of the Seas
Longer & Even
July 2005 — If there's anything you
can count on, it's that travelers' tastes are fickle. What's new
today can be oh-so-yesterday by tomorrow. To remain in the forefront
of cutting edge features at sea, Royal Caribbean International is noted for updating
their entire fleet with the latest amenities introduced on their
newest ships. Passengers can expect the same experience from a
refurbished vessel as a new one, with a few exceptions. All ships have
a rock-climbing wall. Alas, it's not possible to add an ice skating
rink to older ships, so Royal Caribbean found something uniquely
exciting instead... a Jump Zone! And the newly introduced Enchantment
of the Seas has it with four—count 'em—FOUR bungee trampolines.
To satisfy evolving expectations,
Royal Caribbean turned to a process that has served them well in the
past—they "stretched" Enchantment of the Seas by adding a
73-foot midsection. An increased capacity (151 cabins) meant it was
also necessary to enlarge public spaces and they did that as well. In
the process, bow-to-stern renovations were made.
At a bit over 74,000 tons when she
was introduced in 1997, Enchantment of the Seas is the largest cruise ship ever
to undergo lengthening.
The process, illustrated in the
photos at left, increased her size to 81,500 tons and added an
exciting new element to her profile—dramatic arches support two 75
foot long suspension bridges that extend out over the water on both
sides of the ship. Look carefully over the railing just aft of the
suspension bridge on the starboard side and you can barely discern a
"stretch mark" on her side. That was the only indication I
could find of the seamless surgery. The lengthening was an incredible
engineering feat and, according to Royal Caribbean International
President Adam Goldstein, an astonishing 1,300 cables, pipes, and air
ducts were first cut and then reaffixed—times
two—as he reminded us.
Surprisingly, the process took just 31 days to complete and much of the technology involved was adapted from the oil
the Solarium Pool remains serene and adults-only, the entire outdoor
pool deck is action packed. A new "splash pool" adds a
kid-friendly fun element and a mid-deck pool bar is an adult-friendly
gathering spot. Look for the "portholes" set in the floor,
offering a peek-a-boo view of the sea below. After dark, the splash
pool becomes a colorful fountain during fun-filled deck parties.
Up a deck, the jogging track leads
runners over the suspension bridges and past vitality stations where
they can stretch, cool down, or just admire the view.
I really intended to give the bungee
trampoline a try, but I didn't pack socks. Who knew I'd need them...
well, now YOU know! The inflatable trampolines are quite a thrill
according to my shipmates who strapped in and jumped. First, though, a
few rules apply. You must be at least 6 years of age, weigh at least
40 pounds and no more than 240 pounds, and sign a waiver. Attendants
ask your weight, so no fibbing—they have to know in order to adjust
the harness properly. The key to high flying is not in the jump
itself; it's in the arms—you
have to pull on the cords as well as push off the trampoline surface.
Remember, pack socks!
Inside, Enchantment of the Seas'
white marble atrium floor still glows and light reflects off the
soaring free-form sculpture overhead. However, new
carpeting and colorful drapes and upholstery in jewel tones give her
an updated look throughout many public rooms as well as in the
most exciting addition is Boleros lounge. It's the hottest dance club outside South Beach,
serving mojitos, caipirinhas, and
specialty tequilas to the beat of sizzling Latin rhythms.
Dining options have grown with the
addition of Chops Grille specialty steakhouse and the
reconfigured Windjammer Marketplace buffet, which has an additional
indoor seating area. Latte'tudes now serves up
Seattle's Best coffee and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. An expanded
balcony in the formal dining room makes it even more spacious without
taking away at all from the views. I love the new Roman shades in a
burn-out fabric design that cover the dining room windows. The
appearance is soft and rich when they are lowered to control direct
A change from my previous cruise on
Enchantment of the Seas is that
WiFi hot spots are conveniently located in public lounges. I'm happy
to share that the popular Champagne Bar remains essentially unchanged.
It's still a cozy spot for meeting before or after dinner. And the spa
has a really cool steam shower and a serene new Relaxation Area with thick padded loungers—just the
spot to watch the ship's wake disappear in the distance, along with
all your everyday cares.
Royal Caribbean watchers know that
Enchantment of the Seas is one of the six Vision-class ships built in
the mid-1990s. Originally designed as three pairs of ships, will the
rest be stretched in the future? According to Goldstein, not all six
are candidates for the procedure. The ship most likely to receive the
next lengthening (if there is one) is Enchantment's twin-sister,
Grandeur of the Seas.
There's no reason NOT to take a
cruise and Enchantment of the Seas is a great way to 'get out there.'
After a series of northeastern cruises, she will head to her
homeport in Fort Lauderdale where she will sail on four- and five-night cruises
to the Western Caribbean.
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