My daughter and I sailed on the Enchantment of the Seas is Aug. 2002. It was our first cruise on the Enchantment but our 7th cruise with Royal Caribbean. You just can't beat their service and value for your vacation dollar.
Pre-cruise- We rented a car and drove down from Georgia the day before. A 7+ hour drive, due to heavy rainstorms and lots of traffic on I-95. It was my hope to stay in a hotel that would allow me to see the ships in port. We got a great rate online for the Marriott Marina. I had heard many good things about Embassy Suites, and it did look nice, but I was pleased that I chose Marriott. This hotel is located directly on the intercoastal waterway, the port was just beyond the bridge. I woke up early (around 6am) and sure enough, there they were. It was just beginning to get light and three ships (all lit up like Christmas trees) were easily visible from my balcony on the 9th floor as they sailed in from the Atlantic. I had called the hotel a few days before with my request of a view of the port, and they were more than happy to comply.
Embarkation- Couldn't have been easier. We arrived at the terminal early and were directed to an area to sit and wait to be called. We noticed a sign that said that Crown & Anchor members (Platinum and Diamond level) would have priority boarding (how nice)! so we went to sit in that area. A RCCL rep came by checked our tickets, id, and the online embarkation forms that we filled out beforehand. He has just returned from his vacation on the Enchantment and couldn't say enough good things about it. After a short delay due to a metal detector malfunction we were checked in (the agent was thrilled with the online embarkation form) had our picture taken and were onboard walking around shortly after 11am.
The Ship- Absolutely beautiful. The Centrum is spectacular, all glass and sunlight. Very tastefully appointed. Our cabin was located on level 2, aft. No problems with noise or vibration. Snug but well laid out. Plenty of storage space. No problem even with two girls who brought enough clothes for a month. Hair dryer and safe provided.
Food & Dining Room Service_ My Fair Lady Dining Room is very impressive with dark wood and large windows. Wonderful service (as I have come to expect nothing less with RCCL). Our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter went above the call of duty to make every meal a memorable one. I was particularly pleased that they requested no hats, tank tops and sleeveless T's at any time (although I presume this was directed primarily at the men, I wore a blouse over my halter tops during breakfast and lunch). And no shorts at night. They also requested that you wear a bathing suit cover-up even in the Windjammer cafe. If you want to dress that casually there are plenty of other dining options available to you. Food was excellent as always. Our waiter had no problem bringing 2nd entrees to anyone that requested it. If fact, I think he was rather surprised when I told him one lobster tail would be enough for me!
Entertainment- A nice mix of Broadway style production shows and singers, comedians, juggling acts, magicians and The Nelsons (yes, Ricky Nelson's twin sons) who would have made their daddy proud. Very impressed with cruise director Marc Walker. Very funny, energetic British fellow who seemed to be everywhere, all the time. Don't miss the "Village People" and "Shippendales" ladies! He also did a fabulous job with "Love & Marriage" (game similar to the "Newlywed Game") always a lot of laughs. Cruise director and staff seemed to be very proud of the Enchantment's reputation of being the friendliest ship in the fleet. I am inclined to agree.
Ports of Call- San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas and Nassau. Loved Old San Juan, enjoyed walking the narrow streets. Very friendly people, and courteous drivers. Easy walking distance from pier. Waking up to see St. Martin with it's mountains, turquoise water and white beaches was quite breathtaking. St. Thomas might have been even more beautiful. Great shopping in both St. Martin and St. Thomas. Wished I had bought my liquor in St. Thomas, your customs allowance in much greater on liquor bought there. Live and learn. Got a taxi and went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas. About $8 per person. Beautiful beach and resort that welcomes cruise ship passengers. Bathroom, bar, restaurant, and any kind of water sport equipment available for a very reasonable charge. Went snorkeling right off the beach ($5 an hour for fins and mask) and saw as many fish as I've seen in the keys or the Bahamas. Spectacular!
Disembarkation- We really enjoyed our many extra perks of being Platinum Crown & Anchor members. We were given priority boarding, coupons, complimentary robes for our use onboard and two parites just for Crown and Anchor members. We were allowed to wait to disembark the ship in the Crown & Anchor study until our colored tags were called. Disembarkation seemed well organized and went smoothly.
Final thoughts- A wonderful cruise experience. Beautiful ship, enchanting ports of call, and a top notch staff that attends to your every want and need. Highly recommended.