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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

 

Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Eastern Caribbean Enchantment ~

Pre-Cruise in Fort Lauderdale & Embarkation

Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review

Enchantment 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 fellow Cruise Critic group cruisers and friends from Cruise Addicts began to arrive, including our other roomiesLene and Lill.

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.

Sunday Embarkation

Perfect! Warm 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.

Embarking—Lene, 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 searched 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.

Enchantment of the Seas Cruise Review, stateroom

The "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 our balcony.

Our dining 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.

The "Enchanted Tiara"

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

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