A Caribbean Adventure
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|Reviewed By: Trelawney, Manchester on 4th Apr 2012|
|Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean Cruises||Times cruised before: 10+|
|Cruise Ship: Enchantment of the Seas||Sailed: March, 2012|
|Destination: Caribbean||Age: 46-55|
|Cabin: Suite||Occasion: Family holiday|
A Caribbean Adventure.
We were one couple of just 34 Brits who ventured on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas, 12 night Caribbean cruise out of Baltimore departing on the 19th march 2012.
So where to start.
We did a DIY travel for our cruise.
For our flight we chose US Airways, Manchester to Philadelphia then connecting to Baltimore. We flew envoy class which was excellent, with wonderful food and service as well as full lie flat beds. The connection from Phili to Baltimore was just 18 minutes. Arrival in Balitmore we collected our bags and were in a Taxi to our Hotel, Residence Inn by Marriot, Inner Harbour, within about 20 minutes from landing. Taxi fare was $30 with tip and the hotel was a mini suite with kitchen.
Located near to the downtown inner harbour area, the hotel is located perfectly for a two day pre cruise stay or just for the overnight option we chose.
A full hot & cold breakfast service was provided FOC and for a cost of 99 dollars per night represented excellent value , when you look at other hotels in the area.
Morning after we travelled by Taxi to the Maryland Baltimore cruise port, just 10 minute $25 cab ride away.
The cruise port is a single storey building, almost warehouse in style, brightly dressed with flags of various nations and images of cruise destinations. The access and check in was as in previous visits, excellent and smooth. Seating, awaiting embarkation, was well organised allowing for crown and anchor status and then per cabin/ stateroom and deck level.
By 1130am we were being ushered onto the ship and a short walk along an airline style access point we were on the wonderful Enchantment of the Seas.
This is our second time on the Enchantment and having cruised over 50 times with RCI, and on most of the RCI’s ships, we think that the EotS’s is one of if not the best we have sailed on despite it being almost 16years old.
Quite simply the flow of the ship, the fact that the sea is visible all around in the public areas, and the pool deck area is the largest per passenger head of any RCI ship, and the biggest Solarium pool and hot tub area with glass roof which retracts in good weather of any ship in the fleet.
We had a junior suite, which is smaller than the Radiance/Voyager/ Freedom/Oasis class ships, but never the less is still a great stateroom with ample space for clothing and bits and pieces. A full bathroom suite with tub and shower. The balcony area, provides a great vantage point for breakfasts taken overlooking the seas or ports.
The ship, as mentioned is of a wonderful design. Everything flows to and from the centrum which by day is full of light, plenty of casual seating to watch the seas go by. The deck 5 prom’ deck allows for plenty of seating choice for those not wishing to sit in the pool area, and there lies the beauty of this ship, you can find an abundance of places to sit and find a quiet spot.
The pool area has two large pools, one freshwater heated, the other sea water, a kiddies play and splash area.
4 Hot tubs and dominated by the two bridges either side of the ship, added when the ship was extended with an extra 80 feet or so, which makes this ship so special.
Pool entertainment was provided by a Caribbean band who were very good with piped music pop music being played at other times, some pool games were arranged but these were not that often and was right for the average age group for the cruise as it was in the main 65yrs, with a few older and slightly more of the 40 some things and few younger couples, but with very few youngsters.
Solarium area has a large freshwater pool with two deep and larger hot tubs, this a huge area quiet area with great protected seating and to the port side an eating area which stays open until 2am, serving , Burgers, Hot Dogs, Pizza, Sandwiches, Cakes, Drinks and cakes, amongst other goodies, all FOC. To the opposite side you find a wellness centre for massages, and other pampering facilities.
Behind the solarium and up one deck you have the large gym and rock climbing wall.
The Windjammer is unusually located to the front of the ship and is of the Windjammer Market place design, It allows for great daytime views as you sail or are moored in ports.
The main theatre is of an older design with double and treble seats as well as single seats. Seating can be a problem as the shows are popular and sometimes people can be seated some 30 minutes before the shows commence.
The shows on this cruise were quite good with the excellent El Gaucho, being the best, but the comedians both adult and general shows were great fun. The biggest problem was the cruise director who thinks he is Neil Diamond sing alike and a show man. He is neither!
The evenings see a few events taking place in the centrum, or starlight bar area, with the pool deck party proving an excellent evening.
The 70’s night is fantastic with much participation by crew and passenger.
The main restaurant is known as the My Fair Lady restaurant is a two level restaurant, similar to the Radiance class ship and offer great food, whilst the menus are a little same old and with nothing much changing when you cruise as much as we do, this is a little observation, but the quality we found was excellent.
A number of rooms flow off from the centrum, library, internet café, loyalty and future bookings area.
The bars are pretty standard for RCI ships , Boleros bar ( an addition with the added section), Schooner bar, a favourite for us, the English bar, and the Viking crown lounge which doubles as the disco is a great observation area.
The casino is of a nice size and not too big.
We are fortunate to be able to use the Diamond Lounge, located in the Viking crown area, with complimentary wine and champagne.
Also we were able to use the Concierge lounge with the wonderful Reyno running the show. This is the best part of the ship for us, complimentary nibbles, chocolate strawberries and honour bar. Much fun and great perk for a suite guest and Diamond Plus /Pinnacle member to enjoy.
The Captain was ‘Capt Gus’ and he was a funny captain who offered thought of the day each and every day.
Hotel Director, Gary Davis, was his usual warm self and no wonder he has been promoted to the Explorer of the Seas.
So to the islands visited, after three great days at sea we visited Tortola, great stop and wonderful beaches, Antigua, much the same, followed by our favourite island St Maartin, the best shopping for anything and beech on the front where two sun beds, a sub brolly and a bucket of 5 beers sets you back $20!! Then onto St Thomas and the wonder of Magens Bay, then San Juan, and finally Labadee, RCI‘s own island, before two days sailing back up to Baltimore which were brilliant. The weather was excellent apart from a little over cast on Labadee during the early morning
Yes this is our second such 12 night cruise on the Enchantment and will not be our last. It seems to be a secret as only 34 Brits made up the full passenger list of 2,500 +, and the main passenger numbers come from the immediate area of Baltimore and are neither rowdy or over the top.
It was quiet simply a brilliant cruise.
|Quality of Food|
|Food in all areas was always hot. The menus in the main restaurant are becoming predictable, but the variety in the Winjamer was very good. Chops Grille was also its normal best.|
|El Goucho was superb and the comdiens were also very good, the RCI singers and squeelers were Okay, but the cruise director is not a Neil Diamond sound alike or singer|
|Did our own, know the islands well enough.|
|Diffcult as all the staff were great, but Moses, our suite attendant, Reynor the Concierge, and Frank the bar man were outstanding|
|For the passengers on board and this cruise the ship was perfect. For a school time period possibly not|
|Junior Suite, slightly smaller than the other lkarger ships but it was adequate and although a little old, was in fine fettle, the balcony could do with a make over|
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