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Enchantment Review from long-time cruiser

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DH & I were on the Enchantment’s 5-day cruise departing Ft. Lauderdale on September 11.


EMBARKATION: When we arrived at the pier about 11:30, passengers were still disembarking from the previous cruise, so we waited in the departure lounge for about an hour before we were allowed to check in. Once the process started, everything went smoothly and we were aboard in about 30 minutes.


CABIN: We were in an oceanview cabin in the “old” section of the ship, but the only signs of wear were a few spots on the carpet and chips in the bathroom tile. The bedding was new, the mattress was comfortable, and our cabin steward couldn’t have been more attentive. We were surprised that our cabin didn’t have a refrigerator, but it wasn’t an inconvenience for us.


We read about the “hearing-impaired kit” on Cruise Critic; and although DH does fine when he wears his hearing aids, we thought this feature might make things a little more convenient for him. The kit consists of a doorbell, a flashing alarm clock, a unit that vibrates the bed when the phone rings (there’s a story in itself!) and closed caption TV. Although the equipment was in our cabin when we arrived, none of it worked; and after several attempts to repair it, the engineering staff gave up.


PUBLIC AREAS: We had sailed on the Enchantment before she was stretched and were anxious to see the “new and improved version.” All of the areas were well-maintained, and the addition of Chops, Boleros, the splash pool and the Concierge Lounge make her better than ever.




§ Casual: We wish a Seaview Café had been added to the Enchantment as an alternative to the Windjammer, which fell short of our expectations. Even though the quality of the food and service has declined, the area was always crowded. Other reviewers mentioned this and suggested looking for tables farther away from the serving area. However, since trays are no longer provided, we didn’t care to balance plates, glasses and utensils any longer than necessary.


§ Dining Room: We adored our wait staff and loved the location of our round table for 8 against the window. Our tablemates were pleasant, well mannered and fun loving. And I can honestly say that the food served in the dining room on this ship was the best we’ve ever had on 19 Royal Caribbean cruises! Because the selection in the Windjammer was limited, we ate nearly every meal in the dining room and never once tasted anything we didn’t like. Don’t miss the Thai chicken lettuce wraps or the grilled vegetable quesadillas—they’re outstanding!


§ Specialty restaurant: We had a delicious dinner in Chop’s to celebrate our anniversary. The steaks were excellent and the view was magnificent, but we found the service more attentive in Portofino’s on the Jewel.


§ Midnight Buffets: We stopped by the poolside Mexican Fiesta, which was pretty much the same as always…but didn’t bother with the Gala Buffet.




§ Casino: Payoff on the slot machines wasn’t high enough for us to risk our lungs against the smoke.


§ Shows: The quality of entertainment in the main showroom varied from night to night. Nothing particularly bad, but nothing extraordinary either.


§ Lounges: Boleros drew a faithful crowd every night, as did the Schooner Bar. Most drinks were very generous, but the chocolate martinis tasted like Ovaltine.


§ Cruise staff activities: With the exception of the very stale Quest and Love & Marriage games, we rarely saw the cruise staff anywhere on the ship. No horse races or theme nights…but there were cooking demonstrations, towel folding and salsa dancing classes. The “win-a-cruise” bingo game nearly filled the theatre and must make RCI a small fortune. The art auctions seemed less annoying than usual, and the shops were actually quite nice. Paul Rutter is the Cruise Director, and he seemed to be trying but just didn’t quite “click.”


GYM/SPORTS DECK/POOLS: Saw them, but never used them. All of the facilities appeared clean and well-maintained.


SPA: Steiner staff (and massage therapists, in particular) have justifiably come under fire for years. I’m thrilled to report a complete about-face on this cruise! Patience from South Africa gave me the best hot stone massage I have ever had on land or sea, and she didn’t try to push a single product! I was so impressed that I wrote letters to the Spa Manager and the head of Steiner complimenting them on the experience.


CHILDREN'S & YOUTH PROGRAMS: Because of the time of year, we were surprised to see so many children/teens aboard. They all seemed to be having a good time, and we heard many compliments about the Adventure Ocean staff and facilities.


CONCIERGE CLUB / REPEAT PASSENGER AMENITIES: In our opinion, the addition of the Concierge Lounge is the most positive change made to the Enchantment. It’s a beautiful room (larger than the club on the Jewel), and Julian serenaded us every night. The bar was well-stocked, and the hors d’oeuvres were top notch. Our only disappointment was that the computers in the Concierge Lounge are much slower than the ones in the Internet Café, but the rates are the same.


As Diamond members, we received coupon booklets, postcards and picture frames; and chocolate-covered strawberries were delivered to our room the first night. The timing of the Diamond-only party was quite inconvenient—1:45 pm on the second day—15 minutes before we departed Key West. Because the Enchantment is docked in Key West only a few hours, most passengers stayed ashore as long as possible and returned to the ship hot, hungry and tired…hardly in the mood for a party.


ITINERARY: Except for rain in Cozumel, the weather was perfect and the seas were like glass…so we arrived in every port on time. This particular sailing visited CocoCay (instead of Belize), and we enjoyed a sunny day on the beach.


DEBARKATION: Couldn’t have been easier. We were off the ship, in a taxi and on our way to the airport by 9:00 am.


LOYAL? YOU MUST BE KIDDING! We are loyal to Royal Caribbean – 19 of our 25 cruises have been aboard RCI ships – and this was one of the best. But, if the “Loyalty Ambassador” on the Enchantment had been our only contact with their staff, I can promise you we would never book another RCI cruise.


Next month our daughter & her husband (also Diamond members) are sailing the Splendor to the Greek Isles, and we wanted to surprise her with on-board credit for her birthday. I inquired at the Guest Relations Desk and was directed to the Loyalty Ambassador. When I arrived at the Crown & Anchor Lounge early in the afternoon, she was helping other passengers so I waited patiently until they were finished. When I finally approached her desk, she and I were the only people in the room. Before I could open my mouth, she demanded to know if I had an appointment. I said I did not but just had a quick question. She abruptly responded that she could not speak to anyone who did not have an appointment. Mind you, I was the only person there and all I wanted to do was give RCI my money! Determined not to give in, I explained that Guest Relations referred me to her to purchase on-board credit for my daughter’s upcoming cruise. With that she turned her back and said, “I’m here to sell cruises – call a travel agent!” Dumbfounded, I walked away…but you can be sure there was a whole paragraph dedicated just to her on our comment card!


OVERALL EXPERIENCE: A 5-day cruise is just too short. OK, let’s face it, a 50-day cruise would be too short! But it was great while it lasted.

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