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Enchantment 5-17 December 2011, Southern Caribbean - review with pictures

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Well, that is the end of my narrative, of course. However, in a shameless attempt to bump my review, Ill be back tomorrow with some final thoughts and reflections on the cruise the cabin, the state of the ship, the quality of the food, how good was the entertainment, you know the sort of thing. So now would be a GREAT time to ask any questions you may have!

 

Cheers and thanks so much for reading.

 

David

 

Your intrepid reporter (if I may be allowed a small conceit)

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Thanks for taking the time to post your review. Your review gives me an idea of what to look forward to. Again thank you.

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Today the seas are slightly calmer, and after a grey start the sun comes out mid-morning. The Cruise Compass promises 92 degrees, but those of us familiar with the Celsius equivalent (and the concept of latitude) realise this must be a mis-print! Low 70s only, Im afraid, and the shops do a brisk trade in sweatshirts and hooded fleeces in a sale outside outside the Windjammer.

 

Its another busy day on board the Enchantment of the Seas with all the usual shipboard activities. At 1 pm I notice a clash of two things Id like to do (well, three, actually its lunchtime too!) There is a backstage tour in the theatre and David is doing his final destination lecture, this time on Caribbean Pirates & Finding Their Treasure, for which he enters character! I skip the theatre tour, having done one before, and enjoyed the lecture. In the afternoon there was another art auction and an ice carving demonstration was scheduled (I dont know if it took place due to the weather?)

 

My other main activity today was to go along to the Captains Corner in the theatre, which was well attended. The panel consisted of our Norwegian Master, Captain Anders Ingebrigtsen, Chief Engineer Jerzy Gramcznski from Poland and Hotel Director (and my fellow Brit) Gary Davies. This is the first time I have been on one of Captain Anders ships, and I would say he is one of the less outgoing Masters, but he seems to run a good ship, sets a good tone from the top and has a wry sense of humour. The trio answered questions for the best of an hour, if I remember correctly. Naturally they have to deal with ship enthusiasts in the audience who think they know better or are going to catch three experienced officers out, but they had some interesting things to say about Baltimore and the Enchantment.

 

The Captain confirmed that the bridges limit anything bigger than Enchantment going in to the current port of Baltimore and that there are no plans to move the Enchantment, even though it adds nine hours to the journey to get up to the port. According to him, Norfolk needs major improvements to be even considered as a home port, and Philadelphia was closed by the local authorities, so is not an option anymore. The market served by Baltimore is very important and successful for RCI, but the Captain says build a bigger port further out to attract the bigger ships!

 

Enchantment will go into dry dock in Freeport next December. Improvements planned include pervasive WiFi, flat screens in staterooms, interactive display systems (i.e. the system that displays whats on and how to get there in the public spaces), possible improvements to the theatre (new seating or they may expand balcony, it is still being discussed they recognise it is under pressure after the enlargement of the ship). Park Cafe will replace the solarium café (hoping to take some of the expansion pressure off the WJ) and Izumi, Doghouse and Giovanni's are expected (no indication where). The biggest cheer was reserved for the announcement that new wet units' (bathrooms!) will be put in all the cabins with shower DOORS, not curtains.

 

The production show tonight starts with a special treat a specially written and filmed 12 Days of Christmas video. The RC singers are filmed singing the song round a piano and then for each item there are appropriate film drops involving crew from around the ship, such as 10 waiters waiting, or One Cruise Director and his Christmas Tree" (sing it, it just about scans!) I had seen Mitch being filmed earlier in the week with a small tree and then hugging the large tree in the centrum this all now makes sense (to those who saw the video, if not to my readers!) This has taken some effort (for example, each time a line is repeated the xx whatevers are doing something slightly different in the film, so Mitch has filmed 12 different scenes) and involved people from all departments on board.

 

One Cruise Director and his Christmas Tree

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The headline act was Tribute, a salute to the Temptations (some of who turn out to be staying in the cabin next to me _Tribute, not the Temptations, of course). This is not my sort of music, and I have no idea how good a tribute band Tribute are, but they go down well. They do run long (the video adds to the time) and so I am quite late for the higher tier C&A event in the Spotlight lounge. But I get a free drink, some canapés (its hours since my afternoon cookie, you know) and listen to the incomparable (and frequently nearly incomprehensible) Danney again. If I remember correctly there are over 1300 C&A members on this cruise, with a large proportion in the upper tiers (it is Diamonds in December time, of course).

 

Tribute - a tribute band (who would have guessed)

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Tonights dinner consisted of mushrooms in pastry, seafood salad, fisherman's platter (i.e. lobster and a shrimp), and a trio of desserts (which is ONE dish, consisting of samplers of three desserts; I didnt have six courses tonight). The appetiser and the dessert were highlights, but I know many people live for the lobster - there was plenty for those who wanted, and whos counting! As I mentioned earlier, this was our final formal night. It was also a Thursday, so I caught some NFL in Boleros at some point suit and tie, strawberry daiquiri (yes, still!) and the Falcons embarrassing the Jags.

 

Of course, tomorrow is our final day on this wonderful voyage. And that means the dreaded luggage tags and all the other paraphernalia for disembarkation have been delivered to our staterooms. This obviously depressed me so much that I took few action photos today, but here are a couple more of the Centrum decorations.

 

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Fly, Rudolph, fly (a little Eagles reference for you there!)

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Hello again! Your review continues to impress. I do want to address one thing that you mentioned in the Captain's Corner. The Captain says that Norfolk, Va. needs major improvements. I live in the Norfolk area and am somewhat shocked that the captian would say that. Norfolk built a brand new $15 million dollar crusie terminal at the behest of Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines (build it and they will come) kinda thing. The facility is state of the art, the harbor here can handle any size ship (largest Navy Base in the world) is here with the largest aircraft carriers. No sooner than the terminal is finished and opened all the cruise lines leave with the exception of Carnival and they only cruise from here two months out of the year.

 

I do not know what other kinds of major improvements the captain thinks are needed here but I can assure you that Norfolk, Va. has a very nice cruise facility. The Enchantment was formerly cruising from Norfolk and moved to Baltimore to take advantage of the people living in that area having a higher income level so that Royal could charge higher rates. Please rest assured that none of what I am saying is directed towards you. It would be interesting to me what prompted the captain's statement about Norfolk. Keep up the good work! Happy cruising! :D

Edited by Eng23

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Great review. I enjoyed reading this very much. The DW and I will be on Enchantment 12 night at the end of Feb, and This was great to see the days lay out from a recent sailing. Thank you for all the time you put into this.

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Really enjoyed your wonderfully informative and well written review as we are going on the Enchantment in February. This will be our 1st RCL cruise since 1992. Have sailed the Mercury out of Baltimore so it will be interesting to see the differences between the lines.

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I have just read this great review - thank you

We are just preparing to take our first RC cruise 12 night from Baltimnore on Feb 6th.

I see the casual colours caribbean night but can you tell me if there were western and rock & Roll themed nights which we may have to plan fir please?

 

Many thanks once again

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Thank you, one of the most enjoyable reviews I've read!

Question: how did you become a fan of American "football"?

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Hello again! Your review continues to impress. I do want to address one thing that you mentioned in the Captain's Corner. The Captain says that Norfolk, Va. needs major improvements. I live in the Norfolk area and am somewhat shocked that the captian would say that. Norfolk built a brand new $15 million dollar crusie terminal at the behest of Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines (build it and they will come) kinda thing. The facility is state of the art, the harbor here can handle any size ship (largest Navy Base in the world) is here with the largest aircraft carriers. No sooner than the terminal is finished and opened all the cruise lines leave with the exception of Carnival and they only cruise from here two months out of the year.

 

I do not know what other kinds of major improvements the captain thinks are needed here but I can assure you that Norfolk, Va. has a very nice cruise facility. The Enchantment was formerly cruising from Norfolk and moved to Baltimore to take advantage of the people living in that area having a higher income level so that Royal could charge higher rates. Please rest assured that none of what I am saying is directed towards you. It would be interesting to me what prompted the captain's statement about Norfolk. Keep up the good work! Happy cruising! :D

 

Good points and I wish I had taken better notes :) None of the Baltimore home fans challenged this statement, of course. It is entirely possible that he was talking about the revenue/yield out of Norfolk needing major improvement, rather than the facilities. His point was that the EN would be staying in Baltimore until Dec 2014 at least, and Norfolk was not a viable alternative to worry about at present. But it is in my mind that the Hotel Director may have had some issues with logistics there - don't quote me on that, though.

 

Sorry not to be more precise, glad you enjoyed the review.

 

David

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Thanks for taking the time to post your review. Your review gives me an idea of what to look forward to. Again thank you.

 

You're welcome. Enjoy your cruise!

 

David

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Great review. I enjoyed reading this very much. The DW and I will be on Enchantment 12 night at the end of Feb, and This was great to see the days lay out from a recent sailing. Thank you for all the time you put into this.

 

Really enjoyed your wonderfully informative and well written review as we are going on the Enchantment in February. This will be our 1st RCL cruise since 1992. Have sailed the Mercury out of Baltimore so it will be interesting to see the differences between the lines.

 

Thank you and I hope you both enjoy your cruises :)

 

David

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I have just read this great review - thank you

We are just preparing to take our first RC cruise 12 night from Baltimnore on Feb 6th.

I see the casual colours caribbean night but can you tell me if there were western and rock & Roll themed nights which we may have to plan fir please?

 

Many thanks once again

 

I think you may be making the same mistake I did - "holiday" in the context of a dress theme meant the Christmas holidays, not the vacation sense of "holiday" more commonly used by us wot speak proper English English.... So people were in a variety of Santa themed outfits etc - including some who had santas on their Caribbean shirts, covering both bases!

 

There were no themed nights, unless you count the 70s party, of course. The Blairs may do it differently, I suppose. As I say, we had formal nights on Days 2, 7 and 11, and Day 3 was listed as smart casual, all the rest were casual.

 

Your experience may be different, of course.

 

Glad you enjoyed the review.

 

David

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Thank you, one of the most enjoyable reviews I've read!

Question: how did you become a fan of American "football"?

 

Thank you for the kind words. It's a good question (actually two questions - why NFL and why the Eagles?), so I will hijack my own thread for a while :)

 

Back in the distant days of the early 80s, when I was at University (I know, I know, I look impossibly young for that...), a new TV channel, Channel 4, was launched in the UK. Yes, kids, we had FOUR channels! Its remit was to provide diverse programming as an alternative to the established channels and one of the things they did was show various American sports, including the NFL. I was fascinated by the whole thing and became a fan. I'm a huge sports fan, but I find professional soccer quite tedious on the whole.

 

I followed the NFL on and off as the UK TV coverage varied over the years, but I never really had a particular team. In the late 90s I found myself in a relationship with a lady from New Jersey and started following the Eagles as they were the local team (she was from Atco) and that fan relationship has far outlasted the romance :)

 

These days some NFL games are on Sky Sports (our major sports subscription channels) and the NFL has an online package where people outside north America can stream games live or catch up, so we can see every game. It has become a bit of a tradition for me to cruise in the fall and take in a game or two live - last year I did a short cruise out of Tampa which returned on Sunday, so I saw the Bucs that afternoon and the next day flew up to DC to catch the Redskins v Eagles Monday Night Football game on the way home. It adds a degree of complexity to planning a cruise, as I have the NFL schedule to factor in as well! This one worked perfectly for me.

 

All the best,

 

David

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David - Thanks so much for the great review, really has me "psyched" as we leave weekend after next.

Sorry, I don't remember your C&A status, but in any case, do you know where the nightly Diamomd Event was held?

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Very interesting. I was on a cruise ~6-7 years ago, stopped in Antigua for the day. Young local fellow was driving our cab, one of the first things he asked was "what's your favorite NFL team?" Of course, I thought he was just being friendly, but he proceeded to tell us he was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, and convinced us that he was serious and very knowledgeable. Told us he had a satellite dish and scheduled time off when the Eagles games were on, and earlier that year, he had driven Andy Reid around the island when he went there for Vacation! Very surprising.

Once again, thanks for your review, we're considering an Enchantment trip and this has been very informative!

Bud

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David - Thanks so much for the great review, really has me "psyched" as we leave weekend after next.

Sorry, I don't remember your C&A status, but in any case, do you know where the nightly Diamomd Event was held?

 

I was Emerald, this was the cruise that took me to Diamond (and the RCI website has finally caught up), so I did take notice for once :)

 

It was held in the Viking Crown Lounge - in fact I think it took over the whole lounge as we had so many onboard. Certainly the sign was at the bottom of the stairs.

 

Thanks for your kind words, enjoy your cruise!

 

David

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Thanks so much for the great review - loved the day-by-day commentary and all of the pictures. We leave on the Enchantment on 1/28 for a 9 day cruise - different ports than your trip.

 

Also - great to see that the Eagles have fans all over the world. As you can tell by the picture on my post - we are HUGE Eagles fans - even the dog. Too bad about this season - but as we say here "There's always next year". Unfortunately, we say that a lot.

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Well, that is the end of my narrative, of course. However, in a shameless attempt to bump my review, Ill be back tomorrow with some final thoughts and reflections on the cruise the cabin, the state of the ship, the quality of the food, how good was the entertainment, you know the sort of thing. So now would be a GREAT time to ask any questions you may have!

 

Cheers and thanks so much for reading.

 

David

 

Your intrepid reporter (if I may be allowed a small conceit)

CruiseDec11dump220.jpg

 

CruiseDec11dump440.jpg

 

CruiseDec11dump168.jpg

 

 

so glad you posted these pictures, now we can "look for you" on a future cruise ;)

We are trying to talk our friends, a MD local couple, in to cruising out of this Port.... and we are a little leary due to cruising on the EN in the past... and having "odor" issues.... Your review was so interesting and also helpful (and no mention of the odor issues of old).... not only the cruise but your pre-stay. Thanks for the info and all the time you spent in posting.

Have decided to book... now the question is when :confused:

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Hi David,

Great review. Enjoyed the pics. Thanks for doing it.

We will be on EN in Feb. Could you tell us where the lifeboat drill is held? Outside on deck (burrrr):( or in one of the lounges ;)?

Thanks

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Hi David,

Great review. Enjoyed the pics. Thanks for doing it.

We will be on EN in Feb. Could you tell us where the lifeboat drill is held? Outside on deck (burrrr):( or in one of the lounges ;)?

Thanks

 

Oh, yes - I failed to mention that, I think. Muster drill is on deck, I'm afraid. And, of course, it's late afternoon, so YES it's cold :(

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Thank you so much for the review. I will be on the Enchantment in just a couple of days, so I am reading all I can about the ship. We will have different ports than you (it's the 9 day to the Bahamas). Thank you for taking the time to take us on your journey along with you. :)

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so glad you posted these pictures, now we can "look for you" on a future cruise ;)

We are trying to talk our friends, a MD local couple, in to cruising out of this Port.... and we are a little leary due to cruising on the EN in the past... and having "odor" issues.... Your review was so interesting and also helpful (and no mention of the odor issues of old).... not only the cruise but your pre-stay. Thanks for the info and all the time you spent in posting.

Have decided to book... now the question is when :confused:

 

In the interests of full disclosure, I should say there were a couple (and I mean a couple) of occasions when I detected a whiff of an odour - this was going to be in my round up post later tonight. One day, particularly round the elevator lobby on Deck 2. But it was no worse than any other ship I have been on and better than some :) I know some people think there should never be any problem at all, but I try to take it all in my stride!

 

I also had a delayed flush on a couple of occasions, but by no more than a minute. Certainly not one of those 'am I going to come back to it after dinner' moments... And there was a bit of a kerfuffle about a (planned) water shut off one night, of which more later.

 

Cheers,

 

David

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Hello David,

 

Thank you for your wonderful review and photos! I felt like I was right there with you! I especially enjoyed your review and photos of The Baths on Virgin Gorda.

 

Happy New Year!

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