Cruise Diva's CRUISE
~ Eastern Caribbean Enchantment ~
Pre-Cruise in Fort Lauderdale
of the Seas
From east coast to west and
northern to southern states (and many locations in between), the Cruise Sisters
set out for an Enchanting week aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of
the Seas. And we can't forget our Cruise Brothers, those intrepid
husbands who added so much to the week's enjoyment.
Some of us met in person prior to the
cruise, but we all wondered how would we fare face-to-face with online
friends? The fun started Saturday
when I met my roomie Miriam at the Atlanta airport. Although Delta
changed our seat assignments, we had a decent flight to Fort
Lauderdale and grabbed a taxi to AmeriSuites, our pre-cruise hotel.
Our room was comfy and it wasn't long before more of our
group cruisers and friends from Cruise
began to arrive, including our other roomies—Lene
After a bit of
last-minute shopping at the local Walgreen's and dinner (AmeriSuites is
conveniently located near a strip mall and two restaurants—Outback
Steakhouse and Del Rio Mexican Restaurant), we gathered in Lene
and Lill's room with more of our group to toast the week ahead before
calling it a night.
and sunny—a day scripted by the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
Following a light breakfast at AmeriSuites, we packed up for the short
van ride to the Port Everglades pier. Although the complimentary hotel
shuttle would have taken us, we opted for a private van service at $3
per person for expediency.
Lill, Miriam, & Linda
Our stateroom on
Enchantment of the Seas was a Category AA, Royal Family Suite With
Balcony, which afforded us "suite" check in. Only one group
was ahead of us and our wait was brief. We all pre-registered online,
which made our registration swift. With the printed forms turned in
and credit cards processed, we received our Sea Pass cards and boarded in a flash.
First stop was
stateroom 8018, a Royal Family Suite, where we giggled while we
for the door to the "children's" room for Lene and Lill. As
group Leader (and her roomie), Miriam and I had the
"parents" bedroom. The suite "can accommodate eight persons" according to the
brochure; however, they would have to travel light. We had no problem
sharing our space for the cruise and I can't imagine four more
compatible travel companions.
The Royal Family
Suite is a "suite" in name but doesn't command top suite
amenities, such as welcome aboard champagne and daily canapés. Upon
entering, to one side of the narrow curving foyer is a generous walk-in closet
with drawers and shelves. The smaller bedroom is next to the closet,
with a standard bathroom directly opposite. That bedroom is just large
enough for two beds and a nightstand—two
additional upper bunks disappear into the ceiling. An antidote to
claustrophobia is the clever floor-to-ceiling curtained window that
faces the sitting room.
"master" bedroom of Royal Family Suite 8018
A large desk/vanity
table with shelves and hairdryer is located just past the bathroom
door. Beyond that, the spacious sitting room is to one side and
sliding glass doors with a curtain for privacy lead to the
"master" bedroom on the other. The master bedroom has two
beds, two nightstands, two closets, a small vanity table with storage
behind the mirror and a hairdryer, a floor-to-ceiling bank of smallish
drawers with shelves above, and two closets. The bathroom is identical
to the Category C cabin baths with a tub and adequate storage.
Our gathering spots
for morning coffee, sail away toasts, and nighttime
"slumber" parties were the sitting room and balcony. One
wall of the sitting room is entirely covered with a light wood storage
unit containing drawers, cabinets, a mini refrigerator, and
"bar" area for glasses and ice bucket. The full size
hide-a-bed sofa and chairs were quite comfortable, although they are
showing their age and popularity with previous family occupants. The
soft pastel decor is quite pleasing but a bit worn. Probably our biggest disappointment was the size of the balcony. With
four chairs and a small table, it was tight but acceptable. We
unpacked and settled in nicely, even finding enough room in the safe
for our valuables.
A bit of lunch was in
order before an afternoon meeting of our group at the Pool Bar. Then
we were off to our muster stations and the first sail away toasts on
assignments were odd—the
four of us were split up at two tables. That was taken care of with no
problem and we enjoyed the first of the weeks' dinners at a table for
ten Cruise Sisters. Everyone agreed beforehand that we would not be
joined at the hip, so to speak, and would all do whatever interested us.
True to our word, some headed for the evening show and others gathered
in various lounges to chat and become better acquainted. When
the first of our "Enchanting" days came to a close, we
drifted off to bed and dreams of a day at sea.
What's with the tiaras? They are sort
of a girl-thing... Miriam hosts Cruise Critic's "Cruise
Fashions" message board where many of us participate. Discussions
include cruise attire dos and don'ts and seasoned sailors pass along
hints for first time cruisers. We have a lot of fun sharing grooming
tips as well as some outrageous accessories—including
boas and tiaras. For our Enchantment of the Seas cruise, what would be
more natural for this zany group than to bring along tiaras for a
photo op? More on that later.
Next -> A Day at
Sea and an Afternoon/Evening in San Juan
Back to the Eastern
Caribbean Enchantment Cruise Diary Index
Find out more about the
Caribbean in Caribbean
Ports of Call
Cruise Line Profile - Royal
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International & Author's Collection