Cruise: 4 night Western Caribbean with Royal Caribbean
Ship: Enchantment of the Seas - somewhat rusty and dated, but very clean.
Dining: too distracted by awesome steakhouse to eat in main dining room.
Service: overall excellent, with exception of one disastrous lunch in Chops Grille.
Entertainment, shopping: mediocre, but not a problem for us.
Balcony Cabin: dated, but comfortable. Room larger than expected. Balcony smaller than expected, but big enough for cozy meal for two.
Pros: Midsized ship, truly superior service shipwide (with only one exception), extraordinary steakhouse meals, larger stateroom than expected, seamless embarkation and disembarkation.
Cons: Entertainment, shopping, and activities mediocre. Horrible lunchtime service at steakhouse. Shore excursion late, making us run for the (waiting) ship.
!!! Don't let the list of cons fool you. We actually had a really great time on this cruise. See detailed review, below !!!
My husband and I enjoyed our cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's midsize ship Enchantment of the Seas. It was our first-ever cruise and -- with the one exception of an awkward, unpleasant lunch on day 2 -- we couldn't have been happier with the ship, the food, the service, and our overall cruise experience.
We really liked the size of Enchantment. During our cruise we saw about a dozen other ships at various times and they were all HUGE. We were glad that we weren't on a bigger ship, though we realize that onboard entertainment, dining, and shopping options may have been less than what are available on bigger ships. Those limitations didn't bother us. We weren't there to shop or to be entertained.
Thankfully, we have an outstanding travel agent who warned us of reports that Enchantment was a bit of a rust bucket. But at the same time, she also assured us that the service on the ship more than makes up for its sporadically run-down and dated appearance. She's so right! While we would prefer not to see any rust, or mirror chips, or wobbly door handles when we pay to stay somewhere, we also saw that the ship was very clean. And after spending four nights onboard, my husband and I both came away feeling affectionate toward the ol' rust bucket.
First let me say that we didn't pay extra for any kind of restaurant package. Lesson learned. Newbie mistake. We ended up eating the majority of our meals at the ship's steakhouse, which we didn't even know existed prior to boarding, and I know we could have saved a lot of money if we had purchased a restaurant meal package
In our first thirty minutes on the ship we were pulled aside by a representative of Chops Grille and convinced to make reservations for dinner that night. I didn't appreciate the hard sell at the time, but I ended up being very glad for it because our dinner experience was exceptional!! The food, the atmosphere, the service, it was all truly worth the extra money spent. We enjoyed it so much that we decided we would go back as many times as possible during our cruise. The next morning we booked a table for lunch. Unfortunately, that meal didn't go so well. In fact, it was really unpleasant. The food was still excellent, but our service was awful.
Why our Chops Grille LUNCH was a negative experience:
We were made to feel unreasonable for eating lunch at 1:30pm, despite the fact that the timeslot was offered as a regular reservation option on the Royal Caribbean app.
Our server began our welcome by asking if we always eat so late, and gesturing around the dining room while pointing out that we were the only ones there -- except for one very nice man seated 18 inches to my left.
We were rushed through our four-course lunch.
At one point our server actually dropped my husband's plate in front of him onto the table where it landed with an exasperated thud, then turned on his heel and stomped away and pitched a fit in the dining room, loudly exclaiming to another server "YOU take them! I have too much work to do! I have to polish the silver!"
After his fit, our server glared at us for what felt like ages as he crashed around in a large bin of flatware, just outside the entrance to what I presume was the kitchen, in preparation for the evening meal service.
Royal Caribbean's excellent response to our Chops Grille complaint:
I was appalled enough to go to Guest Services after our meal to speak to someone about our server. I felt very strongly that they should know how we had been treated. And I was bowled over by the response that we got.
The woman who runs the food services on the ship (I believe her name is Nadia) met with us almost immediately. She listened carefully to our complaints and was genuinely concerned about how she could go about repairing our opinion. She asked if we would come back to Chops that night for a meal on the house, to give them another shot. I was still so bothered by the behavior of our lunch server that I didn't want to go back again. I felt defensive for the Grille, and for the people there who had treated us so well the night before; I felt that the server was doing harm to both. So I declined Nadia's offer, believing that accepting a free meal would lessen the seriousness of our complaint; I did not want to be seen as a squeaky wheel trying to get a free meal. But Nadia asked us to reconsider, and explained that by declining we were refusing Chops an opportunity to make things right with us. So we reluctantly accepted, and went back for dinner, and I'm very glad that we did.
That night we were seated with our spectacular server from the night before -- Ron from the Philippines -- and had another very enjoyable meal. Just as he had been the night before, Ron was friendly, responsive without being intrusive, offered excellent suggestions based on our demonstrated likes, and overall made our time spent in Chops a relaxing, satisfying experience. We enjoyed this dinner so much that we made reservations while we were still at our table to have dinner there again, on the final night of the cruise. We both left this cruise wishing that we had a Chops Grille near our home.
Main Dining, Room Service, and Buffet:
Our one regret about this cruise is that we never made it to the main dining room. We ordered room service for breakfast every morning, and once for dinner after a tiring adventure excursion -- great burgers!! There was a $7.95 room service fee plus the automatically charged 18% gratuity for having a hot meal delivered. Continental breakfast was delivered at no charge.
We did try Windjammer for lunch on the last day, which was the most crowded, chaotic experience of the entire trip -- entirely our fault, since we went at the busiest time of day. It was a real shock, since we had been accustomed to a more controlled and quiet dining experience up until that point. In the Windjammer buffet restaurant people were actually competing for tables. It had a free-for-all feel to it. You'd see several people heading for the same table from different directions, and the first to throw something down onto it was the winner. There were so many people trying to get to the food that there was no room for lines or any real attempt at organization. It was also the least clean place we saw on the ship -- but again, I can't really fault the crew because the throng of passengers attempting to lunch there left little room or opportunity for the crew to clean up behind them.
We didn't do much while onboard, except eat. We browsed all of the shops, but they didn't hold much interest for us since we don't buy much shiny, flashy, brand name merchandise.
None of the shops had the few specific items (playing cards, Enchantment lapel pin, Tylenol/ibuprofen) that we did go looking for, specifically, while onboard.
We did go to a comedian show, and part of a stage-to-screen Broadway musicals performance. But we really didn't find much about the entertainment options that appealed to us. We heard from other passengers that a higher caliber of entertainment options exists on other ships, but the lack thereof didn't much bother us this time because we weren't there to be entertained. We were there to focus on each other, and enjoy each other's company.
It was a short cruise, with only eight hours in Cozumel, so we only did one excursion. We chose the Monster Jeep jungle ride to a Mayan ruin, with a stop for lunch on the beach. The excursion was fun, but it started late, and then got us back to the ship late. Running the mile or so back to the ship -- knowing full well that it was past departure time and everyone was waiting on us -- was extremely stressful. Thankfully, Royal Caribbean lived up to their promise not to leave us behind if we were late due to an official Royal Caribbean excursion delay. The crew who let us back on board were clearly bothered by our lateness, but at least made an effort to be polite about it.
Overall Cruise Experience:
The service throughout the ship (except for that one lunch) was exceptional. Embarkation was streamlined, fast, and easy. Disembarkation was even faster, and easier! We chose to do the self-assisted departure and went from our stateroom on deck 7 all the way down to the ground and weren't slowed down at all until it was time to show our passports. That only took about three minutes of waiting and then we were off to the parking shuttle from there. Very fast, very easy.
The shows, the shopping, and the onboard activities didn't interest us very much -- with the exception of the egg drop competition, which we would have enjoyed knowing about in time to plan and prepare.
As I mentioned above, we very much enjoyed (most of) our dining experiences. And we really liked spending time in our stateroom. The balcony was small, but we used it often -- choosing to sit out there, and to eat out there -- even though the weather for the duration of our cruse was cloudy/rainy. Our steward (Paul, I think he is from Haiti) was responsive and unobtrusive and took good care of us. The stateroom and the bathroom were both larger than we expected. And, while the entire place was kindof run down, and dated, it was clean and comfortable.
Things we will do differently next time:
Consider purchasing a restaurant package. Be sure to pack our own Tylenol and Ziplocs for emergency ice packs. Look into downloading a movie or two to bring with us. Onboard television is lacking.
We have already begun planning our next cruise, and are giving special consideration to Royal Caribbean based on our positive feelings about this (our very first) cruise.
This cabin is larger than we expected it to be, and very clean. The design and decor are both dated, and the room and bathroom do show wear (wobbly doorknobs, chipped mirrors, wall scratches). There is a lot of storage space, and plenty of room to move around. There were two beds pushed together to make one bed (approximately) King sized, and a full sized couch opposite the tv. The bed and the linens were both comfortable. There is a tv, but very little in the way of shows available to watch on it. There are very few electricity plugs, and Royal Caribbean won't let you bring an extension cord, but our stateroom attendant did provide us one for my husband's CPAP machine. The balcony is small, and there is quite a bit of rust, but the table and chairs are comfortable and big enough for two people to sit and have a small meal. We were very comfortable in this cabin, and enjoyed our time spent there most of any place on the ship.
We boarded the ship in Galveston. The port parking is under construction, so we had a difficult time finding where to put our car. The shuttle to the ship took longer than expected.
Jeeps needed mechanical attention. The tour started almost an hour late, and returned us after the market had closed and the ship was supposed to be leaving. The ship waited for us.View All 166 Jeep Tour Reviews