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Enchantment Review 12/9-12/18 The good, the bad and why we couldn't wait to disembark


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"Thank you for the wonderful review! Love the detail of it and glad to hear there were things that you enjoyed."

hllwdcruiser was awarded the badge 'Great Review' and 5 points.

Although we've been exclusively cruising Princess since 2009, this was only our 11th cruise on the line. We don't cruise more than once a year and because we live close to Port Everglades, we usually just choose a Caribbean itinerary. Except for the one time we went to Alaska, we really do only cruise for the ship experience and to relax by literally "getting away from it all". I did a pretty extensive live from the Enchanted last year, and those who followed might remember that Steve slipped and hurt his ankle on the second day and was pretty much hobbled for the rest of the trip. To make a long story short, the powers that be at Princess came through for us and we were given a generous credit to use towards another voyage.
So here we were, 20 months later, taking almost the same trip on the same ship. The last two cruises we took were in March, 2020 and March, 2022, the glory days of Covid. In 2020 we were on the Sky which was sailing at about 50% capacity (folks were cancelling out of fear), when Jan Swartz came on our cabin television screens and told us that Princess was closing shop. That was pretty surreal to say the least, most of the staff were walking around with a glazed look in their eyes, so unsure of what their future would hold. Our hearts went out to them. Fast forward to March 2022 and we again were on a half filled ship, but this time due to Covid precautions.  We felt pure exhilaration as we walked onto the ship accompanied by the applause and cheers of the staff . That voyage was the first one where masks could finally be removed. 
I'm not going to sugar coat it, we were pretty apprehensive about sailing on a ship sailing at full capacity. Due to life intervening, I had not been on CC for a very long time, so imagine my surprise when I logged in and found the changes that had occurred since we last sailed. Wait, what? Medallions are no longer shipped? Gigi's is no longer free? There's a fee for room service? You now have to pay for Ocean Now? The last time we sailed Plus it was an additional $40 pp pd, now it is $60? And what the heck is Premier? I quickly figured everything out (thanks to all the amazing contributors on this site) and we opted for Plus just so we could have the same things that used to be included. We were excited for this trip, life had slapped us around pretty hard over the last two years and we needed a Princess cruise bad.
We arrived at PE around 10:30, dropped off our luggage and joined a very long line. As soon as it started moving I asked which line was for green, and thankfully, they had it separated outside and we were able to get inside pretty darn quickly.
Is it worth the $10 for those who don't have a package to get the medallion shipped? Absolutely! I would not have wanted to be on that slow blue line. 
The Good: The Green Lane
Because this sailing was the first in the US and had just been in Europe, we were not able to board right away, so we were directed straight into the Elite and Platinum lounge. This was the first time I was ever in an embarkation lounge. How fabulous to immediately start receiving the impeccable service that we have become accustomed to by Princess!

We were able to board within half an hour and were informed that we were welcome to go up to the cabins to drop off our carry ons.
Our cabin was a standard balcony all the way forward on the Sun Deck, next to the retreat pool. These balconies are a little larger and you can actually face forward while stretching out your legs. We met Mark, our steward extraordinaire, and luckily our bed was still unmade, so our request for a top sheet did not faze him at all. Throughout the ten days, Mark was absolutely great. He always had a smile on his face, and although we didn't ask for much, he always remembered our ice and the extra towel for my hair. 

The cabin was fine except the seas were quite rough and we were woken often by loud bangs, creaking and shuddering. Although we love the location we probably would not book here again.

The Good: Our Cabin Steward, Mark, the cabin, the balcony and the comfortable bed

The Bad: The loud creaking, banging and shuddering
We then stopped at the Retreat Pool bar, and introduced ourselves to the incomparable Calean and she poured us our first celebratory drink. We became her regulars, by choice, and were lucky to find her at different bars morning to night. Throughout the cruise Calean would make us different and delicious concoctions including our favorite, her fresh watermelon margaritas. 

The Good: Calean and the Retreat Bar
We had lunch up in the World Marketplace. Normally we are light eaters, but somehow once we are on a cruise we find ourselves eating slices of roast beef from the carving station for lunch! The food was enjoyable that first day but became repetitive over the next 10 days. Often the items in the chafing dishes looked old and dried out. The Indian and asian food all tasted the same, spiced heavily with cumin and missing any complex flavors. Missing in action were the abundant seafood offerings that used to always be on the buffet. The salad offerings were good and fresh and actually became the best options besides the carving stations.
We found breakfast to be very good and consistent in the buffet although somebody needs to teach the pastry chefs how to make a decent bagel. Smoked salmon and smoked fish were always offered, as were made to order omelettes and some sort of eggs Benedict. All the usuals were there as well, bacon, sausages, pancakes, french toast and cereals.

The Good: Breakfast in the Buffet

The Bad: Lunch in the Buffet
For dinner, we had a daily 6:20 reservation in the Santorini dining room. Trying to decide what time to eat is always a quandary for us on a cruise. We are usually somewhat late diners at home, yet dining after 7 on a cruise means you miss almost all the entertainment. You have to allocate at least 2 hours if you choose to eat in the MDR. Luck was with us, we didn't have a long wait and we scored a table next to the window. We really liked our server Michael, and his assistant, Blessed, so we requested to keep the same table for every night. Marcin, the restaurant manager, moved heaven and earth to make this happen for us. Marcin ran that dining room like clockwork. He never looked stressed and could often be seen clearing and resetting tables. No job was beneath him and you could see that his direct reports truly liked him because of it. His dining room was rarely backed up, but if there was a wait, he was so apologetic and accommodating that everyone responded to him with the same patience and grace.
The Good: Michael, Blessed and Marcin

Dinner was actually very good, but I just do not understand what Princess is doing with their menus. It used to be I couldn't decide what to order, the choices for apps and mains were so good and varied. The fact is, I am a foodie and a pretty good cook. One of the reasons we became loyal to Princess was because of the food. Now I struggled on some days to choose something, anything. What is the deal with basically offering some type of fruit salad AND a cold fruit soup every night? We certainly didn't go hungry, but I sure do miss those old menus. That being said, except for a few poorly executed meals and some poor cuts of beef, the food was mostly good in the MDR on this trip.

The Good: The food in the MDR

The Bad: The new menus

We went to a comedy show the first night and it had to be the worst comedian we had ever seen on a ship. Everyone was joking about how bad he was, but it could have been that his jokes were not meant for Princess passengers.  Actually, people were complaining a lot about all the entertainment on this cruise. Many came from other cruise lines where they thought the entertainment was better. We went to a few shows in the theatre. We loved the new Spotlight Bar and had already seen Rock Opera and Five Skies on previous cruises. We really like that Princess is starting a Comedy Club in the Vista lounge. After that first night disaster, there were some really funny comedians featured on various nights.

The problem we found with the entertainment was that there were some nights that nothing was on, and other nights when we had to choose between two or three different things. We love the game shows, but often had to miss them. Princess Live is not a viable venue when the ship is at full capacity. Even if we could have made it to a game show, we probably would have never been able to see anything over the heads of the standing room only crowd.
The Good: New Comedy Club, Production Shows

The Bad: Princess Live, Entertainment Scheduling
So let's talk about the additional benefits of Plus. We definitely took advantage of the drink package part and the wifi. We think having the medallion shipped is well worth it. We got our money's worth. So what about the casual dining, the Ocean Now ordering, the room service ordering, the two specialty desserts a day and the exercise classes?
We decided to use the Casual Dining for lunch. The last few times we ate at Alfredos we were disappointed so we chose O'Malley's and Ocean Terrace. We love sushi and went down one day to get some for lunch only to find out they are only open on sea days for lunch. What? We didn't want to eat at a casual restaurant for dinner, but we also only had 2 sea days left at the end of the cruise. There are so few choices to eat during the day on port days and this was a huge disappointment. O'Malley's was so crowded and disorganized that we actually walked out without eating one evening (after asking for service, twice) and left without dessert the one night we actually did get service. That being said, the food at O'Malley's was good, as was the food at Ocean Terrace. The night we walked out of O'Malley's we went to Ocean Terrace instead. The service was great except they ran out of sake. How does a Japanese restaurant run out of sake?

The Good: Ocean Terrace and O'Malley's Food
The Bad: O'Malley's and Ocean Terrace Restaurants closed on Port Days for lunch. O'Malley's too small and crowded.

We tried Ocean Now twice and twice was enough. Once we were sitting at the Retreat Pool and I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch. An hour later, while the app was still saying it was being prepared, I got up walked down to the Lido and got the chicken sandwich for myself from the Salty Dog and brought it back up to the retreat. The sandwich I ordered didn't arrive until well after I finished the one I got for myself.
I decided to try the app again when one day Steve and I were feeling droopy before dinner. I came up with the bright idea to order some lattes about an hour before we were to leave to go to the MDR. They didn't arrive until we were walking out of our cabin. 
What is the point of Ocean NOW if the order doesn't come NOW? If I'm hungry now, I don't want to wait an hour and a half before I get my food. 
All these orders also back up the poor bartenders and baristas. They are so busy filling orders from their iPads that they can't help the people who are actually sitting or standing at their bars. 

The Bad: Ocean Now

We ordered room service via the phone and it came super quickly - much faster than ordering on Ocean Now.

The Good: Room Service via the phone

We got some Gelato once instead of the specialty desserts. I never saw those supersized cakes at the IC. 

The OK: Gelato

We never went to the exercise classes. Does walking up the stairs from 5 to 17 count?

The I don't know (and never will): Exercise Classes
We went to three specialty dining venues, The Catch, 360 and Sabatini's. I was a little nervous because I kept reading on CC how everyone was making reservations for SD prior to the cruise. I wanted to wait until I was onboard, like I always had, because I like to choose days that I don't like the meals in the MDR and I like to use OBC. I needn't have worried because I was able to make reservations without a problem for the days that I wanted. I did have to take earlier reservation times, but by doing so I discovered why so many like to eat early on a cruise. If your reservation is for 5:30 you will finish around 7:30, just in time for all the evening festivities.
The Catch was amazing, Sabatini's was ok, and 360 was quite the experience.
At the Catch, we each had the Seafood Tower, I had the Dover Sole and Steve had the Land and Sea. The food was incredible and if our cruise were longer we definitely would have returned.
Sabatini's was just ok. We ordered pre-dinner drinks that didn't come until after our appetizers were served. We had soups to start that were served luke warm. We had to ask for them to be reheated. The pasta, main courses and desserts were good but none of them seemed outstanding. It could be because the location has been moved to the old Bistro Sur la Mer spot and it is just too loud in the Piazza. I think the noise level along with the hustle and bustle surrounding the restaurant effects the entire ambiance and enjoyment of the meal. 

The Good: The Catch
I did make an early reservation for 360 prior to the cruise. We met across from O'Malley's and were given a very unusual pre dinner drink. It had a foam on top made from chickpeas that was actually quite unpleasant. Steve and I forced it down, but most everyone else found it undrinkable. We then followed a violinist (playing the Love Boat theme) into a secret room behind Catch. The entire experience was quite fantastic. However, the first course served were some small hard pitas, olive oil, olives and tzatziki. After the awful cocktail, I have to say, I was unimpressed. Fortunately, the next dish was the octopus which was delectable. This was then followed by a pasta dish, some charcuterie and then followed by a surf and turf. Unfortunately, I think in order to please everyone, our filet was cooked to medium which is over cooked for our taste, and the shrimp was under cooked, almost raw. Besides the few food hiccups, we really enjoyed 360. The immersive experience is something truly exciting and entertaining. The service was outstanding. 
So the question I asked on another thread, is it worth it? Except for the octopus and the dessert, I think the Chef's Table and Winemaker's food is a step above. The experience is more like a dinner with a show so I think it is worth it for a one and done. Everyone else at the dinner were there by invitation, in fact, one woman looked at me and said she had no idea why she was there. We were not charged for the dinner, but did not know this until the next day. So when I thought we had been charged $300 for the experience, I did not regret it and thought it was worth it. On the other hand, I definitely would not do it again.

The Good: 360

We were never charged an additional 18% gratuity on top of the specialty dining charge.

We only did one private excursion in Dominica. It was actually very good with a fee of $40 a person. I love the natural beauty and the people of Dominica. 

Lennox Cadette - shwalytours@gmail.com 767-265-6646
In all other ports we just got off the ship and walked around. Martinique was a lot of fun to just walk off the ship and tour the little city. You really do feel like you are in a French town, they even have a Carrefour supermarket. I would like to go back there for a land based holiday one day.

The Good: All the Ports 

The ship is in great shape and very well maintained. The holiday decorations were up and were beautiful. I didn't see any of the specialty holiday drinks that were offered. 
The smoke from the casino is awful and intrusive. I cannot believe in this day and age smoking inside still exists. Churchills is still alive and well and open.
The Good: The Enchanted
The Bad: Smoke from the Casino

All in all, except for a few hiccups, the usual chair hogs, and the more crowded venues, we were really enjoying the cruise until....

One day, while sitting in the Piazza, a man behind Steve sounded like he was hacking up a lung. Well, a few days later Steve started to get a tickle in his throat and then he developed a sore throat. That's when I started to feel a little off too. Luckily, it was at the end of the cruise. We self quarantined the last two days and basically stayed in bed, watched movies and ordered room service. We felt too awful to really eat or drink. We were miserable and just wanted to get off the ship. We wanted to be home where we could have hot drinks and soup. Room service is great, but none of the food is hot enough and there are no microwaves in the cabins. Thank goodness I had packed all kinds of supplies like Tylenol, throat lozenges, NyQuil etc. Luckily we had masks, and on the day we disembarked we were kind enough to other passengers to wear them. Unlike that "gentleman" who most likely got us sick that day in the Piazza.
I was never so happy to get off a cruise ship and get home to our own bed. Fortunately, we live in Fort Lauderdale and didn't have long flights to contend with. As soon as we got home we took Covid tests which fortunately were negative. At the end of the day does it really matter anymore if it's Covid? We developed bad coughs that got progressively worse and kept us up all night. Our doctor prescribed z-paks and we are only just beginning to turn a corner. We've been sick for a full week. I'm just so grateful that we got sick at the end of the trip and not the beginning.

We did buy a FCD so this illness hasn't deterred us from sailing again!

I have lots of photos that I plan to share and am happy to answer any questions. I did keep the patters and will be happy to post if anyone would like to see. I have a few menus but didn't manage to get them all. 

Thanks for sticking with me through this very long review!


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A few disappointments ~ Crispy? Calamari at Sabatini's. They were soggy and tasteless but I did eat most of them!
I had the Ossobuco for my main, Steve had the veal marsala. Both were fine since it was OBC, but I don't think this dinner was worth the $70. The sampler dessert was great though.




Ocean Terrace sushi was fresh and very tasty, but they had run out of sake. I was surprised they only had one kind.



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What a great review!  360

pics brought back memories from our experience.  

I loved the twist….

why we couldn't wait to disembark.”


I thought you were not coming back.  Though, didn’t like that you got sick.  Hope you’re doing well now.

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Thank you for your well-balanced review. I've stayed in one of the great window view cabins in front on the Sun deck (Sky Princess) and we loved it. Never heard any banging, etc. but the seas weren't rough. I, too, have gotten sick on the last days or right after a cruise (several different cruise lines). I thought I was the only one cursed with this. I guess I'm not. Hope you feel better and Merry Christmas!

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9 hours ago, ChutChut said:

Thank you for your well-balanced review. I've stayed in one of the great window view cabins in front on the Sun deck (Sky Princess) and we loved it. Never heard any banging, etc. but the seas weren't rough. I, too, have gotten sick on the last days or right after a cruise (several different cruise lines). I thought I was the only one cursed with this. I guess I'm not. Hope you feel better and Merry Christmas!

This was our third time on the Sun Deck and the first time we had any issues. We were impacted by the storms that also hit the south east and had torrential rains on the last day. We have often been in forward cabins but after this experience I think we may just shoot for mid ship in the future.
Thanks for your kind words. Merry Christmas to you too!

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5 hours ago, LACruiser88 said:

You didn't miss anything, the sake was not very good.

Good to know!
Even though the sake was gone, it was interesting to have so many supplies left over from Europe. The water was Frasassi and apparently the coke products and ginger ale tasted different than the US versions. 
The first thing I noticed, now don't laugh, was the toilet paper! It was so stiff and felt like cheap paper towels ~ ouch. Thank goodness it was replaced eventually with a softer version. Did you have that awful paper throughout your entire trip? I grew up in London and have family in Europe. I am aware of the challenges when it comes to toilet paper, but I wasn't expecting it on Princess!

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3 hours ago, hllwdcruiser said:

Good to know!
Even though the sake was gone, it was interesting to have so many supplies left over from Europe. The water was Frasassi and apparently the coke products and ginger ale tasted different than the US versions. 
The first thing I noticed, now don't laugh, was the toilet paper! It was so stiff and felt like cheap paper towels ~ ouch. Thank goodness it was replaced eventually with a softer version. Did you have that awful paper throughout your entire trip? I grew up in London and have family in Europe. I am aware of the challenges when it comes to toilet paper, but I wasn't expecting it on Princess!

We don't use their toilet paper, we always bring our own baby wipes.

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Thanks for taking the time to write up such a detailed review.  We are finding that we need to reserve as much time after the cruise for quarantining as we do cruising after coming back from our last two cruises ill (Covid in July and upper respiratory infection last week).  Lots of different illnesses out there and it's a miracle if you can manage to avoid them, especially with clueless people around who don't care who they infect.  I hope you feel better soon!

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