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mszabo

Review of Enchantment

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Hi All;

 

I have always appreciated having reviews to read before I cruised so now I am returning the favor.

 

My husband and I (34 and 35 yrs old) went on the Enchantment June 17-21, Ft.Lauderdale, Key West and Cozumel. In the past we have cruised Norwegian and Princess. We chose RCI as they offered the short cruise leaving from Florida.

The embarkation was wonderful, we were on the ship by 11:15, we had a suite so we were able to get on without waiting as there was a separate check in for those with suites and crown and anchor members. There were quite a bit of people in the other line, but my understanding is that they move things quite quickly.

The ship is beautiful and the activities were plentiful. Matt Baker is a great cruise director. We went to a few shows, I can't say that they were great, the comedians and the dancers were fine but nothing to rave about, it is a cruise not Broadway.

Our room was a Balcony and it was great, we have had balconies on our other two cruises and they were all great rooms with plentiful storage. The cabin steward was good, we met him only once but it is a short cruise. For Father's Day I treated my husband to a massage ($99) and pedicure ($55), he loved them both and said the ladies were wonderful.

Key West was awesome, though it was disappointing that we docked for such a short period of time. 8am to 2pm. You had to be on board by 1:30. The shops don't open till 9am nor do the tours of the island or museums open till 9, so by the time you get the trolley tour done, you don't have much time for anything else. We took to old town trolley and it was great, we booked it ourselves in the morning and our trolley was the first on the road, I find there is too much time wasted waiting around for tours to start when you book with the ship.

At Cozumel we went to Paradise Beach and met Tom who is the individual at the port advertising Paradise Beach he is great and the Beach is awesome, great drinks and great nachos. Please look at the Cozumel site on the Port of Call section, there is much discussion about Paradise Beach.

We did not go shopping as the beach is at one end of Cozumel and than you have to get another cab and go the other way for downtown. Not at all convenient and if you want to do both you will spend $12 going to Paradise Beach $16 to go downtown and than another $8-10 to get back to the ship.

The day at Sea brought wonderful weather. There were the usual deck chairs that were saved around the pool, however the ship is great in that there are an abundance of deck chairs. We got great chairs above the pool looking down and the wind was great so it wasn't so hot but yet we were able to view and participate in the activities.

There were quite a bit of kids onboard, ALL were well behaved and well mannered. Great job parents!!!

Now comes the part of my review where I must express my disappointment. The food and dining areas were not at all equal to my experiences on Norwegian or Princess. First, the Windjammer is poorly designed, they have food stations set in all different areas, this causes people to walk around looking for food and trying to balance a tray all the while competing for space with the people trying to get out of the Windjammer. We had to ask where we could find toast as it is hidden in a small corner blocked by crowds trying to get an omelette. One morning I waited 15 minutes to get an omelette my husband who had long ago given up waiting and spent just as long looking for a table. The food is fine, you really can't mess up a breakfast buffet. I only went to lunch one time and it was your basic salad bar, sandwich bar and a few stir fry's no great excitement. The Solarium Cafe is by far the strangest concept I have ever seen, the solarium houses the gym, spa and encourages restfulness and health. However, the Cafe serves pizza (horrendous at best) burgers and hot dogs, how is this healthy?????? This should be served by the pool as most of the people eating this stuff are kids and people hanging by the pool not relaxing in the Solarium.

Last, the dining room, this was a major disappointment. I was debating whether to emphasis the quality of the food service, however I thought it was best to be honest, I want people to be prepared and thus not as disappointed as we were. Some of the past reviews I have read have also stated that the food was not great and they were right. We requested a table for two as it is our 10 yr. anniversary yet we were with a table of 8, it was changed quite quickly, this was the highlight of the dining room. The room itself is beautiful. However, it is entirely too bright, it is not at all romantic, intimate nor does it give the ambiance of a relaxing dinner setting. As we sat in the middle of the room beside the Captain's table, you get the feeling that the people on the second tier are looking down on you the whole time you are eating, so much for romance. The food itself was of the poorest quality I have had in ANY restaurant let alone a ship. On Norwegian and Princess the choices were so delicious that we could hardly ever pick one, the waiters would bring seconds or split our plate and provide half of each entree, the service made us feel like we were their only table. On the Enchantment it was an assembly line at best, we heard the waiter giving each table the same line. The appetizers are boring, salads, soups and one hot appetizer. The entrees are the same boring, and without much flavor. The stuffed chicken is pre made frozen, I have seen the very same thing at Sam's Club and Costco, the eggplant was frozen and deep fried also available at Sam's Club and Costco. My husband and I look forward to the dinners on the cruises as it is a time to wind down and recap the day, also as we have a two year old at home, we haven't been out in a long while. Even the night we were asked to join Captain's table the food was not great. Further, the food itself was lukewarm at best.

I had ordered a bottle of Veuve Cliequot ($84) when we boarded and spoke to the Sommelier that it was to be delivered to our table on the formal evening as a surprise to my husband for our anniversary. On our first night the waiter comes over and says to my husband, that he is sorry but he cannot deliver the champagne as they are out of stock, so much for my surprise, wrong night and they are out of stock. The sommelier did not know this? duh plus how is it possible that they don't have Veuve Cliequot, it is extremely popular. The waiter indicated they would have more the following day, however since the surprise was blown I went to the Purser's desk to get it taken off my bill, this took me four trips to the Purser's desk to finally get it taken off.

 

We enjoyed our cruise, however due to our dining experience, and the emphasis we place on it I do not think we would choose Royal Caribbean for our next sailing.

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Thanks for your review. We are sailing her in August. I think the quality in the food has gone down in general. Every RCL cruise we go on (at least 2 a year) the food declines everytime.

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MS,

I noticed that you said you were in a suite. Could you comment a little more about the suite?

 

We will be on the Enchantment next week in a grand suite and I am curious as to your impression.

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In Key West, would you recommend just staying on the ship? Also, what nite is formal nite? Thanks for your honest review!

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MS

 

We leave this week for the same cruise. My wife is trying to finish the wardrobe plan. Can you give me the lowdown on each nights dinner dress code?

 

Thanks

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mszabo-

you say that your other cruises were far better(in food). could you please compare prices. i would like a good idea of the cruises in comparision of price. We too are going on the enchantment and too be honest , well, we could not beat the price!! If the food is the only down size, then i will still be COMPLETELY happy, as i know the enchantment is not a 5 star resort. But i am curious to the difference in price you paid for thefollowing cruises you speak about. That would give me a better judgement.

 

Thank you for the review.

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Suite

 

First off, the suite was wonderful, worth the money, it is quite roomy and there is more room than either of our suties on the Princess or Norweigian, I love having a balcony without question to me it is worth the extra expense. There was a large closet with drawers, ample storage throughout, even the ottoman's open and you can store stuff inside. The suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom comes with full size shampoo, shower gel with little puff to use with it, and lotion. They also provided a container of Q tips and cotton pads. Very nice.

 

Dress Code

Only one night was formal and that was Friday the Captain's Dinner, the second night, we sat with the Captain and nobody had on tuxes only Suits, the women wore mostly cocktail dresses. The casual nights people were well dressed I never saw shorts, many men wore casual pants and shirts, the women wore dresses and capri pants with blouses for the most part. I must note that there was definitely a more younger crowd than you see on the longer cruises mostly 25-50 years old I would guess, I assume that it is because they don't have time for longer cruises as though who are retired. All were very well dressed in the lastest trends, however no overly done dresses. The nights are casual, formal, smart casual and formal.

 

Key West

I loved Key West I wish we had more time there, I would ABSOLUTELY get off even if I had been there a MILLION times, it is such a great place to walk around and check the shops and the bars are fabulous!!!!!!, get off and run to the Hog's Breath for great Bloody Mary's.

 

Price

The Enchantment was by no means a bargain for us, the balcony room when added with airfare came out to only a few dollars savings per day than what we paid on Norwegian or Princess for the seven day. I guess that is why I was so disappointed with the dinner. We choose RCI because it offered the short cruises, however in looking at prices you get a better value on the seven day cruises because there is more competition with seven day trips than with the four/five day. So if you are looking at four/five day leaving from Floriday RCI is your best bet. Besides the dinner, I must say that the Enchantment is a beautiful ship and that the people onboard are helpful and fun, the ship is clean and well maintained. The pool area is great as the pool has a shelf around it where you can sit in a few inches of water and read your book, suntan or just plan drink yummy cocktails!

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The decline in food comments are interesting. Last year we took a 3 day cruise on the Majesty and then an 11 day cruise on the Dawn Princess.

 

After sailing the Majesty, we were disappointed with the food on Princess, we found RCI dinner's and buffet superiour.

 

I guess I will find out in a week if I see a decline. Oh how I love to eat, but I will agree, the food alone would not alter my decision on a cruiseline.

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As I have said before, it was my first time cruising. I too had been following the cruise critic boards before the cruise. I thought that the food was ok not great, but they are fixing food for so many people, I was not expecting gourmet quality. I agree about the windjammer cafe being a little confusing. The first day we had breakfast there, we didn't find the omlette station because we did not go around the corner. I found the service to be excellant. There was always someone taking plates away and always someone offering us drinks--in the theature, bars, bingo, and poolside. Also, I thought that the french fries were really good in the solarium. We sat in the balcony during second seating. Although our table was tucked in a corner we recieved goog service. This was a perfect length cruise for us as we left our 3 young children at home and I would not have wanted to leave them longer. As for the entertainment, I too thought it could have been a little better, but Matt Baker makes up for some of it and there are other options if you like to stay up late. There was a really fun pool party the 3rd night with a mexican midnight buffet. We found with 2nd seating we were never hungry for the midnight buffets, but they looked really good!

 

Anyway, I would cruise again with royal caribbean. We might bring the kids next time and do a longer cruise on a differant ship.

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Thanks, mszabo, for the detailed review. We're leaving in nine days on our first cruise on Enchantment, so I was very interested in your descriptions.

 

I'm now VERY curious about what the food is going to be like... I've read a lot of reviews on this board that say the food is good or OK; yours was the first to really pan it. I fear my opinion will end up like yours - I know and appreciate gourmet food and can tell the difference between fresh-made and frozen entrees. It's not that we dine at a 5-star restaurant every night - I like places like Chili's and Macaroni Grill - but I expect a certain level of sophistication on something like a cruise ship. I also thought the fiasco with the champagne must have been quite a disappointment for you. Little things like that really tend to influence how you think about the whole experience in general.

 

Well, we'll see for ourselves soon enough. I hope to submit my own review when I return.

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