My two adult daughters and I chose this cruise because we wanted a quick, economical get-away, we love to cruise, and the dates worked well with one daughter's college holiday break. We had never before sailed Royal Caribbean, nor had we sailed from Galveston before.
We weren't looking for one of the new enormous ships, and we didn't even expect to get off the boat at the one stop (been there before). We just wanted this to be a laid-back escape from the cold, and entertaining vacation. Enchantment met the requirements.
I'll start with the good things.
Galveston was a nice city to visit for a day, and the Lyft ride from Hobby wasn't outrageously priced. We stayed overnight at the Hampton which was very conveniently located across the street from Walmart and a block from the beach and sea wall.
I was pleased with the ship's check in, super quick and efficient (though we did most of the check-in online before we got there). I enjoyed the entertainment/activities on board, particularly the parade of flags was something I hadn't seen on any other cruise. They have a lot to do, and sometimes we even found ourselves having to choose between two things. The bars and venues other than the big theater seem rather small for the number of passengers, so go early to things where you want a seat. The crew were friendly and helpful. The cabin was as expected. The one thing that set this ship apart from our previous experiences is the food and service in the dining room. I don't have a single thing I could even note as an exception, the food was wonderful and the service was extraordinary.
Now the downside, the things that were, at least in my mind, worth mentioning because they will affect my decision on future cruises.
The mattresses in the cabin were ROCK HARD. That includes both the beds and the sofa. I will NEVER sail Royal Caribbean for more than 4 nights again assuming all ships have those same mattresses. I would have been better off sleeping on a deck chair as far as my back was concerned.
The buffet ("Windjammer") was complete and total mayhem every time we were there. Think of what it's like trying to find a parking place at the mall at Christmas, that's what it's like trying to get a table there. You orbit the room for 10-15 minutes and finally swoop in on a dirty, but workable table when someone leaves. Staff was pretty good about coming to clean off the dirty dishes, but you always had that battle of finding a table. The food stations were always 2 or more people deep, no one paid any attention to lines because the bulk of the food is in one small circular area. The little food I was able to grab-and-run with was good. But Royal Caribbean needs to either have a 2nd viable alternative for hot food or figure out a way to expand this one. And what kind of cruise line closes the buffet at 9pm? If you had the late seating for dining room evening meal, don't even think about running to the buffet to grab a snack before bedtime. The only way to get a late night snack was the little, understaffed, fast-food sandwich/pizza place (or I suppose you could call room service, we never wanted any additional charges.)
Third, if you buy an overpriced drink package (most cruise lines offer that as a perk or discounted add-on, but never saw that on Royal Caribbean), they give you a big insulated cup with a chip in the bottom that you carry everywhere in case you might want a soda. There were only 3 soda machines on the whole ship, two by the buffet and one centrally located on Deck 6. What if I'm out by the pool and want another soda? I find it insane that after I paid $51/day PLUS 18% GRATUITIES (and that was on a 30% off sale) for the deluxe drink package, $22/day plus gratuities for the refreshment package, that I have to keep track of these big cups, rinse them out myself each day, and self serve my own drinks. I paid a gratuity for that? This is the biggest scam of all. And it is 100% TACKY. In full disclosure, I never asked a bartender if I could get a "rum and coke, hold the rum". I did find that the only sign of aggravation by any crew member was when I asked the bar staff for bottled water, so I was hesitant to do it.
One thing that I would suggest to Royal Caribbean but not a deal breaker, is that they organize some sort of excursions in Galveston or Houston, that would then take passengers to the airport at the end of the cruise. We've done that in Florida at the end of cruises. Given the distance to the airports from the cruise piers in Galveston and the chaos of all the taxis, ubers, and lyfts, would have been a nice way to end the vacation, a good use of some of the time before our flight out.
The cabin was as described in the literature. No surprises. It was clean and everything worked. We did have one rather rocky night on the cruise and I will say that being aft, the motion was far less noticeable than when we were out in other areas of the ship.
It would be good for anyone else new to Royal Caribbean to know that there is a "Do Not Disturb" type magnet on the door. That magnet flips, the other side says you are out and they can clean now. We didn't know that it flipped for the first two days and couldn't figure out why our room wasn't being cleaned til very late afternoon!