Overall Rating: Very Good
|Departed From:||Baltimore, Maryland|
|# of Nights:||7 Nights|
|Sailed As:||Family w/ Children|
|Overall Value:||Very Good|
|Overall Rating:||Very Good|
Our long awaited family cruise began with rain, rain and more rain. We drove through the gates at the cruise pier in Baltimore at 10:15A and were put in a line with others waiting and we waited, waited and waited. One hour and 15 minutes later the four lines were allowed to merge into 2 lines where we waited another 1/2 hour to drop off our luggage. One more 15 minute wait to pay for parking and we finally parked our car and proceeded into the building. Just the walk from the parking lot had us soaked. It has now been close to 2 1/2 hours since we pulled off the highway. Once inside the building things moved a little quicker (thanks to priority embarkation) and we finally boarded the Enchantment. We arrived in the Windjammer to an overpacked restaurant and decided to simply grab a drink and head to our room. Baltimore definately needs to improve the way they get cruisers into their terminal. Worse embarkation we have had in a long time. Too add to everything else you used to walk from the terminal to a gangway and enter on deck 2 but now their new "improved" embarkation tunnel takes you from the groud level up elevated ramps to the 4th floor. I found the incline way too steep and had trouble catching my breath by the time I made it on to the ship.
We went to our cabin at 1:30 - Balcony cabin on deck 7 midway between the centrum and aft (7640). The room was fine - more than enough storage space for even a compulsive overpacker like me. Luggage arrived by 2PM and we were unpacked and settled in by 2:15. As I said our cabin was fine but we saw many water stains on the ceiling and wooden closet doors where the cabin above apparently had some plumbing issues. Our cabin attendant Sharon was always there to do her job but you never saw her around. She just seemed to appear the moment you left the room. Since the 4 grandkids were stunned by the size and beauty of the ship we set off to explore. The Enchantment is a beautiful ship and looks to be in great shape but once at sea there seemed to be an awful lot of squeeking and creaking going on. It sounded like the ship was going to fall apart.
We left port a few minutes after 4 but only got a few hundred feet from shore when a wind gust pushed us back into the pier. Captain Gus decided it would not be safe to leave until the winds died down so we sat and sat and sat. Since it was pouring out the ship was crowded - kids were bored and adults were getting cranky. We finally sailed shortly after midnight which played havoc with our itinerary. I thought this was a great delay as we got to see the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel the next morning where you generally pass it in the middle of the night.
We selectd My Time Dining and a table for 10 at 7PM but were notified if we wanted to sit together we would have to eat at 6:30 (although we were not happy the next night when they moved us to 6PM for the rest of the cruise) We could have stayed with traditional dining if we wanted to eat at 6. Our dining room staff were unbelievable great though so we went with the early seating. Since Grandson Colin has glutten allergies the maitre'de came to our table and arranged for special bread for him each night and took packages of brownie and cookie mix my daughter in law brought and arranged for the chef to prepare them for Colin the next night. Very accommodating and appreciated. "Uncle Max" our waited was a true gem. He was so good with the kids. Every night he had a magic trick for them or a little job for them to do and the kids loved him. It made for a very relaxing dinner time for the adults. If Uncle Max wasn't cutting up the kids steak the dining room hostess was. Wilson our Assistant Waiter delivered a plate of catsup to each child each night in a different design. One night when the kids were fidgeting because they wanted to get to the kids club our waiter came along and put the dessert menus on each little head. Whoever kept the menu from falling the longest, got 2 desserts. Boy were they quiet. LOL Food in the dining room was very good while the food in the Windjammer was the most bland tasting food I have had in a long time. As a rule we always have eaten breakfast and lunch in the windjammer but stopped that on this cruise on day 3 and opted for the dining room instead.
Sunday morning brought the dreaded announcement from Captain Gus. Because of our late departure we would now be at sea on Sunday and Monday - dock in Cape Canaveral on Tuesday (rather than monday) - stay 5 hours longer in Canaveral but skip CoCo Cay completely. Bummer. - let's skip the free beach day and take you to 2 places where you will have to pay for the beach. People were not happy at all.Wednesday we did make our scheduled stop in Nassau where we went to Blue Lagoon beach with Dave & his family and Deb and her family went to swim with the Dolphins. This is where people complained a lot because we were originally scheduled to arrive in Nassau at 7AM and now didn't arrive til Noon. Dave & Kathy had reservations at Atlantis for 9AM and Atlantis could not accommodate them at the later time. One couple we met on board had made reservations at Atlantis last November for the dolphin swim and were also left out with nothing to do.
The pools were packed and the deck chairs were hard to come by but it was spring break and I expected as much and didn't let it bother us. The Enchantment only carries about 2400 passengers and we had 953 kids on board. There were a lot of teens on board and they were pretty good considering, but they completely took over the Schooner Bar all day and all night. The Schooner is one of our favorite spots at night to sit, have a drink and listed to music. You could not get in the place. Security guards were everywhere on the ship though to keep everyone in line.
Only went to one show when they kids were in the kids club - Bobby Collins was the comedian and although his act started out funny it quickly turned to something more appropriate for a late nite show. He got pretty raunchy and a lot of folks walked out. When you have a room full of families with children a long drawn out bit about viagra and it's effects is not necessary. He also went on for quite a bit about people with developmental disabilities despite the fact that there was a large group of them sitting right down front. Shame on you Bobby Collins!
The rock wall and the trampolines were not open too often because of strong winds but Paige & Ashleigh did manage to climb and get to the top and Colin loved the trampolines. As I said on the dock TJ was trilled to find out the tooth fairy found her way to his cabin after he lost his front tooth. Naturally it was towards the end of the cruise when we managed to get all 4 kids into kids club at the same time so we could have some adult time but it was wonderful having everyone together.
We did not get to the in Chops this time for Dave, Kathy, Debbie & Michael did one night and enjoyed it very much and felt it was well worth the money. (We had the grandkids all to ourselves that night so double desserts for everyone)
Pietro was the new Concierge in the CL and was gracious and helpful. Since this was his first chance at being Concierge I think he did a wonderful job. Even when you saw him around the ship he would stop and speak with you for a moment.
All is all we had a great cruise. We learned long ago not to let the little things bother you. I do question however how much longer the Enchantment can go before it needs a good long drydock to work out some of the squeeks.
For the right price I would sail on the Enchantment again but seriously doubt I would sail from Baltimore again.