We knew we wanted to do New England. We knew we wanted to sea kayak in Maine. We knew we wanted to eat a lot of lobster. We knew we wanted to visit a few fishing villages. With those ideas in mind, my husband & I settled on a nine-night Royal Caribbean New England & Canada cruise last year for our summer vacation. It’s one of the best vacation decisions we’ve ever made!
A major selling point of this vacation was that it would require zero flying: the boat sails out of the Port of Baltimore, a mere 45 minutes from our home in northern Virginia.
Embarkation at the Port of Baltimore was, & always is, a breeze. We pulled into the parking lot at 11:30am, paid our $135 for parking ($15 p/day) & were on the ship by 12:30pm. Check-in lines were divided by cabin deck number, with separate lines for Diamond/Diamond Plus members & suites. We waited in a short line to go through metal detectors & a shorter line to check in.
Cabin – This was our first cruise not in a balcony cabin; due to the limited number of them on the Enchantment & our itinerary, we couldn’t justify the cost. Our cabin was on deck two, in the middle of the ship, which meant you could almost not feel any rocking or motion. Our window, rather than being a huge picture window, was two smaller windows, which was fine. The room had ample storage & the bed was surprisingly comfortable. Our cabin steward, Roel, did a good job & kept a steady stream of towel animals coming – it looked like a zoo by the time we got off!
Dining – We chose the second dinner seating, which always works well for us since we’re used to eating late at home, & ate in the dining room all nine nights. We were seated at a table for six, but unfortunately, our table mates never showed up. Our waiter, Cruz; assistant waiter, Ender; & head waiter, Collins, were the best we’ve ever had on a cruise. Collins made it a point to stop by & chat several times; something we’ve never seen in a head waiter before. He also helped clear dishes & keep the service moving. Cruz made solid recommendations based on the menu & was almost always right. The food was pretty good, especially considering they were preparing 10,000 meals a day. The sugar-free desserts & healthier foods off of Royal Caribbean’s “Vitality” menu did not disappoint – unfortunately for my waistline, Cruz got in the habit of bringing me the diet dessert & the regular dessert on a nightly basis!
We ate in the buffet restaurant almost every morning for breakfast. There was plenty of selection, with everything from fruit to eggs to pastries to cereal; we both enjoyed the custom made omelets a lot. While it was crowded, we never had trouble finding a seat with a little walking around. The wait staff were very quick to clean tables after people were finished & were always on hand within moments of sitting down to get you coffee, water, or juice. One of the sea days, we decided to stay in & have room service breakfast, which was a similar menu to what you’d find down at the buffet.
Service – The service was pretty good on the ship, on par to what we had experience on Royal Caribbean before. The staff was always friendly & smiling. Our waiters greeted us by name, even when we saw them outside dinner hours. The only disappointment was in the guest relations desk staff & a certain hot tub incident. There’s no way we let that dampen our vacation though!
Activities & Entertainment – There weren’t loads of activities on the boat, which was a little disappointing since we had three sea days. The public space was nice, but there was a lack of quiet space for people to read. The library was packed every sea day with people reading &, other than Bingo & gambling, not really too many fun activities on the sea day. We didn’t see any of the shows, but they had a lot of “guest entertainers” throughout the week. The cruise director was okay, but certainly not the most dynamic or personable one we’ve had.
The Solarium is supposed to be “adults only,” yet it’s really 16 years old & up, younger than that okay with parents. A lot of kids of all ages seemed to be wandering or running around the ship, with seemingly few organized activities for people their age. Not sure if that’s Royal Caribbean’s fault, or their parents, but it did get pretty annoying.
The biggest disappointment: By far the biggest disappointment was that they allow smoking in almost every lounge where there is live music in the evening. We would have loved to go to these places more, but the smoke was really bothersome. There were also large sections of deck five outside where you could smoke & also a big section of the pool deck. Additionally, the deck five sections are right by the doors, so every time a door opened or closed to the outside, smoke came in.
Debarkation – As easy as embarkation. We chose the Express Walk Off, since we didn’t have much luggage, & were off the ship by 8:00am. There was no line for Customs & Immigration & we were quickly on our way!