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Enchantment of the SeasEnchantment of the Seas

Longer & Even MORE Enchanting

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.

Enchantment of the Seas, ready for lengthening
Enchantment of the Seas, mid-section ready to be added
Enchantment of the Seas, mid-section inserted

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 rig industry.

While 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.

Enchantment of the Seas, bungee trampolineI 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 accommodations. 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 sunlight. 

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.

Take the photo tour...

Enchantment of the Seas, Pool Deck

Pool Deck

Enchantment of the Seas, splash pool

Splash Pool

Continue the Photo Tour

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Photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean International ©

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