At the last moment before going to Fort Lauderdale for a meeting with my South African safari suppliers at the South African Airways Africa Showcase, we decided to hop on a three night cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas from the Port of Miami. We chose Royal Caribbean because we love their ships and staff, so much so that we are Crown & Anchor Diamond Plus members.
We used Limos of South Florida to transfer us from Ft Lauderdale Airport to the Port of Miami. Our driver was there on time and loaded our luggage and drove us to Miami with a safe drive and a friendly manner. Check-in at the pier was fast and easy. When we boarded the ship we were welcomed back with smiles. We were stopped by one of the waiters for the Chops Steak House, a specialty restaurant aboard. We really weren’t planning on doing any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise and have only gone to two in the past but he convinced us to try this one on the first night. It was the best move we made on the cruise so far. More on the restaurant later.
When we have returned to a royal Caribbean ship we have always felt like we were coming home. That feeling seems to be lacking on this ship. While you are greeted everywhere with welcome back, the warmth just doesn’t seem to shine through as it has in the past. I realize that the ship, since being moved from Port Canaveral to Miami, has made the 3 & 4 night cruises more for the first time cruiser who would never pickup on the difference; it was still a little disappointing. The ship itself is beginning to show its age despite the ship overhaul before being moved to Port Canaveral and a short refurbishment for more of the amenities of the other, newer ships, like interactive ship maps at the elevators and high speed internet that is so much faster and reliable than the old internet. It is in the staterooms that you really see the age, especially if you have an outside balcony stateroom. We had a D2 Balcony Stateroom, Port-side and Forward. Despite the attempt to keep the rust at bay, it is everywhere on the balcony and evident that painting will not keep it from reemerging. The sink had a leak at the drain pipe, which they repaired quickly and the bathroom channel drain backed up during the night and flooded the bathroom floor. Once again, they were there quickly and completed the repairs that night. It was bubbling again a little this morning so we will see what happens tonight.
Even with the above going on, we are enjoying this cruise and this ship. It is beautiful looking out on a mirrored ocean as I write this blog from the chair and table on our private balcony. Our stateroom attendant, Cryson, was wonderful. He is very friendly and even more efficient. He makes sure everything is spotless and always asks if we need anything before he leaves. The same holds true for the specialty restaurant Chops Steakhouse, which I promised to fill you in on.
Our waiter was Theressa. The spelling could be off a little on the S’s! She was wonderful. She has been with Royal Caribbean for 19 years. If you know anything about this industry, it is that the pace of this life on-board ship has most staff leaving after 3 or 4 tours if not sooner. Her smile is infectious and her recommendations right on the money. If she recommends it, try it. You will not be disappointed. While I am sure any of the steaks are excellent, we had the Filet Mignon. It was out of this world, so flavorful and melt in the mouth tender. They will pair wines with your meal and the tip is included in the $35 US Dollars per person price. If you are a diamond plus or pinnacle member the cost is even better but only on the first two nights of the cruise.
We left Chops very full and very pleased. We then moseyed down to the casino on-board and found that they have a lot of new digital Slot Machines. Usually the odds of winning on the first night of the cruise are pretty good since they always wanted to draw in new players with the sound of winning slots going off and cruisers screaming and cheering with the wins. This cruise has been eerily quiet, even though the ship sailed full, and it looks like they have tightened up the slots. So needless to say, it was time to head to bed. That was when the aforementioned water issues occurred.
Stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!
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Africa Adventure Travel Specialist and Exotic Honeymoon Expert