Enchantment of the Seas

Cruisers to Dominican Republic will no longer pay $15 fee


President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic signed into law a decree that will exclude cruise ship passengers in transit from paying the $15 airport fee.  The fee had been generating around US$7.4 million in revenues for the government of the island nation.

The country earns around US$80 million per year from the 400 cruise ships which currently dock in Dominican ports, where each one leaves around US$200,000.A 5% growth in cruise ship arrivals is expected this year, with more than 350,000 tourists visiting in the first four months.

Royal Caribbean has two ships that stop at Samana in the Dominican Republic, Explorer of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

Review of Enchantment of the Seas


Must be something in the water today because there's another cruise ship review that has been posted. Alex from a2zcasino.eu recently took a cruise aboard Enchantment of the Seas and he gives a good overview of everything you can find aboard the ship.  He also spells out what he did upon embarkation including the obligatory first buffet meal.

All passengers are instructed to head for the upper decks to dine at the buffet that is waiting for their arrival. Most cruise ships offer this as a way for their guests to kill an hour or so until the staterooms are ready. If you have be smart and skipped lunch before boarding the ship, you will enjoy this large offering of food. The selections are excellent. The staff stays obvious so that any questions that you may have can be resolved.

The article is a good read for anyone who has a cruise booked on Enchantment of the Seas and is looking for something to help get that cruise "fix".  It's too bad that the site, a casino guide, didn't spend more time detailing the casino options aboard Enchantment.  Oh well, there's always next cruise.

Royal Caribbean ships help drive demand in new ports


Royal Caribbean has recently moved some of its ships around to new ports, serving Baltimore, Maryland and Maine and the result has been those ports have seen a surge in demand from customers ("If you build it, they will come" anyone?).  Enchantment of the Seas moved from Norfolk, Virginia to Baltimore, Maryland and officials say there were 81 cruises with 329,000 passengers in 2009. Ten more cruises are scheduled this year and the total number is expected to grow to 113 next year. This leads to a potential problem because the 113 cruises in 2011 will max out the capacity of Baltimore's cruise terminal.

To counter the problem, the Baltimore Board of Public Works approved a $2.9 million gangway for passenger ships to make embarking and debarking more pleasant for passengers in all types of weather.  Even so, others are calling on Baltimore to do more and expand the potential amount of cruises the city can handle.

Meanwhile, Maine is also reporting a surge in demand and local businesses are feeling it.

The Holiday Inn by the Bay says it's booked 200 additional rooms because of the new ships. Enterprise Rent-a-Car says their bookings are up too. A recent University of Maine study found cruise ship passengers spend between $80 and $110 when they're in port, pumping as much as $8 million into the local economy.

Could this news help sway the trend of Royal Caribbean ships going to Europe to seek more money and keep them serving ports in the United States?

Enchantment of the Seas debuts at Baltimore today


Today marks the debut of Enchantment of the Seas from it's new home port of Balitmore, Maryland.  You may recall that Enchantment of the Seas previously called Norfolk, Virginia home until Royal Caribbean decided to move the ship to Baltimore because of higher demand.  Baltimore is situated on the busy I-95 corridor between Boston - New York - Washington and is also close to many major airports.  Enchantment of the Seas will sail a series of five-night Bermuda and nine-night Eastern Caribbean round trip itineraries from Baltimore.

Starting in the fall, Enchantment will sail a series of nine-night cruises to Canada and New England (Enchantment also is sailing a special eight-night roundtrip itinerary to Canada and New England today that will boast extended port time in Halifax and Bar Harbor). The ship also will sail nine-night Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean itineraries starting this coming winter.

Cruise Line and Ship Review


AllVoices wrote up a review of the Royal Caribbean cruise line as a whole, as a means of introducing the line to others and comparing it against other cruise lines.  Based on it's review, here are the conclusions it drew about Royal Caribbean...

  • Royal Caribbean tends to build the biggest ships first.
  • This cruise line usually wins the race for new on board amenities
  • Of the four cruise lines reviewed, Royal Caribbean was by far the most efficient at embarkation
  • The food on Royal Caribbean is about standard fare for cruise ships
  • The cabin and dining room service were top flight
  • The cost of a Royal Caribbean cruise is slightly higher than some of the competition

The other 3 cruise lines compared were Costa Cruise Lines, Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines.  I don't have much experience with Costa, but in terms of Carnival and Norwegian, I found the review to be about what I expected to read.  There's a big debate about the food on Royal Caribbean versus Carnival and the price issue, well, you do get what you pay for in many cases.

By in large, Royal Caribbean fared well in the review and came off sounding like a high quality cruise line.

AllVoices also posted a review of Enchantment of the Seas and it's a pretty favorable one at that.  The review covers many aspects of the ship from it's dining options to entertainment to its rooms.  If you have a cruise coming up on Enchantment or are considering a cruise on her, this might be a good read.

The dining room staff is top notch. They are personable as well as professional. The quality of the food is superior, and it is served in a timely manner. When multiple appetizers, entrees, or desserts or ordered, there is no delay in their arrival. Like all cruise ships, Enchantment of the Seas will provide some entertainment most nights during the dining experience.

The reviewer seemed mostly positive on Enchantment and only mentioned a few negatives such as, "The entertainment is good but not exceptional unless you happen to draw a particularly funny comedian or really enjoy musicals".  Overall, the review seemed to be highly favorable.

Port of Balitmore booming with traffic


While recent news has Norfolk, Virginia losing it's Royal Caribbean ships, Balitmore, Maryland is experiencing an influx of growth that has made the port of Baltimore a new hub of cruise ship activity with the arrival of the second year-round cruise ship to call there. Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian lines all have ships in Baltimore and now Enchantment of the Seas will call Balitmore home.

Baltimore's cruise terminal was built in 2006 and in 2008, 27 cruises left from Baltimore. In 2009 and 2010, cruise business grew three times that and a record 113 cruises are already scheduled for 2011, with an expected 240,000 passengers, compared to only 47,000 three years ago.

Port of Balitmore representative Richard Scher says the Port of Baltimore is such a hot spot because of its location.  It's right off I-95, just 10 miles away from BWI and within 90 miles of three other major airports.

Royal Caribbean ends cruises out of Norfolk, Virginia


This past Saturday marked the last cruise out of Norfolk, Virginia for Royal Caribbean.  The company has decided to move Enchantment of the Seas north Baltimore, and the reason for the change seems to be about demand.  Company spokesman Harrison Liu mentioned that Baltimore offers "a year-round demand for passengers". 

Royal Caribbean had been serving Norfolk since 2007 and Enchantment of the Seas was the final ship to call Norfolk home.  

New England expecting record cruise ship season


Royal Caribbean has offered cruises to the New England coast area as well as Canada's eastern coast for some years now but ports in the area as projecting elevated number of cruisers to be visiting this year.

"Maine ports are expecting 335 cruise ship calls this year, up from 281 last year. Ports in the Canadian Maritimes and in Newfoundland are projecting 467 calls, 84 more than in 2009. Boston is anticipating a record 300,000-plus cruise ship passengers to pass through its port."

Currently three Royal Caribbean ships serve New England, including Jewel of the Seas (out of Boston), Explorer of the Seas (out of Bayonne, NJ) and Enchantment of the Seas (out of Balitmore).  For those looking for something a little different than just a cruise to the Caribbean, a summer cruise to the northeast can be a fun and exciting opportunity. Interestingly enough, the peak season for a New England cruise is early fall, which coincides with the changing of the autumn leaves, which can make for some really pretty landscapes.

"September and October remain the peak months for cruise ship trips, but more ships are now showing up in the region in July and August and earlier."

Norfolk Virginia still a popular port


We all tend to think of states like Florida or Texas when it comes to the state we leave from for a cruise, but for those in the mid-Atlantic states, there's still lots of activity out of Norfolk, Virginia aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas.  Enchantment of the Seas serves Bermuda as well as other Caribbean ports of call and WAVY-TV 10 is reporting many who frequent Norfolk as their departure port are loving it.

"Cruising from Norfolk is a hit with local passengers like Tom Anthony who finds it a bargain too. He is just returning.

"We live in Chesapeake so to be able to be dropped off here and get on a cruise ship and not having to travel a whole additional day to and from makes it a lot better value for us. But also the price is about what you would spend on a hotel and they throw in all the food you can eat for free and drop you off at a beautiful place like Bermuda," Anthony said."

With so many ships heading to Europe to chase the high demand there, it's good to hear smaller ports like Norfolk are still generating demand to keep ships serving that port and making it easier to get to your next Royal Caribbean cruise.