First, some background. This was our 17th cruise, 5th on RCL, first on Enchantment (although we were on the Grandeur which is VERY similar). We most generally book an inside cabin as we did this time. My wife is a teacher and I work for Homeland Security. Early (ok middle) 50's. We love dancing and spend part of every evening on the dance floor. Moving on............
Overall we had a great cruise. The things that my wife and I look for in a cruise were provided; lots of great music for dancing, the food was good (not great) the service overall was excellent, and as always we met many wonderful people.
We have done this itinerary before so we didn't look for much from the ports of call. We stayed on the ship at Martha's Vinyard and everyone we talked to said it was very hot and very crowded. Portland and Halifax we have done before; we got off for a walk at each and back on to enjoy the ship. In Bar Harbor we got off, took the free bus to a Lobster Hatchery and museum which was rather quaint, but we liked it. Back on the ship by 1:30. I can probably offer suggestions for things to do in these ports if any one needs it from past sailings, but this time our goal besides dancing was relaxing and that is what we did!
They also provided several lounge groups who were wonderful and played great music. The Evergreen Trio drew a crowd nightly in the Centrum, the Czech Mates provided a wide range of music for dancing, the Azucar's performed often in the Bolero which had a decent dance floor and the Dreamscapes were also very good. The main show orchestra also played a couple of Big Band gigs. There were a couple other venues also that we didn't get to see or hear.
I had read that there has been problems on this ship with children in the Solarium pool and Jacuzzi, but I can tell you I saw the pool attendent tell several children who attempted such that they were not allowed and never once did I see children in either, and we spent many hours in the Solarium. On the subject of children, we were told there was over 300 on board and never once did we see a problem with either a young child or a teenager. I met several who were wonderful and saw no problems.
As always the lounge chair fairies were out and about reserving chairs, but not to the extent we have seen before. At times the pool areas were very busy, but we always found a lounge chair and I think most people who wanted one were able to find one.
As far as the new section goes, since I was not on this ship before, it is difficult to compare. It has some new attractive design feaures, and I guess the bungii jumping thing and the climbing wall were added. I tried both for the first time and can now say been there done that. No big deal. One problem that the stretch has developed is that they have added staterooms, but facilities like the theater, and the Windjammer have not been increased in capacity and can get very busy. In fact early dining guests going to the theater had to get there early (about 30 minutes prior) to get a seat and I saw many late comers (arrived 5-10 minutes before showtime) turned away. This needs to be resolved, perhaps with tickets or something. Also the Windjammer could get very busy during peak times. This really didn't bother us because we have learned to work around peak times to avoid severe crowding.
On the subject of shows: I really didn't think the production shows were the best I've seen, although they had 4 very strong singers. The shows themselves (2) were OK but not great. A Magician that I thought was in training (not very good). They did however have three other mainline acts that I thought to be very good. A female vocalist/comedian (sorry I'm bad on names), the singer of the Happy Days theme song who had a great act, and a juggler/comedian who I also thought was very good.
We ate every dinner in the Dining Room, didn't try Chops, all breakfasts in the windjammer and split lunches between the windjammer and the dining room. This is going to sound contradictory but here goes! I felt we had an excellent waiter, but yet I felt the dining room service to be a little below the standard we have experienced in the past. Our waiter and assistant worked their butts off to give us good service, but we always seemed to be waiting (for dishes to be cleared, or water refills, or the next course to be served or what ever, and then when they came in a flourish to try and get things done we then felt rushed). I believe a couple of things could have been the cause. He had two table besides ours, one a 4 top and one a 10 top and both tables had people who were always late for dinner; most generally 6:30 when it was supposed to be at 6:00. The other is that he seemed to have more people to wait on then we have seen before. I can't be sure of this and perhaps someone else knows the average # a waiter would have at a seating. Anyway, I was a little annoyed at this but we still enjoyed the meals and I trully liked our waiter "Daniel" who was serving us at table 482; if anyone runs into him say Hi. The Head Waiter for our designated area stepped in alot to assist whatever needed to be done. This is a first and also noted this during lunchtime in the dining room.
We had a meet and mingle but very few showed up. This happens sometimes, I think some people are timid about the whole thing. The cruise line provided tea and lemonade and horderves. They also raffled off a couple of small prizes, I believe they were RCL computer Mice. The people who went were as usual very nice and we enjoyed bumping into them on the cruise.
We found Philadelphia very easy to cruise out of, parking was simple, drop your bags, park, catch the shuttle, sign in and get on board. We were there around 11:00, on board by 11:45. All rooms were cordoned off till 1:00. So we went to lunch walked around a bit and then to our room at 1:00. We did express debarkation, off by 7:40 and on the freeway headed home by 8:00.
I'm sure our experience was not matched by all. But I can say this was as good or better a cruise than any of our prior 16. As always I or Mrs. Boomboom will try an answer any questions.