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Enchantment Review and Comparison w/ NCL


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I sailed on the February 19th sailing of the Enchantment to Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. It was my first RCI cruise. In my review I'll tell you about the cruise and my comparisons with NCL.


We arrived early about 11:30 a.m. in to the FLL Pier. They had the porters on hand and we had to give him information in order to recieve our tags since we had E-Docs. This was new to us since we have always had our regular tags with NCL. Then we were so early that RCI had us sit in a group seating and those groups would then pass through security/registration when ready. We waited about 15 minutes then passed through security, then got a picture, and then did a quick registration. Then we went up the esculators and got our pictures for the Sea Pass card, and then we were aboard. Cabins were not open until 1 PM, so then we had lunch at the Windjammer (Buffet). It was very good for a buffet, much better than NCL's buffets. Plus the Windjammer had the stations in the middle that made fresh sandwiches and during breakfast they had omelet station. After a nice lunch we went to our Larger Inside Cabin (7039). It was very nice for an inside. The bathroom was clean but someone had taken a lit cigarette to the mirror and left one burning on the sink, which left yellow and black marks all over the place. The shower was small as compared to the new NCL Dawn which has a seperate closing glass shower door with excellent room. Then we went up on deck and sat watching the planes take off from FLL. It was bit windy which made for a cooler feel on the 75 degree day. At about 4:30 p.m., the lifeboat drill was conducted as usual and that was that. Then we spent the sailoff party in the 360 degree Viking Lounge which was quiet and provided awesome views. Then it was off to dinner and we were sat with a family from Cape Cod, Mass which is about 25 minutes from us. The menu the first night was very limited and the food was good but not as excellent. NCL had much more options and did taste a bit better with better presentation. The Service was very good and was better than NCL because with NCL everyone pays a 10 fee which is the tip (so waiters don't depend on having awesome service for their individual tipper---- Don't get me wrong either, NCL service is excellent but not as good with free style), you don't have the same waiter, and with NCL's Freestyle one person could be eating dessert while someone is having bread(thus service was busy with different elements of the dinner). Then we went to see the show which was a juggler. Danno was the cruise director, he was very funny and energetic. The juggler was funny, but not the greatest juggler. We were tired so we hit the sack.


I'll continue this tomorrow!!!

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We are early risers so we had to eat in the windjammer because the dining room opens at 8 AM. That was very late for early risers and NCL was a bit better with a 7:30 AM. Although the windjammer was very good for buffet as said before. Breakfast was good with fresh fruits, omeletes, and nice pancakes, waffles, and french toast. They also had strawberries and fresh whipcream to put on it. YUM! Then we sat by the pool but it was way too windy, so we went to the solarium. It's was beautiful!! I think that was our favorite part of the ship!! It truly is a great assest to RCI. We spent the day there, it was great! The pool in the solarium was salt water that was very cold. The hot tubs were excellent. The pool was 16+ and had someone inforcing the rules at all times!! Excellent! The solarium was alot better than NCL's indoor pool on the Dawn. Something we noticed the first day that we never were in a jam of people because of the smooth lay out. It was very well layed out. Dinner was better this night but the coffee could tar a driveway. The entertainment that night was the dance show doing "Can't Stop the Rock". You could tell there was alot of effort put in and they were very taletented, but in the end they were not half as good as the Jean Anne Ryan Company aboard NCL's ships.


Monday was our arrival into Ocho Rios. It was very neat how they docked, bow in straight and then all of sudden side thrust in. It was a sort of narrow channel. Very neat if your into ship navigation(like me)!. It was Sunny in the morning but then turned cloudy and humid, then rainy, then cloudy but comfortable. CAREFUL!!! I would not recommend going alone unless on an excursion. We were constantly hassled by taxi drivers wanting tours and then harass you as come back. I am not saying one or two, proabably 10 or 12. They followed us for about 500 ft. trying to taunt us into a taxi tour. It was scary, but there was a decient amount of police in the area. They were the BEST to ask for advice. Ask the cops, they are well spoken and very honest.

We just went to a nice craft village but they were very pushy about seeing their items. If they just left us alone, we'd proably have bought alot more. Then we went to the highly advertised Taj Mahal. It was a shopping center run by Indians. I asked about it and the store owner told us that the landlord and all the shop owners are Indian, so that's how was named. She also told us there is high population of Indians on Jamiaca, mostly professionals in downtown areas. I didn't know that!! Then we saw nothing else to be excited about, so we went back to the ship. There was note on our cabin that our shore excursion had been canncelled due to a sailboat malfunction. Had a great lunch at the windjammer then spent the day at the pool. Funny thing we heard later that day, a fat drunk man fell between the ship and dock at port. He could barely swim drunk but held on to a piling. He was so heavy/drunk that they couldn't pull him up, they had to give him a lifejacket and pull him to shore!! Not funny for him but funny for others. Don't get drunk, especially early in the morning!!! Also, I heard from many that the horseback riding excursion was excellent. That night we had a special magic show, Haines Magic. It was excellent but at the sametime they stressed it was illusion. But very well done!! I enjoyed it greatly. That night was the Newlywed Game, very funny with Danno. He had to tone down the questions due to a high number of kids but it was hillarous.


The next day was Grand Cayman. We woke up late because of the activites the night before. The ship was anchored right next to the Norwegian Majesty which we had been on twice. Nice to see something familiar. They annonced that shore excursions would be tendered in first then the general guests. We had a shore excursion, Super Sail Yacht Adventure. We were suppose to go sailing, swimming, then have a tour. It got cancelled the night before. So we had nice breakfast in the dining room. We still wanted to see the island so when we got off the tender, there was a woman with a sign offering a tour of the island for 15 pp. We jumped on that and so did 2 others from our ship. It was great, she even stopped for water. We saw hell, the turtle farm, seven mile beach, the history of the island, and fact and figures of the island. It was like a 2 hour tour in a taxi minivan. Very nice! The turtle farm was an extra fee to get in but reasonable and cute. I have a picture holding a turtle. Then the taxi driver dropped all of us off at the Marriot which she recommened because you can get a cheap lounge chair for 5 bucks. It was nice and they had bathrooms, bars, and restaurants. Then we headed back to the ship. Then for the show that night they had the dance company, we skipped it. We hit the casino that was not very friendly like NCL's. Then we went to see the Quest which I can't even explain, but it was hilarious and got me doing things I wouldn't have done on shore. Don't miss it! I highly enjoyed it!


The next day was a sea day. We hung out and did some shopping. Just a nice relaxing day. It was depressing to pack and fill out our customs form. I was superised they didn't have a disembarkation briefing like NCL with the CD. As a veteran cruiser I knew the drill, but for others it might have been different. We also did the tips out which I hadn't done in a while because of the freestyle tipping (10 a day added to your account). The entertainment was Billy Fellows that night. He had been with RCI for 20 yrs. and in the business for 50. It was interesting to hear him complain about old age in his songs but not very comical. He was past his peak for a cruise ship audience.

We also saw the cruise in review video which I bought, which was very well done. There was alot of effort put into it! They also had a good bye act from the cruise staff and dancer, it was terrible compared to NCL's "Home away from home/We are the world" act where the every department is represented in a tear jerker performance. Danno explained it was his last cruise til Jewel of the Seas, he was tearful.


Arrival in to FLL was typical. We had a breakfast and then were the first off. There was no raffel for ship prizes for filling out the survery, I missed that. We were off first because we an early flight. Our luggage was there and we were off to FLL airport.


Overall, there were plus and minuses to NCL.



I liked eating with people at a set time.

I liked the service better.

I liked having the same waitstaff everynight.

I liked the ornate ships with the solariums and beautiful atriums.

I liked the design of the ships.

I liked that RCI didn't push all their services and extra fee restaurants.

Rock Climbing was a neat bonus.


Minuses with RCI

Food was not as vaired and good as NCL

The daily activites were not as great, very limited (crafts, trivia, pool games)

The Dance Shows were not as good as with NCL

The Casino wasn't as friendly as the ships aboard NCL

Breakfast times were not early enough

Bathrooms were few and far between



The whole trip was excellent and I would definitely do RCI again. It was great break from the winter doldrums. Leave any questions on the board and I'll be happy to answer!!

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