November 12, 2005
This was my second cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas and my ninth on Royal Caribbean. The first time was with my two sons and this time by myself as part of a business group I am in. This review will be from the perspective of a single 40 year old man looking for romance on the high seas. This review will also be best read while referencing my two photo galleries titled “Dave the Wave’s Enchantment Cruise November 12, 2005.”
Embarkation- I arrive around 11:30 at Port Everglades, parked in the garage and wheeled all my luggage to the porters. There was a short line leading into the building and then I located the sign for Platinum and Diamond Crown and Anchor members with no wait. I was up the stairs checking in within minutes. It was now about noon and I was headed to the pool bar for my first Red Stripe (see pic). I sat and observed the new arrivals for awhile until 1 PM and then went to check out my cabin 8093 on deck 8.
The cabin- It was portside, the first cabin forward of the centrum and internet café on the inside. This is a great spot right under the pool with easy access to the stairs and elevators. Noise was never a problem. The beds were already pushed together. My cabin steward made himself known and I tipped him $10 and asked him to keep my cooler full of ice (see pic). I did bring 18 Budweisers, a bottle of Smirnoff, a 6 pack of tonic water, 6 limes and a bottle of wine for good measure. Each day my cabin steward refreshed the ice in my cooler for me. For the 5 nights he made me new animals and kept things very nice (see pics). I had been in this category the last time and knew what to expect. It was very nice, clean and had more storage than I would ever use. I usually leave my clothes in the suitcase until I wear them and then throw the dirty ones in a pile in the closet. The last night I stuff them back in the suitcase. A very simple and efficient method. The use of mirrors in the cabin make it appear larger than the 146 square feet and also lend themselves to some great views while entertaining. That is one thing (mirrors) I find lacking on the one Carnival ship I have been on and in pictures of others I have seen.
The ship- I loved this ship the last time in May of 2004 and was anxious to see the extra 73 foot midsection that was added. The cabins a few forward of me were new and I had the opportunity to party in one of the newer inside cabins a few doors down. It was similar in layout to mine but the closets and fixtures were a little different. The shower also had a hard sliding cover rather than the curtain I had. No better just a little different. The most notable changes were on the pool deck. The forward pool was the original one and the newer pool was aft of it with the hot tubs and a section of wood sundeck in between. The solarium was unchanged and I did not hang out there. Forward of the pool between the pool bar was the fountain area for the kids. Some days it was too windy as the water was being blown across the deck. It lit up beautifully at night. The new bandstand was at the end of the pool and elevated over it which made for a great stage rather than the improvised one before it. The spans on the sunwalk were very nice although I am not sure of their function. They lit up nicely at night and provided a great view. On one side of the new section was the Oasis Bar which was really nice but non-smoking. The party people were at the forward pool bar where you could smoke. Smoking was allowed on the starboard side of the pool deck. On the other side were some tables and chairs overlooking the sea. Overall, a great improvement that expanded the pooldeck and it never felt crowded.
Inside the ship was the new Boleros lounge which was very nice, expanded shops and more cabins. I did not eat any Ben and Jerry’s or have any specialty coffees. I did not eat in the Chops either as the dining room was quite good enough for me.
Fellow passengers- This was a great trip and I met a lot of wonderful people and made some new friends. I have changed the names to protect the innocent. There were very few kids onboard because of the time of year so this was not a factor. There were a wide range of people from family reunions, to couples young and old, to groups of single girls traveling together in packs of 3, 4, 6, 10 and even one group from Palm Beach of 24. With a 5 night cruise it took the first day just to try to sort them out and see who was who. There was one group of 10 in particular from the Panhandle that I infiltrated and ended up hanging out with most of the time. A couple of them Cindy and Cathy, invited me to go ashore in Ocho Rios with them that morning at the pool bar as they didn’t want to go alone (can’t blame them) and we ended up having a great time the rest of the cruise. There was the couple from Jupiter (another Dave) and his wife, Teri that were there to party crazy. The three 20 something girls from Ohio who were there to party and had a great time with them. There was the two guys from my group that almost got arrested coming back to the ship in Ocho Rios for taking some of the local flavor back to the ship The Captain had to go to the local authorities to get one released. There was the young couple who joined are team in the Quest game and help us win 3rd prize (she had the tattoo, thong, heels and bra I wore in the end). There were the teenage girls drinking and dancing in the Viking Crown. All in all, the best time I ever had with some really great people!
I consider the embarkation day as a day at sea. The pools were ready, the people ready to party and all the usual meet and greet stuff. The sail away party was great fun ending in a big conga line that went all over and up the pool deck. I had the late dinner and then ended up in the disco for late night.
Day at Sea- The first day at sea was very windy! We were heading southeast into a 20 knot plus wind at 20 knots. I tried to run on the top deck and managed 8 laps before succumbing to the 40-50 knot winds up there. It was sunny and warm but the seas were rough and the wind blew hard all day. There was a tropical storm forming further south but did not really effect us.
Ocho Rios- I had not been to Ocho Rios or Grand Cayman since my ill-fated honeymoon in 1990 aboard the Song of America. Not much had changed. I went ashore with the girls I met onboard and we got a cab to the shopping areas, the bottom of the falls and back again. In the flea market area, which is fenced in, they are very aggressive to have you look at their “stuff” and just as aggressive in offering pot, coke, hash, mushrooms, ect…. I bought some stuff for the kids at home and the girls loaded up on liquor and Cuban cigars. We went back to the ship, left our new purchases and then walked over to Margaritaville (see pics) and used the free margarita coupons found on their website (Thanks again KimJack!!!) I went down the slide a few times, swam in the pool and up to the bar, (see pics). We were the only ship in port that day and all the people there were from the Enchantment. It was a great time! The weather was warm, breezy and in the mid 80’s.
Grand Cayman- I hadn’t been here since 1990 either. We tendered in around 10 AM and Cindy and Cathy wanted to go to Stingray City. I hadn’t been there before and was game. We went with an independent that was right near the dock for $40 each and were taken on a bus ride a few miles to a marina and about 12 of us got on a 30 foot fishing boat (see pics) for the trip out to Stingray City. The weather was beautiful but still very windy so we were not able to snorkel on the reef. The water was like a swimming pool out there and the stingrays were all under your feet and the guide was feeding them squid and let anyone who wanted to hold them for pictures. We laid on the deck and soaked up rays on the way back to the dock. The bus picked us back up and took us on “Mr Toads Wild Ride” to the Tortuga Rum factory where we sampled rums and the girls bought some to take home. We sat at the Paradise Restaurant having a few beers until it was time to catch the last tender back to the ship. There were two Carnival ships there that day that left before ours and the Norwegian Majesty. Back onboard it was time to go to the pool for a few more beers and hang out with my friends at the pool bar and our constant bartender, Adolfo. He was great and showed us some cool tricks.
Kareoke- The girl ahead of me said she hoped she sounded as good as she does in the shower. I was up next and said, “I hope I look as good as I do in the shower.” I sang “A Pirate Looks at 40” to the thrill of the crowd. There were some who sang better than me and some who sang worse. Overall, a blast!
Quest game- I had done this before and we assembled a team of Cindy and myself, Dave and Teri, an older lady traveling by herself and a young 20 something couple. We came in 3rd place overall and had great fun. Among the things to prepare for are, black teeth, (comb will do), a sock with a hole in it (they all do), a girl with a tattoo, a thong (flip flop counts), a guy in women’s shoes, two guys dirty dancing, ect… don’t want to ruin it for you.
Last day at sea- This was another great sunny and warm day. The winds were still up but not as bad as the first day. This was the day for the “International Men’s Belly Flop Competition”. I had been anxiously awaiting this and at 1 PM the six of us were ready to go (see pics). They had us sign up and state our weight. In order of smallest to biggest, I went first. The cruise director, Chris Arnas announced me as, “from Florida, weighing in at 185 pounds, please welcome Dave the Wave”. I really had the best form but by the time Ronnie from Ohio in at 280 pounds took the stage, the big bellys won out. I still got a Royal Caribbean hat for participating.
Conclusion- Overall this was among the best times I ever had. The ship and crew could not have been better, the fellow passengers were a fun lot, I never experienced any problems, the food was fantastic (anyone who disagrees is just hard to please), the weather perfect and I left the ship saying to myself, “Wow, that was an awesome time.”
I have already booked my next trip with the kids for May 22 and will do the alternate itinerary of Key West, Cozumel and Belize. Stay tuned for the next adventure of Dave the Wave gone wild…..