My wife and I cruised for the first time on the Enchantment. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise and had no idea of what to expect other than reading some reviews here and there and friends stories that had been on cruises. Let me start by saying, we loved it. The overall experience is something that left us wanting to definitely cruise again as a vacation next year and more than likely beyond.
We're from Orlando, so the hour drive to Canaveral is convenient. We chose to park offsite for $35 for the week and they shuttled us over.
Very smooth process and it was very easy passing thru security...we used our drivers licenses and birth certificates as neither of us has a passport at the check in desk. We arrived at the port at 11:15am and we're on the ship in less than 20 minutes. The lines thru security moved steadily and efficiently. From there it was up the escalator to the check in area where we presented our documents and got our seapass cards issued.
We walked up the gangway and passed several photographers wanting to take our pictures (more on that later), politely declined since we we're just dressed in shorts and tee shirts. Up to the main deck we went to check things out and get a view out at the port and other ships that were docked. Our room was scheduled to be available after 1:00 pm so we headed to the Windjammer to have lunch. We both had a salad and the selection was great with toppings we prefer like mushrooms, chopped egg, ham etc.
Our cabin was located on deck 3. (3765) I picked this based on hearing that as a 1st timer, I should select something low and in the middle of the ship to minimize any feeling of sea sickness. Regardless of where we probably would've been placed, it was very calm seas throughout our cruise and we never felt the boat rocking. Our cabin was very clean, the bathroom looked like it had been recently upgraded as everything was tidy and looked new and not worn or dated. Shower was a bit small but it worked just fine for the both of us, but no way we could shower together, lol. Sink was bowl shaped and wasn't much larger than a dinner plate but served it's purpose for brushing our teeth and washing our hands. Our only complaint was the firmness of the bed. We both prefer a memory topper and medium firmness mattress at home and made due for the week, although we felt it was uncomfortable and felt a bit sore when getting up in the morning.
Our room attendant, Agus was very friendly and made sure our room was kept tidied up and stocked with anything we needed. My wife loved the towel animals he created for her each night. (Bear, Dog, Frog and Elephant)
She's showing her signs of age, but nothing that took away from the overall experience. If you're a nit picker, you'll find signs of rust here and there and some railings and such that show signs of wear and aging. But nothing that made us feel like we were cruising on a relic and something likely to sink...that's a huge plus, lol.
The main pools were busy day 1 & 2 (at sea), and we found solace in the Solarium. It was less crowded and plenty of lounge chairs were available for us to relax and jump in and out as we felt. Pools are strictly salt water in case you're wondering...it did however have a hint of a chlorine smell. Perhaps they add a little?
The Windjammer...it's a buffet but the selections were very good as was the food. We ate breakfast and lunch there every day. My favorites were the freshly made omelets while I waited where I just told the cook what I wanted and he whipped it up. In fact, it was so good that I went back for a second one. I had them every morning during the cruise. My wife stuck to the scrambled eggs served and bagels, fruits, grits etc for her breakfasts. She had an omelet on day 3 however.
Lunches usually consisted of salads for us, but I did have some of their fried chicken and "baked pasta", which was another of my favorites. It's their mac-n-cheese, but they don't call it that. It's not the run of the mill Kraft that you'd make for your kids or find at Golden Corral...it's a nice baked dish with a blend of cheddar and mozzarella.
Overall, the Windjammer was better than I was expecting with a great variety of choices and deserts that never left us complaining or feeling there wasn't something we didn't like. Service was very good and although it can get a little busy, we never struggled to find a seat. People get in, eat and get out about their business.
My Fair Lady is where we ate dinner each night. We didn't feel the need to go to Choppes Grille or anywhere else that was an upcharge. The food was delicious. Appetizers and desserts were top notch with choices like Shrimp Cocktail, French Onion soup each night and a mix of other things like Escargo (yuck) and other choices that changed. The first two is what I stuck with as they were available and I like them. My wife tried some others I can't recall at the moment. Deserts were Cheesecake, Creme Brulee' and a variety of cakes, Ice Cream, Sorbets etc. Again the first two were available every night and they mixed in the other choices throughout the week.
Dinners ranged from NY Strip steak as well as Roasted Chicken with Thyme that we're available every night. Other choices throughout consisted of Beef Tenderloin, Braised Lamb, Lasagna Forne', Pasta Bolognese, Fish of the day (Tilapia, Cod etc.) Chicken Marsala and some other dinners I couldn't pronounce...so guess what, I avoided them, lol. My wife and I tried everything I mentioned above and they we're all yummy. Filet Mignon and Lobster are available from Choppes for an upgrade at you table.
Ludy (HW) and Sharon (Asst) were wonderful all week. They made sure we we're pampered and their service was exemplary...so much so that I decided to tip them well separately on our last night of dinner. They deserved it and we could tell they were passionate about their jobs and taking care of their guests. It was nice to feel special and be referenced personally by name every time we went to dinner. I wrote a great review on RCI's survey about them, that's how much we enjoyed having them as our waiter and assistant.
Nassau...we got up early and decided to check out the port for a little while. Get ready for aggressive pushy locals trying to sell you everything from cab or horse and carriage rides, to tours and visits around the island. You can't walk ten feet before the next one offered their services to you. We just politely declined and kept walking, ignoring them as they continued their sales pitches. We get it, it's their livelihood. We just don't like high pressure fast talking sales. If they we're a little more laid back, tourists would probably be a little more open and responsive to inquiring about their services. We opted instead to go to Bay Steer one block over and visit the actual storefronts where my wife shopped for some more Alex and Ani bracelets (like she doesn't have enough), Pandora and tee shirts and a couple of souvenirs and gifts for her parents. It was very hot and humid so after a couple of hours of shopping we headed back to the ship around noon to enjoy lunch and a less crowded ship overall since many were off board.
The dock is still under construction so we had to use the tenders. We waited about 20 minutes on the stairs of deck 2 to board onto the tenders. It was about a 8 minute ride over to the island. Beautiful and very relaxing for us. We chose the Snorkeling Excursion for $42/pp for the day at our leisure. We spent at least a good few of hours snorkeling and retuning to our chairs for relaxation in a nice shady spot under a couple of palm trees. We saw Stingrays, an Octopus, Mahi, Angel Fish, Blue Tangs (Dory from Finding Nemo) a huge 12" wide green and iridescent Star Fish and many other colorful species of tropical fish. The sunken airplane, Greek Pagoda and ships Stern with Cannons provided a nice environment to see the fish swim in and around. This was actually the highlight of my trip. Not being a strong swimmer, and never trying snorkeling I absolutely loved it after getting acclimated to breathing underwater. The calm sea and buoyancy of the saltwater made it easier for me to swim from area to area and floating rest platform to the next which are about 100 feet apart with one of the underwater feature between them. I never felt tired or out of gas as I was so enthralled at the marine life and views I was taking in for the first time. My wife is a water baby and was surprised at how well I did, and how far I was able to venture out with her and keep up without falling behind.
We really enjoyed the onboard shows each night. Some of their singers have incredibly beautiful voices. The juggling act was cool and he was funny, throwing in quips throughout his act. Night 3 was a ventriloquist with his puppets and I became the affection of his female Cockatoo much to the humor of myself, my wife and the crowd. She was relentless in her come ons to me...even came down to our seats to give me a big kiss. I got an autographed picture from him thanking me for being a good sport, and a note from her on it to "Call Her", lol.
Other shows were Can't Stop the Rock...a musical featuring various artists renditions of Prince, Whitney Houstons The Bodyguard (Amazing performer that sang it) and others.
The last night was a new opening night for a mix of short performances of NY popular Broadway shows like Little Shop Of Horrors and others etc.
Bobby the cruise director is a hoot and kept us informed of the activities in and around the ship on a regular basis. The games were a blast...and the Belly Flop contest was hilarious.
If you're a non smoker, you'll probably hate the casino as even though there are machines labeled non-smoking, the entire casino carries the smell of cigarette smoke throughout. My wife and I are smokers so it didn't bother us, although I can imagine it would to someone who doesn't. we gambled lightly and ended up $68 up for the trip. Not terrible and it kept us at least entertained for a little while the 2 nights we chose to visit.
There's a host of onboard shops with a big variety of items for sale from Hand Bags to watches to electronics. Everything seemed marked up substantially, only to have them label stuff as take 50-70% off just to get it back within reason. No bargains really and we didn't board a ship to go shopping anyway. We can do that at our local malls at home.
High pressure is what it seems like initially....however, once I realized at the end it's just a marketing tool, we probably should've ended up letting them take more throughout the 5 days. You're not forced to buy them or pay as you go, so let them take them all they want. I stopped by the photo section on the last night and found that they print them all regardless, arrange them by day and location taken (Boarding, Dinner, Nassau, CocoCay etc) and you can simply pick the ones you want to purchase for $20 ea. . $79 for 6, or $179 for all. We ended up buying 2 of our favorites but we probably could've had a nicer variety and would've gotten one of the packages if we knew about their pricing structure beforehand.
Too easy....we chose the self check out. Went up one level to deck 4 at 8:00 am with our own suitcases and waited aprox 15 minutes to get released onto the gang way. Then it was down the long corridor of ramps to Customs. We were one of the first couples to arrive and the agent simply checked our Florida drivers licenses and said welcome back and have a nice day. No baggage search, no full cavity search...nothing. We were out and at the shuttle bus pick up in 10 minutes at most.
In closing, We were noobies at cruising, but Royal Caribbean left us fully satisfied and are already looking forward to cruising again. We want to try one of the Oasis class ships next to get a variety and try something newer. Can't wait to cruise again :D