 year olds were poorly attended. I think the planned activities would have served the teens well, but I imagine they were all just too cool to be bothered. Credit to my son for trying to seek things out, but to use his words, activities were “lame.” But he managed to scrounge up a ping-pong match with a same aged opponent, frequented the Solarium snack bar on his own, climbed the rock wall (Deck 10 aft), enjoyed general exploration of the ship and totally loved the food. He had a good time, but will definitely bring a friend on the next cruise. Also on this deck are shuffle board courts and nine little putting greens, each being different with various undulations and faux sand traps. You finally reach the top of the ship at Deck 11 in the Viking Crown Lounge. Unlike Majesty, the VC on Enchantment is the adult disco. On Majesty it was a more intimate lounge that reminded me of a roof-top hotel bar. Here, it’s much bigger with a dance floor, lots of seating, and a second level that juts out over about half of the lower level. The elevators open up right on the dance floor. Pretty neat. The Itinerary It’s time to move on to ports, activities and excursions. Day 1 – Ft Lauderdale I’ve already mentioned the check-in and boarding process. Lunch was available in the Windjammer and included carved steamship round among other goodies. The cabin was not quite ready upon boarding, but we were able to drop our stuff off with no problem. This is when we first met our cabin attendant Ashley (male) from Jamaica I think. The room was set for 2, and we advised him we were three. Also asked for the queen bed to be converted into twins. Perhaps an odd request, but no romance this trip with our son along so we might as well have our own space! We peeked to see the sofa bed wasn’t made up yet, but had no fears. There was already ice in the bucket so I proceeded to unpack my collapsible cooler, filled it with my smuggled goods and poured the ice over top. The cooler leaks a bit, so I put it in the bathtub for the moment. Saw Ashley on the way out to tell him we already needed more ice, and not to worry if he saw a foreign object in the tub. We came back less than an hour later to find the beds separated, the sofa bed made up, the third life jacket laid out for the muster drill, the ice bucket re-filled AND my cooler in the tub also filled to the top with ice! Knew right away we had a winner here. Ashley had already earned gratuities above the average. The muster drill was painless, and over and done in less than 20 minutes. Sail away was slightly late (5:15) due to waiting for RC booked flights to arrive (remember the thunderstorms?), and as you would expect, the calypso and steel drum band was playing away poolside and foo-foo frozen drinks were available in abundance. Yes, we gave in, bought 2 and toasted the beginning of a great vacation. We opted for second seating dinner, which is another matter of personal preference, but highly recommended. We like it as it allows for a more relaxed approach to dinner, lounging by the pool until the last bit of sun fades, a pre-dinner drink in one of the lounges or on your balcony and plenty of time to clean up after the day’s activities. It’s not for everyone, especially if you have smaller children who will be dining with you. And if you think you’ll be hungry while waiting to eat that late, think again. A couple of pieces of cheese pizza from the Solarium snack bar make for a good appetizer. Second seating required we attend the 7:00 Welcome Aboard Show (9:00 for first seating guests) if we were so inclined. We were. The show was in the Orpheum Theatre, and this was our first glimpse of the infamous Cruise Director, Matt Baker. He was all he was made out to be on the various board posts. Apparently, he’s only recently back from his 2 month break and is clearly refreshed and revitalized. Now the cynic in me says that he’s just an outgoing, corny, over-the-top guy that sometimes reaches too far. But that’s probably in the official job description, so he’s a perfect fit. The Cruise Director we had on the Majesty was good, but didn’t have nearly the amount of energy Matt does. He told a few stale jokes to get things started, then introduced Billy Prudhomme, a comic juggler. He was pretty entertaining, and his dialect and verbiage reminded me of Nathan Lane. He used an audience “volunteer” for one of the juggling bits which was quite funny. A word of caution though. This is a family show, but I’ve have to rate it at least a PG-13, keeping in mind a PG-13 by today’s standard might be a bit harsh for some folks. No Howard Stern-like material, but some bathroom humor and a little sexual innuendo. Not a big deal, but you might want to be prepared if you’re easily offended or have small ones. Overall, a good starting show. We had previously seen the My Fair Lady dining room during our afternoon exploration while finding our assigned table. Wanted to look like we knew what we were doing when we got there! But to see it in the evening, full of diners and staff, and with the piano and violin music in background, is another story altogether. A much better atmosphere than the dining rooms on Majesty. Very classy with subdued lighting, and the balcony seating with the large staircase flowing to the lower level gives the whole thing a sort of Titanic feeling to it (before the third reel). Our waiter was Archie from the Philippines, and the assistant waiter was Anton from Bulgaria. Service was over the top as it has been for so many others I’ve read about here. Things ran like clockwork, and while the actions are likely quite scripted, we didn’t really get that feeling. Really felt like we were the only people they were waiting on each night. The table arrangement was a slight disappointment. I originally requested a table for 6, but got to thinking that it might be tough to get a good mix with only 3 remaining spots. I changed it to 10 with the idea that not only we, but my son, might meet some people to enjoy the cruise with. Well, the request for 10 apparently didn’t get through and we were still at a 6 person table, and the other 3 spots were vacant for the entire cruise. Whether they were never assigned, or the folks were just Windjammer patrons, we’ll never know. My son was relieved not to have to eat with “strangers” (typical 16 year old rookie cruiser I guess) but I was counting on this as a way for him to make a friend or two. Life went on just fine. It’s here that I’ll say that I remain completely baffled by the negative comments on the food on RC ships. We had no problem with the food on Majesty, but REALLY had no problem with the Enchantment choices. Maybe it’s my Applebee’s mentality, and I’ll grant you the dining is not 5-star French cuisine, but we thought it was excellent. Didn’t see the dreaded “Ranch Steak” on any menu, unless it was the strip listed each evening under the alternative choices. No matter—the main selections were all we could handle. I should have asked for a copy of each night’s menu to help my memory, but I’ll do the best I can without. 4 or 5 appetizers were available each night, always including a couple of soups. Usually just one salad option, but always a little different than the night before. I’m not a salad eater, so when my wife had hers, I had a second different soup. Tomato bisque, chicken consommé, lobster bisque, minestrone and the most interesting favorite, a cold banana soup topped with croutons. The list goes on. The first night I had prime rib, requested medium rare and delivered that way. Perfection. I can’t recall the exact dessert that night, but I guarantee you it was something chocolate and decadent. Dinner went on until about 10:15, after which we proceeded to the Viking Crown for 70’s night. How could a forty-something resist?!?! This is where Matt Baker put in his appearance as Austin Powers in full regalia including the ruffled shirt and bucked teeth. I’ll overlook the fact that the Austin Powers movies take place in what I perceive to be the mid to late 60’s. But Matt needs a place to do his shtick, and this is as good a place as any I guess. The RC singers and dancers did a tribute to Abba (somehow I suffered through), followed by an appearance by RC’s version of the Village People. All good fun, but our favorite part was all the music that took us back to our days of polyester and platforms. OK—I admit it—I was a Disco Duck. But I’ll tell you this. The Viking Crown is never more crowded than on 70’s night. In fact, we never went back for any longer than to see the place was virtually empty every night after that. End of Day 1—WHEW!! Day 2 – Key West More weather woes this morning. Awoke at about 4:30 AM to serious thunder and lightening. Visions of Gilligan and the Skipper dancing in my head. But the good news was, the seas remained fairly calm, so no worries with the hope that this storm would also blow over for our day in Key West. At 7:30 AM, still stormy, but land was in sight. Always a good sign. I enjoy watching the ship pull in and tie up, but as the rain was blowing sideways, I took refuge in the Viking Crown. A good 360 view, if not as close as you’d like. This is where I had my first (and only) encounter with what I have no choice but to call a “Cruise Idiot.” Sounds real snobbish on my part, but sometimes you just have to wonder about some people. He seemed a bit younger than I, and joined me near my perch in the VC. Docking was scheduled for 7, so clearly we were behind. He says, “Any word on what’s going on? Anybody gonna tell us anything?” “What do you mean?” I ask. “We were supposed to dock at 7. What’s the story?!?!” As the Viking Crown as floor to ceiling windows, the lightening was still flashing and the guy didn’t appear to be blind, I was baffled. I said that while I may be going out on a limb here, my bet would be we’ve been held up by the rather severe weather. “You think so?” was his ingenious reply. With lightening still striking, and the rain falling in no set pattern, I felt it was a good guess. I suppose he went straight to the purser looking for a free cruise. And to set the record straight, we did find out later than there are “holding patterns” for ships, just as there are for airplanes. As much as I would have enjoyed meeting Mary Ann and Ginger that day, the delayed (SAFE) arrival suited me fine. Several of the RC booked excursions were cancelled. And low and behold, the weather did start to clear. A bit overcast most of the day, but no rain, and even full sun by departure. This is a short stop, with all aboard at just 1:30PM. We’d seen Key West before so no real loss for us. Did a little strolling and shopping, had the infamous chocolate-covered frozen Key Lime pie on a stick (GET ONE!), and had the obligatory drink at Sloppy Joe’s. A good day, with the rest of it spent at the pool upon re-boarding. It was formal night, and these next few things are directed more toward the novices. I’m sure you’ve read it, but a tux is absolutely NOT required. Most men are in dark suits; ladies in their “little black dresses.” There were some tuxes and long dresses, but very much a minority. I’ve quickly learned to not be excited by the approach of the ship’s photographer, but do go for the formal portraits this night. It’s totally no obligation, and really looks good with poses around the Centrum and the staircases. The fake backgrounds I can do without. And if you’re like us, when else will you get a picture of your teenager wearing a coat and tie?!?! Additional copies for the grandparents on the home scanner and printer came out great. This evening was also the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception held in the Carousel Lounge. Not mentioned on the board much, but if you’ve never done this, you should. It’s sort of a throwback to the long-gone classier cruising days. It’s literally a reception/receiving line, where one of the cruise director staff gets your name, and then introduces/announces you to the Captain. Photos taken of course. (We bought it.). Captain was quite conversational, asking where we were from, and when recognizing the area, proceeded to rattle off a few of the towns he‘d been to in the area. How he does that for several hundred passengers, I don’t know. You’re then seated by spiffily dressed, white-gloved waiters, and offered complimentary cocktails—always a plus! Champagne, Bicardi Cocktail, Tom Collins or Fruit Punch for the kiddies. Seconds available. There’s an orchestra playing, set up on the bandstand like Lawrence Welk or Guy Lombardo, and dancing—the old-fashioned kind—is welcomed. Reminded me of watching New Year’s Eve on TV before the days of Dick Clark. The Captain and his first officers all dress up in their white waist coats, and after hearing some stats about the ship, each is introduced. All in all, a real nice pre-formal dinner event I think. At dinner, passengers followed the attire for the evening, but there were some exceptions. I wish RC would enforce the dress code (at least the coat and tie), but I guess that’s asking too much of a paying passenger. The biggest problem was my son saying, “THAT guy’s not wearing a tie!” He was lucky we let him wear khakis. My selection tonight was a tenderloin (filet), delivered medium-rare as requested, and once again excellent. The left-over wine from the night before was waiting for us at the table when we got there. Can’t recall the exact dessert, but once again, rich and high calorie. After dinner, we took in the Battle of the Sexes, also in the Carousel Lounge. This was a Family Feud style game with the men against the women. Got there late, so I don’t know how they divided things up. The “families” seemed to be just about anyone who wanted to play, and I’m not sure how the people who actually went up to answer were picked. Had a podium with buzzers and electronic scoreboard just like the real thing. Very high turn-out, but mostly the younger set. Late teens to late twenties I’d say. Not a deterrent, and their level of energy made it fun. One of the young men disputed a ruling, and I was surprised (pleasantly?) to hear one of the staff say if whining was his thing, there was a spot for him in the Adventure Ocean Club. OUCH!! After this, I went to the “Sweet Dreams” production show (Orpheum Theatre) put on by the RC singers and dancers. A bit too artsy--and almost ballet-like--for me, so I left after the first number. Time to close another long day anyway. Day 3 – Cozumel Was greeted in Cozumel by full sun and warm temps. But the wind was whipping pretty good, and once again several excursions were cancelled. No problems with docking at the International Pier, and watched every last bit of the process from our balcony. As adventurous types, we booked no excursions through RC, preferring to do things on our own. The plan called for a snorkel stop at Dzul-Ha, lounging, eating and drinking at Paradise Beach, wrapping up with some shopping in town and at the pier. All went off without a hitch. With beautiful weather, it was a lot more crowded getting off the ship. So we snaked through the line starting at the 2nd deck and winding down the staircase. Anxious to get going, but no big deal really. To make your way to taxis, you’re herded past some shops (I can assure you, good marketing exists beyond US shores) to the taxi queue. This was a zoo! There was a line with a few “dispatchers,” but I’m not sure how official it all was. Taxi rates to many spots posted, so no issues with costs. The line moved OK, but they were trying to match up group size with taxi size. Larger groups to the vans, smaller like us to a standard-sized vehicle. But neither the line, nor the order of arrival of the taxis, had any order to them. Easily solved by setting up lines based on party size, if anyone at the Cozumel port is reading this board. Made our way to Dzul-Ha for 12 bucks, and without incident. No charge for this location. The beach here is small, rocky and very primitive, with rock/stone stairs to walk down into the water. There are lounge chairs and tables with umbrellas. There’s a little shack that serves as a nice bar, where we chose to stick with bottled and canned drinks, just to be sure. Dzul-Ha was promoted as the best land-based snorkeling on the island, and in our view it was nothing to write home about. Other spots around the Caribbean may have unduly influenced us, and with the wind, things were stirred up. But even on a calm day, I’m not convinced there would have been a good show. If you’ve never snorkeled before, this would still be the place on Cozumel, and you’re sure to enjoy it. The off-shore boat trips to the reefs would probably be excellent (but cancelled that day due to wind). Was concerned about “hailing” a cab to get to Paradise, but the barkeep helped us out, and it was no problem. 6 more bucks in fare, and we were at Paradise. If you’ve read about it here, or on the Cozumel board, we can tell you all that’s written is true. The entrance is landscaped, manicured beautifully, and lined with palm trees. Under the big pavilion is the bar with several tables, which leads to the pristine, white sand beach. The wind continued its assault, and the advertised beach toys of the “iceberg” and water trampoline had been hauled to shore for safety’s sake. Kayaks were available. Plenty of chairs and umbrellas, although as a late arrival (1 PM) I think we got the last of the chairs, and opted for palm tree shade instead of an umbrella. I don’t think any were left. There are very clean changing rooms and an outdoor shower to wash off sand and salt. The restrooms were also spotless, although there was a plumbing problem that day. You get nervous when you hear that, but it was nothing more pressing than having the workers occasionally having to manually fill the toilet tanks with water. We couldn’t tell any difference. Probably more hassle for the women than the men. As of this day, April 14, all this was still free. I say it that way because I can’t believe the “No Charge” policy can remain in effect much longer. The place is just too nice, and the service is just too great. So to do our part—and we would have anyway—we ordered up a bucket ‘o beers, and had some wraps and burgers. About 50 bucks altogether for the 3 of us. If you go, patronize the restaurant and bar, and help keep access free. Another taxi back to town ($18 and plentiful at Paradise), and we started spending our money on fridge magnets, Christmas ornaments, ash trays and all those other trinkets so important to buy at these ports. A final 6 bucks back to the ship, and our Cozumel day was complete. Tonight’s pre-dinner show was The Beatlemaniacs. Four guys with the looks and costumes of the Fab Four. Enjoyed Happy Hour at the Schooner bar before the show. This was a good show. No mistaking for the real thing, but they played (live) the hits from the various stages, dressing the part as they looked in Ed Sullivan days, Sgt Peppers and the final (freaky) look with Let It Be. Everybody sang along, and we twisted and shouted as well. Tonight was lobster (and shrimp) night. I was polite, and figured I’d worry about seconds later if I felt it was appropriate. Then I saw the table next to us have double portions delivered right from the git-go, and I knew I’d made a mistake. Still and all, it leaves me with a feeling of taking advantage, which I know is allowed, but feel will somehow come back to haunt us with increased pricing. However . . . . . when asked by the waiter if all was well, I said tongue-in-cheek I probably should have ordered a second tail. No sooner asked than delivered. Guess I’ll just pay the increase! The late entertainment tonight for us was the Love and Marriage game show—the take-off on the Newlywed Game. It was held in the Orpheum Theatre. We not only attended this on our Majesty cruise, but were picked to play, and won! You can become no more famous than when having intimate questions and answers replayed on cruise TV for a couple days. We were even stopped in the airport on the way home. For this, Matt Baker did a much better job of hosting and entertaining than our Majesty CD. The players were selected based on length of marriage, but then had to do something wacky and be judged by audience applause. Not much new here—most annoying relative, weirdest habit, strangest place for whoopee, etc. With Matt’s accent, he was able to pull off a convenient mispronunciation when asking for the husband’s favorite “condiment,” and he sort of slurred the word. Most folks saw it coming, and only one contestant fell for it. Still funny though. One husband shyly admitted his favorite brand. And if you haven’t figured this out, you probably shouldn’t go to the show. And of course, we’re just about in “R” range with this one, so govern yourself accordingly when considering kids’ attendance, although there were some there. After this was the Dancing Under the Stars party at the pool. Lots of calypso music, limbo dancing, conga lines and waiters spinning trays and juggling liquor bottles. A standard barbeque buffet was available poolside at midnight. Another action-packed day comes to an end. Day 4 – Belize This is a tender port, and with the interesting weather we’d had thus far, we were prepared for cancellation. But the gods were in our favor, and it was game on. The harbor must be extremely shallow for quite a distance out. The tender ride—fairly comfortable 70-person skiffs—was about 20 minutes. About the length of the ride from St Thomas to St John if you’ve ever done that, but at top speeds so the distance must be further. All excursions were on that day, so we took our time getting off as those folks get priority. Here’s another caution on timing. The clocks on the ship had been set back to central daylight time back at Cozumel, and were assured there was no time difference on shore at Belize. WRONG!! Because it’s an hour earlier on shore, no one was late for anything, but be advised. We could have taken even more time to get there. When the clocks change again in the fall, Belize will be the same as central standard time. As mentioned, we booked no excursions through RC. But there was a lot of good press about X-Stream Cave Tubing on these boards, so we’d booked that in advance ourselves via the web a few weeks ahead of departing. $60 a head vs $99 for a similar trip through RC. And an additional cave to boot. This was the highlight of the trip. We were met at the tender dock (as opposed to the Tourism Center courtyard as directed in our e-mail confirmation), by Richard paid our balance in cash (20% deposit on the web via CC) and off we went. We were hooked up with Emmanuel who would serve as our driver and guide all day. There were only 9 of us, all from Enchantment, which made for a very manageable group. The drive through the Belize countryside to the caves was about an hour. Not much to see. More lush than Cozumel, with mountains (where we were headed) in the distance. Emmanuel provided some commentary along the way, which was mildly interesting. You get to the park where he provides you with a truck tire tube and a life jacket (required). We took old garden sneakers with us with the intent of disposing of them immediately upon completion of the tour. Didn’t throw them away as the locals took them to have available as spares. I don’t like renting bowling shoes, so I’m definitely not sure about using someone else’s wet cave shoes! The walk was about 45 minutes along the river to the cave entrance. Emmanuel pointed out lots of trees and plants that are used locally for medicinal or nutritional purposes. Also a dry cave that we stepped into far enough to look up and see bats resting peacefully and hanging from the ceiling. Interestingly, Emmanuel was in and out as fast as the rest of us! You plop down into your tube into a lagoon-looking area, and proceed to float down river into the first cave. And it’s a serious cave. Pitch black, but you also have a miner’s light on your head. Lie back, let the light point to the ceiling, and enjoy all the various formations. There’s some minor “rapids” along the way to gently move you along. And then there’s another cave—also long and winding—that ends with a little rapids area while still in the cave. Neat stuff. The guide gets out of his tube, and stands there to be sure you catch the flow and head the right way. Very safe, but we had a very nervous lady in our group. I felt bad that she was too worried to enjoy it, but at the end said she’d do it all again! At the second cave we saw other groups “putting in.” That proves the point about the cave we got to see up stream that they obviously did not, and the groups size was 30-50 easy. Clearly cruise ship excursions to be avoided like the plague. That said, if you’re worried about timing and don’t mind the extra cost for less of a tour, go for it. Included for us at the end of the trip was a bottle of water and a mess of fruit cut fresh by Emmanuel. There was also a snack shack there (you can’t really call it a restaurant) where you could buy other drinks, alcohol or not, and food if you wanted it. The lunch available—which you order before you start the walk if you want it—consists of a quarter (maybe a half) of barbequed chicken, rice, beans, a small salad, a slice of fried plantain and a nice hunk of toasted garlic bread. Definitely a feast. And the cost for all this? $5 US!! Buy it even if you’re not hungry and take it with you! Back to the Belize tourism village and the tender dock with enough time to buy more trinkets, and have a drink at the Wet Lizard. Remember the time difference when planning your return. Last tenders are set on ship time. We kept watches with each time on them. Tonight was Caribbean night in the dining room, and I had some form of roasted lamb. Once again, no complaints at all. Dinner was followed by attendance at The Quest game held in the Carousel Lunge. Have read many stories, but had never seen this up close and personal. It’s a scavenger hunt that takes place only within the room, and requires finding and bringing up to Matt things as varied as the day Cruise Compass to an EMPTIED ladies purse. Envision all the contents flung across the dance floor to be the first in. It quickly gets R rated when the men are asked to come forward wearing a bra on their head. Don’t know whether that was more enjoyable, or watching you ladies do that thing you do where you can remove that thing while removing nothing else. A riot either way. The ladies are asked to come up with TWO pairs of men’s pants. I think I could have lived without knowing what percentage of the men on the cruise are “boxers or briefs!” Men had to put on lipstick and slip on ladies shoes. And it goes on. Again, mind your P’s and Q’s with young ones, although there were some there, and there was even one young man 12 or 13 that participated. Basically harmless stuff, but a personal call for sure. The next event was the viewing of the grand chocolate buffet in the My Fair Lady dining room. Yes—just VIEWING. What’s up with that? Well, it’s so incredible, and so artistic, and so filled with chocolate sculptures and other stuff, that they open for pictures only for an hour before everyone starts tearing it up to get their money’s worth. It was like the Rose Parade of buffets. Just about every decoration on it was made of something edible—usually chocolate. Once again exhausted, we just couldn’t hang on till eating time at 12:30 AM, so off to bed. Day 5 – At Sea As suspected this was a windy day, and the one where we get to talk about chair hogs. I have to be careful here. Depending on the definition, I may be one myself. I was also driven by other offenders which prompts the thought, “then why not me?” Today, I had my coffee in a pool chair, and placed the second towel on the one next to me. My wife arrived, and we left our personal coffee mugs and shoes there and went to breakfast. A sacrilege I know, but it was still early, and plenty of chairs were still available. I just don’t know how this can be enforced. Once things get more crowded, how does anyone know if you’re at the bar, in the pool, or elsewhere? With all the trouble we have in the world (and on cruises), chair hogging is WAAYY down on my list of concerns. Ironically, as it got more crowded, we felt better off on the upper deck and relinquished our “prime” spot early on. The wind was tough, even for a sail day according to some of the crew. Hard to get any protection, but with the sunning blazing, it was still warm, and the tanning (and burning) process was uninterrupted. Due to the various weather issues along the way, much of the port day, pool side activities were postponed until today. This ended up being a good thing, as they were more highly attended and participation was greater. A lesson for RC perhaps? The belly flop contest was good fun--to watch. Winner by applause was a rather big guy, who quite frankly I think was beaten by a lesser statured guy with a great dive/flop. Horse racing—people with horse cut-outs moving along a track by rolls of dice—was also held today, as well as an ice carving demo. There was also a crew parade around the pool with various staff marching through, and waving little flags of their home country. And my son and I played a little bingo today. All standard stuff, but always a good time. Dinner tonight was a pretty straight-forward NY strip steak—NOT the ranch steak!! Once again, nothing but kudos all around. The two previous nights included some performance or another by the wait staff, and tonight was no exception. The third night we had the ever-present Baked Alaska on the head dance, a performance of That’s Amore on Italian night, and tonight’s farewell song was a rendition of Hey Look us Over (Give us your tips!!). OK—a bit cynical, but that is after all what these guys and gals are working toward. And earning every penny in my opinion. I decided not to worry about conserving gratuity cash, and the night before, before anyone else thought about it and got in a long line at the Purser’s Desk, added the gratuities to our Sea Pass account. They give you little coupons for each staff member that are valued at the standard amount as recommended by RC. Feel free to add more—we certainly did. The final dinner feels a lot like a high school graduation, with everyone hugging and kissing good-bye to each other and their servers. Phone numbers and e-mails being exchanged, and more flash bulbs popping than on any other night. I think a new metric for RC should be the number of photo flashes on the final night. By that measure, an overwhelming number of passengers thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. Afterwards, folks were wandering all over, taking final looks and pictures, probably hoping for a mechanical failure to keep us at sea even longer. But alas it was not to be. Day 6 – Arrival in Ft Lauderdale and Disembarking Can it be over already?!?!?! (By now you’re thinking, I hope so!) To be honest, there was a little part of my body saying, Thank God! But seriously, you hate to see it end. In summary, everything was great, the ship is gorgeous, the staff everywhere yet invisible, and you start to think about when you can next do this all again. We pulled in at about 6:30 AM, but were not cleared until almost 8:30. No problem, as we enjoyed one last leisurely breakfast in the Windjammer. Getting off—and getting on your way like we needed to--is where the carry-on luggage approach really pays off. First note, unless you are directly requested or physically removed, stay in your cabin if you like until the ship clears to avoid all the milling around that goes on in the public areas. If you’re fortunate enough to have a nice suite like we did, you won’t want to leave it. We sat on the balcony and watched the ship get loaded up for the next cruise. Now THAT’s depressing! When the first color is called, with carry-on you have none, so off you go. Immigration was a breeze, and customs had no interested in checking out our fridge magnets. From first announcement to being on the road on our way back to Wisconsin, about 20-30 minutes total. Final Thoughts Pick a cruise. Go on it. Enjoy. Repeat. And while I’m sure I’ve overstayed my welcome with this lengthy diatribe, I hope it helps some of you, and in some small way pays back for all the help and info we’ve received on this site. Questions unanswered (can there be any?!?!) gladly welcomed. Happy cruising everyone!

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Mar 1, 2004

5 day western Caribbean

We are Crown & Anchor members and can honestly say we enjoyed this cruise more than any we have ever taken. We had our son, daughter-in-law and grandson with us and can only tell you that it was fabulous. The people on board were more than eager to help a nd please us. Our "little guy" wanted to stay at "camp" which was his day care full of fun. The shows were excellent. One was the Beetlemania group who we had

seen on another RC cruise. The dining room staff were the best. We were at table 61 in the main dining room and everyone, especially our Matre D Bohatten was always at our disposal. On many lines you only see the head guy at tip time. Food was very good and we enjoyed the Windjammer room for lunch as it had several stations such as , salad bar, desserts, etc which were away from the long bar giving you a little better selection. All the shows were very good and we never miss the "newly Wed game" It is always a riot. Last but not least I must mention the casino. Look up Danielle { a Wynona Ryder lookalike) She is a special gal and also treated me well at the blackjack table. Incidentally they have a coffee and sweet roll bar in the casino at times which is different. We have sailed on larger ships and have enjoyed them all - this one was special.. By the way at the captains cocktail party the asst cruise director told us that the Enchantment had won ship of the year the previous year. Happy sailing

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Mar 1, 2004

Western Caribbean

LEAVING PORT: Handled very nicely, helpful people, no problems at all KEY WEST: Lots to see and do, most everything within a short, pleasant walk from the dock. The usual run of souvenir and t-shirt shops plus a lot more. Take the on-off trolley tour, stop at whatever interests you, get back on again. COZUMEL: OK, nothing special. Some of the excursions were OK, but be careful of the watersports - seas were very rough and choppy, snorkeling

quite difficult. BELIZE: Royal Caribbean should think about a different port. There wasn't much here and the excursions were mostly too long. THE SHIP: Is now 7 years old, just starting to show its' age. Clean, easy to get around, many diversions. THE CREW: Absolutely wonderful, well trained, helpful, excellent attitudes. DIVERSIONS ON BOARD: Many and varied. Casino is larger and more diverse than expected. Onboard shopping just OK, not too much available. Shows every night were much fun, singers and dancers worked hard to entertain us - but the talent level is about what you might expect on a cruise - OK, nothing extraordinary. Disco is quite lively. Piano bar is quite pleasant. Lots of physical activities available. Pools and whirlpools very nice. They have audience participation games almost all the time. If you don't want to take any shore excursions, you can stay onboard - there's plenty happening. THE PASSENGERS: Thankfully, not many children. Crowd was mostly younger, quite lively. THE FOOD: All you want, but nothing exceptional. Ranged from fair (at the hamburger/hot dog bar) to very good (breakfast buffet). There are two midnight buffets, limited assortment. You'll eat a lot! Here's a hint (they won't tell you about this): Buy an unlimited soft drink sticker for $30 - otherwise, it's $1.50 per soda - and you can use it for everyone in your party. VALUE: Very good, except for the excursions which seemd overpriced. You don't have to sign up onboard - at each port, there are "hawkers" selling similar local experiences at much lower cost. OVERALL: Very pleased, we would do it again.

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Jan 28, 2004

Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise for my 40th birthday. The cruise was 4 nights. We had a fabulous time and were very pleasantly surprised! The ship was simply beautiful; the staff were so friendly and attentive, the service (including room service) was first class. The disembarktion was so organized, it only took us 20 min to go through customs and exit the ship. We had a very spacious balcony room that was lovely. I would highly recommend this

ship. Our only complaint was that we needed 2-3 more days, we were definitely not ready for this wonderful cruise to end! Have fun and enjoy this one!

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Dec 8, 2003

Western Caribbean

I would like to start out by saying that Royal Carribean has redeemed itself in my opinion. 2 years ago on my first cruise, my family and I took a cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, and I was totally dissatisfied. (see earlier cruise review)...But after some thought, I decided to try Royal Carribean again and sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas...Well, I must admit that this was the one of the best vacations I have ever taken. The people

were excellent, the ship was immaculate, the food was wonderful, and the destinations were peaceful and relaxing. The room was so spacious and the room attendant was always checking on us to make sure we were satisfied...I would definitely recommend this vacation to anyone..(but still stay away from the Majesty :) )

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Jun 27, 2003

western Caribbean

Hi, First of all my name is Evelyn, this was my first cruise. My friend, Betty went with me. We flew to Fort Lauderdale, at the bottom of the escalator, we were met by a Royal Caribbean Agent, who told us since we didn't' want to buy transfers we could get a cab for $10.00, and we did and boom there was the cab and we were on the way. There was long lines to board the ship, but movement went fast. We went to our room which was an inside

room, plenty of room. Then we went to the Windjammer to eat lunch (we were starving) buffet style. very good. The ship just beautiful. Our dinner at night was very good and the service was wonderful. My friend and like the sun so on the first day we were at sea, we laid by the pool all day! It was in the 90's but with the wind blowing it didn't seem as hot as it was. Boy! Did I get a tan!! We visited Ocho Ricos, Jamaica, we went to the 40ft. falls and the 600 foot falls, we did climb them, it was awesome. The next day we went to the Cayman Islands, we had to take little boats over to the island because, they could not dock on shore, too shallow. The Cayman Islands are just beautiful and the water is so blue, it was a wonderful day so pretty, weather good. At seas again and in the sun again!, If you don't like the sun, there is all kinds of things to do on the ship, they make sure you have plenty to do. Matt the cruise director is a very funny man, and the shows they have every night in the auditorium are wonderful. This was my first cruise but it will not be my last!! If you are hesitant about going on a cruise don't be, it will be the best vacation you ever took!! Royal Caribbean staff have it going on they know what they are doing, we never waiting in line for nothing. This is by far the best vacation I have ever had!!! Evelyn Maples Kingsport, Tennessee

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Mar 30, 2003

To start my review off I can say that, that was by far the best trip I've ever been on and I can't wait to go back! Everyday all I think about is the hot weather, nice people and the beautiful places we ported at. I miss everyone from the cruise...Ravi, our server at dinner, Andre...our hostess and many more people. I loved the little animals they put on your bed after cleaning the room! Especially the monkey. The food was great, dancing

was AWESOME! There's so much to do and so much to learn from being on a cruise. I learned that threes millions of people in the world and one cruise ship has people from all over! I met people from Chicago, Detroit, Miami, and lot's of other places. People I wont forget only because I had so much fun with them! Enchantment of the Seas is DEFIANTLY the right way to go! If you have the chance to go on any kind of trip I would for sure go on a cruise! It was the best time of my life! I'm going back in 2 years and I can't wait!

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Dec 1, 2002

Western Caribbean

We started aboard Enchantment of the Seas not really knowing what to expect. The welcome was one worthy of royalty. We were shown to our cabin it was an Ocean view on the third level. The room was quite spacious as my husband and I are over 6 feet tall and not little people this was an important issue for us. We were able to maneuver around the room without bumping into each other and I felt quite comfortable inviting our friend to our

cabin. We planned our excursions ahead of time and booked them at Royal Caribbean's online excursions. I must say the excursions we took were those for people who aren't into a lot of sporting. We chose the glass bottom boat in Key West, it turned out to be awesome. The boat that we were on was called the Pride of Key West. It made me feel like I was a part of the beautiful waters. It was a new and exhilarating experience for us. The corals and fish were colorful and plentiful. Our dinner was the second seating. This turned out to be a good choice for us because we were able to relax from our excursion and come down from the last meal we had before feasting on the magnificent dinner that was served. I believe nothing beats the food and service aboard this ship. The formal dining room (My Fair Lady) was so appealing for dinner that we never ate dinner in the other restaurant we did go to the casual restaurant for breakfast and lunch (sometimes snack) I really like the information given on this website about losing weight to accommodate the weight gain that is sure to come there was a 7 pound gain for me. It is horrible but true. I put a new meaning to the word overeat. I know I stopped being hungry after the 2nd day, but I kept showing up to these meals almost as if it was magnetic. My husband who is a big guy didn't survive the chocolate buffet which took place on Thursday of our cruise. He looked at the enormous spread and said "I can't do this anymore". Well, personally, I'm not one to let perfectly good chocolate go to waste. Our head waiter was the best. He made sure we were being given the wonderful treatment he felt we deserved. I recall the day we were served lobster tails. The head waiter cut out my first bit of lobster and buttered it for me. In doing so a small amount splattered to my blouse. He was so apologetic. It was only a dab. I was not the least bit upset. He ran away and returned with a complimentary voucher for me to have my blouse dry cleaned on board the ship. What a place!!! We went to a beach party in Cozumel Mexico. For those who like to drink this is an inexpensive excursion that includes unlimited drinks and if you like being a beach bum along with it you've found paradise. There was volleyball, kayaking and some other activities if laying on a hammock doesn't strike your fancy. We were able to do this at Costa Maya as well. I only wish I would have been able to space the beach parties out more (not one right after the other) Other than that it was great. Mexico was a good place for souvenirs. Lots of colorful trinkets. Many of the shops offered entertainment while you shop. We were fascinated with the colors surrounding us. We did the majority of shopping at the Grand Cayman British West Indies. We also did the submarine excursion there. That was my favorite excursion. It was an air conditioned submarine that allowed us to be right in there with the sea life without being wet and having to snorkel or scuba dive. If you like those things, they would probably be better than the submarine. One of the best features of our cruise was the shopping couple. They gave us the wonderful highlights of where to go to buy what. They also promoted purchasing a coupon booklet that guided you to the shops that were recommended by the cruise line. There were free gifts everywhere. This helped out with our souvenirs quite a bit. The ship itself was enormous. It was elegant. There was entertainment anytime I wanted it. The live shows were great. Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees was our guest entertainer. He was great. We also an entertainer from Baltimore Tony (can't remember his last name) He did Mr. Bojangles and some other Sammy Davis Jr. songs. He was an all around great entertainer and I apologize to him for forgetting his name. There are so many things that I want to say but I believe I will be writing forever. I think of something new every time I want to end. My husband and I won #1 in the twist contest. My experience was the most memorable vacation of my life. I traveled to Germany, Korea, Resorts all over the U.S. and this was by far my favorite vacation.

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Jul 13, 2002

NOT FOUND

Lorraine Reppert We met Tom & Mary on the Enchantment of the Seas this July. They are a very interesting couple. They were very helpful and informative. We had the best cruise yet. This was our 4th. Three on the RCCL and 1 on celebrity Zenith. The people were very friendly. The crew was excellent. The ship is beautiful. It has everything you could ever want. There was food to be had at just about every hour of the day. Then you could exercise

off the extra weight in a very nice exercise room on the 9th deck. It was well equipped. The weather was perfect. Our favorite port was the Cayman Islands. It was beautiful there. The beach and the water was like a picture post card. Maybe we'll run into Tom & Mary again some time because we are hooked on cruising and will be going again soon.

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Jun 1, 2002

Western Caribbean

My mom and I took this cruise together. Embarkation: This cruise left from Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday afternoon. We were able to board any time between 2 and 5pm. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the baggage handlers who tagged our bags and took charge of them from there. They were quick to look for a tip for their efforts. The boarding process was very friendly and went very smoothly. You step up to a counter, hand over all

your pre-filled out paperwork and they give you your on board charge card which doubles as your room key. You enter at deck 4, live music is being played and your adventure begins. Day 1: Our first port of call was Key West. We took the Conch Train/Old Town Trolley Tour which was very informative. Then we took a walk through the shopping areas, but it was so hot and humid that day that I must admit we welcomed going back aboard the ship as quickly as possible. Day 2: Cozumel. Here we took the Cozumel Island Tour. It was pouring rain on and off all day that day (mostly on!). We went to the Ruins of San Gervasio – not much to see there – got soaked and bitten all over by small insects. If you go here definitely take bug spray with you! The beach stop might have been nice if it wasn’t pouring. We got our free drink but got hassled by every vendor on the property to come in to their shops and buy their goods. I think I would pass on this tour if I had to do it again. Day 3: Costa Maya. This is a location in Mexico which is clearly on its way to being developed as a huge resort destination. However, it is still under construction as I write this. Here we did the Jungle Beach Break shore excursion. The beach was beautiful and you could do as much or as little as you wished here. The only problem we had was the guide told us that the last bus back to the ship would depart at 4pm. Luckily we got up and went over to the bus location around 3:30pm and the bus was almost full and was supposedly the ‘last bus’. Everyone got transported home, but not without a few harsh words to the guide. I would definitely go here again. Day 4: At sea. Plenty of activities to do – I’ll discuss further down. Day 5: Grand Cayman. We did 2 shore excursions here. First the Grand Cayman highlights and Turtle Farm. This was quite enjoyable. Nice driver, small groups, and we saw all of the island. We stopped at the Governor’s home and got out to take some photo’s of the 7 mile beach. We also went to Hell and made a stop there for pictures and shopping. We went to the Turtle farm which was quite fascinating and we all got to hold a turtle if we wanted to. Then off to the Tortuga Rum Cake factory (FABULOUS!) – free samples and punch! Our second excursion was the Seven Mile beach break. The cost of the excursion ($18 when we went) included a beach chair and a drink at the bar. The beach break is at one of the less fancy hotels on 7 mile beach and included a changing area and bathrooms. We also ended up renting an umbrella on the beach since there was no natural shade available and it was hot! That cost us another $5. Transportation to and from the hotel was on your own and cost $3/person each way. I think I would definitely go back to the 7 mile beach but maybe not sign up for the excursion. It is very easy to get a cab right at the port and they can take you to any hotel at the beach which will rent you a chair. Far less costly that way I think. Day 6: At Sea again. So let’s discuss the amenities and such: · We had an inside cabin on the 7th Floor. I found it to be plenty spacious for an inside cabin and was very neat and clean and had tons of storage space. There is a lighted vanity with a blow dryer and TV set. The bathroom and shower are small but that’s the way it is on a cruise ship. The cabin steward was fabulous and came up with new creations for us every day. Food was available around the clock. The Windjammer café which is on Deck 9 next to the pool is where you can eat casual meals. We had several breakfasts and lunches here. Cafeteria style. Afternoon snack is also available here. There are 2 pool areas on board, both on deck 9. The main pool area is huge with lots of deck chairs, and plenty more on deck 10 overlooking the pool area. The second pool area is for adults (16 and over) and is called the Solarium. It was much quieter here and this area has a glass covered roof which retracts during nice days but can be covered if it is stormy. This area also has a snack bar service which had pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and fries pretty much all day long. Also located on deck 9 was the Spa and adjacent Gym which went up to deck 10 as well. We didn’t utilize any of the Spa services this trip – they seemed a bit high priced but I was tempted. The formal dining room is beautiful. It is on both decks 4 and 5. We sat with 2 other couples at our table and had just impeccable service the entire trip. The food was excellent. The men at the table often ordered 2 entrees though since the portions were of normal size, not oversized like we Americans are getting used to. We also had lunch in the dining room several times and lunch is generally open seating so we got to meet many other passengers. We had second seating for dinner which was at 8:30pm. At first I thought this seemed a bit late, but I would do it again. The first seating at 6pm I feel doesn’t give you a lot of time, especially if your doing shore excursions. Then if you want to do the late night shows you would have to fill that time in between. After second seating there were lots of things going on. Game shows, lounge acts, etc… The main show was performed twice. Once for main seating and once for 2nd seating. Our second seating shows alternated between 7pm some nights and 11pm other nights. I found all the shows entertaining, although sometimes a bit too loud. Activities were plentiful on board. Plenty to keep anyone as occupied or not as you wish. The club for the children on board seemed very efficiently run and we hardly ran into any kids so they must have kept them pretty occupied. The days at sea I almost felt like we had the whole ship to ourselves. We enjoyed walking the Promenade deck (5) and hardly ran into any people doing it. I often wondered where they hid the other 2000 passengers?? I suppose they were all up on the pool decks, but I didn’t frequent them much since I tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Disembarking: This was done remarkably fast and easy. Luggage was tagged with a color corresponding to your departure flight time. Luggage had to be out of your cabin by Midnight Saturday. On Sunday morning, breakfast was served in both the Windjammer café and the formal dining room. Then disembarking began. We were the 6th or 7th group off and we were out and off the ship by 9:15am. I wish I had booked a flight earlier because Ft Lauderdale airport was a disaster. You can’t check your bags unless your within 4 hours of your flight, so the airport was jammed with lots of cruise line’s passengers all milling around waiting to check in. But the cruise line was excellent with the entire farewell send off and accommodations. All in all we had a fabulous time on this cruise and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The entire crew and staff were top notch and always had a smile. You can’t go wrong sailing on the Enchantment of the Seas!

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May 25, 2002

Eastern Caribbean

First time sailors… I first want to thank Tom and Mary Milano of Florida who have sailed so many seas and taken the time to write about their experiences so those of us not knowing a thing might benefit. We would never have gone on a cruise without reading your many wonderful descriptions of your past trips. Tom and Mary….Thank You! Sitting in front of my computer at the office one cold day last January…..still suffering from the

post-Christmas “let-downs”, I was thinking about the up coming summer and what was I going to do vacation-wise to surprise the special lady in my life Shirl. I have had the opportunity through the military and as a civilian government employee to see many places….but Shirl hasn’t. I knew that a trip to the shore for several days in a hotel wouldn’t satisfy me although she would think we had won the lottery! How could we go first class, combine sun, sand, warm weather, luxury, our enjoyment of good food and wine, and a little touch of dress-up class you just couldn’t get in rubber flip-flops around the resort pool for a week…without selling your car! I then typed into my computer the magic letters….C-R-U-I-S-E…..and “bam” as the famous cook says…..I was introduced to a whole new world! Cruise deals….simply click here! Go around the world on a ship for only $212 per person (restrictions apply). The cheapest cruise deals in the world….we pay you to come on the ship…simply click here! Oh! Oh! Just as I thought….it was like a country boy walking down the midway of the fair….see this! Buy this! Great deals here! Gaaaaa Leeee said Gomer! Then…I saw a little light pop up on the screen that said…CruiseReviews.com. This is it, now I will see hundreds of letters from suckers like me who thought they could go on a luxury ship, dine like a state dinner at the White House, rub elbows with people from all over the world and lay on the beach of a tropical island for a couple of thousand dollars and have found a place to whine about it when they didn’t! Mr. Tom Ogg has created a special place for folks like us to go. Page after page of information to lead us non-cruisers through the fog! To bring our little ships of insecurity safely into the harbor of Ogg! Excuse me Tom…I got a little carried away there…but you get the idea how glad I was to see, in the night, the beacon of the CruiseReviews lighthouse! OK…I’ll stop! I couldn’t wait to get home that night and scan page after page of information. To learn about the different cruise lines and the different ships. Eastern and Western Caribbean, first seating, second seating, and I was soon an expert. I made several new friends too, when I emailed to ask questions of fellow reviewers who spent much of their time answering about any subject, giving tips and remembering places that served that special drink….or the name of a taxi driver that gave a free guided tour along with the cab ride. Faithful companion Shirl (like a family puppy who will jump in the car to go anywhere) and I were soon hooked on cruising. A phone call to our friend the travel agent shortly brought a swirl of brochures and information. First, we are in our mid-fifties and didn’t want to be part of the “drink and drown” crowd who spend all day in the sun and all night in the disco, drinking all the while, but at the same time we didn’t want to get on board a rest home outing that served prune juice three times a day and gave lectures on medic-aid benefits in between naps! (More prune juice is sold in South Florida then anywhere else in the country by the way). We soon learned that Royal Caribbean seemed to be the middle of the road company. Special programs for the kids, a few honeymooners, pretty good food in a real dining room, a dress-up night and a piano bar with a tune or two written prior to 1970. We started with a budget figure (dictated mostly by what was in the savings account at the time) and soon were booked on the Enchantment of the Seas…for a Memorial Day…5-26-02, Eastern Caribbean tour! We were off to the races! Every evening after dinner…it was the routine of dragging up chairs to the computer and see what new cruise website we can find tonight….who has answered our emailed questions today and….how much longer before we leave! I have hunted and fished all of my life and have always found the anticipation as much fun as the actual hunt. How many nights before have I oiled my reel, wiped the barrel of my shotgun for the fifth time or check the closet to make sure my hunting jacket was right there where it was a couple of days ago. I almost drove Shirl crazy making lists….destroying two closets looking for my binoculars and worrying about how I was going to get on a ship Sunday afternoon and see the Indy-500 at the same time. (I wound up listening to it on a little radio and everybody keeps asking, “What is that wire thing sticking out of Dick’s ear?” in all the photos we took that first day getting on the ship.) Thank you honey for not throwing me out of the house. We did have a ball going out on Saturday mornings to malls and sporting goods stores scavenger hunting for the things on our lists such as; the little plastic poncho’s that fit in your shirt pocket, the little plastic pill box “thing-a-ma-gig” that has S-M-T-W-T-F-S on it so you can put your pills for each day in the separate little squares so you won’t have to pack 6-bottles of medication. New toothbrushes (my last one was only 3-years old), a fold up cooler and tote bag to bring gifts back. Which was so full they almost didn’t let it on the plane coming home. All this to say, counting down to Christmas or a special occasion is still just as much fun as it was when we were kids….if you make it so! Speaking of getting back on the plane….let me say a few things about security. We did not have any big hassles from the security people except there appeared to be too many of them in each airport we moved through. But, what federal program has not first padded the payrolls with everyone they can hire to make themselves more important. I guess it’s better to have too many than too few during these times. The security is tighter the further one goes south in Florida and I am sure you can see the reasons. I saw one lady take a safety pin from a man’s shaving kit. The metal detectors at our home base in Raleigh-Durham or our stopover in Charlotte did not appear to be nearly as sensitive as the ones in Ft. Lauderdale. Coming back from the trip, one lady made me take off my shoes and even un-button my pants when the metal button set off the alarm. This was nearly a show for everybody as I almost lost my pants down around my ankles due to the extra 6-lbs I came home with….. that I didn’t take down there! One of the many tips we read was; save a larger pair of pants from your wardrobe to wear back the last day of the trip to compensate for that extra Lobster tail. Well, I laughed but if you are 6’3” and weigh 250 lbs like I do and look like an old football player….then there is more truth than fiction. I could even see the difference in my face looking at the first day’s photos and the last ones. Back to security, please read all the information in the reviews about making a photo copy at the office of your drivers license and birth certificate, putting one set in your luggage and one set back in your room on the ship just in case you are robbed or loose your wallet. Then make your own decisions. All of this stuff is good such as writing down all the medications you take and the phone number of your family doctor back home just in case. We all like to think we wouldn’t be the one to get sick or fall on a foreign island but it does happen and my theory says, always to the ones who are least prepared for it. I am not going to list all the different things to do. One can drive ones self crazy with too much preparation…but read the tips and decide for yourself. A copy of credit card numbers…drivers license numbers, insurance numbers and others could be invaluable left back home in a safe place and in your cabin on the ship, if you are the one who looses the wallet on the trip. And no, we don’t have a videotape of the inside of our house and it’s contents in case it burns to the ground one afternoon…..but we should! One of the things we noticed (and I have no facts to back this up) is we appeared to experience less hassle through every checkpoint, from our home airport ticket counter when we had to show a photo ID to the US Customs desk coming home because we had PASSPORTS. Shirl had never been issued one so we included that as one of our little adventures prior to departing. One day at lunchtime I ran by the post office to pick up the forms. Later, after dinner one night we ran out to the local Kinko’s Copy Center and had our photos taken. As long as you give the passport folks plenty of time you can get them back before you depart. We did and we used them for every security check. It just seemed to us we were eyeballed less. We did not open a bag for inspection during the entire trip. Maybe when the security people looked at an old gray guy with a pop belly and a young looking chick on my arm, the only danger I offered was to myself! And, we have the passports if we try Europe next year. Last point on security. We did see a lifeboat lowered on the outside of the ship at each stop we made, with; I assume, a local policeman or armed crewmember inside. It remained next to the ship the whole time we were in each port. By the way, we did make it a point each time we went through any type of security check or stop point to thank them for being there! We did follow one tip and bought bright red ribbon bows for our suitcase handles. 90% of all luggage is black today and so is ours so the red bows did save us a few minutes and worries more than once. Also, several people noticed and commented to us what a good idea it was and they were doing it next time. I won’t say anything about the airlines accept we American people are fools for allowing them to give us smaller and smaller seats in order to pack more cattle on board….no food….lousy attitudes….a pack of lies about why the plane is delayed….and the privilege of destroying our luggage…without saying anything about it. I understand we don’t want to be inconvenienced. We arrived at the Ft. Lauderdale airport in reasonably good shape and were met by very nice people holding up Royal Caribbean signs. We were herded to near-by busses and within minutes (only a 10-minute drive away) were unloading at the terminal in Port Everglades. The size of the big white ship behind the building was breath taking. For security reasons we watched our luggage being unloaded from the bus, identified it, and were away down the walk to enter the terminal and the fantasy world of cruising! I will have something to say about tipping later in the report but by now we had tipped the driver that picked us up at home and took us to the airport ($5), tipped the man who checked our bags on the sidewalk at the airport in Raleigh ($1 per bag), tipped the bus driver who met us at the Florida airport (he even announced on the bus PA system during the short drive to the ship, that tips to him for loading the bags on his bus would be appreciated) ($1 per bag) and finally we were met by the ship employees taking our bags from the sidewalk to the ship who announced that all tips would be appreciated…..by then…we just walked away. Within minutes we were directed from sign to sign like a maze through this large warehouse like building. Give us your forms already filled out at home, stand in this line to have your credit card made (which was used for the remainder of the trip to purchase everything on board the ship and act as your ID card), sit on this bench to fill out this form, tear this page out of your ships book, walk this way to identify your luggage, come over here to board the ship but first stop to have your new card scanned and your picture taken. From then on, every time we left the ship we scanned our cards and when we returned they scanned them again and our pictures popped up on a screen so the security guards could be sure we didn’t swap ID’s with someone on shore whose idea of a good time on board was a little different than ours! When it was time to depart the dock our Captain would check a computer, which would inform him that everyone, had their cards scanned and were back on board safely….all 2,224 of us not counting the crew. And….we’re off! I was an Army guy so I’m sure you Navy guys can explain to your ladies much better than I, how a ship works. But, these new ones are something else. They have large “pod” like motors under them that blow water out in a jet stream that can cause the ship to actually move sideways away from the dock. They also have stabilizers on them that are operated by computers. When the waves try to rock the ship one way, the stabilizers squirt out a jet of water and push it the other. We did not feel any movement on the ship for the entire 7-days other than a slight rocking twice while walking down a long hallway (yes sailors I know it’s a passageway but you don’t know how long it took me to explain port and starboard to Shirl who was born and raised in downtown Baltimore City!) We had read about the legendary “vibration” aboard the Enchantment of the Seas and it IS there. Something about the engine shafts were slightly off center when it was built which the builders won’t admit and the Royal Caribbean folks won’t comment on because they don’t want to alarm the public or start a rumor about the Enchantment being a bad ship so it all just adds fuel to the fire and causes the speculation to continue among those who are really into cruising and ships. I think it’s charming and like the stories of the ghost on board the Queen Mary ship/hotel in Long Beach! I know absolutely nothing about ships or boats although I did own a 14 – footer once long ago, but if you look at an aerial shot of the Enchantment you will see it is big and fat from the stern to about 3/4ths of the way toward the bow. It then tapers off quickly into a pointed bow area. This causes the waves to not hit they ship on the bow but come under and hit the hull about 7 cabins back from the bridge. I think the ship rides like it is a little heavy in the rear end. The so-called “vibration” is more like a bump. During dinner in the dining room we did encounter bumps that felt like someone kicking your chair as they walked by. At first I thought it was the waiter. When you were in bed at night it did wake me up a couple of times feeling like someone had kicked the bed lightly. One couple we met said they had a little Poodle at home and it felt like the dog jumped up on the bed during the night and they even found it rather comforting. I do know we felt it quite a bit more going south into the wind than we did on the return trip back to Florida with the wind at our stern. Hey, the ship made its maiden voyage on July 13th that’s what I think it is….make up your own story! So we are on the big white boat and headed out to sea, that’s all I care about! We first went to check the location of our cabin and to meet our cabin attendant. Nice chap from the Turks and Cacaos islands but absolutely no personality. We did get him to chat a little during the week and he was good at his job but he couldn’t moonlight as an MC in the theatre down stairs. But that’s OK, he kept the cabin very clean, kept ice in the bucket, and I tipped him a little to bring extra towels. We then headed out to find the dining room and our seating. We had asked for a table of 8 to 10 back when we booked the trip in January but found we were assigned a table of 4. The other couple never showed up for a single meal by the way (we and the near-by waiters jokingly called them the “honeymooners”). It would have been nice to have a big table full of folks from around the country with wonderful stories to tell, but it turned out quite charming to have a table to ourselves each evening after all. When you have breakfast or lunch in the dining room you are assigned anywhere and we did meet some interesting folks at these meals. A firefighter from Memphis, two twin sisters and their family from Texas, a New York City police detective and his wife. (told us about ground zero..wow!) And a wonderful couple from Georgia. He was a retired Colonel Army doctor and delightful people. A quick walk around the ship and we heard the announcement that we were ready to depart. We agreed then to take the stairs everywhere we went during the coming week, which we did and enjoyed. I also briefed Shirl (who could not teach a compass course at a girl scout camp but mysteriously can locate new malls and shopping centers miles away) that we slept on 7 and ate on 4. We made up a little numbered list in our heads where things were and it served us well for the trip. On the wall outside the elevators were large brass numbers telling which deck you were on. We checked back by the cabin and found half of our luggage had arrived. The Captain announced later there were 6-thosand pieces of luggage coming on board! Right in the middle of all that, it was time to attend the mandatory lifeboat drill. Each cabin is assigned a deck and a place to gather if there is any sort of emergency on board during the week and they are required by United States Law, the Coast Guard and good sense to familiarize everybody with it. Now here is a tip. Keep in mind you are going through a lifeboat drill before the ship is allowed to leave port. So when you find your cabin and you do have a suitcase or two…CHANGE INTO SOMETHING COOL! Or take a change in your carry on bag if you have to. Sometimes your checked luggage doesn’t arrive in your room until after you have sailed. You are herded to the lifeboat deck and are required to take your life vest with you and put it on when you arrive. You are also backed up against the wall about 6 people deep so you can see the instructions from the crewmember showing you how to buckle the vest. Many times this is in the sun. And…there are always a few who don’t think the rules apply to them and decide to skip the drill. Your name is checked off a clipboard and everyone has to be there. A crewmember is sent to knock on your cabin door and bring you to the drill if you don’t show. Meanwhile, several hundred fellow passengers are packed like those little sausage in a can, standing in the hot air, waiting for you to grace us with your royal presence! We didn’t see anyone but have heard stories that almost always someone passes out in the heat. We stood out there in our traveling clothes for 45-minutes. I repeat….change into something cool for your lifeboat drill and your stroll around the deck after departure. Use this time to check your place in the dining room and where the bars are and the pools, then return to your cabin to shower and rest before dinner. We didn’t change clothes and we were soaked! We returned to the cabin, showered, and cooled off a bit. I had taken a little Tennessee whiskey on board in my checked suitcase along with 8 cans of soda (we will explain all this later) so it was time to have a little toddy and celebrate the departure. Our cabin included a little balcony with two chairs, a table and a sliding glass door. I assure you it is worth every extra dollar it might cost, for we spent some wonderful times on that little patio during the next week. We watched the ship slip sideways from the pier (remember the little thruster pods) and move into the channel. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale and going through the inlet into the ocean, the ship passes within a yell of high-rise condos and houses built right on the water. It must be the local custom but everyone who was home had a 5:00 cocktail and were out in their yards or on their balconies waving and bidding the ships good bye. Some had banners and lots of American flags out, one guy even had one of those can air horns and blew it while of course our Captain blew back! We were eye to eye with some folks on the upper floors and many yelled “happy voyage or safe trip.” This was one of my favorite memories of the entire trip and we were less than an hour into our adventure. Thank you people of Port Everglades! What a wonderful way to spend a cocktail hour on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I made mention earlier of the Indy 500 and the Charlotte NASCAR race both on Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend, and that’s when we sailed. I had read on the internet that the RCL ships now have extra sports channels on the TV’s in your cabin so you can catch special sporting events. We couldn’t find the race on TV and didn’t learn until a week later as we were walking off the ship when I happen to spot a forklift on the dock loading a new satellite dish and dome, that the other one had been damaged while the ship was in dry-dock in Haiti the week before and several of the ship’s usual TV channels were missing all week. No announcement or apology was ever made which I think is poor public relations on the part of RCL. Kind of like the airlines, lie to them or better yet don’t tell them anything. Another bit of poor public relations was the Chief Engineer on board the Enchantment. One afternoon I saw him in the hallway and stopped to ask him what was done to the ship during the dry-dock the week before. He brushed me off quickly with, “Oh, just minor repairs,” and walked off. I later learned from the dining room staff that they helped work crews put new curtains up in the dining room and had done a lot of cleaning themselves during the repair days because they had to stay on board the ship for the week. The musicians and staff under contract were all sent home for insurance reasons I was told. I have never learned what work was done on the ship and would have never known about the TV dish if I hadn’t seen them loading a new one as we disembarked the ship. I did listen to the Indy race on my little portable TV with an earpiece until we were too far off shore to receive it any more. RCL has lots of demonstrations and seminars on this and that and art auctions during the week so I would like to suggest they do one during the afternoon for the boys. Get the Chief Engineer or the Captain in one of the lounges and let us guys ask technical questions about the Enchantment. Hell of a lot more fun than napkin folding if you ask me! Finally, we are sailing all Sunday night, all Monday and won’t see land again till Tuesday afternoon when we arrive in Puerto Rico, so let’s learn to be sailors. We walked around the ship again once we sailed out of sight of land and took in the spectacular architecture that is this moving hotel. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the décor and the railings and things like that because I don’t know much about them….but I do know the glass elevators going up several stories looked like space capsules launching and the artwork and the balcony and the sweeping staircase in the My Fair Lady dining room and the white piano bar at the bottom of the solarium were wonderful! We strolled through the casino that was already going strong and this proved to be the first and only time we saw it. Neither of us are gamblers plus common sense tells me that the odds of taking away any Royal Caribbean money from this place were two….slim and none! We did want to play bingo sometime during the trip because we had been told that the pot toward the end of the week gets up to 7 or 8 thousand dollars, but we found out the cards were $20 each to play and just never made it. We heard later in the week that two guys won at the same time Friday afternoon and split the pot. They were both from San Diego, California and had never met. It has something to do with the ship being launched on the 13th and the vibration and…..never mind! We did find a real pearl on the ocean during our stroll…...the ship’s library. They have a little faxed newspaper that comes from New York each day and offer it in several languages and lots of good books in case you forgot to bring one. You check them out on the honor system, which is kind of pleasant to see these days. Also here is another secret. There is a little private outside balcony in the library and if you happen to have a cabin without one this is a great place to visit late one evening after dinner while walking the decks…and maybe even steal a special kiss! We passed through the shopping mall and marveled at all the shops. It even includes a little drug store, a liquor store and lots of jewelry. All the pictures taken on the ship by the photography staff are on display in the camera store all week long. Try to remember to bring extra film for it is expensive on the ship and a battery cost me $10 bucks one afternoon. We only posed for three ships pictures. The one taken as you come onboard the ship, the one taken with the Captain at the special cocktail party Monday night and a formal portrait later in the week. The photographers are available all around the ship taking pictures during the cruise so you will have plenty of opportunities. The little ones cost $10 and the larger 8 X 10’s are $20. Back to the cabin to prepare for our first “Enchanted” meal. Shirl and I enjoy nice food and wine. I am a “foodie” which means we enjoy food as kind of a hobby and like to cook for each other and friends. I even teach a cooking class at the local community college, it’s called Basic Cooking Southern Style. I buy cookbooks from local flea markets and have a collection of more than 800 right now! But we are by no means experts in anything. We just enjoy good food and wine and strive to learn more. We watch the food channel on TV many nights instead of the Crocodile Hunter! Our wine collection is about 25 bottles and the most expensive one costs about $25 dollars so you can see we ain’t gourmets with a wine cellar. Food entered a great deal into the planning of our trip and was one of the things we looked forward to most. We booked the late seating and I planned to wear a jacket to every dinner even if it was listed as casual….just to show respect to the chief. We have had friends over to eat a meal I spent a few dollars buying and two days cooking and after a few drinks they could have been eating dog food and wouldn’t know the difference. In a restaurant, what the hell you are paying….but cooking in our home for friends is respect and a labor of love! We enjoyed the food on the Enchantment and our waitress Serife from Turkey and our assistant waiter Jon from the Czech Republic made it even more pleasant. We felt special when we dressed up, we had a romantic table of four to ourselves (remember the honeymooners), took our time, had a glass of wine with each dinner and enjoyed some pretty fancy food for the week. My favorite dish was the Escargot and sopping the garlic infused butter sauce with a bit of crusty French bread in one hand and a nice glass of wine in the other while looking out at the moon over the Southern Atlantic Ocean made me think for a minute that poor folks can have fun too! Shirl’s vote for the best was Lobster tails and the Cream Brule dessert. Overall we rate the food on the Enchantment: Better than we had heard it was although it appeared there had been some economizing going on. Not a Paris 5-star establishment but a nicer up-scale restaurant found in many hometowns. We will comment more on the food a little later in this report under Loves and Hates! Memorial Day, Monday….actually our second day at sea but our first full day. Each night they leave a newsletter on your bed for the next day. The Monday edition of the Compass was packed with things to do…. they had to keep us busy because there was no land in sight! There are a number of ways to start out. All the spas and beauty salons will be open today along with the gyms at 6 AM and of course all of the shops….they have a captive audience. One could even participate in the “Early Bird Eye-Openers” at the Schooner Bar starting at 9 AM Bloody Marys & Screwdrivers for only $3.25. The slots opened at 9 and the tables at 10 in the Casino Royale and the schedule was packed with a Walk-a-thon, trivia game, art history lecture, party bridge, Ping Pong Tournament, get your Tux rented for tonight’s formal dinner and check the shore excursion desk for your island tours the rest of the week………and this was all before lunch! At Noon, Enchantment of the Seas Captain Per Kjonso (John-so), a real class act all week long, came on the PA system to make his usual announcements and make a funny or two in his wonderful Norwegian accent. He also gave a special salute to Memorial Day and thanked America for all she has done in the past to help her neighbors and fight for world peace. He asked all of us to remember those military members who have given all for peace. It was special! That afternoon there was an attempt to put together a veterans gathering in one of the bar areas, but, none of the ship’s staff really followed it up and about 6 guys sat around for a few minutes and said hello. Thanks; at least the thought was there. At 3 PM we attended a wine tasting in the main dining room. I think it was $10 per person for about 6 cheaper wines. It was a nice hour with one minor problem. The waiter from India who conducted the class was very knowledgeable about wines but between the PA system and his accent we only understood every 4th word. Shirl had been sitting by the pool during the afternoon while I was doing my little veterans meetings and attempting to meet most of the 2-thousand people on board….I’m sorry….I work in public relations….OK! It was now time to get serious for tonight is the Captain’s welcome aboard reception and our first of two formal evenings. A nap, a good shower, and dressing up in a tuxedo can put a man in a pretty good mood. I am a Vietnam veteran and am honored to have been wounded and presented the Bronze Star Award. I found out you can; “ wear your military medals on a civilian suit or a tux at a military function or observance, if displayed properly”. What better time than aboard a ship at sea on Memorial Day, so I pinned all my military medals on and headed for the party. Shirl was also dressed up in a fine gown and we had our picture taken with the Captain. As we went through the receiving line, both he and Cruise Director Richard Cooper, who is from England, said “thank you for your service”. It was then on to the dining room for a nice dinner with a lot of dressed up people. Let’s talk tuxedo for a moment. I own a couple of them because I do a bit of master of ceremony work for the local Shriner’s group. Also, we always find a nice place to go for New Year’s Eve where we can dress up, so it’s no big deal to me. We saw quite a few tuxes around the ship. Those not in formal attire at least had a coat and tie. Others ate casual at the Windjammer café, went to the show or the casino in their tee shirts and also had a lovely time. The Orpheum Theatre offered a show every evening, most of the time twice so both seatings in the dining room could attend, but we didn’t take full advantage of it. After finishing dinner around 10 PM, strolling around the deck a few minutes, then going to the huge Centrum mall in the center of the ship to see Sherri Cafaro play the huge white piano along with her trio, we were usually ready to crash. We spent every night but one visiting with her before and after dinner. Sherri is one of those rare people who can sit down and play anything you name, knows the words to every song ever written, and has the natural beauty of someone like Elizabeth Taylor. When passing out the talent, God got stuck on Sherri before moving on to the next one in line! We are proud to say she lives in the mountains of our great state and is a fellow North Carolinian. We brought one of her CD’s home with us and every time we play it remember the wonderful late night dances we had with this Enchanted lady. We did attend three performances at the theatre to see singer Toni B. He brought back to life Sanatra, Mel Tormay, and all the old New York nightclub acts. A talented guy! We also saw Don Ware a stand-up black comic from L.A. This guy is a real pro in the same league with the big stars. Our most memorable night was Friday when we enjoyed the Drifters. Only one of the 5 was an original and he was 77-years old, but the Detroit sound was still there. Being in our 50’s….Shirl and I knew every word to every song they did and sang them all! I am sure the other folks on board could feel the ship rocking when they did…”Under the Boardwalk”. Wow! Ok, this afternoon we arrive in Puerto Rico so the morning will go by fast. I went to the napkin folding class while Shirl again headed for the sun and the pool. Sounds backwards doesn’t it? I did learn a few new skills and the next time we have a dinner party each guest will have a candle, boot or fan napkin on his plate. Shirl loves it, telling friends….”hey, stay out of his way, that’s stuff I don’t have to do”! We are very fortunate in that we have a very special friend who lives in San Juan. His family goes way back into the history of the great island of Puerto Rico and has done much for the people over the years. He now owns the historic Park Plaza Normandie Hotel in San Juan. It was built by a Paris millionaire for his wife back in the 30’s to resemble the famous French cruise ship the Normandie. It looks like a ship inside and out, and has it’s own private beach. My friend picked us up at the ship when we docked, gave us an auto tour of the old part of the city, went by his newly remodeled hotel for a tour and a cocktail, then on to his penthouse apartment down town to pick up wife and out for an authentic Puerto Rican dinner. We didn’t understand a single word that was being said during the ordering, but did not leave a single morsel on the plate when we departed! Shirl and I have talked about it and if we were in charge of the trip more time would have been spent in Puerto Rico and less in Nassau. The south side of the island has some wonderful resorts and the middle is a world famous mountain top rain forest. Thank you Thera and Bubo for sharing your wonderful island and for the cigars. Plan on seeing us again soon! Ship departs at 10 PM for St. Maarten. Wednesday morning we were up for breakfast as we were starting to establish a pattern. We ate in the main dining room each morning around 8 AM and most days either skipped or had a very light lunch. We had heard the stories about gaining 10 lbs during the week and I simply couldn’t afford it but we wanted to enjoy the food so the compromise was to use the stairs everywhere we went on the ship, light or no lunch and walking on shore as much as possible whenever we got off the ship. We usually go out for a nice breakfast at home on Saturday morning so this was part of the planned vacation. The dining room meal in the morning also gave us a chance to sit with 10 or 12 people we had not had a chance to meet and enjoy new folks, everybody has a story to tell. I was shocked to learn they served grits and took advantage of that each morning with eggs and bacon. I swear they had the thinnest bacon on this ship I have ever seen. I don’t know to this day how they managed to cut it that thin…..but it was good. I tried an omelet one morning and it was a bit dry, maybe cooked ahead to save time but everything else was delicious. I did miss biscuits and found out later they were served in the Windjammer café on their buffet every morning. On shore was the beautiful island of St. Maarten, which is half Dutch and half French. We stayed on the Dutch side and had a pleasant day walking and shopping in Philipsburg. We had talked about this for weeks before leaving home and agreed not to schedule any organized shore excursions but just strike out on our own. We of course planned to visit our friends in Puerto Rico, shop in St. Maarten and swim on St. Thomas. We had heard so many negative things about Nassau, Bahamas that we planned to just stay on the ship if it looked dirty when we arrived. We were going to play that one by ear. St. Maarten proved to be a great visit. Again cooking comes up, we planned to buy liquors here we would have trouble finding back home or were very expensive in the states. We did research and came prepared. I had read other reviews saying St. Maarten was the cheapest, even more so than St. Thomas and I think that is correct. It may be only a dollar or two but the venture was fun. RAM’s Liquor store had been suggested as a good place and it was. Located on Front Street down from the Courthouse, the prices were right, the people were nice and polite, and we even bought some Dutch cheese that would have cost an arm and a leg back home. The little rounds of cheese made great gifts for friends when we got home. We also purchased some of the famous guaveberry liqueur made only on this island. Guaveberry is a wild cranberry that grows on the island and is mixed with rum I believe to make a beautiful red concoction. We bought some of it and will use it in frozen drinks at our next island party. Let us mention her the “hawkers”. They are on every island and are selling everything. Again, had read on the Internet about the aggressive hawkers in Nassau but not the ones on St. Maarten and St. Thomas. We stopped a lady on the corner and asked were the RAM’s store was. Very sweetly we thought, she agreed to show us. We followed her about a half block to a very small store we knew right away was not the one we were looking for. We walked right in and right out and found the RAMS store about two blocks away. You have to watch them! There are a large number of people selling time-shares or stays at resorts also. You just have to politely tell them…. no thank you! We did find that when you step off the ship and look for a taxi, there appears to be and we heard was, a government agent dispatching the cabs. It could have been a senior driver that everyone allowed to fill the cabs…but whatever it was orderly. Many of the cabs are vans or covered pick-ups with wooden benches in the back and you may have to wait a few minutes till it fills with 8 or 10 people, but it works and all drivers were polite to us. I have learned a trick traveling all over the world and that is; ask before you sit! Ask the driver… how much is it from here back to the ship, establish a price, and then climb on board. That way everybody will be happy! OK, St. Maarten has been designated for shopping and tomorrow St. Thomas is for playing so a cab ride back to the ship and we are ready to sail. Somewhere along here we wanted to talk a little about the cabin. Shirl and I had looked up photos on the computer, scanned every brochure and even gotten the tape measure out in our living room one night to gage the size of our cabin. Shirl was a little disappointed at first thinking it was a little smaller than she expected. I described it as a large camper or motor home. If you go to an RV show in your hometown and look at one of those big motor home things (especially the bathroom) I think you will find out the same guy designed both. Expect your room on a ship to be smaller than a hotel or motel room. When you walk in there is a little hallway with a closet on the right and the bathroom on the left. In front of you is the bed. Two singles or pushed together to make a nice queen size. You have to walk around the foot of the bed, which is about two feet away from the wall to get into the little living room/dressing room area. On one side is a nice desk with mirror and shelves along both sides, lot’s of drawer space and a chair. Shirl thought this was the best feature because she had a make-up table with lots of lights. On the other wall were a small couch and a small round coffee table. A sliding glass door led to a patio for two with chairs and another small round table. I have read several reviews about dividers on the patio and yes, the designer could have been a little more concerned about privacy and not rounded off the top outside corner. Standing at the rail you can see over into your neighbor’s porch. But what the hell….I’m not going to sunbathe in the nude and the neighbors wouldn’t want to look if I did! We spent many wonderful minutes on that little patio during the week. Me smoking cigars and having a drink, Shirl reading and sitting in the sun and both of us watching a port come into view during the day or the moon over the waves at night! A lot of friends have asked about leaving the door open at night and the answer is no. The humidity was just too much in that little cabin. We wanted to but found quickly that air conditioning at night slept a little better than a very slight humid sea breeze. Bathroom! I don’t know what people expect when they travel but the bathroom! in a motel isn’t all that big….why would you expect it on a ship? I am 6’3” and weigh 250 pounds. The shower is one corner of the bathroom. It has a sliding showerhead that slides up and down a chrome rod. It is also European style and detaches to become a hand sprayer. I had plenty of room to shower (not to share) with plenty of pressure and plenty of hot water. If you want to soak go to the hot tubs at the pools. The sink also had plenty of room, a nice size cabinet mirror with lots of light and room for my shaving stuff and her foo-foo stuff on different shelves! I have bathed and shaved in a steel helmet….I thought the bathroom was fine! A little tip: Bring along a can of pleasant spring forest or island fruit bathroom spray when you come cause ships bathrooms are not vented to the outside! Final subject on human hygiene. Hairdryer! I think I saw more email and review time devoted to hairdryer or no hairdryer aboard Royal Caribbean ships than any other subject. We had read that none of the rooms had dryers and you had to go to the Purser to borrow one then bring it back within an hour. We always carry a small/powerful dryer with us when we travel, so we took it along just in case. There was a dryer in our room, cord screwed to the wall as a matter of fact so we didn’t attempt to return it to the Purser’s desk, but ours was better than theirs so we used ours. There IS only one wall plug per room and we even took along a short extension cord, but never needed it. We didn’t feel the need to take a coffee pot or blender, but have heard of it being done. If we wanted coffee we simply called room service 24 hours a day and it was there in 15 or 20 minutes. Or…throw on some shorts…run up to the Windjammer Café from 6 AM on and grab a couple of cups. The whining I have seen on the various sites about these subjects. And finally! One couple told us to take along a nightlight because it was dark in the cabin. We left the curtains open at night and had plenty of moonlight and even enjoyed the early morning sunrays streaming in. They must have had an inside cabin, we left the nightlight in the suitcase. St. Thomas…..land of adventure! As reported, we decided months earlier not to book any of the pre-planned shore excursions. We don’t like to be herded, we don’t like to be crowded and we don’t like to be cheated. After reading everything we could about $65 per person boat trips and $100 per hour rent-a-scooters we just decided to strike out into the jungle on our own, let the chips fall where they may and have a good time. We had two adventures planned! One was leaving the island where the ship had docked and traveling to a second island. Second, Shirl cannot swim. I mean almost afraid of the bathtub fear of water. So our second mission was to take her snorkeling! Here we go. Enchantment docks at St. Thomas 7 AM and minutes later we were in the theatre for a U.S. Immigration check. Your name was checked off by a ship employee at the front door then down the isle lined with that plastic crime scene tape so no one could slip past and to an immigration official standing in front of the stage. Again, we flashed our PASSPORTS (as reported earlier) and hardly got a thank you before we were on the dock ready to take on the adventure. Taxi…. not down town for shopping but to Red Hook, a bay half way around the island to catch a ferry over to the magical island of St. John. As we had researched, St. John Island is about 2/3rds US National Park land. Yes, I mean like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon and the Washington Monument! National park like showers and snack bar and bathrooms and rangers! It’s called Trunk Bay and they have an underwater-guided snorkel trail that is known internationally. If my Shirley was going to snorkel or swim or go into water over her head for the first time in her life or even drown…. then by golly she was going to do it in a world-class place! OK…first question? ask before you sit…how much is a ride to Red Hook? $6 each I think it was and we were away. One young couple was on the way to St. John to ride on a private yacht they had rented for the day. Go for it kids! What a hoot on the left side of the road through the capital city of Charlotte Amalie and out into the countryside twisting and turning, ooohing and aaahing at the scenery as it switched from right to left side at every turn. Soon we were rolling into the little village of Red Hook. Ferry runs every hour… $4 each I think we paid…and all aboard. We had planned to visit the Windjammer café early this morning and stock our little collapsible cooler with fruit…water and ice. But gave that up thinking the park would have nice snack shops and opted instead to take only one small bag with swimsuits and beach towels from the ship. A good tip we learned is take the little cooler anyway if you are going to be away from the city for an hour or so. A cool drink during the ferry ride and later would have been good. Ferry pulls into a movie-like little fishing village with cottages, villas and quaint restaurants all around. We jump this time into a covered pick-up truck with rows of benches for our ride to Trunk Bay. Let me explain, the main road goes in a large circle around the island and the taxi’s stop at each location if not filled with passengers. So, a ride back is no problem if you walk out into the parking lot or side of the road from the bay you choose, it will be only minutes before you are headed back to the ferry. There are lots of bays around this wonderful island but we had heard of Trunk and that’s where we were headed. It was all we had seen in the pictures. Palm trees on the beach….crystal clear water and the famous snorkel trail. We checked in the front gate with the ranger and paid a $4 fee. Rental of fins, masks, and chairs have to be backed up with a credit card or around $100 cash so don’t forget to take your wallet. Soon we were on the beach and getting Shirl ready. After gearing up we waded in about knee deep. I had rented her a blow-up life vest and explained that it would keep her afloat in every condition so that was a good start. She was most skeptical when I showed her how to spit in your mask to keep it from fogging up. Not overly enthused, she went through the procedure and later learned it works. I have been scuba diving since the 60’s by the way and she did give me a large degree of trust. We went through the “put your face in the water” phase then the “kick your feet” drill…soon we were seeing fish and little shells on the bottom. I promised to stop the minute she felt we were too deep…..15 minutes later and in 15 feet of water we were gliding over giant heads of coral, pointing out to each other some of the most colorful fish I have ever seen and acting like real diving pros following the famous snorkel trail! I am so proud of Shirl. She overcame a life-long fear and we had one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. Snorkeling is like flying. One feels like they are looking down at the countryside from a thousand feet in the air with no plane! About lunchtime we took advantage of the great park facilities, showered, changed and headed back to the main island to shop. The ferry ride back was beautiful and we couldn’t stop talking all the way about the special adventure. Friday was another full day at sea. Yes, I went to the towel folding class, the ice carving demonstration and the cooking demonstration by Enchantment Chef Herbert Ludwig while Shirl went to the pool. I had better not hear one single snicker out there! The cabin attendants have a series of animals they make out of towels and leave on your bed each night when they turn it down and place chocolates on the pillows. We found everything from a monkey hanging from a clothes hanger and wearing Shirl’s sunglasses to a stingray in the middle of the bed. It was fun and I wanted to learn how to do it too in case any of our friends visiting over a weekend brought kids. Friday is the second formal night on board and we came prepared for that too. I know most people might think it crazy but I came well prepared with a tuxedo and a white dinner jacket. Hey, some folks like to dress down on their vacations; some folks like to dress up. Shirl brought another formal outfit also and we looked so pretty we had a photo taken of us in front of a backdrop of the Enchantment at night. Dinner in the My Fair Lady Dining Room included lobster and was one of the nicest meals we enjoyed during the entire week. After dinner we rushed to the theatre to enjoy the Drifters. Also scheduled was the giant midnight buffet at 12:30 and after such an exciting time I just couldn’t stay awake. By midnight we were snoring! Saturday morning and we are pulling into Nassau. We had read and heard so much about this island we were not really sure if we wanted to go ashore or not. We had heard the tales of aggressive and rude salespeople, the crowded straw market and really didn’t know what to think. But, what the heck you are only here once, let’s go see. I must say we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, we did encounter a few sales people who wanted to sell us a condo or take my trip….but we encountered that on every other island too. The famous straw market had burned down several months ago and there was a temporary market set up by the waterfront. It was like any other giant warehouse flea market we have seen. It was crowded and filled with cheap souvenirs along with some unique shell, carved and woven items also. The people were polite and not overly aggressive and we enjoyed a short tour. We also walked several blocks deep in the city to find a quaint courthouse and a number of historical buildings. Our stop was on a Saturday and maybe things were quieter than normal. We found a little sampler-pack of flavored rums while in Nassau town and bought a couple of them to take home as gifts for our friends. There were also rows of jewelry and other shops much like we had been seeing all week. We did notice that the prices, especially on clothing were a lot higher than we had encountered anywhere else, just about the same or a little more than home in the states. Lesson learned: buy whatever you want to buy before you arrive Bahamas stop. Go ashore and walk around or take one of the fun excursions or even go to the famous Atlantis resort. We self explored a bit, saw what there was to see, stored it in our memory banks, took a few photos, returned to the ship and had a wonderful rest of the afternoon. Here is an interesting one, see if you agree. The night before little cards were placed on our bed saying Bahamas Department of Immigration. They wanted to know who was coming on the island to visit. OK, I’ll give them that…but…why did they want our name, home address, phone number and zip code? I read somewhere that the little country of Nassau is one of the big locations for offshore telemarketing companies. I have also learned that a list of phone numbers and addresses sells in the telemarketing or mass mailing world for about 10-cents a name. Great source of revenue huh? Two thousand people per ship, even at 5 or 6 ships a week…. and, before you know it, you are talking about some real money! We gave them a false address and incorrect phone number. Saturday night is a busy night on board the Enchantment. Returning to our cabin we found the satisfaction survey cards on our bed that I had read so much bitching about in the past. Others had said they were approached several times by their wait staff in the dining room and by their cabin attendant, saying please fill this out and how important it is we get a good rating. It was never mentioned to us. We simply found it on the bed Saturday afternoon, filled it out and put it in a box as we left. Also on the bed were pre-marked envelopes for tipping our cabin attendant, waiter and assistant waiter. We hadn’t seen the headwaiter much but did give him $5. We did watch the tape on TV about having your bags packed and outside your room by midnight. When you pack, don’t forget to leave an outfit out for Sunday’s ride home….we have heard that some folks have actually forgotten to do that! It was not fun packing up the cabin that had been our home for the past week. We had more stuff scattered around than we remembered. But, soon it was all packed away and we were ready for travel. Don’t forget to take that extra/empty suitcase when leaving home for times like right now. During dinner we did slip our waitress Serife and assistant waiter Jon a few more dollars…(we had tipped her and the others on the first day of the cruise with pre-prepared envelopes done back home before departing as suggested by the expert cruisers Tom and Mary Milano) but felt several of our friends deserved another little thank you. There were lots of hugs and photos after dinner, for our wait staff, near-by tables and others we had met. I almost forgot to mention settling up the bill with the ship. Our charge card bill was $304 dollars. We were not shocked because $50 of that was for photos. Also, we had a glass of wine with dinner each evening ($5 to $8 each), we had a couple of drinks or beers each afternoon by the pool or walking around. And, we had a cocktail or glass of Champagne each evening before dinner at the wonderful white piano with Sherri Cafaro ($6 each) so, we expected it and had programmed these special times into the overall budget. Later, we slipped our cabin attendant a few dollars and said we planned to stay in our cabin Sunday morning when they began calling bag-tag colors, to relax and watch TV if he didn’t mind, rather than go and sit in one of the bars or lounges or open spaces waiting for the call. Earlier, you turn in your departure flight time and color-coded bag tags are left for you so you might leave the ship in coordinated groups. Within an hour our color was called and we were off and running for home. The disembarking procedure “nightmare” we had been warned about, did not rear it’s ugly head. We simply got our carry-on bags and liquor boxes and headed out to the busses to reverse the arrival drill. Caution: it was hot trying to gather up the luggage and get on the bus, it could get frustrating if you were not in a slow mode, so just take your time. How can we sum up all of this weeklong adventure filled with new places, new sites, new experiences and new friends, into a few sentences? First: The old Boy Scout motto: be prepared. Read reviews, send emails, ask questions, look up maps and websites for the planned stops and know what to see and what to expect before you ever get there. Two: Take tips from others and bring the things along that will make your trip easier such as colorful bows for your suitcases, spray for the bathroom, some snacks, an extra carry-on bag or suitcase for taking things home you didn’t bring with you. And, a little soft cooler for trips ashore. Three: Make sure you take comfortable shoes. A walk back to the ship after a long day in flip-flops or shower togs

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By Beth_CR

  • New

Feb 2, 2002

Eastern Caribbean

We only returned from our cruise 3 days ago so I thought I would write this while it is fresh in my mind. We had a VERY pleasant time on the Enchantment of the Seas for our second cruise. We thought the ship's condition was 2-3 steps up from the Carnival cruise we took 2 years ago. We took the cruise on the exact same week on Carnival and didn't have a lot of children on either cruise. The kids were kept busy on RCI and I didn't even

notice they were around except for at dinner. The Solarium pool was a really nice place for adults to relax on the at sea days. The one hot tub wasn't working for a while, but I believe they got that fixed later on in the cruise. It's nice because those 2 hot tubs were open until midnight so you could go and soak after dinner. Don't expect to get much sun there though.. it's mainly for the non sun worshippers. Our main reasons for taking this cruise was for GOOD FOOD, relaxation, and good snorkeling. We got 2 of the 3 so we thought overall, we succeeded. We thought the food was very tasty, but we aren't the sophisticated or picky eaters. We like well prepared dinners and we got that here. We thought the Windjammer was a definite improvement from the cafeteria style dining on the Carnival ship. There was plenty of variety and GREAT fruit! The melons and pineapple were delicious! Don't miss the Lobster Bisque served early on in the cruise at dinner. The lobster was great and I didn't even like it before this cruise. Relaxing... that can definitely be accomplished on this cruise. The 2/3 days at sea were great for getting some reading done on the decks. We found 4 chairs every day if we were out by 11am, but you would have trouble if you went later than that. We got to San Juan early so you may be able to do more than you think at that port. We did the Bacardi tour ON OUR OWN. Don't let the sales people at the pier talk you into anything... you can catch the ferry from pier 2 for $0.50 each way and a $2 taxi ride each way. It was a good free tour and you get 2 free tastings afterwards. We didn't care for the city much, but I don't think we really hit the 'Old' part so I can't say we saw the good parts. We were on the ship that night for dinner and didn't eat in San Juan. The next port was St Maarten and we had a little time in the morning to do our own thing before we had an excursion planned for 1pm. We went to Dawn Beach which was a $6 cab ride from the pier (PER PERSON). If you wanted to go to Orient Beach it was ALSO $6, but it was a longer drive so we didn't understand their pricing structure. We thought that was quite steep for the ride. It got worse in St Thomas. Dawn Beach was nice, but nothing special and the snorkeling there wasn't very exciting. We didn't do that for long. The beach was also topless.. or some people took the liberty of making it this way. It doesn't bother me, but some people might not like it. The beach had a beverage/ light lunch place and you could rent snorkel gear there if you pleased. You could also rent an umbrella and a chair, but I didn't catch the price of that since we were mainly in the water trying to see some fish. In the afternoon we did the Shipwreck Cove snorkel tour and WOULD NOT recommend it to ANYONE! There really was no great shipwreck, only a small boat that had sunk and some pieces of junk on the bottom. The fish weren't exceptional there either. The men that ran the tour were entertaining after the snorkeling though and the more toxic rum punch you drank, the funnier they became. The punch was free flowing and we had our selves a drunken afternoon. St Thomas was another one of the ports. We tried to do our own thing at this port and head over to St John as I had read on this site that St John was the prettier of the two islands. It is beautiful, but I don't know if I would have gone through the hassle if I would have known about it. It cost $8 per person to get to Red Hook and then $3 to ride the ferry to St John and then $4 for a taxi to Trunk Bay, where you had to pay $4 to get in because it's part of a national park. So that's $34 per person to get there, get in, and get back. We barely had enough money to get there and back so shopping or getting a cold one at a bar in St John was out of the question... We wished we had known about the steep taxi fares before we did that trip. It still beat the boat's excursion to St John though.. that was over $40. Before you go to Trunk Bay, check on the conditions. If it is windier than normal, don't go... we tried to snorkel here, but there was 0 visibility. We tried to do the snorkeling trail, but couldn't see a thing. The trail wasn't as long as I had imagined either, but it is close to shore so I am sure the little ones could do it. It consisted of 3 floating balls that marked where you were supposed to snorkel and they were fairly close together. There were a lot of rocks in the ocean near the beach too, especially in front of the main life guard stand. Trunk Bay wasn't a secluded beach either. There was hardly a place to put your stuff because of the many vacationers that were there. There seemed to be a lot of cruise passengers too since I saw a lot of Carnival towels and people from our trip. I was thinking there wouldn't be as many people as there were, but I was mistaken. The Bahamas was another disappointment. We went through the overly touristy portion of the city where you could buy a song from a little girl or a flute from a little boy or the same baskets and jewelry/T-shirts from any operation in the market area. We aren't into the shopping and everything (unless in a Rolex store or something similar) seemed to be junk. We took the Swim with the Stingray Tour with the ship and they should have called it 'Swim with the Caged Stingray Tour'. There were about 15 sting rays, so they said and they were in a big netted off area where about 50 people crammed in one little area (near the stairs into the water) to see the captives. I got claustrophobic and kicked a few times. They didn't have fins for you so I felt like half a snorkeler. We didn't bring our fins since the brochure said equipment was provided. You could feed them and touch them if you wanted. The snorkeling there wasn't very exciting either, but there was one white sting ray that was supposed to be very rare, but I never checked on that fact. I heard from a VERY good source that swimming with the stingrays in the Caymans is MUCH better and it's in the WIDE open.. no captives. Next time we would go to a beach or something else. Pictures on the ship... I thought the candid pictures were tasteful.. if you didn't want the silly pictures you didn't have to do them. The backgrounds for the formal pictures were cheesy. One was a Titanic-like staircase that shouted "FAKE". The others were a boat background and a cheesy moon/star background. We didn't partake in any pictures mainly because of the fake looking backgrounds and the fact that our pictures were off center. We did have one problem with our room. We were on the 2nd deck with an inside cabin and we had a bathroom that spit things up from the drain under the sink. This is why we think the bathroom smelled like sewage. We called about it once when the floor in the bathroom was flooded, but the smell never improved. That could have been better. We like the curtain to separate the dressing area from the bed. It made a 'lair' that was quite fun! We also liked that the bed was made to hold 2 (2 singles were pushed together and made as a king rather than 2 separate beds). So in general, we enjoyed the food, service and the ship in general, but we would think 3 times before taking an excursion again.

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Jan 30, 2002

Western Caribbean

Please keep in mind that this was my first cruise, so I have no comparisons to make (except with non-cruise vacations, of course!) I had such an incredible time that I wonder how “helpful” my review can be. The basics: I went with 17 people…the core being a family of four who then invited close friends to celebrate the parents’ 50th birthdays. So we had six couples in their 40s/50s, three single women (60ish, 37, and 23), single

guy (20), the young daughter of one couple (7) and her grandma. Day-by-day excursion notes and then the basics on the ship, etc. Day #1 – we arrived at the ship around 2pm after flying down from Baltimore. Since this was the first cruise for many of us, we were amazed and having tons of fun as soon as we entered Customs. The whole process of luggage, Customs, and boarding took maybe 30 minutes! All very smooth. Once on board we settled in our staterooms (Deck 7) and hit the Schooner Bar (Deck 6) for the first of many times. Immediately began a week-long friendship with Alexis, our server in Schooner. Day #2 – Key West. Four of us did the Nature Bike Tour at 9:30 (thankfully…later in day would’ve been too hot). I had been to Key West several times, so I wasn’t particularly anxious to walk Duvall Street or see Margaritaville or any of those typical things. Therefore, this was a great excursion for me. We were met on the pier, a short walk to a little bus, and then a short ride to the bike place. Basic old beach-bikes…about 15 of us riding along with Gary, our guide. We saw lots of back-roads stuff, learned a lot about the trees, plants, animals, and history. Stopped in a park where Gary cut up coconuts and some other local fruit (I forget the name). The tour was about 2 hours and we were dropped on Duvall Street around noon. We needed to be back on board by 2:30 so it was a quick day. Day #3 – Cozumel. I highly recommend the catamaran, snorkel, beach party. While the snorkeling wasn’t gorgeous, the time on the catamaran (‘free’ beer and margaritas, dancing) and the time at the beach were excellent. Beach volleyball, more ‘free’ drinks, plenty of beach mats. (Food for sale) Afterwards, there was still time to take a cab into town and do some shopping. We had nachos and margaritas at Pancho’s Backyard, based on a recommendation at breakfast that morning. Bought a little jewelry and had to kindly turn down the invitations to shop that are extended every few feet along the way (okay, a nice way of saying that one is practically accosted every few feet!) Day #4 – Costa Maya. Wow! A beautiful, yet-to-be-developed place. Again I highly recommend my excursion: the Jungle Beach Break (though I “broke” my toe while there so the name was just a bit too literal!) We took a 35 minute bus ride along newly-made streets (the dirt is just pushed to the side!) and arrived at Uvero Beach. Again, ‘free’ drinking (full bar this time!), food for sale, just one shop, plus a few booths with jewelry, Henna tattoos, etc. More beach volleyball (we’re an active group), plenty of beach chairs, you can rent Jet-skis. The beach and water are beyond gorgeous. We stayed until about 2:30, I think. It’s a bit fuzzy because the broken toe meant that I drank a few more rum punches to dull the pain! Day #5 – at sea. Plenty to do (see below) Day #6 – Grand Cayman. Some of our group regularly frequents the Caymans, so we had booked a snorkel/stingray trip on our own. Ironically, it was the only fiasco we had (lesson: while it may cost a little more, book through Royal Caribbean) Once the aforementioned trouble was sorted out, we had a great time before the all-too-close thunderstorm arrived while most of us were in the water. Gulp! But that didn’t happen until our third stop. We had great weather and a great time at Stingray City – it is an experience that’s once-in-a-lifetime. A little creepy at first! Day #7 – at sea Day #8 – It was sad to feel the docking at about 6am. We had a nice breakfast and the disembarking was no problem. We had a long day at the airport, but had we booked an earlier flight that wouldn’t have happened. It was 4th of July weekend so things were hopping! The ship: Wow! Not too big but big enough to never feel crowded. I suppose if you wanted to get a chair right by the pool (especially on at At Sea day), you might have trouble. But we hung out on Deck 10 above the pool and, while we had to search them out, we were able to find chairs each time we wanted) I did miss parts of the ship, but what I saw and hung out in were comfortable – The Carousel Lounge, the Orpheum Theatre, Windjammer Café, the Internet area, the Card Room, the Library, the Casino, the Spa. The staterooms were great – one couple had a corner room on the back of deck 7 – the deck was LARGE! Our stateroom attendant, James, was the best! Always there to unlock the door when he saw you coming down the hall (usually with your hands full, so this little touch meant a lot). Happy to accommodate any request. I felt vibrations a few times when docking, and one morning between 4-6am it was really rocking! Otherwise, all was smooth. I could hear the bass/beat from the Carousel Lounge below me on the night I went to bed early and there was a party beneath me. The food: Yes, it was everything I heard about cruising! Everywhere, all the time, and top-notch! Lobster-tail on my birthday (a nice coincidence). I did the formal breakfast once or twice, but usually we ate in Windjammer. Buffet style, tables overlooking the water. We had two adjacent tables at dinner (8:30 seating, which I found much more conducive to our schedule). The service was fantastic – they did little shows a few nights. Attend the midnight buffet the night they do the big one in the Dining Room. We didn’t eat but the first half hour is just picture-taking and learning about the Chefs, etc. Amazing! The entertainment: The dance troupe had just joined the ship the week before, so we got to see new shows. Wow! Two nights they did the show. Another night we had a hysterical comedian, another night juggling/balancing. I much preferred the Pre-dinner show because when it was at 11pm, I was exhausted and the theatre seats are really comfy (yes, I fell asleep!) I almost skipped the show a few times and each time I was really glad I didn’t. Beyond the main shows, we were entertained my Bingo every day (someone in our group won every day until the last day) I won $265 on the first day! A few people spent time in the Casino (came out even, I think) We attended some of the littler shows and some of the late-night theme parties. The hospital: Well, I got my foot X-rayed the day after Costa Maya. Efficient, not as costly as I thought (and no, they won’t accept insurance cards. It, along with everything else, gets put on your Cruise Card, which you attach to a credit card!) My visit with three Xrays was $129.00. As they kept taking Xrays, I guesstimated is would be several hundred. The service : I had to separate this category and just say that is was truly heart-warming to meet so many great people who were truly happy to make you happy! No surprise that there were only a handful (out of 720) American employees. In Summary: It goes without saying that, overall, I had the best week of my life! I will definitely cruise again and I will go Royal Caribbean again (“if it ain’t broke…”) I heard that the eastern Caribbean trip tends to be a bit wavy-er, so I hesitate to go there but probably will brave it. I may try a different ship…yet I’d be perfectly content to spend more time on The Enchantment of the Seas.

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Sep 22, 2001

Western Caribbean

  • New

Sep 22, 2001

Western Caribbean

  • New

Aug 4, 2001

St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau

Though I am only 14 years of age, I am proud to say that my experience on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas was amazing! I took a cruise with my family and with our neighbors, so it was a party of 8. Dining- The food on the Enchantment of the Seas, while dining in the My Fair Lady Dining Room, was absolutely wonderful. There were many fabulous dishes such as lobster, steak, and chicken, as well as an exciting array of dessert options,

featuring my favorite, Cherries Jubilee!! Every dish was displayed beautifully and tasted wonderful. Some of the nights at dinner were themed, for example, Italian Night. They had Italian cuisine and the waiters performed for us. The Windjammer Cafe was equally as well too, with many options for both breakfast and lunch buffets. Your waiters can definitly be seen walking throughout the Windjammer as well. Word of advice: Friendliness! If you are friendly with the waiters, they will be friendly with you. It's their job! Entertainment- I thought that the entertainment on the Enchantment of the Seas was spectacular! The singers and dancers did very well and the comedian was very funny and captured the audience right away! Also, we had magicians on our cruise and they were wonderful as well. Staff- The staff was absolutely the best that I have seen! Everybody that worked there, including our cabin stuart, was friendly and always had smiles planted on their faces. Waiters were exceptional and some even call you by name if you give them the opportunity on the first night! They will be your buddies the entire week. Our Head Waiter was wonderful too. He even helped us cut our meat and lobster for us kids, and even the adults, so that they could pick up a few pointers! The entertainment staff was exceptional, including the fabulous work of our lively and energetic cruise director, Mr. Kirk Detweiler. He did most of the pool games and was hilarious when you worked with him. Another word to the wise- Line Dancing! Attend the line dancing classes and I'm guarenteeing you that you will have a great time. Our cruise director taught the course and was both funny and friendly during the course. I became "friends" with our cruise director, and if you do get to meet them, please be their friend. The cruise will be so much fun when you meet them. Their energy will strive you on to having a GREAT cruise! Cleanliness- I always saw people cleaning around the ship, but not in an irritating way. They were not around every corner to block your fun. The railings and glass was always shining and there were no fingerprints to be seen. Plus, the mats in the elevators are changed everyday. Not just for cleanliness, but to tell you what day it was. I thought that was a very good idea! Ports of Call- The Ports of Call were overall pretty good, except for St. Maarten, only because there was some nudity on the beaches. I learned to deal with it quickly though, by just remembering that it was their custom, and that they would respect our customs too. For my excursions, we rented jeeps and drove around all of the islands to see it up close, and to videotape it. I suggest it! It's a lot of fun, and you can do whatever you want! Just remember the time to get back on the ship! The Cruise Overall- Overall, it was a fabulous cruise. If you are a first time cruiser, or just a cruise veteran, choose the Enchantment of the Seas for your cruise. It will give you smiles and memories that will actually LAST! Royal Caribbean is actually like they say, "Like No Vacation On Earth!" Take my word for it! Shelley Holtmann Laurel, Maryland

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Jul 14, 2001

Western Caribbean

Ports of Call: Cozumel was pleasant and we spent the day just relaxing in the bars downtown, while our guests went to Tulum. Montego Bay: Jamaica remains as tacky as ever, but we did take a horse riding trip, and the ride on the beach was very pleasant. One gets a little tired of seeing shop after shop with the same tacky souvenirs, and we would heartily recommend preplanning a good side trip to stay away from town and the continual

hustling should this itinerary stay as it is. Key West: Living in Florida, we have been to Key West many times and as such this was like staying at home for us but our guests enjoyed it greatly. I must admit that since we were last there, Mallory Square is unrecognizable and although we somewhat miss the old scruffy version, we have to admit that the City Fathers are doing something right in KW. Georgetown GC: Always a delight to be here. Thoroughly British and well mannered with high class shopping. We took the submarine ride and absolutely recommend any of the versions as the best side trip you will take. THE SHIP: Still beautiful and well kept. One sometimes wonders how a ship can be kept in good condition with the volume of passengers they move, but RCI do it and do it well. THE CREW: This is the most noticeable of all. I spent time to watch how the crew at all levels not only interacted with the passengers, but also with themselves. It was very noticeable that the crew to a man seemed to enjoy working with each other. There were plenty of smiles, high fives and good natured banter between them. This of course carries over to there dealings with passengers. In this respect I would place this ship in the outstanding category. ENTERTAINMENT: First Class. It was a pleasure to see audience participation where one did not feel embarrassed for the stooge. FOOD AND BARS: Absolutely no complaints. As good as any restaurant worth its salt and with the same impeccable service. OVERALL: I guess we could be considered regular cruiser, although now we have retired, we do travel less. Now of course, we look for good service at  a sensible price. We do not fit into the millionaire cruiser class but are frankly put off by the Carnival experience. We want casual class, and RCI fits this to the hilt and that is why we went back. We were not disappointed. NEGATIVES: You expected some didn't you? For some reason, Americans seem to take pride in being slovenly and bad mannered. Baseball caps in dining rooms, sweat suits on formal nights seem to be the badge of the ill mannered American, and this is sad. The guidelines are spelled out perfectly clearly, yet the ugly fringe still has to make its point. The only thing that the cruise line and the captain cannot control is the standards of passenger behavior. I for one wish they could and would.

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Jun 23, 2001

NOT FOUND

Teresa Dunkin My friend and I had a perfectly wonderful time on the Enchantment of the Seas. It was perfect! The ship is just beautiful, with a perfect combination of things to do and relaxing times. We had three full days "at sea" which we wanted, rather than more days in ports. We spent our "at sea" days sleeping late & having a huge breakfast followed by a walk around the Promenade deck, then lazing by the pool for

most of the rest of the day. The port stops were fun, with tours in St. Martin, St. Thomas and Nassau with time for shopping. The ship had wonderful entertainment with Broadway/Las Vegas style shows every night and great entertainment afterward in the Schooner Bar with a wonderful piano bar/singer or in the Champagne Terrace with a jazz trio or Caribbean music trio. It was relaxing and fun & we are ready to go again. The entertainment on Enchantment was exceptional. The Orpheum theater had plenty of room to accommodate everyone with great views. The talent in these shows was amazing, from the ensemble singers/dancers to the juggler... magician, comedians, etc.) They were all extremely entertaining. Beyond the main show, the Enchantment of the Seas had a wonderful group of entertainers in the lounges... Roxanne in the Schooner Bar, the Jazz trio in the Champagne Terrace, Alex, an amazingly talented pianist, the Souvenir Trio, so many great musically talented groups that played all over the ship for entertainment. The dining room staff was wonderful, headed by Hedi, our great head waiter (who not only stopped by to relate funny and useful stories about our ports, but spent time de-boning fish dishes), Tomas and Cat our wonderful wait staff, plus the wonderful meals! I have nothing but praise for Enchantment! If this is the way RCCL runs cruises, I can only hope to cruise many times again with them!

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Jun 2, 2001

Western Caribbean

AIRPORT We booked our own flight arrangements because it worked out to be less expensive. When we arrived at the airport, we found that we were missing one piece of luggage. Representatives from both RCCL and US Airways were WONDERFUL. To make a long story short, they kept the situation from becoming stressful; our bag was located and transported by boat to the ship within 1/2 hour of sailing. EMBARKATION Embarkation was at Port Everglades,

Ft. Lauderdale. We checked in, had our Supercharge Card, and were walking around this ship within 15 minutes. CABIN We had a suite with a balcony. Being that there were 4 of us and we all tend to over pack, we were concerned about having enough room to store everything, but we found a place for everything. There was plenty of room and the balcony made a nice “get away” while we were getting ready for dinner, etc. Our cabin attendant, Carlton Coakley, was fantastic. Friendly and helpful from the start. He always made sure we had plenty of towels, glasses, and whatever else we needed. We were celebrating Michele’s birthday while on board, and Carlton left her flowers in the cabin. It helped to make her day! SHIP APPEARANCE AND AMENITIES The ship was beautiful. Very impressive. Everywhere we went we couldn’t say enough wonderful things. We were most impressed by how clean everything was -there always seemed to be someone cleaning something. Our favorite places to have a drink were the Champagne Bar and the Schooner Bar. We really enjoyed the Bingo - played every day -and two of us won the last day. We also enjoyed the Beatles Review.  The Karaoke was a lot of fun, although we didn’t get a chance to sing since there was such a large crowd. Our minor complaint about the Karaoke would be the number of people under 18 allowed to participate...they seem to take up more time then the others. MY FAIR LADY DINING ROOM This was an experience unlike any other. The dining room was breathtaking and dinner every night was fantastic. We began looking forward to it the night before when our waiter would give us the preview. Our waiter, Ovidiu from Romania, was the best. He made the whole experience perfect and he never missed a beat. Everything was even more perfect because of him. Our Assistant Waiter, “Rocky” from India, was wonderful as well. Friendly, personable and very efficient. We enjoyed our after dinner “shots” brought to us by the booze man, and we also enjoyed the entertainment provided by the wait staff on 3 different evenings. PORTS OF CALL Key West was fantastic. We shopped and ate, two of our favorite things. In Cozumel we went to the Playa del Sol Beach Club, one of the excursions offered by the ship. This was a pleasant day, we got a little sun and went back to the ship. In retrospect, I wish I had tried one of the other excursions so I could have seen a little more of the island, but there’s always next time. Montego Bay was definitely not our favorite place. We did not enjoy this stop because we did not plan an excursion and went on our own. I would not recommend this to anyone.  Our final port was Georgetown, Grand Cayman. This was our favorite stop. Michele & Elise went to the beach and did some shopping. Gretchen & I did the Turtle Farm, Stingray City, Island Tour, Excursion; then had time to get lunch and do some shopping before getting back on the ship. This was a great day for everyone. As I said, we cannot say enough wonderful things about our trip. The ship was beautiful and the staff was terrific. Everyone was friendly and attentive and made a special effort to remember your name, favorite drink, etc.  We’ll definitely sail RCCL again, and probably stick with the Enchantment!

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May 4, 2001

Western Caribbean

Stateroom: Our room was great! We had a balcony and loved it! One morning we had coffee and danish on the balcony while watching the ocean. There was also plenty of storage in our room for our things. The shows on the ship vary and appeal to different age groups. We saw a Beatles cover band that was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We also saw the Platters that were good but not our style of music. There were some "dance productions" that

we didn't go to because we aren't into that type of show. We found that on the ship there is something for everyone of any age group. The thing that we love about a cruise vacation is you don't have to worry about budgeting money for meals or entertainment on a daily basis. Everything is taken care of and is of excellent quality. If we flew to each island and paid for fresh food and great entertainment/ambiance it would add up to be much higher than we paid for the cruise. Royal Caribbean provides excellent value for your dollar. We highly recommend a cruise vacation!!!!!!

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Apr 28, 2001

Eastern Caribbean

Weather was great except for Monday. Had to spend it indoors, but gave us a chance to explore the ship at beginning of cruise. Also had some rain in Nassau on Sat., but cleared up by noon.  Tuesday was also an at sea day. Wednesday, St. Martin : Did shopping in AM - just wanted t-shirts, then went to Orient Beach. Quite an experience. We're surprised they let people on the beach who aren't nude (like us). Hubby tried to talk me into it,

but I said not unless everyone else was nude! He was all set to do it! Thursday, St. Thomas: Did shopping in AM - again for t-shirts. After watching some parasailers in St. Martin, decided we would try it here. I'd have never had nerve to go up myself, but went tandem with hubby. A little scary - paid for the 600' ride but he took us up 1100'. Enjoyed it, but don't think we'll do it again, especially since hearing the reports about them not being regulated or inspected. Friday - at sea. Saturday, Nassau: Very disappointed in Straw Market. Sales people so pushy, if you showed the slightest interest in something, they just pounced on you. Who needs that. Went over to Atlantis, was rather a waste of time since we couldn't hardly see anything. Food: We were very pleased, as were the other 4 people at our table. None of us ever had a bad meal all week. It might not have been gourmet, but I wouldn't call it plain either. Chilled soups were very good - watermelon, apple, pineapple. Didn't try the cucumber and some others. Service was good, but we were right near the kitchen so that helped. Eggs Benedict in the dining room was delicious. Windjammer wasn't bad. As someone else said, go around the back for the omelet station. Did both the dining room and Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. We had wonderful tablemates - had requested a table of 6 or 8. It was a table for 8 but only 6 ever showed up. Don't think another couple was assigned to it - can't believe they wouldn't have come to the dining room at least once. There seemed to be quite a few tables with empty chairs every evening - not just an occasional night, but every evening. Don't think the ship was full. We weren't impressed with the Gala Buffet or the Midnight Delights. Entertainment: The theater is beautiful. However, we were disappointed with most of the entertainment. Did enjoy Nick Lewin, a comedic magician; he was great. Weren't impressed with the juggler or Beatles impersonators. The production shows were poor. Our tablemates raved about the entertainment on Crown Princess - fabulous Las Vegas type shows. The costumes for these production shows were very mediocre at best. Miscellaneous: Bought some nice photos of formal nights. Paul Rutter was cruise director - did a good job. Played bingo several times. Jackpot got to $6,600. Never made it to the Solarium pool. Just didn't have enough days - especially with having a bad day on Monday. Newlywed Game was funny. But even funnier was something called Novelquest. Don't miss it. We were all in stitches. Don't want to spoil it by telling what goes on at the end. I listened to everyone about not overpacking, and ended up underpacking for hubby! For some reason, I thought he wasn't going to need too many long pants. I'll know next time to take more than 2 pair. Had an 11:40 connecting flight home via Washington Dulles. Flight from Dulles to Pittsburgh was overbooked, so we gave up our seats for the 2 free tickets. They sent us over to Reagan National in a taxi, as the next flight out of Dulles was full. This helped to kill a lot of the time, so it wasn't bad at all - less than 3 hours delay. Plus dinner vouchers. So now we have our tickets for next year's cruise! This is a beautiful ship. However, I don't know if we'll cruise with RCCL again. We just don't like cruising with that age group, plus with the poor entertainment. I'll need to do some research and see what the story is. I'd appreciate any comments on age of passengers on RCCL.

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Feb 18, 2001

Eastern Caribbean

This was the third cruise for my wife and I, having sailed on The Crown Princess (Feb. 1999) and the Regal Princess (Feb. 2000) Both were 10 day cruises to the Mexican Riviera. These are sister ships with space ratios of 44. We enjoyed most aspects of what Princess had to offer, but realized that a good comparison could only be accomplished with experience aboard other lines. A Florida travel agent gave us a good offer for a balcony suite

aboard The Enchantment - an offer too good to pass up so we jumped at it. Both The Regal and Crown have standard in/out room size of 190 sq. feet. We had tried the inside and outside/window but had never booked with a veranda. Our Enchantment suite would be on Deck 8, Bridge Deck, with a size of 245 sq. feet. What's more, the price per day would be similar to an outside window cabin aboard Princess.... but would the service and facilities be as good? Only one way to find out.... take the plunge and try RCI. Getting There: My wife and I are both letter carriers from Portland, Oregon. We had to work 2/17, (the day before departure.) No way out of it. We would have liked to depart a few days early, stayed in Ft. Lauderdale.... get over any jet lag, and be ready for the cruise. Our only option was to try and make the best of it. We managed to get off early, get home and do all the last minute packing. The flight was red eye on Delta Airlines from Portland to Atlanta on a Boeing 767. Then Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale on an L 1011. All went well... no delays and we managed to doze throughout the flights. Embarkation: We did not book our flight through RCI and had to take a taxi to the port facilities... no big deal, it's about five minutes from the airport, but the taxi driver was concerned that it was too early and that the port authorities would not allow entrance during the disembarkation from the previous cruise. No problem - the guards waived us through to the front of the terminal. By then it was 9:00 am. We entered the building on the south side and sat with about twenty other people in an undersized waiting area. Note: RCI representatives were not present in the front of the terminal. My wife went out front to have a cigarette... she ended up directing new arrivals to the waiting area. They were lost and disoriented. The waiting area is at the south end of the terminal building. We waited from 9:00 am until 11:45 am. The barrier was opened and we proceeded to a short line of waiting passengers. RCI has a number system of some sort.... you take your number and go to the respective line - this was not used on our early embarkation. The process was quick and smooth. The attendant helping us seemed too secretarial and unfriendly. It might have had something to do with my dropping our paperwork onto her keyboard and making a mess of things. My apology and explanation of a red eye flight and lack of sleep did not bring a smile to her face... oh well, not on board yet. Done and off to the picture line. RCI does not use picture ID as does Princess. These were the standard photos which they try to sell during the cruise. RCI uses a credit card, (called supercharge.) This will purchase anything aboard ship, acts as your key to the stateroom and will open your personal room safe. Finally, up an enclosed, inclined walkway similar to what you'd find at an airport terminal. It was steep enough to be a problem to the older passengers. To the top... and then.... aboard the ship - king's X ! ! 11:20 AM and we had made it. We were aboard The Enchantment of the Seas ! One enters mid ship at The Atrium - similar to The Crown and Regal but more modernistic, bright and colorful. We had the entire ship to ourselves for a number of hours. Did our customary exploring. Nice to finally be on a ship with a complete promenade deck. Quarters: I did my homework and had studied the deck plans on the internet. We declined an escort to our room and took a mid ship elevator to deck 8, Bridge Deck. Note: Enchantment has elevators and stairwells mid ship and forward... none to aft. At muster station drill, (mandatory,) I had a group of people follow me aft, thinking that I knew what I was doing. They followed me around to the other side of our deck and forward to the lifts mid ship. Herd mentality, I suppose. The suite was everything we had envisioned.... 245 sq. feet with a fold out couch and two matching chairs, ample storage space and a veranda large enough for two chairs, a table and one deck chair. The retainer was of green tinted glass. The bathroom was adequate with a bathtub. Note: RCI does not furnish a hair dryer. Don't forget to bring one along. Our suite was aft and to starboard. Note: when taking the Eastern Caribbean cruise to St. Martin and St. Thomas, it is best to book on the port side - much better view of your destinations. We met our steward and I tipped him - yes, I tipped him at the beginning of the cruise. This was a new technique I learned from my friends Tom and Mary Milano. The staff aboard ship enjoys attention and recognition. I tipped him $50 in a envelope with a note stating that this was a down payment on what I knew would be exceptional service. I also asked him if, at the end of the cruise, we might be allowed to stay in our suite until our color code was announced. He said no problem, and while other passengers had to wait in public areas, we sat in our cabin and watched TV. On the last night of the cruise I tipped him another $20. Cuisine: My Fair Lady - Formal Dining, Decks 4 and 5 aft - The service was excellent. The food was, well, okay.... and just okay. It was well prepared and served warm but lacked anything which one could call 'special'. With Princess we had a much greater selection with appetizers, soups, salads, pasta dishes, (every night,) and desserts. With RCI we had appetizers, one salad with no selection, the main entree and dessert.... that's it! The area is spacious with a main floor and surrounding balcony. As with our cabin steward, I tipped our waiter $50 on the first night with a similar note. I asked him to suggest entrees if my selections were for items that he knew to be sub standard. He said no problem. The next night I tipped the asst. waiter $30 with a similar note. The last night of dining I again tipped the waiter and his assistant - $20 and $10, respectively. The headwaiter received $10, (for what I don't know.) He would come around and chat with a gracious smile... he separated our crustaceans from their shells on several occasions... no flambe on this cruise. We booked second sitting, thinking that this would give us ample time to prepare for dinner after shore excursions. Problem is, on days in port, the second sitting has an early entertainment show, starting at 7:00 PM, instead of 10:30 PM. It makes for a rush to refresh and dress with little time to observe the departure from a port. My wife, Pat, suffered seasickness on days one and two. She was unable to attend dinner. The seas were 15 feet with gale force side winds of 40 mph. The sky was overcast and with the howling wind, it was almost comical to watch the sun worshipers in their deck chairs, grasping their clothes and towels as they flapped wildly in the air. The UV rays went through the overcast and severely burned many passengers. Windjammer Cafe - Buffet, deck 9, forward - This seemed an unusual set up... having the buffet so far forward. Aboard The Crown and Regal Princess the casino is in this location . Rough seas can be felt most severely in this area. So here we had hordes of people trying to balance food trays with beverages in a pitching sea. I must say that I never had to wait in line and there were always open tables with a fantastic view of the surroundings. Again, the food was just okay and nothing to write home about. We saw much more fruit on Princess... tons of fruit. It was actually hard to find fruit on the Enchantment. They really, really need to work on this. Burger/Pizza Bar - Dogs and burgers and pizza slices, deck 9 aft. Located at the port side adjacent to the solarium pool. Ample seating. Beverage machine. Entertainment: The Orpheum Showroom, decks 5 & 6. A beautiful theatre; well laid out. Spacious and inviting. The shows were professional and well rehearsed. My wife liked the dancers aboard Princess more... they seemed more energetic and vital. This RCI dance troupe was well choreographed but used much more extremity gestures verses full body movement... as if they were saving their energies for something else. The Coasters offered entertainment on night 5 with such songs as Charlie Brown, Yakity Yak, etc. A juggler, comedians and the like. Sun Deck, deck 9, forward from the main pool. Customary Caribbean sounds by a group called Mega 4. Not quite our style but well appreciated by many passengers. Casino Royale, deck 5, mid ship. Numerous slot machines. Ample gaming tables. Roulette. Craps. Caribbean Poker. Black jack minimum is $5, one table only. The rest are $10. Smoking area. Bars / Lounges: The Schooner Bar, deck 6. We spent many hours here, meeting new people and chatting with the Jamaican bartenders. One entire side of the bar is glass, giving a great view. Relaxing piano music. Chips and dips from 5:30 PM. The Carousel Lounge, deck 6, aft. Live music and bar, bingo and The Captain's Party. We went here for the bingo one day. We tried to go to the Captain's Party but were both too seasick to make it through the reception line. Went back to our suite and ordered room service. The Viking Crown Lounge, deck 11, mid ship . It offers a spectacular 360-degree view of the ocean. It is an observatory during the day and a disco at night. We checked it out on day one but never went back. I swear, it looks like a big UFO parked on top of the ship. Our little joke was how RCI rented that space to the aliens for human abductions. Pool Areas: Main pool, Sun Deck, deck 9. Open to all ages. Dual hot tubs. Crowded with deck chairs and sun worshippers. Note: RCI seems to have the same deck chair problem we experienced on Princess: people reserving chairs with their towels and personal affects early in the morning and returning hours later to sun bath. RCI had numerous signs around the deck - no reserving of deck chairs. This went unheeded by the guests. This is surely a problem on most cruise lines and I don't know if there is a good solution to the problem... perhaps more staff to confiscate the left items and take them to a massive lost and found... then you would have guests lodging complaints that they were only gone ten minutes to get their coppertone from the cabin. I don't know... sunbathing seems to be a hassle while at sea. The Solarium Pool, Sun Deck, deck 9, aft . As Tom Milano put it, 'If someone led you blindfolded into the Solarium pool area and then removed the blindfold, you very well might think you were in a Roman Garden in ancient times.' Limited to ages 16 and older. Dual hot tubs and shower stalls. The glassed roof slides open. Excursions : Note: Make sure to book your excursions as soon as you get on board. With Princess you can book ahead of time; well before the cruise date. Not so with RCI. Their excursions are numerous, varied and well organized but as with the two excursions we took, they can fill up rather quickly and you are left with second and third options. Sint Maartin: We opted to do our own thing - shop in Philipsburg and find a beach by taxi. The shopping was fun and we found some good deals. The natives were friendly and spoke fluent English. This southern half of the island is governed by the Dutch and has an Amsterdam flavor to it... sort of anything goes and very laid back. After shopping we went back to the ship, (parked with four others at the new dock,) refreshed and took a taxi to Dawn Beach. Dawn Beach is smaller but closer than Orient Beach. We had problems getting a taxi back. We took one vehicle which turned out not to be a taxi at all.... just a local trying to make a few extra dollars. He dropped us short of the new dock facility so as not to get in trouble with the port authority. St. Thomas: We took the Atlantis submarine excursion. Cost was appx. $75 PP and well worth it. This is real sub - electric driven. You dive as deep as 85 feet. The water is clear and the bottom sand is white... plenty of light and visibility. We saw numerous reef sharks, barracuda, lobster, yellow fin jacks, sea turtles; you name it. The dive lasts appx. one hour but seems longer. I filmed with a camcorder and found that I couldn't put it down. Well narrated. The shopping in St. Thomas was not what I expected. Seemed like every other store was for jewelry. This is U.S. territory with post offices, zip codes and many regulations which I don't think you would find on St. Maartin nor The Bahamas. Nassau: Sting Ray City - swimming with the rays. Like the Atlantis Sub, this excursion filled up quickly. Make sure to get in reservations right away. Cost is appx. $50 PP. We took a boat out to Blue Lagoon Island. The facility had a bar, souvenir building, and ample bathrooms. Plenty of snorkels and masks. No foot fins allowed. At first I thought we would just be viewing the rays.... then I managed to touch one, then another and another. The staff handed out portions of squid as food and the rays responded very well - eating right out of our hands. Pat and I were the last to leave the lagoon. We took an underwater camera and got some great shots of these beautiful creatures. There are appx. 15 rays within the enclosure, along with numerous schools of small fish. Idea: bring pressure cans of cheese whiz - the fish will gather to feed on it. We shopped downtown but found it limiting. Absolutely no kahlua to be found. Again, many jewelry stores and your usual gift shops. Ft. Lauderdale: We stayed an extra day at The Embassy Suites on 17th Street. At the end of this review I will add that experience. We had some problems with the staff but I'm sure that much of it was due to being accustomed to the pampering one receives on a cruise. Not so in a land based hotel. Enchantment of the Seas offers seven day cruises from Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, leaving on Sundays. She alternates between eastern and western excursions. And Finally: There is a youth center. Many, many children on board. Most were behaved but children will be children. On one occasion, we entered an elevator to find a group of teen-age girls. They asked us where we wanted to go and pushed the buttons for others. They were bored and were trying to amuse themselves. I must mention that this is a cruise originating on the east coast. We are western folk and use to manners and hospitality. We found many of our fellow passengers to be rude and without any sort of etiquette. Would we sail on RCI again? Yes, the price is right and, other than the food, the cruise was a marvelous experience. To read about our experiences at The Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale, scroll down below my signature. Happy sailing, H. Michael Ball, heberb@hevanet.com The Stay at Embassy Suites and a Minor Fiasco at the Airport: Staying at Embassy Suites was a real letdown after being pampered on the cruise ship. The facility was beautiful and our suite was spacious, (almost like being in a barn after staying in the ship suite,) but the staff seemed unfriendly and apathetic. Is this normal behavior on the East Coast? I don't know. Upon arrival I wanted a cup of coffee. We noticed a coffee station in the atrium but the attendant bluntly told me that it was closed. She turned away from me and began mumbling as if perturbed by my inquiry. I went to the room to make my own..... all that was there was decaf. We ended up at their bar and had two mochas at $3.50 a pop! I later called the desk and requested regular coffee - housekeeping sent me four more bags of decaf! At this point I developed an attitude and poured out my frustration to the poor receptionist at the front desk. They sent us free room service of coffee and what seemed like a weeks supply of coffee and condiments for the room. Fact is, I shouldn't have had to go through that experience.... not at $200 per night. We ate at The Outback Steakhouse which was next door..... best meal of the entire vacation - shrimp, lobster, steaks; in a friendly and efficient atmosphere. Next day we planned for lunch in the embassy atrium restaurant. We stood and waited to be seated... and waited..... and waited.... finally, a waitress called us over while she bussed at the buffet line..... told us to just have a seat.. hmmm..... So we sit down and the first thing we notice is that Pat's table spoon is filthy. geeeeze, forget it, let's check out and eat at the airport. Get to the airport at about 12:30 pm to find that Delta had canceled our flight due to mechanical problems on the L-1011. Arranged a flight on American which didn't leave until 7:50 pm. Delta gave us a $12 voucher for the restaurant.... their way of saying 'we're sorry'. Needless to say, we had hours and hours of sitting at the airport... reading and people watching. The AA planes were old and small, (727's,) but they do have more leg room - just like they preach on their TV adds.

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Aug 19, 2000

NOT FOUND

This cruise was a very poor value. The ship is very beautiful and the service is excellent. The food and entertainment are so mediocre causing me to rate this cruise a thumbs down. I previously cruised on the Grandeur which had great food and shows. I personally would not cruise on the Enchantment again. The seven day trip on the Enchantment was not enchanting at all.

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May 13, 2000

Eastern Caribbean

Linda Beasley Analyst Ship: Enchantment of the Seas 2000 You must cruise on the Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas. This was my first cruise and it was everything I imagine it could be and more. My long time friend went with me and we had a blast! So imagine two “40 something” year old broads on their first cruise or vacation together. We didn’t miss a step! Well, maybe the all nighter

stuff! First let me start with itinerary: We chose the Eastern Caribbean which on this trip included St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. I’m a water baby who sold my 27 ft. Sea Ray Cruiser last summer and the first thing I did was start looking for a cruise line and the Virgin Islands to take my first real vacation from home (Texas). Our first port was St. Maarten. I was a little disappointed but you must know I chose a catamaran snorkeling excursion which left the port at 9 a.m. in St. Maarten. So when we got off of the catamaran we didn’t have a lot of time to go looking around the island of St. Maarten. We quickly hit about a 5 block square area and had to get back to the ship. I just expected more for some reason. But ewe-la-la the water there was something else. I’ll tell you about the excursions later. Next port was St. Thomas. Had another early morning excursion (snorkeling) and then went into town. Loved St. Thomas and want to go back soon! It was much cleaner and we did some serious shopping. Maybe it was because it was American. But we liked it much better. Next time I want to do some site seeing of the island. But this time I wanted the water experience. Will go back here for sure! The last port was Nassau. Loved Nassau. It was so cool coming into the “boat slip” there. Got to see a bunch of other cruise liners – Walt Disney’s Magic, Sovereign of the Seas, Voyager and so forth. Really cool to compare them. We could not get to Nassau until about 10:30 and couldn’t disembark until 11 a.m. and it was our final day and we had a final excursion which was at 2 p.m. that afternoon. So you can see NOT ENOUGH TIME. Our excursion was 3 hours and wasn’t to get us back until 5 and our last night seating in the dining room was at 6. So we felt shorted and definitely want to go back to Nassau and check out the island(s)! Let me add right here we definitely preferred the 6 to 8 seating. The 8:30 to 10:30 was just to late in the evening. Excursions: We bought an excursion in every port. The first one in St. Maarten was nice catamaran sailing/snorkeling trip. But it was more of a sailing trip to one of the French Islands (uninhabited) rather than snorkeling so we didn’t bother. Nothing to see but the sandy bottom and with such clear water you didn’t need to snorkel. The catamaran was 65 ft. with an 80 ft. mast and was beautiful. They beached the boat for us to get off and enjoy the beach area. Free drinks and some snacks were furnished. Being French we encountered some nude bathers from another catamaran, but who cares. The beach was beautiful. And one of the wild goats came up and we gave her water and ice. She was so cute. Got some great pictures. The second was in St. Thomas . A sailing snorkeling excursion. Again on a catamaran; not as new as the one in St. Maarten but again who cares; you’re in such beautiful water. We anchored off a French island. The snorkeling there was not that good, but loving water the way I do, it didn’t bother me that much. My friend had never snorkeled so the female instructor worked with her for 15-20 minutes and she got more comfortable in the water but hung close to me. I ventured off a little to some rocks and saw a few more fish in that area – a couple of crabs, sea urchins and the such. The third excursion was in Nassau . Wonderful is all I can say. Much better snorkeling this time. They anchored out by a reef and fed the fish so we saw much more here underwater. I just can’t tell you how beautiful those fish were. The folks who had taken scuba classes were with us getting their certification that day so we got to watch them and that was cool. Next time I’m going for a diving certification – I love being under water! I took lots of under water pictures here but I haven’t seen them. My travel buddy called me last night to say the underwater pictures were spectacular. She got scared out in the deeper water and had gone back to the boat and didn’t get to see the beautiful colored fish. But she says the pictures told the story. Will go back to Nassau for sure. I wanted to do it all, island stuff and snorkeling but there just isn’t time! Next time I will take only one snorkeling excursion and spend more time checking out the islands! And I will only snorkel where they are taking us to reefs. Much more to see in that environment. But you have to see that beautiful water! Coming from Texas, the water is not that color or that clear so this was impressive! The ship: Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas .I’m pretty picky but my bedroom or bathroom have never been that clean except maybe when my house was built. That ship is immaculate! They keep it spic-n-span clean. They were always cleaning and even painting places on the outside when we were in port! One time I saw a guy hanging in some kind of support, painting the frame that was supporting a life boat! The auditorium where all of the shows were held was beautiful. The dining room was spectacular! The Centrum was spectacular. The lounges were spectacular. The staff was spectacular. I just can’t say enough about that ship. The Staff: They couldn’t do enough for you! Our steward, Ricardo from Trinidad was the best. He took care of our every need. Our stateroom was cleaned every time we left. He always had a new bucket of ice for us when we came to the room. Anything we wanted he got for us and was always asking if there was something he could do or if we needed anything. We definitely tipped him more than the “customary, suggested” amount at the end of the trip! Our waiter in the My Fair Lady Dining room, Jorge from Portugal, was the best! We tried our best to get him to come back to Texas with us; especially my travel buddy, but he needed to go home to Portugal to see his little boy! So we wished him a good and safe trip when he went home in June. He worked his little hiney off that entire week taking care of us. He got more than the “suggested tip amount” too! And the assistant waiter, Jacob. . . unbelievable. Once he knew our preferences for dinner we never had to ask for anything. They must train those folks to watch your every breath. And they had us down pat! Two lemons in your tea, hot tea or coffee with dessert, and on and on! We had a good Head Waiter but you didn’t see him that much. But I’m sure he was keeping things going behind the scenes. He liked us Texas girls and was always asking how things were and if there was something they could do better to serve us. That is how it went all week. All of the staff we encountered were excellent. Ship Activities: I tell you this! Next time I won’t try to do everything every day! I was wasted when I got home. We went from about 6 a.m. until at least midnight every night. And we only stopped then because we just couldn’t go any more. And yet we just knew we were probably missing something then! There is so much to do all day every day and night! The evening shows were superb! The lead performer for the week, Gary Puckett, didn’t cut it with our early show crowd. He wouldn’t even come out for an encore when the Cruise Director gave him the lead in to come back on stage. I don’t know if it was because it was later in the week and everyone was so tired or what. But the other performers were so good; especially a guy who’s last name is Behr – a comedy/singer – entertainer of the year in Las Vegas. And I don’t care for comics! He was the best! Royal Caribbean’s entertainment group of dancers and singers were absolutely dynamic. I mean first class performers. Chris Lane is a wonderful cruise director and his staff were just as good! Food: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. If you went hungry you had a personal problem. If you didn’t like any of the five entrée choices for the evening you have steak, rosemary chicken or salmon, baked potato, mashed potatoes, or rice and their veggies to choose from. They covered everything. Four course meals at noon and in the evenings if you ate in the My Fair Lady dining room! The Windjammer which I had read on the Internet that wasn’t suppose to be that good . . . we thought was good. So I would say it comes down to your personal food preferences. There was always variety. The Captain’s Gala Midnight Buffet was a shocker. I’ve never seen food put together and displayed so magnificently. It was astounding. You could take pictures from 11:30 p.m. – 12:15 a.m. that evening and the buffet was at 12:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. – we made the picture taking but were in bed during the buffet! It was just beautiful. I was so impressed! It’s just hard to believe they can do so much on a ship. Embarking/Disembarking: Embarking was slow to me. Maybe I was over anxious to get on board. But you went from one great big room to another huge room, and then into another huge area and stood in line there to see a RC person to get your RC card for the week, and then to the ship. But when you hit the ship there were people to help you go where you needed to go and when you got out of the elevator on your deck there were more people to show you to your cabin and already offering you drinks! Disembarking was a breeze. We just went to the auditorium and when they called our colored ticket (based on when your flight was leaving Ft. Lauderdale), we headed to the appropriate deck and they sent you right out to get our luggage. Customs was nothing. I didn’t even notice those folks. I’m sure they were there somewhere. I just to tired after this marathon fun week, to pay attention. Finding our luggage was a breeze and a porter was there to help us to the bus. Buy the RC tickets to and from the airport. That's makes things a breeze too! Simple and easy. When we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, RC reps were there at the gate to tell us where to go and what to do! Wonderful! Disappointments: I was disappointed in the reflexology massage I bought – much to pricey and in the long run not worth it. Had to have some nails fixed and it is way expensive and they only had one girl who could do acrylics, and she worked in a hurry and the result wasn’t something I was pleased with at all. But to me that is not directly involved with the cruise! These were ancillary to the cruise so this is just a tip to others to think about. Everything else was above reproach! Finally, I just have to say that I highly recommend taking a cruise and take it on the Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas. It is a must do! I will look to them first for my next cruise, next spring ! ! !

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By _CR

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Nov 30, -0001

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Debbie Kupferberg to 45 2000 Day 1: Got to Fort Lauderdale.   Good place to cruise from.  Parked at a car rental place.  Parking  price was good.  They transferred us to cruise terminal no charge.  Stood in line, sat, stood in line, sat.  Finally got on ship about 3:30. Baggage did not arrive until about 5:00. But that was okay with us, we had late seating dinner.  We had lunch

on the ship. First impression of the ship was fantastic!!!!! Beautiful ship. Day 2: At sea: Did nothing but lay out in the sun. We got up about 8 am and had breakfast in the windjammer cafe.  Casual.  Then up to the decks to find a chair.  Be very early if you want to be by the pool, they fill up quickly.  We went further up on the decks and found chairs.  But even those fill up quickly at least by 10:00.  We actually did lunches in shifts so we could keep our chairs!!!. My husband would go first then he would come back then I  would go. Day 2:  At sea again:   Same as the first day. Find a deck chair is the challenge of the day.  Oh our Dinners the first 2 nights were fine.  We met our dining companions and liked them from the start so our dinners the whole cruise was enjoyable. Day 3: St. Maarten:   Wow!!!!! I liked this island al ot.  The bargains on souvenirs was great and if you smoke the cigarette prices were unbelievable We didn't do any excursions there, but the shopping is great and the island is beautiful. Day 4:  St. Thomas and ST. John.....   We did the St. John island tour. My boss just bought a villa in St. John and he said to take an island tour.  It is the prettiest Island i have ever seen.  I can see why he wants to retire there. Absolutely gorgeous.  Our tour director Levi, was the best. Day 5:  Okay at sea again:   Layed in the sun on the decks again.  The ships and the shows are great.  I would definately sail on this ship again.  We are planning on 2001 cruise and we are thinking about the sister ship  Granduer. The ship is very clean and the storage space very adequate.  I know I have listened to some complaints about the cabins on RCI.  But I found them to be fine.  The food is okay.I have taken cruises on smaller ships and the food has been better, but i certainly did not starve on this ship!!!!! I was very envious (jealous) of the couple at our dinner table that was staying on for the western itinerary.  Day 6:  Nassau Bahamas,   I have been here before and my husband and I were not even going to get off the ship but we decided to go into the straw market anyways.  We had lots of fun bargaining with the folks there.  Bought some souveniers and got back on the ship.  Day 7:  Disembarking: Was very smooth, just waited for our luggage tag color to be called.  We were the last of course since we didn't have a flight. We live in Fla, and drove to Ft. Lauderdale.  But we relaxed by the  pool until our color was called , and then when it was there was no waiting. So disembarking was far easier than embarking. All in all, it was a great cruise and I think RCI does a great job and I will not hesitate to sail with them again.

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By Erik_CR

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

  • New

Nov 30, -0001

Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean the Seas Sailing Date: January 26th, 2003 Having cruised with RCCL twice before on Sovereign of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas we decided once again to sail with RCCL. My wife and I had decided to see the western Caribbean this time so we booked our cruise on Enchantment of the Seas. I would like to mention that we are Crown and Anchor Society members (Gold) and highly recommend to everyone who has

sailed with RCCL at least once before and considering sailing with RCCL again to join the Crown and Anchor Society for their incentives they give for returning members. Other cruise lines, so I’ve been told, have similar membership programs. The Crown and Anchor Society designates those members with 1-5 cruises as Gold members, 6-10 as platinum, and greater than 10 cruises as diamond. Obviously the more you sail the greater the benefits given. The benefits include drink coupons (only water, iced tea, and lemonade are free on the ship), gift shop coupons, casino coupons, incentives for buying pictures that are taken of you throughout the cruise, and on and on. Also, members are exclusively invited by invitation to the “Welcome Back Party” that is thrown where, believe it or not, FREE drinks are handed out during this one hour party where there is live music and hors d’overs. The Master (captain of the ship) introduces all the big wigs on the ship and answers questions about RCCL and the ship itself. It actually is quite interesting and they profusely thank everyone for their return business on RCCL. It is a very nice event to attend. And a side note for all those who are already Crown and Anchor members, I was just informed that within the next two years you will be credited a cruise towards the next level of membership whether you sail Celebrity or Royal Caribbean….keep your eye out in future newsletters. EMBARKATION: My wife and I favor arriving the day before the cruise sails to avoid the hassle of beating the clock to get to the airport and gamble on flight delays the day of the cruise. Arriving the day before allows you to relax and get a good night sleep, have a good breakfast, and take your time getting to the cruise terminal. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale and was quite pleased with the hotel. We were given free drinks, dinner, and breakfast with the cost of the room. Also a free shuttle was provided from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the cruise terminal. Our book that we received from RCCL informed us that boarding time was 2 pm, though in actuality they started the boarding at 1130 am. We left on the shuttle from the hotel at 1:45 and arrived at the cruise terminal shortly thereafter. To our surprise there weren’t any lines and we walked directly to a window to complete the necessary paperwork and receive our “SeaPass” card. This card is your key to your room, what you use to board on and off the ship, and for ALL purchases on the ship (drinks, pictures, bingo cards, gift shop items, etc.). Also, don’t be surprised what the bill states at the end of the week. We also tried what RCCL refers to as a category X booking. Category X simply means that you are guaranteed the category room you purchased with the possibility of being upgraded if the category room you purchased is completely booked. The catch is that you are not guaranteed where on the ship your room will be. We spoiled ourselves on Adventure of the Seas and booked a balcony room. We promised ourselves that from then on we would have a balcony room and that is what we booked on the Enchantment. At the window the agent, who might I add was very friendly and helpful, informed us that there were still rooms in our booked category available and that we would not be upgraded this cruise. We were ok with this because we were already aware that this might happen and knew that we still would have that balcony room. We completed the check-in process and boarded the ship. We found our room and it was great with the exception that it was the last balcony room in the back of the ship and there was a storage closet that was quite unappealing and the partition separating the balcony of the room next door was loose. We went to the pursers desk and were informed that to make a room change we would need to get off the ship and start the check-in process again. Well…as you can imagine this was a headache but the agent was accommodating and reassigned us to a much nicer area of the ship. The only hassle then was trying to get our checked baggage delivered from the room on the tag to our new room. It eventually made it a couple hours later. The ship hosted a “Sail Away” party and though it was quite cool outside it was fun. After that the ship had a Super Bowl Party with TV’s setup and in the Schooner Bar and Carousel Lounge with hot dogs and hamburgers. Ports of Call: Day 2 (Key West) Though the shore excursions can be pricey I think they are fair and the tour operators are well picked. Standing on our balcony in the early am we watched the ship dock pier side and though it was cool outside it was sunny. We chose the nature kayaking tour and after a twenty minute bus ride from the pier to the excursion point we boarded a 2 person kayak. We spent almost 3 hours following our guide through the mangroves and learned quite a lot about nature and the keys. We enjoyed this excursion and headed back to the pier where we browsed through many stores before returning to the ship. That night was the first of two formal nights and we decided to skip the formal nights this cruise and eat in the Windjammer Café. It is probably the best Windjammer that we have seen so far and that goes for the service and décor as well. Day 3 (Cozumel) We chose to do the Tulum/ Xel Ha excursion. On the tickets it said there would be a 40 minute boat ride from the pier to Playa del Carmen and the seas could be rough at times. That was an understatement because 90 percent of the people on board the craft were bringing up breakfast and then some. I was impressed though that the staff on board the craft was prepared and handed out bags and paper towels to those prior to getting sick. I am was pleased that the tickets had the forewarning about this. Once on land and when everyone had there bearings straight, we were led to several buses that took us on an hour trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. We had a guide on our bus by the name of Caesar that was phenomenal. His English was excellent and you could easily tell that he had a passion for his job. We made a bathroom stop along the way and were given bottled water and box lunches. We arrived at Tulum where Ceasar took us on a tour of the ruins. It was great. We were then left on our own for 45 minutes of exploring and picture taking of the ocean and ruins. I’d like to note that a shuttle is offered to and from the parking lot to the ruins for a dollar fifty round trip. If you are unable to walk a half mile then take the shuttle. Otherwise it is a nice walk. IF you are a returning visitor to Tulum, you are no longer able to climb on the ruins. After our enjoyable time at Tulum we boarded the bus for Xel Ha (Shell-ha).Xel Ha is a huge lagoon where you can Snuba (snorkel/scuba), swim with the dolphins (with prior reservations), lay out, or snorkel. The cost to snorkel is 10 USD and is NOT included in the cost of the excursion. It was very nice but I’ve snorkeled in better areas. It is a very clean park and is privately owned and the staff is very accommodating. We were then bused back to Playa del Carmen and brought to a boat to take us back to Cozumel. You should’ve seen the look on people’s faces with the thought of having to go through with what we had this morning on the boat ride. Surprisingly, we were placed on a catamaran boat and the ride back was fine. With the exception of the terrible ferry ride from the ship to Playa, I highly recommend this excursion. Day 4 (Costa Maya) Costa Maya is a relatively new port for cruise ships and there is pretty much nothing to do with the exception of a couple of restaurants and shops. I kind of like this though because it is one of the few ports that is not commercialized. (Unfortunately this will be a different story in 10 years). We chose the Dune Buggy Beach Adventure Excursion. (This excursion fills up fast so book early). The group was led to the dune buggies and groups of four were assigned to a buggy. Sheila and I were paired up with a very nice couple and they said we could drive (by the way you need your drivers license to drive). I haven’t driven stick in a while and of course these were not the best dune buggies that money could by. That on top of first gear being worn out made driving very interesting. We were informed that we would have and hour trip down a bumpy dirt road along the coast and would see old houses and a fishing village. Sure enough the road was bumpy and we saw plenty of old houses with no water or electricity. The people were very friendly with a wave as you passed by. I gave up driving half way and let the couple we were with finish the driving. That was fine because I was able to take in the view and cam cord. We arrived at the beach where free refreshments and food were offered along with sea kayaks, hammocks, volleyball, floating mats, and chairs. The temperature was about 80 and very relaxing as Sheila and I slept in the hammocks. We then returned to the dune buggies and drove for 45 minutes on a desolate concrete road back to the pier. Again, I highly recommend this excursion unless medical problems prevent you from doing so. There are very few excursions at this port of call. Day 5 (At Sea) Day 6 (Grand Cayman) I always make an attempt to Scuba Dive at least once during the cruise and it was a toss up between Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Sheila wanted to go to Stingray City (a very popular excursion) so I chose to dive here. As most of you already know, the Cayman Islands pride themselves on their beautiful waters and reefs and have chosen to not allow a cruise ship pier to be built. (I can’t blame them.) Therefore, to reach land you need to take a short ride via a tender. The Enchantment has several life boats that are designed as tenders to do this. I commend them on the continuous tender service they provided that day. Sheila loved her excursion to Stingray City. I boarded the tender to shore and was met by a representative of the dive operator that I was going to be with that day. A dive boat arrived and we boarded the boat on the beach. A crew member began filming us as we boarded the boat and informed us that she would be filming us during our dives. I was pleased about that and noted that I was interested in purchasing a copy. We were informed by the dive masters of the days agenda. The name of the dive operator is Red Sail Sports and I highly recommend them. Of course to do any dive excursion you are required to posses an open water dive certification and sign a release. We dove Great House Wall and the Wreck of the Ora Verde. Both dives were excellent, the crew very professional, and the equipment and the boat in excellent condition. The visibility was 70 –100 feet and the water temp. was 82 degrees Fahrenheit at 80 feet. I chose to dive without a wet suit and was fine. Several of the people I dove with that day also dove in Cozumel an stated that Cozumel was a much better dive. *** For those planning to dive, I highly recommend Nassau Scuba Centre in Nassau and do the Tongue of the Ocean dive but do NOT recommend the dive excursion in Curacao (the dive operator in Curacao was extremely unprofessional with poor equipment and terrible organization). The above are dive excursions I’ve done with RCCL in the past.**** After my dive excursion I returned to the ship, changed clothes, and Sheila and I went back ashore to browse the shops. I highly recommend trying the Tortuga Rum cakes. Every store you go seems to have plenty of samples for free. It is excellent. Grand Cayman is beautiful, clean, and friendly and I can’t wait to visit again. Day (6) At Sea Dining: As I said earlier the Windjammer aboard the Enchantment is beautiful, clean, and the food is great. The service is excellent especially in the evening when things are quiet. The formal dining room named “My Fair Lady” is as gorgeous as the other two ships we’ve been on and the professional service and exquisite food is highly noted. We were fortunate to sit with three other couples that were very friendly and interesting to talk with. Excursions: As you read above, we were very happy with the excursions we booked. On that topic, I highly recommend that you book all of your excursions online on the RCCL website. By doing so, you guarantee yourself that you will be able to get that excursion rather than risking the excursion being sold out by waiting to book on the ship. Now, you can only book the excursions online prior to 10 days of the ship departing. The RCCL website will not allow you to book excursions within 10 days of the ships departure date and you can not book excursions over the phone with RCCL. Casino: If you’re like me and have to be in the casino every night then read the following. The slots are not loose at all and I have yet to see anyone win big on any of the three cruises. Let It Ride and Caribbean Stud Poker though fun to play are sucker games. Craps dice can be swayed with the gentle roll of the ship so I stay away from it though I love craps. Blackjack is the game of choice for me with 5 and 10 dollar table minimums. Though Roulette has terrible odds, I played and did very well. The casino bar and wait staff is accommodating. The dealers on this cruise were very friendly unlike the crew on Sovereign and Adventure. If you are considering to cruise your first time beware that the casino is closed while in ports of call. Shows: The bands, shows, guest stars, and musicians throughout the ship were excellent. Rooms: The room was very nice except this time it seemed the walls were paper thin and we could hear everything from the rooms next door unlike Sovereign and Adventure. Maybe we just had very quiet people the last two cruises. And of course the state room attendant was friendly and performed as expected with room turnover and evening bed turndown. Crew Professionalism and Ship Cleanliness: As always the crew was very professional and the staff very accommodating whenever we had an issues. The ship was immaculate and cleaning staff could be seen in the late evening and early am cleaning the ship throughout. The pools areas were clean and pools and Jacuzzis were drained and cleaned each evening. The shipshape center was proportionate to the ship size and the spa offered numerous services. Steiner, the contracted spa company, has a monopoly on all the ships and their personnel can be stuck up at times. We utilized their services and were happy with the exception of them to push their products during or after a service is provided. The photo crew did not seem as pushy to get a picture every five seconds this cruise and when I kindly stated that I was not interested in a picture without my wife in Grand Cayman they kindly obliged. Overall: Though sometimes RCCL contradicts themselves, we have been pleased with all three cruises and will most definitely recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone. Every cruise we take we are saddened the last day of the cruise and immediately start researching and anticipating where we will go for our next cruise as soon as we get home. *** I would like to add that after reading multiple reviews on web sites and books and talking with many long time cruisers, all the cruise lines have their pros and cons and the experience that one may have on the same cruise as another will differ greatly simply based on expectations and time and place incidents. For those of you considering your first cruise, keep an open mind and remember that the staff on the cruise ships work very hard to please all but at the same time are human beings that work long hours and work contracts of years at a time. Also, even though the atmosphere of a modern cruise ship portrays that of a resort please remember that it is still a ship on the open water and will react as one. We are considering the Alaska cruise, Eastern Caribbean, and Europe as future possibilities. Any Questions please feel free to email me at Irishff14@aol.com

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

A warning to anyone considering using Royal Caribbean...do not cruise with Royal Caribbean unless you want to lose money!!!! My family and I were looking forward to our first cruise together. We booked the 5-day cruise leaving on April 16th to Jamaica and Grand Cayman on the Enchantment of the Seas. The first couple of days were a lot of fun. Weather wasn't so great, but a lot of things to do and see. That's when the trouble started.

Just outside of Jamaica, the ship lost an engine! The ship was able to limp into Jamaica, but was 2-3 hours late so everyone was rushed off to make their shore excursions. Once back on board and underway, the captain announced they were unable to fix the engine and therefore, would not be continuing on. And, worse they would be doubling back to Fort Lauderdale along the same route at 1/2 speed. Needless to say, most if not all of the passengers were extremely upset. Everyone felt they were only being delivered 1/2 of the cruise they paid for. To make matters worse, the pursers desk had no information and could only give people the 1-800 Customer Service #! That evening, everyone received a letter in their room stating they would be getting $150 credit on their bill for the "inconvenience". Now for me that was 5% of the total price I paid. Personally, I was taken aback that Royal Caribbean felt they were doing me a favor refunding 5% when in reality they only delivered 50% of the cruise! When I returned I emailed customer service. Response I got was this was the directive provided from Executive Management and this was considered "fair" compensation! This was directly from one of the Customer Service Supervisors (Carly Ackerman if you're interested). I then tried calling the 1-800 # and got a beligerant customer service rep who clearly was reading from a script basically telling me the same thing. Finally, when I asked for an address to follow up, I was given a generic address and was told it would take up to 2-3 months to receive a response!!! Needless to say, given this experience, I would highly recommend NOT using Royal Caribbean. Clearly they are in it for the money and could care less about who their passengers are and how they treat them.  

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Our travel agent put us on this ship in 1998 where we sailed the the Western Caribbean. In 1999, we took this same ship to the Eastern Caribbean. That should tell you something. When I got off this ship in 1998, I said I regret that I was 45 when I took my first cruise.  When we first got on the ship, our youngest son (16) said he was "bored."  After a couple hours, we seldom saw either of our sons the rest of the cruise,

except at dinner time (as you would expect). The food was fabulous.  I really don't have a better word to describe it.  We encouraged the boys to order things different than we could get at home, ie. a fish dinner vs. steak.  If one of us got a meal that after a bite or two we didn't like, we didn't have to say anything, the waiter took it away and brought something else! If you want to know what it's like being treated like Royalty - take a Royal Caribbean cruise! The staff was at your beck and call.  We left the room, their staff cleaned the room, folded clothing, put things away.  If one wash cloth was on the floor, it was replaced with a clean one on the bar.  If the soap was used once, it was replaced with a new bar. In 1998, we were to stop first in the Key West - there was a problem with a turbo charger in the engine room so we did not get to stop there. Royal gave us like 100.00 per person per room!!!  We were tickled pink! If you didn't want to eat in the formal dinning room, you could eat in their other restaurant.  We did that one night - I ate TWO steaks they were so good!!!  When we came back to the formal dinning room the next night, our waiter, Peter, you could tell, was disappointed that we had missed the formal dinner the night before. By the way, on our second cruise, we saw Tomas, our waiter on the first cruise - he remembered us.  We loved these guys - they were so good to us!  We would see them in port and they would call us by name. What can I say,  I wish I were rich!  There was a lady on our cruise in 1999 that had been on the ship for like 8 cruises in a row!  That's money! We saw some of the greatest shows I think we have ever seen.  A Beatles Look-a-like Band (sounded like them too) - in 1999 - the 5th Dimension was on board to entertain one evening.  Our son 18 year old son was called up on the stage with them - he'll never forget it! Go Royal - that's about all I can say. We loved every single second!!!

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Nov 30, -0001

n/a

TomandMaryMilano@Yahoo.com Enchantment of the Seas...Eastern Caribbean May 2, 1999 We were overwhelmed with the beauty and the elegance of this ship. Whoever designed this vessel should be given an award. Everything was done in such good taste, with many innovations we have not seen on any other ships, such as the daily changing of the carpeting in the elevators, reminding what day it is. Many little things like this that are to

numerous to mention. CABIN: The cabin was done in excellent taste, right down to the choice of material for the drapes and love seat. All the side cabinet doors by the desk area were mirrored on both sides of the doors as were the cabinet doors in the bathroom. It allows the women [and men[ to fully view the back of their heads. The workmanship of the cabinets and closet doors was superb. The cabin door was made of the heaviest material I have seen on any ship. You could of had a brass band playing in the hallway and you wouldn't hear them. The only fault we found with the cabin is that the shower was quite small and their wasn't a hair dryer. But there was so many nice features that we soon overlooked this fact and made ourselves at home. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the cabin boy Paul was also exceptional. He did everything that was required, then went out of his way to see if there was anything else he could do. FOOD & SERVICE: The food was much better than we anticipated. In fact it was excellent. [I am a retired and the former owner of an award winning restaurant on L.I., New York, which was noted for service.] Our waiter and bus-girl, wine steward and bar man, were everything dining room personnel should be. They were friendly & attentive to our every need without becoming overbearing. We couldn't be served any better in any top notch restaurant in the states. They did a superb job. The after dinner presentations by the dining room staff were received very well, a nice friendly touch. THE WINDJAMMER LUNCH AREA: It is by far the most beautiful and most tastefully appointed lunch area we have seen. It is unfortunate that the management personnel have not gotten their act together. As you enter the dining room, they have a hot table with five items of the day. On three different occasions, early and late, they were out of three of the items. They weren't refilling as quickly as they should which resulted in long lines of upset passengers. But this is easily corrected and I am sure they will in the near future. ENTERTAINMENT: Ken Rush, the cruise director was outstanding, as was his staff. He won over the guests on the first night and had then in his corner for the rest of the cruise. His participation in many of the ship-board activities was the difference of them being totally delightful rather than boring. The entertainment in general was good except for the production show, which we thought was terrible. But we met many people that liked it. I guess its all a matter of perspective. It was a very modern upbeat production of today's music, which Mary & I can't stand. We are more of the old tradition that likes the big band days and that type music, so we don't fault them, it just wasn't our type music. THE POOL AREAS: They have two pool areas. The large pool, surrounded by four Jacuzzi and the Solarium pool, with two Jacuzzi. We enjoyed the quiet reserved atmosphere of the Solarium area. It is designed to look like a roman garden. The pool area is encircled by large columns and the areas surrounding the pool are separated by dividers of live planting of hedges. At a higher level facing the pool are full height statues of Roman figures. They have fully achieved what they set put to do. We felt like we were transplanted and were bathing in a Roman garden. You will really enjoy this area. COCO CAY: If we knew what we were in for, we would never have tendered to Coco Cay. By the time we arrived at Coco Cay and walked to the beach area all we could see in the water was hundreds of people floating on mats. The beach area was over-crowded and not very appealing. There was kelp all over the bottom of the water by the beach. If we had to do it again, we would stay on board and our roman garden.. THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP: I never expected to be writing about the captain, but it is a must. He was dynamic. Instead of the cruise director being the host of the Captains party, the Captain was the host of his own party. In a very personable way he told a short history of the Royal Caribbean line and then he told us about the new addition to their fleet, The Voyager of the Seas. It is not so much what he said as it was the way he said it that was so appealing. He said it with so much warmth and sincerity. He made a promise that he would personally see to it that we had a memorable cruise. He then went about the usual business of introducing the staff. But then at the end of the cruise he once again did something I had never seen done before. At the beginning of the farewell stage production he walked from the audience onto the stage and addressed the audience. Again in a most personable way, he thanked us for selecting Royal Caribbean and then summarized some of the things he had said at the opening party about the Voyager of the Seas, and other things he thought might interest us. The Royal Caribbean line not only has an outstanding Captain but also a person who is very well spoken, and is an articulate sales representative for Royal Caribbean. I am sure Royal Caribbean will have many new regular cruisers because of the of the way the captain conducted himself. [Im sorry, I can't recall his Swedish name.] IN CLOSING: We have tried to give you a good idea of the ship and what we experienced. We had a wonderful cruise, a memorable experience. We have made a number of cruises with Celebrity Cruise Line and have sailed on all their ships. Until this cruise we have always rated Celebrity as the best by far. Although we still think they are excellent, we think Royal Caribbean might be just a tad better because of the friendliness displayed by the entire crew. They show their guests in so many ways and by the little things they do, that the number one thought in their mind is to make your cruise the absolute best that is possible, and that they do. That kind of attitude is going to afford them well in the future. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have, especially those from first time cruisers. May your next cruise be your best, Happy Cruising, Tom & Mary Milano TomandMaryMilano@Yahoo.com

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Elaine Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean Sailing Date: May 26th, 2002 This ship and staff was the best. We took our 4 daughters (ages 16 -23) and they had the best time as well. One daughter has severe food allergies and I was very impressed (she was too) at the service that they gave to her, allowing her to choose what she would like for her lunch and dinner the day before. They prepared the foods she needed and her meals were excellent!

The shows were also great, and all services from cabin to restaurant were the best. We would go back on this ship again, and know several people who have taken this ship several times and enjoyed each one.

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Nov 30, -0001

NOT FOUND

David Ellard's 50th Birthday Trip February 2nd to March 9th, 1998 (35 days) Sunday, March 1, 1998 Think I have caught a cold even after so much care taken to avoid contact and washing hands many times each day. Checked out of our hotel room and sat in the lobby waiting until time to board Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship. Heavy rain for most of the day. Forecast is for this storm front to pass late tomorrow. It is hot and very humid.

Got to the ship early and into our cabin. We did not have to wait for our luggage to show up because we had them with us. Unpacked and organized our belongings. Getting to be experts at this. There was 3 bottles of wine waiting for us. With the bottles we brought from the last ship, now the counter is full. This ship is less than 1 year old. The ship's Hostess called us to welcome us aboard. She had been informed of our arrival. Changed our dining room table assignment to a round table. Went to the mandatory muster and lifeboat drill. The ship left port about 5:00 pm. Monday, March 2, 1998 Went up early to the pool area to get coffee and read my book. This is the only place where coffee is available unless you order room service. Brought Pam breakfast back to the cabin. Arrived at Key West, Florida harbor, but could not dock due to severe high winds and seas. It was cloudy and cool until later in the afternoon. Gave up and bought some Sudafed and Tylenol. Did my 10 fast walk laps around the bridge deck after lunch. The dress shirts I sent out for cleaning and pressing arrived back. Now have beam seas now that the ship has altered course. Funny watching people try to walk in a straight line. Bought Pam one of the ship's logo robe. Pam went with a couple from our dining room table to see Norm Crosby perform while I went to play slots. Been reading about El Nina causing odd changes in weather. Almost finished with another book. Tuesday, March 3, 1998 Arrived at Cozumel, Mexico to another cool and windy morning. Weather better in the afternoon and went to pool area to sit in the sun for a while. Amusing to watch people immediately head for the pool area to sit in the sun to get a tan. Some appear as if they have not been in the sun for years and looked bleached out. Took a cab to the "downtown" area that is totally aimed at selling to the tourists. Now have 4 cruise ships at the dock and the area is packed with people. Came back to the ship and did my laps. Probably should have waited another day or two until feeling better. Was physically exhausted and weak from the cold I caught. They are building new piers for more cruise ships. The methods they use are amusing and the lack of construction equipment normally seen at home makes you wonder how well the docks are built. Wednesday, March 4, 1998 At sea all day with heavy seas enroute to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Overcast skies and humid. Rain squalls all day long. Repeaters Party tonight. Toured the bridge. Very high tech systems and computers operate the ship. Played slots for a few hours and broke even. Cheap entertainment. Had to take more Sudafed to clear up congestion and have developed bad cough. Damn. Not feeling well, but this will pass. Skipped lunch. Captain of this ship has little personality, just all business. Not many people around the pool areas because of the weather. Not sure where they all are at. Many hundreds of people at the Repeater's Party that have done at least one cruise with RCCL. Thursday, March 5, 1998 Arrived at Ocho Rios, Jamaica to a hot and humid morning. One of the Carnival cruise ships is here at the dock. Ate a small breakfast. Seas were much calmer during the night. Rain showers while doing my 10 laps that felt good. Think I got dehydrated yesterday. Have read several books so far. The ship was empty during the day while passengers were onshore shopping or doing tours. All of the shops on the ship and the casino were closed while in port. Feeling much better later in the day. Even danced with Pam in the Centrum lobby after dinner. Been noticing that people take as much food as their plate can hold and only eat a small portion of it. Lots of passengers stay up late drinking and partying and get up early the next morning to go on an early tour. I could not keep this pace up for one day. Friday, March 6, 1998 Arrived at Georgetown, Grand Cayman. Dinner tonight is formal. Had a bad night with chills and coughing. Damn. Slept in until 8:30 am. Ship is at anchor in the harbor. The Celebrity cruise ship MELODY is also here. Hot and humid here. Sweating while having my morning coffee. Took the tender to shore and went on a semi-submersible sub out to a shipwreck and coral reefs. Seas rough and hard time off loading people. This tour was very interesting to view the many types of colorful fishes that exist in the coral reefs rather than seeing them in a fish tank. One thing I have suggested on the comment cards is to have gourmet coffee such as Starbucks. The coffee that I get up at the pool area is terrible. To hot out to do my laps without getting heat stroke. This is a very clean place compared to the normal poverty and litter we have seen before on other islands. The downtown has what appears to be only banks, other financial businesses, and insurance companies. Got Pam a rose at dinner. Played slots after dinner and Pam won. Seems to be an odd group of people on this cruise and many fat people. Saturday, March 7, 1998 At sea today, heading north back to Miami. This is the last night of the cruise. Played slots and bingo today. All during the cruise, some portions of each game's revenue are put aside for a Grand Bingo Game. It was worth $11,000 and some one won it all in cash. Packed our luggage later in the day to put out side our cabin in the late evening. Got money to put in the tip envelopes. Skipped lunch, trying to curtail eating. Bought some tee-shirts. Rain in the forecast for late today or tonight. Traded 2 bottles of our wine package that was left over for 2 bottles that had the ship's logo on it at no charge. We wanted to take them home. Sunday, March 8, 1998 Slept well last night. Arrived in Miami early. Many people in long pants and sweaters even though it is 70 some odd degrees here, but cold where they live. Estimate 90 percent of the passengers are flying directly home today. We were the last group to be called to leave the ship and did not have to meet a flight today. Took a taxi to the hotel. Filled out the comment card for Intercontinental Hotel representing the days we stayed at the hotel during this trip in-between cruises. Did not give them much praise. Found out later the hotel was up for sale. Had lunch at the Palm Court restaurant. Called Ryan and Tom Schultz. Took a nap in the afternoon. Had to get a strap to put around one suitcase that one lock had broken open. Walked along the waterfront and went to the Bay Side Mall for dinner. A very pretty and warm night. Our last night in Miami. Monday, March 9, 1998 Checked out of our hotel room and took a taxi to the airport. Observed people just arriving at the hotel for their cruise to start tomorrow. Heavy rain and thunder in the morning. Bet the seas will be rough tomorrow. Long flight to Cincinnati to change planes and landed in a snowstorm. The next flight left on time and we arrived in Seattle.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

The cabins are on the small side, but it's not too bad; they're very well designed. Even with 4 to a room, we weren't overly cramped. The bathroom was tiny, and the shower provided some challenges (shaving my legs: point the sprayer toward the shower wall, open shower curtain, place leg on toilet lid, lather and shave carefully). All-in-all though, the accommodations were just fine. We all loved the ship. While there are some spots

on some of the carpeting, it's clean and well-kept. Whomever designed the interior did a great job. It's really a pretty, pretty ship. As you wander the ship, you come upon what I call "surprise artwork." You turn a corner, and there's a nifty sculpture. You walk down a hall and see breath-taking prints. There's a great sculpture made out of tin right outside the kids' clubs on deck 10. Even if you don't have kids, it's worth a trip up there to check it out. The dining room was gorgeous, and we thought the idea of the 2-level room was ingenius. Instead of one long room, which would have seemed more industrial, the dining room was nicely laid-out. Unlike some of the previous reviewers, we enjoyed the food in the dining room. The soups were outstanding, the salads were fresh, the steaks I ordered arrived cooked as asked. A great bonus was the soda that came gratis with meals. I am a cola-aholic, so I loaded up duing mealtime. We had 2 vegetarians in our group and the staff took good care of them. There were vegetarian entrees, and for the more stringant vegan with us, the kitchen created incredible salads and fruit plates. My 10 year-old stuck with the grown-up menu, but my 8 year-old (Mr. Hot Dog, Pizza, and grilled cheese) ordered exclusively off the children's menu. His biggest complaint was that they didn't have grape jelly on board. The biggest complaint of the grown-ups was the coffee. It really didn't taste good. A couple of times we ordered the cappucino ($1.50 a cup) to have good-tasting coffee. Other reviews panned the desserts- we were pleased with what we had. Whenever we ordered something we didn't like, our waiter noticed and brought something else. I thought our waiter was great, but some of the others in our party thought he rushed us a bit. We had early seating (main seating), so I think that may have had something to do with it. Our cabin steward wasn't overly gregarious, but he did his job well. He didn't go very far above and beyond duty for us, but our cabin was cleaned twice a day. To his credit though, one evening I was having a crying meltdown (hard time with the kids and I had reached a breaking point) in the cabin, when our steward knocked on the door to ask if I was alright and if I needed anything. My kids had a great time during their activities. They were in two different age groups, and enjoyed their time apart. My daughter (the 10 year-old) felt very grown-up doing scavenger hunts, which her brother was too young to do. The kids activites are fun--they have lots of weird science experiments, and plenty of messy time. One evening, I was in the casino and there was a chanting of "we protest. we protest," followed by stomping feet. It was the smaller kids (my son right in the thick of it) dressed up as pirates parading around the ship chanting about taking over. What fun!!! Group baby-sitting is available evenings from 10pm-1am and while the ship is in port from noon-5pm, BUT there is a charge for these hours: $4 per hour per kid. We took advantage of that one port day, but made sure to get the kids back with us by 10pm. The baby-sitting charge is cash only and is not charged to your supercard. None of us participated too heavily in activities, except bingo. By the last day, the coverall jackpot was over $9,600 (it was won by 3 people the last afternoon). The activities staff were very energetic and enthusiastic. I saw just a couple of the shows. One was a singing/dancing review called "Sweet Dreams." It was nicely done, and even stunning considering we had hit a patch of rough seas, so these dancers were doing their show when the ship was rolling pretty badly. Impressionist Fred Travelena was one of the entertainers. His show wasn't great, which surprised me, seeing how he was a "name" act. There was a magic show from LaRaf. These guys were great. It's not simply pulling rabbits out of a hat, there's a lot of music and illusion. It's a very entertaining show. Speaking of those rough seas, we had 3 days where we were dogged by bad weather. Because of this, many shore excursions in Cozumel were cancelled, including the dolphin encounter, which disappointed us greatly. That was the afternoon we left the kids in the kids' club and wandered ashore without them. I can see how Cozumel could be great if the weather co-operates---there are water sports galore. We did some shopping there, but it was dirty and crowded, so we bought some souveniers and went back to the ship. We had better luck at the other stops. We did a glass-bottom boat tour in Key West. The kids liked it. We also wandered around town a bit. In Grand Cayman, we wanted to do the Stingray City tour, but because of bad weather, a different tour was substituted. We ended up on a glass-bottom boat (on the side of the island with decent weather), which took us over 2 shipwrecks (that was cool), and my kids spotted stingrays in the sand, and we saw a coral reef. After the boat ride, we went to the turtle farm. The kids loved that, especially holding some turtles. Afterward, we went to Hell, which exists solely for tourists to spend money. Skip Hell, it's not worth it. When we got back to town, we shopped a little bit and then, upon recommendation of the bus driver, went to lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Big mistake! That place is VERY VERY VERY expensive! My children stayed on board ship with their Aunt when the ship was in Jamaica. That was at my insistance because of Jamaica's reputation of being dangerous. At the dock entrance, there is a gate and beyond the gate there was a throng of shouting men. When I asked about it, I was told that these men were vying for fares-they were taxis drivers. Because making money is hard, these people arrive at the pier at 5am to get in line to receive a number and get called into the gated area. There were literally hundreds of men shouting to get our attention so we'd bypass the system and walk out to get one of them to drive us. We stayed inside the gate and our taxi was brought to us. "Wilson" was our driver, a congenial man who took us to the beach, waited for us, and then took us to the shopping plaza, and returned us to the ship when we were finished. We loaded up on Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, but sadly had to made do with the ship's coffee until we arrived home. My biggest complaint about the Enchantment of the Seas is with the breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer Cafe on deck 9. The buffet lines are set up at the entrances, with very little manuvering room. You walk in, are handed your tray with plate, and silverware, select your food and them find a table. Several times we were wandering aimlessly around the room searching for an open table. Not only did the food get cold, but full trays get heavy! Later in the week, we got wise and found our table before we got our food, but them we had that one person we left at the table not able to eat in sync with the rest of us. What I'd like to see is maybe the buffet lines moved to another part of the room, or maybe after you've filled your tray, having a staff member guide you to an open table. Also, easy to miss, but worth hunting for: the sandwiches in the Windjammer: they're on the bar behind the piano. Sometimes they were the best thing available for lunch. We enjoyed the pool area, and had no problem with people reserving chairs, but we prefered to sit in the shade. When the ship got back to Florida, the disembarking process was well-organized. You are called to disembark by the color of your luggage tag, which is determined by when your flight out is on Sunday. We had done our own flight booking and were leaving Monday, so we were the last group called. That was fine with us. We went to the kids' area and played video games until the request for all guests to leave was announced. I don't know why people herded by the exits and on deck 5. It was so peaceful to just hang out elsewhere until it was time to go. All in all, we had a great vacation. I'd rate my experience on the Enchantment an 8 out of 10, and would love to travel on her again, or try another Royal Carribean ship. The kids were taken care-of, my parents were taken care-of, the high-maintenance eaters in the group were takent care-of. We could not ask for much more!

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

I have read many reviews and postings on RTC about Port Everglades area hotels. The general consensus was Amerisuites but unfortunately, I waited too long to book. I did get 3 rooms at the Holiday Inn Express on the 17th street causeway right around the corner from Pier 18. No complaints. Rooms were clean and the Complimentary breakfast was good. Price was also good. We got the CAA (AAA equivalent) for $85. The Vancouver couple

flew into Ft. Lauderdale and the hotel had a complimentary shuttle which picked them up. The other 2 couples flew in via Miami. I booked these flights months ago and given our arrival time of 10:15 pm, was debating for quite some time if we should head up to Lauderdale that evening or the following morning. I spoke to various shuttle companies and the cost to shuttle us up would have been US $70. We opted to rent a station wagon (need the space for all that baggage of 2 couples) from Hertz. Once again, we got a CAA rate of US $38, which was 1/2 the cost of the shuttle. Having the car also allowed us to drive around the Ft.Lauderdale strip Sunday morning and head over to Publix and Eckerd to pick up some soft drinks, water and waterproof cameras. Get those cameras before you board as the ship charges more. We headed over to the ship at 11:30am Sunday, dropped off all the baggage, and then I brought the car back to Hertz which was only 3 mins. away. Hertz also has a complimentary shuttle back to the ship. The entire process took maybe 15 mins. In all, we saved at least 1/2 the cost renting the car as opposed to paying for a shuttle! EMBARKATION My wife and I sailed the Grandeur 2 yrs.ago out of Miami and new how beneficial it was to arrive at the port early in order to beat the rush of the airline arrivals. Miami was smooth and took about 15 mins. in all. Unfortunately, the process at Lauderdale needs some work. We walked in the terminal doors at about 11:55am and were given numbers...ours was #2. Were told to take a seat and fill out additional documents they handed to us. As for the documents we received weeks in advance, we had already had these completed. They called our number about 20mins. later and we were brought into another room (about 150 people in all). We sat in other seats while cruise staff came around to make sure all our documents were filled out. We were able to see the next check-in area through some doors. This is where you pass through the radar detectors then go to the checkin counters. There was nobody in there yet they did not allow us in until all 150 people had their papers checked. This resulted in 150 flooding in at the same time. They should have allowed people in as their documents were verified. Nevertheless, we made it to check-in. We gave our documents in and they immediately validated our Supercharge card. This was a big advantage over the Grandeur which validated your card only once boarded. Once we cleared this area, we were cleared to board. Just before getting on the ship...........PHOTO's. Another line. I do not mind the photo's but they should separate the waiting line from those getting the photo's done. We were 6 in our group. The picture was great apart from the 2 other heads right behind us and therefore in the picture. Needless to say, we opted not to buy the picture. All in all, from walking into the terminal until walking on board, approximately 45mins. Double that of the Grandeur 2 yrs ago. I would hate to see the line when all the cruise/air passengers arrived. STATEROOM As I stated earlier, we were upgraded to CAT D mid-ships. The 3 couples were side by side on Deck 7....7096, 7098, 7100 - port side. We noticed a foul smell on our deck which turned out to be the regular "in port smell". I remember this from the Grandeur. Once we left port, it was gone. The stateroom was very nice. There were a few stains on the carpeting but apart from this, excellent. I brought along some extra hangers but left them in my suitcase as there were plenty. Beds were very comfortable. Bathroom was small but very functional and well laid out. Air conditioning worked extremely well. Television had very good selection of Channels. Drawer space was abundant and we never needed the 3 drawers in the closet. We had our soft drinks and water with us and immediately loaded the fridge. The fridge did not seem to cool down anything. We asked our room steward to look at it. He said the fridge was working and it would take time as they were very low energy output. By the next morning, everything was nice and cold. I had told our group to tip the people taking our baggage at check in. I am always afraid that if they are not tipped, they will put your bags on the last crate going on the ship. Sure enough, our bags were outside our stateroom by 2:30 pm. So, the moral of this is TIP THE BAGGAGE HANDLER. Once we dropped off our hand baggage, we headed up to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch, buffet style. Here, the 3 couples would finalize our shore excursions. I told everybody to go over it the week before. We had all picked our excursions over lunch, filled out the form and dropped it in the drop-off box by 4:00pm. Since it works on a first come first serve basis, do not delay! Our shore excursion tickets were printed up and delivered to our stateroom that night after supper. We all got what we wanted. The rest of the afternoon was used to tour the ship. At 4:30pm, mandatory lifeboat drill. This took about 20 mins. in all. Then, back up to deck 10 for the departing party at 5:30pm. It still amazes me how these 74,000 ton vessels can back out, stop, spin around 120 degrees on a dime, then pull out. All without the help of tugboats! FOOD There have been many comments posted and here are mine. No complaints! We had dinner every night in the main dining room. Appetizers contained at least 5 choices, then there was salad (only 1 offered) and then 5 main courses to choose from. Desserts also had various choices. Each night the menu changed based on what "theme" it was that evening so you had a different menu each night. Theme's included Italian, French, Caribbean, International and Captain's Gala. We did try 2 breakfast's in the main dining room but I must say I did prefer Windjammer. I cannot comment on lunch as I ate either in Windjammer or Solarium. As has been written, Windjammer is buffet style. If you are happy with the standard breakfast's like eggs, omelets, sausage, bacon, pancakes and french toast, cereal, fruits, fish, hashbrowns, grits, hot cereal, fish and coldcuts, yogurt, danishes, croissants....go to the Windjammer. Only go to the dining room for items not offered in Windjammer. Here is my explanation. When I ordered these same items in the dining room and when it finally made it to me, they were lukewarm at best. In the main diningroom, you would have to wait for it to be cooked, then properly placed on a plate, then covered, then left on a tray until all orders filled, then delivered to the table, then served. In Windjammer, by the time I selected my food and sat down at the table, my food was still hot. For this reason, I suggest you stay in Windjammer. Also to note, you get to sleep in later. Overall, selection was very good. As for dinner, there were some evenings I could not decide between 2 items, either in the appetizer or main course section, so my waiter brought both. Do not feel shy about doing this. There were many people sampling more than 1 item. For example, there was 1 evening I had both Scampi and Filet Mignon. Nothing like a well prepared Surf n' Turf! Also to note, bring your VCR cameras to dinner. Waiters put on various shows. For the Western Itinerary, formal nights are Monday and Friday and semi-formal is Wednesday. A final suggestion I have for dinner is to purchase the Wine and Dine program. This is where you commit to buying 7 bottles of wine in advance. Price is US $125 including tip. Whatever you do not finish will be corked and served the following evening. You must however keep an eye on the Wine Steward. OUrs was always refilling our glasses even though we still had our glass half full. They were clearly trying to empty the bottle so they it could not be corked for another evening. Leave some room for the SHOOTERS which are served with dessert. Delicious and what names they come up with...Beam me up Scotty, Slippery Nipple, Brain Hemorrage, French Kiss and Italian Stalion - just to name a few. The big midnight buffet where you take pictures only for the first hour is Friday. Finally, I often visited the Solarium Café for a little snack around 5:30 pm as we were late seating for dinner. Loved their hotdogs and cheeseburgers, not to mention those great fries. As for the pizza, mediocre. ENTERTAINMENT Overall, whatever we saw we enjoyed. Unfortunately, as well as you may try to plan your evening, you cannot see everything. But, what we did see I will rate on a scale of 1 - 10, with 1 being WASTE OF TIME and 10 being MUST SEE. Main Productions shows (Mon. & Thurs.): Sweet Dreams and Flashback....Both a 10. Welcome Aboard Show (Sun) with comedian Bruce Gold....9 Celebrity Showtime (Tues.) with comedian Gary Mule Deer....8, and acrobatic family The Ashtons....7. Enchantment Spectacular (Wed) with Magic and Grand Illusionists LaRaf....8 Flashback Revue (Thur. in addition to main show): Jeff the comedic juggler...8 Headliner Show Time (Fri): Singer Greg Bonham....we missed this as we wanted to see the Gala Buffet. Late Night Comedy (Fri) Midnight Show: Bruce Gold....7, his opening act was funnier. Not So Newly Wed Game (Thurs): Not to be missed - a definite...10. Cruise Director asked wife what her husbands favourite condiment was. She answered pepper. When husband came out, he answered...Trojans! Everybody was on the floor. Enchantment Farewell Show (Sat): Cruisestaff....9 Many Many more things to see and do which we saw in the recap video they try to sell you. All looked great. These include: western night, 70's disco, bellyflop contest, best legs (men) contest, ice carvings, art auctions, and so on and so on. Many in our group participated daily in the shipshape centre for aerobic workouts. They all said it was great! Attention Bingo lovers...the Snowball Jackpot was won at US $8700. Finally, the Cruise Director was Paul Rutter. I give him a strong 9 along with his entire staff PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Since there are many items here, I will comment only on those excursions members of our group went on and again rate them on a 1 (bad) to 10(great) basis. Key West - cute town. We all did the Old Town Trolley and Conch Train Tour. Rating...9. Interesting and left time for shopping. Cozumel - crazy cab drivers. Some did the Snorkeling Adventure, Rating....6 and others did the Tropical Safari Jeep Tour, Rating....5. My strongest recommendation, if you are a snorkeler and beach lover, is to go to Chaankanaab Park. This is state owned and therefore cannot be offered as an excursion. Beautiful, safe and clean. Rent equipment there for US $5. Entrance Fee of US $10 per person and cab fare is US $8 total each way, based on 4 in a cab. Every possible amenity is offered there. Grand Cayman - EXPENSIVE! Some did the Stingray City Swim and Snorkel, Rating....10+ and others did the Grand Cayman Snorkeling, Rating....9. The remainder of the day either shopping at pier or making your own way to 7 mile beach. Be prepared to pay tax and hotel entrance fee to access beach. Jamaica - No Problem Mon! Some did the Dunn's Rivers Mountain Bike Tour, Rating....8, and others did the Ocean Kayak and Dunn's River Falls, Rating....9. Both tours ended or started with climbing the falls. NOTE: be prepared to pay more than what is listed on the excursion form. Be prepared to tip your excursion host as well as the guide who takes you up the falls. At the falls, there was somebody who videotaped our group then edited everything with music. He said the cost was US $30 for 25 min. tape and it would be delivered to our ship. I was hesitant, but did it. He gave me a receipt and sure enough, the tape was waiting for me at the Pursers Desk at 3:30 pm. Quite enjoyable to watch. Jamaica Suggestions: for those of you interested in a quiet beach day, there is something separate you can do. My sister, who was on the Voyager the same week, spent her Jamaica day at the SANDALS Dunn's River Falls couples only resort. They charged US $50 per person and it included everything....food, all drinks and booze, beach toys, water- skiing, scuba (with certification presented)...everything. She loved it! Just hop in a cab and it is about a 10 min. drive. Call SANDALS before leaving and give them the names in your party and the date you will be there and they will have everything waiting for you. Remember, couples only and no kids. One last item on Jamaica is cabs. Take ONLY THOSE cabs with red plates and white numbering as these are government licensed and do not pay in advance for round trip. All fares are controlled and posted at the pier. ON BOARD SHOPPING All alcohol purchased will have 15% tip added automatically. For those interested in T-Shirts, wait until last day. They put everything out and all on sale. Now for photo's. In all, we had 20 photo's taken of just my wife and I. These are taken at various times during the week and are developed and put up for display within hours. On our first cruise 5 yrs. ago, we started buying them as they were posted. Big Mistake!!!!! The trick here is to go look at them as they are posted. At the end of the week, put them all side by side then make your purchase decisions. They are quite expensive so be careful.. We purchased 3 small and 2 large pics. Price was US $70. I also used the internet café. We set up a Yahoo e-mail address before we left so we were able to send and receive e-mail. There is also a webcam on these PC's that take a pic of you and then superimpose it on one of 3 cyber postcards. You type in a note then e-mail it off. Cost for the cyber postcard is US $4.95 plus air-time. All air-time (log-in time) is charged at US $0.50 per minute. As for the day you return, all non-US citizens must clear immigration at about 6:45am. After this, you head off to breakfast in either the main dining room or in Windjammer. Following breakfast, you must insure you room is cleared out for 8:30am at the latest. As for your main baggage, these you have to leave outside your stateroom by midnight Saturday. By the time your eating breakfast, all baggage is already in the terminal. Coloured tags worked quite well. Here is a suggestion of something to do while you wait for your colour to be called for disembarkation. Head up to the 8th deck starboard (right) side and check-out all the suites, family suites (8518) as well as the Royal Suite (8500). If the guests have left, which they should have by this time, they are in the process of being cleaned and all doors will be open. Go have a peak! Well, we are now back and the 2 other couples we went with are sold on cruising. Funny thing though, I threw my used towels on my bathroom floor Monday morning and they are still there! As all past cruisers know, there is only one way to help get over the post-cruise blues....plan our next one! My hats off to RCI for a week we all enjoyed! If anybody has any other questions, feel free to e-mail me. James daphca@securenet.net

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

We made our our air arrangements through our travel agent and left Raleigh, NC for Ft. Lauderdale with a stop in between to change planes in Atlanta, GA ( Yes, we flew Delta!)We chose to fly independent of RCI's air/sea package because we saved a little money and our agent told us the port terminal was very close to the airport. She was right on the money! It was just a 5-minute ride from the airport to port and we arrived there pretty

quickly. Our flight landed in Ft. Lauderdale at 10:30 a.m. and we were at port terminal 18 by 11:45 by the time we got our bags, ate, sat around and people-watched, etc. Embarkation Once at the terminal, we handed our bags to a porter and entering inside, we were handed a blue card with a number on it (we had #3)and were asked to sit down and fill out a form with our travel information. RCI personnel were roaming the room giving us assistance with our paperwork and asking for the proper documentation (passports, etc.). Then everybody who had the number 3 were called to go into a seperate room where another RCI person gave us further instructions as to the proper documentation and boarding tickets, etc. that we needed for the next phase in which we were going to be officially checked into the ship. We next entered into a huge room with a long line that moved pretty quickly to ship personnel who checked our passports, imprinted your credit card(s), and issued your SuperCharge cards. Then we entered the ship with a Embarkment picture in between. The whole process went quickly and smoothly and we were on the ship by 12:30 p.m. - just in time for lunch at the Windjammer! The Ship Two words - AWESOME AND BEAUTIFUL! If you had not been on a cruise ship before, you would not have never known how beautiful this was! The Centrum was beautiful with glass, brass and marble floors. Quiet jazz music was playing. The furniture and decorum was tastefully appointed with basic colors and patterns. The Enchantment itself was huge with lots of open spaces as well as lounges and rooms. The Solarium and pool areas were nice. I could go on and on, but in short it was very nice. Cabin My wife and I had a category F Oceanview stateroom on the Main deck (4054), mid-ship, on the port side. I read complaints on previous posts about the lack of RCI's cabin sizes but my wife and I thought the room was fine with us. Actually, seeing that you only sleep and change clothes there, it really did not matter what size the room. We had plenty of storage space. The shower was pretty small but it did not bother us. Our cabin steward, John from Trinidad, was excellent! He always seemed to be working and he was very plesant and informative on the ship's programs and activities. Food Out of all of the comments I heard, the food was probably given the most concern, especially on RCI fleets. Here is our take on it - for the most part the food was good! I would not say it was 5-star cuisine, but I did not pay for that either, not to mention it is hard to prepare excellent food to suit everyone's palate when you are preparing for 2,400+. We had some really good pasta dishes and the Lobster on Friday evening was delicious!! I did not eat a lot of desserts, but what I had was good. We had first seating and went to the midnight buffet a few nights and the food was good. Our headwaiter Massimo (Italy), waiter Wallop (Thailand) and Assistant waiter Simona (Romania) were excellent as well and I was impressed that they took the time to remember our names as well as our preferences by the second night! We only ate in the Windjammer twice - at lunch - and we thought the food was O.K. We enjoyed the main dining room better. Entertainment The Entertainment overall was a 7 on scale of 10. Some of the shows were pretty good - the magicians LaRaf were great! They left everyone saying "How did they do that?" The Farewell show and "Sweet Dreams" shows were good also. A juggler, Jeff Taveggia, was really energetic and had an entertaining show. The other shows were two comedian, David Orion and Dave Heenan and the singing sensation Terri Bryant, formerly of the singing group "The 5th Dimension". No doubt, the best entertainment on the Enchantment were the "Not-So-Newlywed Game" and "Western Quest" - they were hilarious!! Mega 4, a calypso band, played great music at poolside. We do not gamble or drink, so I cannot tell you about these activities. We also did not attend the Disco in the Viking Crown lounge. I will say that the Cruise Director, Kyle Dodson, was great!! Excursions I will not spend a whole lot of time here but here goes: KEY WEST Regina and I did not get off the ship here. We spent the day in the Beauty Salon getting a manicure and pedicure and checking out the rest of the Enchantment. COZUMEL We went of the Cozumel Island tour, where we had a real hilarious guide named Tony. He took us to the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio. It was HOT and the MOSQUITOS were huge! Then we toured Chakanaab Park and Lagoon. We saw the dolphins and iguanas were everywhere!! GRAND CAYMAN We took the Grand Cayman Highlights and Turtle Farm tour. Our guide took us throught downtown Georgetown and we arrived at the Turtle Farm. That was pretty interesting! Then we toured the city of Hell, Grand Cayman. I can now tell people I went to Hell - it was a lot of fun but it was pretty hot!! We proceeded from there to a few rum cake factories and went shopping in downtown Georgetown and ate at a restaraunt before heading back on a tender to the Enchantment. OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA Our best excursion - took the trip to Dunn's River Falls. After touring the town of St. Anne's Bay, we hiked up the falls. I truly recommend this excursion!! If you are wary of persistent vendors, get prepared because you will see them here as you head back to your bus. I had been to Jamaica and other caribbean/developing nations (Haiti; Ghana, West Africa; and Montego Bay in a previous trip)so I was used to it. However, for a first-timer it can be a little nerve-wracking. Then we went to two shopping areas in Ocho Rios, Soni's and Taj Mahal, to purchase some gifts and went back to the Enchantment. Days at Sea Our two days at sea were wonderful breaks. The first one was after Cozumel in which my wife and I laid out by the pool area. We had no problem finding chairs because we are not sun-worshippers and there were plenty of chairs underneath the shade areas near the pool. There were many activities to choose from so you would not be bored. The second day at sea was on Saturday, the day before we arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale. This was a sad day for most people I know due to the fact that the trip was almost over and no one wanted to leave. Disembarkment Sad day - time to get off. Our bags were packed, tagged, and outside our door by 11 p.m. Saturday night. We awoke, showered, left the room, ate breakfast and sat around in the Fascination Rhythm Lounge waiting for our color tag (Blue) to be called. By the time we were called, found our luggage in a sea of people and luggage and were at the airport by 10:30 a.m. for our 12:30 flight back to Raleigh. Overall Comments We loved the cruise!! My wife Regina said this was the best vacation she has ever had!! We loved Royal Caribbean for their superior service - whenever we had a problem or question, they had answers. We also met wonderful people from all over the world. We are already planning another cruise next year and we will definitely be going with Royal Caribbean, although we would like at some point to check out Celebrity, Princess, or Norwegian. We were suprised to see so many couples who were our age (we are in our 30's) and overall, the ship had a good mix of people and we also liked the fact that it was NOT a party ship! I would definitely recommend RCI and the Enchantment. You will not be disappointed!! Feel free to email me if you want more information!

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

Preamble This was my 5th cruise, my wife's 4th  (the second RCCL cruise for both of us) and my wife's parents 1st cruise.  We were originally scheduled to be on the July 30 sailing of the Paradise, but when that sailing cancelled eleven days ahead of time, we scrambled to find space on what was available the same date.  We were lucky to get 2 outside cabins on the Enchantment.  My wife and I were disappointed that

we were not able to get a balcony-we did have a suite on the Paradise, but the cruise itself was so enjoyable, that we almost forgot about the balcony. Embarkation We arrived in Miami on Saturday, and spent the night at the Courtyard by Marriott, MIA Airport South (there is also a MIA Airport West).  Both of us had Marriott Rewards certificates for a free night, so even though our new cruise was leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale, we kept the free rooms in Miami.  We took a Blanc et Noir shuttle from the hotel to Port Everglades-they were very reasonable ($55) for a van for the four of us plus all of our bags.  When we arrived at the port, we got my mother-in-law a wheelchair, and went inside to the terminal.  We were greeted by RCCL staff who handed us a number, and had us sit until our number was called.  We felt that was much better than just waiting in a very long Disneyesque line.  Before our number was called however, an RCCL staff member came over, saw the wheelchair and offered us immediate check-in.  We were very impressed, and did not wait much at all.  I did notice though that the number system did really keep the lines down.  We noticed that we did not have our seating together, and upon boarding the ship went up to see the Maitre D' to have our tables changed.  That was handled fairly efficiently, and off we went to the first of our many, many meals. The Ship The Enchantment is a beautiful ship.  We saw the staff constantly cleaning everywhere, putting on coats of new varnish and new paint seemingly daily.  The staterooms were slightly bigger than our previous RCCL experience (on the Monarch of the Seas), and the soundproofing was good as well.  All the elevators were in service and working the entire cruise. Service The service that we experienced was the best that we have had on board a cruise yet.  We did see our Cabin Steward (Fernando from Costa Rica) a good many times-if he saw us coming down the hall, he whipped out his key and opened our stateroom door for us.  The cabin was kept extremely clean.  The dining room staff was exceptional as well.  Our waiter (Simion from Romania) and assistant waiter (Marlon from Mauritius) were both fantastic.  Simion was the best waiter we have had yet on a cruise.  He was of course polite, but also very funny and he made sure that our meals were a delightful experience.  His assistant Marlon had all of our preferences by the second night, so it was rare that we had to ask him for anything.  Our headwaiter (Yusef from Turkey) was around a couple of times each night to make sure that everything was going o.k. as well. Food The food at dinner in the main dining room ranged from good to excellent-my wife raved about the lamb chops, and had a couple of great fish entrees, and I thought that the steaks were done to perfection.  The Windjammer was usually very good at lunch, but the breakfasts were usually fair at best.  The breakfasts and lunches in the main dining room were also good to very good.  I did notice improvement in the food since we last sailed with RCCL in 1997.  I liked that instead of having midnight buffets every night there were nibbles being served in various locations around the ship. Ports of Call The Enchantment stopped at Key West, Playa del Carmen/Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios.  Key West was very pleasant, and many shore excursions were offered although we did not take one there.  We went into town on our own and wandered around the shops, etc.  We did get off the ship at Playa del Carmen and went on the excursion to the ruins at Tulum.  We loved that excursion and had a very good guide.  It was very hot and humid however, so when we got back to the ship, we just stayed there and did not venture back out to Cozumel-I guess we'll have to take another cruise that stops there again!  In Grand Cayman we took the Stingray City excursion and had an absolute blast.  The rays were rubbing up against our legs like our cats do at home.  It was a not to be missed experience.  We went back to the ship to change and have lunch, and then we went out on our own to the Turtle Farm and eventually made our way back to town and went through the shops.  Grand Cayman was our favorite stop.  Again many different excursions were offered to Ocho Rios, but we did not partake.  We had spent a week in Jamaica before and had already done Dunn's River Falls, so we stayed on board most of the day, getting off the ship for only a couple of hours to wander around the town.  I understand that next year Ocho Rios is to be replaced by another Mexican destination (Calica maybe?) Entertainment The entertainment was good.  We enjoyed the Singer Jan Downs, the "celebrity" Bowzer from Sha-na-na (although we actually thought that his back-up singers were better), and the comedian Hank McGauley.  We did not see the magicians or another singer Hal Frazier, although my in-laws were not impressed with either of those two shows.  We played in the casino a little and left a little for some future cruisers to win back.  The casino itself had a pirate/fish theme that we thought was cute. Debarkation Again because my mother-in-law was in a wheelchair we were able to get off of the ship with the first group.  We were off by 8:30 and we found our luggage fairly quickly.  Organizing the luggage is never an easy feat, and we did notice that when we put our luggage outside our door the night before we debarked, it was taken to the luggage hold 10 minutes after we put it out.  This seemed to be organized better than our previous RCCL cruise as well. Final Thoughts/Comparisons When we had the lifeboat drill, I thought that the Captain's voice was familiar.  It turned out that we had sailed with the same captain (Thore Thorolvsen) previously on the Monarch.  We were able to talk with him for a few minutes at the Captain's cocktail party, and he was very friendly and affable (and told us that previous cruisers had recognized his voice too). We like the way he runs his ships, and hope to have him again on another cruise. Since we took the Carnival Destiny last summer, it was natural to make some comparisons.  Even though we liked the Destiny very much, we enjoyed this cruise even more.  The service was more polished, and the staff and crew seemed to be more at ease with the passengers.  I also like that we heard from the Captain daily.  On Carnival we never head from the Captain at all-only the cruise director.   There were a couple of things that we thought Carnival did better however.  We enjoy having a midnight adults only comedy show and the Enchantment did not have that.  I also like having the 24 hours pizzeria on board.  I know that we could get room service whenever we want (and we did have it twice), but I like to know that if I don't like the breakfast, I can always get a slice of pizza even at 7:30 in the morning.  On the Enchantment, the Solarium is only open certain hours of the day.  There were two other little nagging things that bothered us.  The first is the saving of deck chairs.  If you aren't out at the pool early, forget it.  I know this happens on all ships, but it still bugs us.  The other is that there is a 12 and older age requirement to use the Solarium pool and we kept seeing kids younger than that in the pool.  I think that if the cruise line is going to offer an area like that with an age requirement, I think they should enforce it. All in all, we had a very nice, relaxing, and fun vacation.  We look forward to another cruise on RCCL in the future.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Jackie Stencil to 35 2000 This was our first-time cruise so I didn't know what to expect even though I have read a lot and talked to a lot of people about it. It's just something you have to experience for yourself. There is quite a bit of things to do on the ship.  They have a great schedule of events everyday (all day long) if you choose to do some of the things. Money is not accepted so make sure you go with a good credit

card (except the casino and tips) We didn't do a lot of shopping at St Maarten but did most of it at St. Thomas. Royal Caribbean tells you of places to shop and actually encourages certain stores, so we stopped at a few jewelry stores just to see what prices we could find. There were a lot of good deals but they still were out of our price range. We got bombarded by the people telling us "come in our store we have rings for 100 bucks". but when we got in there they then showed us there line of 500 dollars or more, so I was disappointed in that aspect. We went along and stopped in this little store that the cruise line had made no mention of. By then I was sick and tired of jewelry and the lady at the counter asked if I was interested.  I just kind of shrugged and said “watcha got”? She showed me a 14 carat gold tanzanite ring that was very pretty. Needless to say I got a good deal. She convinced me that everything was genuine. We left the store and all I kept wondering was is it a fake???I couldn't wait to get back to the states to find out. The overall cruise, I would give it a 10. THE FOOD: Dinners were very different and I wasn't used to it.  However they were OK. Luckily they do serve pizza and hamburgers during the day. The midnight buffet was most excellent. If you want to be treated like royalty (which I'm not used to) then start planning your trip. Everyone was so nice and attentive.  When you leave your room and then come back, it has been cleaned (no matter what time you leave, it was awesome) Needless to say for 8 days you get spoiled and it is hard to leave. We then ported at Coco Cay in the Bahamas. There they have snorkels for you to rent to use, You have to get your tickets while you are on the boat and use your card. You could keep the snorkels all day.  As a first time snorkeler it was really amazing. That is something I would do again if given a chance. It was sooo awesome, just beautiful. If you do go get an underwater camera at WalMart for only $8 or $9 bucks they charge $16 or $17 bucks at the island. The pictures turned out great, colors of the fish and everything. OK, now for the part you’ve all been waiting to hear.  I went to the jewelry store when I got back.  The jeweler took my ring and tested everything about it and said everything was genuine. I asked her how much she thought it was worth and she told me $800 to $1,200.  My mouth dropped open. She asked me how much I paid for it and I told her $175 then her mouth dropped open. The name of the store is called Jackson's in St Thomas even though they don't have a listing for it the owners are very nice. Sometimes you have to take your chances. like I said if anyone goes, its HARD NOT TO HAVE FUN, so have fun and enjoy, godspeed.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

This was my first cruise on RCI, having been on 6 NCL cruises, one Celebrity (MERCURY), and Costa lines, I have to say that the RCI's ENCHANTMENT is the absolute best I've been on.  Embarkation was done quite well using the number system, and it was about an hour from the time we arrived at Port Everglades to the time we actually opened the door to our spacious Category C cabin in the back of the ship.  We were amazed at the size of our

balcony which must have been more than double the size of the balconies on the sides of the ship.  She is a beautiful vessel, with a very glitzy atrium and public areas.  Everything was so clean and shiny. Our wait staff was wonderful, having Juan from Chile as our waiter, and Marlon from Mauritius for the assistant waiter.  "Downtown" Earl Brown was our Headwaiter and was always around making sure things were OK.  One night there wasn't anything on the menu that I cared for, and "Downtown" insisted I eat something...even chicken and baked potato which he promptly had delivered to the table. This is also the first cruise line that soft drinks are complimentary with meals.  On other ships, you had to order your soda's from the bar waiter and of course, be billed for them.  We found Marlon to be especially wonderful with his impeccable Queens English and the manner in which he speaks.  After we docked back in Ft. Lauderdale, I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours with Marlon and show him some of the city which was in the midst of a small tropical storm.  One night was a toga night and everyone was provided with white bed sheets by the pool area.  My girlfriend and her daughter with whom I shared the cabin, had asked our cabin attendant (also fantastic, Ian from Trinidad) if we could have the peach colored sheets as well, to make a two-tone look for our togas.  Of course they were in the cabin and he made it possible for us three to be the "Belles of the Ball" with our two colored togas. Another night was the galley raid buffet which was very interesting to see how everything is prepared and to see what the galley looks like.  I couldn't imagine what it's like during meal hours with all the waitstaff hustling for the meals.  The entertainment was very good, with a juggler named Jeff Taveggia.  He was awesome.  WE also had the comedy of George Kanter and Kelly Monteith.  There was also the magic and Grand Illusions of LaRaf which was awesome.  I couldn't believe some of the illusions they performed, but were done right in front of my eyes!  The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers did the Sweet Dreams and Flashback Revue shows which were great.  However, there was also a show featuring Susan Anton, the former girlfriend of Dudley Moore, and she really wasn't that good.  I noticed many people walking out of her show.  Shore excursions were OK, although two of which we wanted were no longer offered, one being the Chichen Itza by plane trip.  Apparently there had been too much problems with the Mexicans and the planes not being reliable so it was cancelled.  WE had then opted for Tulum with XCaret, but they took out the XCaret and only Tulum.  The Stingray City tours were not long enough, and should have other snorkeling times included with it.  In retrospect, I find that RCI is much better than NCL in many ways.  Now with NCL being owned by Japanese and featuring "Freestyle" cruising, I think many people are not going to go for that, and want to have an assigned table and regular wait staff instead of going anywhere you want and a new waiter all the time.  I am definitely ready to cruise with RCI again, and hope to sail on ENCHANTMENT again next, but with my husband this time!

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Nov 30, -0001

Miami, St. Maarten,

  Thirty minutes from airport to cabin.  No long lines. Cabin:   We were originally assigned 3018, on deck 3 (A-deck), forward & port.  When the docs arrived we found we had been moved to 3578, starboard, amidships...not really an upgrade, but more centrally located, which means a shorter distance to get places, and less rock 'n' rollin' at sea. The two twin beds were up against the walls with two small night

stands and double window in between, but could be pushed together for a double.  A small drapery set off the sleeping area, but was just for effect, as it did not pull across for privacy. The love seat and coffee table made a nice sitting area, and the mirror (cabinet doors on either side were also mirrored for three-way effect), dressing table, 2 closets and 11 drawers were very generous. There was also a large mirror beside one bed, and a full-length mirror in the sitting area.  Valuables were stored in the card-operated safe, and luggage stored under the beds. The bathroom was large enough for two and had plenty of space for personal accessories in a cabinet with 3-way mirrors. The shower head was fully adjustable for height (great for kids) and direction, and could also be hand-held.  The volume on the PA system was adjustable or could be turned off, and there were lots of TV stations with different subject matter.  Air conditioning was more than adequate and easily controllable.  Even though we were below the main floor of the Centrum, we could hear nothing from upstairs, hall or adjacent cabins. Ship facilities: The ship is gorgeous...It's kind of a pleasant mix of contemporary and classic.  I was particularly impressed with the Centrum.  Here you can enjoy cocktails, a little casual dancing, figure out where you are (you can see all the levels to see what's going on where).  There are little sitting areas tucked away on every level, most with a gorgeous ocean view. Sun Deck: There were deck chairs in the sun almost everywhere, but not necessarily when I wanted one. The Solarium pool was a quiet place, more for lounging, enjoying the spa, eating (hamburgers and pizza were served there) and visiting.  The main pool (with a retractable roof) was more for sunworshippers and pool activities.  Here you could enjoy Ken Rush emcee-ing a bellyflop contest, race-horse auction, daily interviews and the like There were also quite a few tables in the shade near the rail to just relax, or enjoy a meal from the adjacent Windjammer Cafe.  The only thing I missed here is the open railing. This portion of the deck is glassed-in (although the windows do open) and you can't hear the sound of the waves. Dining Room : The My Fair Lady Dining Room is a beautiful two-level room with a marvelous grand staircase.  There is a nice variety of seating arrangements, happily arranged so that the service areas are not in the middle of a traffic pattern (that always bothered me).  The breakfast menu was basically the same each day; the lunch menu varied. For dinner, a variety of appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and desserts were available. The food was very good and the service was excellent.  We were fortunate to have Sergio from Portugal as our waiter.  Sergio, his assistant, the wine steward and headwaiter Downtown Brown were extremely personable and efficient, and did not hesitate to satisfy a special request or two. Windjammer  Cafe:   The view over the bow was outstanding in this more casual dining area. Meals were served buffet-style, but not like a cafeteria.  It was served from a group of small free-standing tables, one table for each course.  The food presentation was nice, but the only exits were through the doorways where the trays were handed out, and it was a bit congested. Buffets:   Gone are the traditional nightly Midnight Buffets we have enjoyed on other lines. They have been partly replaced by hot hors d'oeuvres which I heard about, but never saw  There were actually three buffets on this seven day cruise...in addition to the Captain's Gala Buffet (which was also open early for photo-ops only), there was also a Galley Buffet in the main dining room and a Millennium Party Buffet poolside.  These other two were not very well publicized, and we missed them.  As a second-seating gal I really can't enjoy another meal so soon, anyway.  The other nights there were Midnight Delights in the Champagne Terrace and Casino Royale. Lounges:   One gem we did not discover until the end is The Viking Crown Lounge, a huge multi-purpose entertainment area with the most gorgeous panoramic views all around.  We were up there at night when it's a disco, and missed the wonderful view. Try to go during the daytime for this marvelous experience. Orpheum Theater: This is a huge two-level showroom with excellent views everywhere. We had second seating dinner and had plenty of time to get good seats for the main show. Overall, the entertainment was varied and professional. Centrum Boutiques: There were several shops, for clothing and souvenirs, jewelry and pricey gift items, perfumes & cosmetics. Special sales were run each day, and toward the end of the cruise, there were plenty of moderately priced items for those last-minute purchases. Casino Royale: Lots of slots and tables, but only one craps table.  The high-rollers seemed to monopolize this table, but I managed to break in a couple of times.  The room is configured such that you must navigate the whole room to get through it (and maybe stop at a table or machine along the way...clever), and this is the only way to get from the main floor of the Orpheum Theater to the Centrum. Spa: In this two-level high-tech fitness center you can work out, enjoy a facial, massage or mudbath, or glamorize yourself in the full-service salon. Excursions: There were 37 shore excursion options on the list, as well as St. John transfers and equipment rentals for CocoCay,  but some of them went very fast.  Prices ranged from $12 to $135 per person.  Towels for all beach and water sports excursions are delivered to your cabin the prior night.  Be sure to check them back in.  American currency is welcome everywhere. Take small bills and change. ATM:  Located in the Centrum, it accepts MC, VISA, AMEX, HONOR, PLUS and CIRRUS cards.  No need to worry about extra cash for excursions or tips. Most enjoyable feature: Two consecutive days at sea (and one more later on). Ship Activities: Each evening we received an extensive "Compass" listing all planned activities, meals, movies, etc. for the following day.  They've changed the format, and now include a smaller version with just the activities, times and location listed.  This folds up to the size of your SuperCharge Card and is more easily carried around.  With three days at sea, there was plenty to do.  In addition to volleyball, Ping-Pong, water games, golf and Friends of Bill W. meetings, the highlights were:   Monday:   Tour & Travel Talk, Piano Melodies, Mr. Sexy Legs Contest, Wine Appreciation, Line Dance Class, Shopping Talk, Dance Music, Cash Prize Bingo. Tuesday:   Step Aerobics, Art Auction, Blackjack Tournament, Cash Prize Bingo, Horse Racing, Slot Tournament, Jewelry Seminar, Country Western. Wednesday:   Tour Ashore, Sidewalk Sale, Cash Prize Bingo, Not-So-Newlywed Game, Dance Music, Millennium Masquerade Party. Thursday:   Cash Prize Bingo, Honeymooner's Party, Social Dancing, Novel Quest, Sailaway Party, Rock 'n' Roll Reunion. Friday:   Cash Prize Bingo, Art Auction, Slot Tournament, Horse, Racing Derby, Ice Carving Demo, Final Jackpot Bingo, Celebrity,Show Time, The Liar's Club, Karaoke, Gala Buffet. Saturday:   Activities Ashore, Social Dancing, Jam Session, Farewell Disco Party, Final Art Auction, Guest Talent Show. Movies on TV:   Shown at various times, day and night, were:  Message in a Bottle, Simon Birch, The Truman Show, Mighty Joe Young, Dance With Me, The Horse Whisperer Star Trek; Insurrection, Firelight, Lethal Weapon 4, At First Sight, A Bug's Life, Enemy of the State, Beloved, Six Days Seven Nights, My Favorite Martian, Out of Sight, Mark of Zorro, and children's programming. Staff:   Our Cruise Director, Ken Rush, was available, energetic, versatile and personable. He's very talented and I think he will move up professionally before long. Our cabin steward kept the cabin clean and stocked and stayed out of our way.  Room service (we only ordered the breakfast) requests were delivered by another attendant (we tipped him daily). Our waiter, Sergio from Portugal, was MAHVELOUS.  He was professional and reserved the first day as he was trying to figure us out.  When he became used to our joking around (I am always the target) he became much more relaxed.  He absolutely made the dining experience the very best ever. Passengers: Average age looked to be about 35-40. The ship was completely booked.  I know there were children aboard, but we didn't run into too many.  The kids we did see were well-behaved. Motion: I really missed it.  The stabilizers made the entire trip so smooth and comfortable, it almost felt as if the ship were not moving.  There was a slight motion and a little humming that was just enough to rock you to sleep at night. Disembarkation:       The very well organized colored tag system moves passengers in shifts to avoid crowding.  Those with early flights go first. Travelogue Day One--Departing Miami:   When we arrived in Miami, we took a quick cab ride to the Port of Miami ($18.00 maximum per trip, by ordinance), checked in (passports, tickets, signed the charge card) and 10 minutes later boarded.  We made a short stop at a table in the companionway to pick up our room keycards and SuperCharge cards, and went unescorted to find our cabin.  Thirty minutes from airport to cabin, MAX. Since our luggage had not yet arrived, we eagerly pored over the flyers and magazines and went out to explore the ship, then headed up to the Windjammer for our first taste of the Enchantment.  The very first entree I found was an old favorite--poached salmon with dill sauce, served by a very charming man in a crisp white suit who may have been the Windjammer maitre d'.  When I went back for seconds the man reacted as if I had paid him a personal compliment.  Very nice for a first impression.  We took a table at the bow with a remarkable view.  The whole place is bright and airy and not at all crowded.  Tables are cleared efficiently, and the waitstaff is courteous. We found our friends, scoped out what was to be our favorite meeting place, and went back to the cabin to get our vests for the Muster Drill.  It only took about 20 minutes for the crew to round up the stragglers.  We missed the Sailaway Party (never even felt us leave the dock) while we were at the Enchantment Tonight show (pre-dinner for second-seating guests) where we met Ken Rush (Cruise Director), and were entertained by Mario D'Andrea and the Wave Revue Singers and Dancers. We met our 6 friends in the My Fair Lady Dining Room and found our table for 8 to be very comfortably located on the main floor and out of the main traffic pattern.  Sergio, our waiter, was very professional as he explained how the selections for the evening were prepared.  We ordered a non-alcoholic wine with dinner, and the wine steward served it as if it were a fine selection from his own cellar.  We skipped the Welcome Aboard Dance Party and tried our luck at the Casino Royale.   Day Two--At Sea:   Our coffee, sweet rolls and croissants were delivered promptly as ordered the prior evening (I forgot about the tip, but he didn't seem to mind), allowing us to casually prepare for breakfast in the main dining room.  After my usual Lox & Bagels, bananas & cream, we window-shopped at the Centrum Boutiques and met our friends at our special spot on the Sun Deck.  We skipped the Tour & Travel talk because we knew it would be re-run on television.  Jim was stuck at the Ping Pong tournament and missed his chance to win the "Mr. Sexy Legs" contest.  His little bird-legs would certainly have taken that prize! After lunch in the main dining room, we skipped the Art Auction and signed up for the next day's Slot Tournament (pay $20 and you get 5 minutes to rack up as many dollars as you can).  We missed Line Dancing and more pool games.  We came in to the Snowball Jackpot Bingo game too late, and they wouldn't sell us cards (we've always been able to buy just one card for the coverall if we were late).  "Show me the money" Richie was a little juvenile in the way he called the numbers, and it grew rather irritating as the week progressed.  (Nothing personal, Richie...we did like you elsewhere).  I don't know if it was the fresh sea air or the constant activity, but every day about 4:00 we got really sleepy and retired to the cabin. We skipped the formal portraits and the Captain's Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party (been there, done that) and took our time getting ready for the first formal "Welcome Aboard" dinner, a French theme.  Sergio was a little less formal, having committed to memory who drinks what, who gets a plain iceberg lettuce salad (Jim needs to get out more) and who takes her sweet time ordering (me) and then orders two.  He just about had us figured out. We lingered over dessert (also two) and missed the Battle of the Sexes :( but headed to the Orpheum Theater for the Sweetdreams Revue.  We entered just before the curtain went up, but got wonderful seats.  Actually, there are millions of seats and no bad sight-lines.  We hung around the casino for awhile and went back to catch the late show, starring the comedian Rick Corso (funny guy).   Day Three--At Sea:   Another steaming pot of coffee & pastries was delivered precisely on time.  I remembered to leave a dollar handy for a tip this time.  After another splendid breakfast in the main dining room, we opted to skip the blackjack tournament and art auction, and hung around the Sun Deck waiting for Diamond Bingo.  This made us miss the Country Line Dancing, but finished in time for the Horse Racing and Auction by the pool.  This is something Jim really likes to do every year.  In the past, the horses were auctioned off reasonably, but these went for over $600 each, mostly because people pooled their money to buy them.  These horses didn't race that day...the owners decorated them and carried them around everywhere all week until the race on Friday.  Jim had brought his own crepe paper decorations, balloons and stuff,  and we have a rule about packing...if you pack it, you use it.  Well, since there was no horse to decorate... I'll tell you later. We had lunch in the main dining room again, then hung around for the Slot Tournament. The tournament was rather boring because there were about 12 shifts of players and someone got a lot of money really early, and no one wanted to stand around and watch, unless it wasn't your turn yet.  What really bugged me is that waiting for my turn, for which I had already played, made me miss the Gem & Jewelry Seminar, which I always attend.  Oh well...  We tried to win the Cash Prize Bingo (again) and when that failed, we went below for a nap.   Dinner dress was Smart-Casual for the Italian Dinner, and we were welcomed by a smiling Sergio who held my chair and put my napkin in my lap (I had almost forgotten how nice those little touches can be).  Sergio began to pick up our playful dinner moods.  He planned to take my order last, so I would have more time to make up my mind.  We lingered again over dessert and missed Majority Rules, but made it to song-and-dance man Tony Tillman's headliner show...an OK show, not great.  We skipped the Country Line Dance Jamboree and went to the casino. I couldn't get close enough to the craps table, so I lost interest and went to bed. Day Four--St. Martin:   After breakfast we tendered in to Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten (Dutch side) where we caught up with our friends, picked out a few things to buy on the way back, stopped for a quick sandwich at a beachside cafe (Everyt'ing Cool?), and walked over to meet our tour group for the St. Maarten Snorkeling Adventure ($37 pp for a 3-hour trip).  During the short ride out to the snorkeling site we were handed equipment and had a short talk about what we were about to do.  We were in the beginners' group because we have a fraidy-cat in the family, and I thought he'd need me. Our guide was very helpful, teaching how to use the equipment, explaining the different things we were seeing down there, even picking up a starfish and letting us hold it... he was really good. We tired after about 30-45 minutes and went back aboard, had some punch and got some sun on the upper deck.  It was not one of the most exciting trips we've taken, and we probably won't do it again.  All coral looks the same after awhile.  A storm surprised us on the way back to port, and it was pouring by the time we docked.  The bad part was that we were unable to go back up the street to buy the stuff we had seen.  Really great stuff, too.  Oh well, another day, another port, another shopping area.  We tendered back to the ship, and--yes, fell asleep. We missed the Sail-Away party but went to the pre-dinner Spotlight Cabaret starring the Magic & Grand Illusions of LaRaf.  We sat directly behind a structure that was part of an illusion, and I swear... I have no idea how it's done.  Dress for the Caribbean Dinner was casual, and so was Sergio.  He was really getting to know us by then.  Our friends were giving me a hard time about the way I ordered my food, and Sergio just joined right in!  We got great seats for the Not-So-Newlywed Game (which we usually try out for) but the little thing you had to do to qualify was so embarrassing we chickened out.  We had fun watching, though. Day Five--St. John/St. Thomas:   Rather than getting up early to catch the view of St. John as we dropped off some passengers, we opted to wait until the coffee came, then proceeded with breakfast as usual.  We docked in Charlotte Amalie, near Havensight Mall instead of downtown, as in the past.  We walked a short distance to the tram up to Paradise Point and rode up to the top.  Here we enjoyed a breathtaking view of St. Thomas harbor. There were a few shops on two levels, and a snack shop.  There's a lady with some trained (?) tropical birds up there.  Take my advice and don't try to take a picture...she demands $10 each.  Her little demonstration lasted about 5 minutes and her attitude was rather nasty.  We found the ugliest wood carving we've ever seen and had to have it.  It's name was Wild Man but we call him Magumbo.  It looks like some kind of tribal warrior or something.  We walked through Havensight Mall some and found a few trinkets, then ran out of time.  I hurried back to the ship in time for Cash Prize Bingo (the pot was getting bigger as I grew more frustrated). The "America the Beautiful" dinner was casual that night (a relief for those of us with nasty sunburns) and Sergio was even more fun.  The main show was the Wave Revue Production of Flashback (a fun look at the 50s-90s), with guest star Rick Corso.  We skipped the Rock 'n' Roll Party and went to bed. Day Six--At Sea:   Our last full day at sea started off in the usual manner (why can't I get this service at home?).  We joined our friends in the Schooner Bar for Team Trivia, which we lost, but had a great time anyway. Then Jackpot Snowball Bingo got another $58 for nothin'. My friend and I found chaises by the pool and got an hour or so of sun, then had lunch (I think we got food from the Windjammer that day), then watched the Enchantment Derby.  It wasn't nearly as much fun as if we had owned a horse.  Our friends watched the ice carving demonstration, and we...you know...took a nap. The Captain's Gala Dinner was formal, service was a riot !  After everyone was seated, the guys left, went upstairs, and made their "Grand Entrance" down the grand staircase, wearing some of the horse decorations that we didn't use at the Enchantment Derby. Remember the rule?  If you pack it, you wear it.  Our friends were still teasing me about my orders, and now Sergio was really having fun.  This time he ignored me, pretended I wasn't there, walked right by leaving me with my mouth agape, wondering if I was gonna starve!  He came back later, said "just  kidding" and took my order.  We laughed and laughed.  He was such a relief from those rigid formal snooty waiters.  That would have been a giant yawn.  After the Headliner Show (singer Marlise and Comedian/Impressionist Paul Boland) we were too tired (and too full) to try the Gala Buffet.  I heard it was beautiful and tasty, but who could eat? Day Seven--CocoCay:   Coffee and croissants, lox and bagels...blah, blah, blah.  After breakfast we tendered in to CocoCay, which is one of RCI's private islands.  Here's where we had the most fun.  CocoCay is a lovely little private island where there is a small local shopping area and lots of little private and public places to relax in (the water was gorgeous). If you want a mat to float on, you need to reserve it way ahead of time (wish we had).  The supply is limited, and this is a popular activity.  You can relax in a hammock or play volleyball, or whatever.  We had a very nice bar-b-que lunch served buffet-style outdoors near covered wooden picnic tables (watch out for the birds...they're hungry and aggressive !).  We wandered around for awhile and went over to the WaveRunner shack for our reservations ($85 per couple, 1-hour tour).  This is SO FUN !  We watched a safety instruction video for 10 minutes and had 50 minutes in the water (two to a vehicle), following the guide around deserted islands and coves and went out to buzz the Enchantment!  From now on we're going to see which islands have these for rent, and plan the cruise around them!  We sat around in the shade, had a few virgin RumRunners and made our way back to the tender dock. Once back on board, we showered, slept and met our friends at our special place.  It still amazes me that we were able to get the same table every day! We didn't save it or anything, it was just there for us!  The Farewell Dinner (International Cuisine) was casual, again.  I was afraid to order.  I just sat there, pouting.  Sergio passed me by again, then surprised me with all the appetizers, two entrees and all the desserts. I guess I was just too much trouble with my "two of everything" orders.  As waiters go, Sergio was the very best!  He was professional (within reason), competent, articulate, funny and we all hated for this last dinner to end.  If I am lucky enough to sail the Enchantment again, I will definitely request his service. After dinner, the Enchantment Farewell Show recapped the cruise for us in a funny and entertaining way. Debarkation morning:   After a full breakfast, we all very comfortably awaited our color call in the Schooner Bar.  As long as everybody had vacated their cabins, the guys took themselves on an unauthorized tour of the pricey cabins (does this mean we might move up a cat or two next year?)  After about 45 minutes, our color was called, we went into the luggage warehouse and found ours right away, grabbed a porter (be quick and aggressive about it) and a cab and were on our way to the airport inside of 10 minutes.  I don't even remember if we passed through a customs  area...it was that fast.  The rest was easy. It's really a shame it will be another year 'til the next one.  I loved the ship, the cabin, the service...if I could, I would take this particular cruise again, maybe the Western Itinerary next time.  The whole package was as close to perfect as you could get.  My advice? Book it.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Marga Jones Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean Sailing Date: September 16th, 2001 I just returned from a seven night cruise for our 10th anniversary.  This is my 3rd cruise and first with this cruise line.  Ship was beautiful and the personnel were very friendly.  I did have some issues with RCL that I have not experienced before.  When we received our ticket booklet it specifically stated that "hair dryers were

provided to all guests"...what they meant was, you had to go to the purser's desk EVERY TIME you wanted one, stand in line and return it within 2 hours!!!!!!! When I asked at the desk, the purser informed me that "the booklet was printed before the hair dryers had been delivered" or some nonsense!  The purser was unable to give a direct (satisfactory) answer.  Needless to say, I saved a lot of time since I had to go to dinner every night with semi-wet hair and NEVER had any pictures taken! The second MAJOR issue we had with this cruise was the excursion to Pinel Island.  It was raining the morning we arrived in St. Martin and the snorkeling excursion was delayed until the afternoon.  We went in the afternoon...still VERY overcast and after discovering that the boat that was supposed to meet us at the little dock did not come, the tour personnel found someone else with a boat, crammed about 25 people into a boat WITHOUT life preservers, that should have held fewer people.  We had been told that there were 2 restaurants on the island since we missed lunch and when we arrived at the island, the only thing we saw was a shack that served potato chips and coke or beer!!! The water was dark gray and murky...TOTAL WASTE OF TIME attempting to snorkel!!! We were supposed to stay for 2 hours and after about 1 hour everyone had gotten out of the water and they brought us back early...DO NOT TAKE THIS EXCURSION!!!

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