Enchantment of the Seas - Dec 27, 2010 - Jan 8, 2011

Royal Caribbean - Enchantment of the Seas

  • (Baltimore; Labadee, Haiti; Samana, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, USVI; St. Maarten & Tortola, British Virgin Islands)

  • Dec 26, 2010 - Jan 8, 2011

  • Bob, Debe, Micah & Chelcy
  • Our first adventure started with our flight to Baltimore, Maryland. Since the middle of the US was getting hit by a snow storm and heading to the East Coast - we were worried. Luckily we made it to Baltimore just in time. All flights in and out were suspended by the time we landed in Baltimore. So off to the Aloft in Baltimore for a great night of sleep. (reminder - you can view the small photos larger by clicking on them. Of course, use the back arrow to go back so you don't close the page)
    We awoke to very little snow, we headed off to the Port of Baltimore and our awaiting ship - The Enchantment of the Seas. Once on the ship, we found the pool deck closed. A view through the doors/windows showed the ice all over the deck.
    After finding different ways around the ship, we arrived at the buffet for lunch and some cards.
    Our cabins were conveniently next door and connecting door on the inside.

    Around the ship we found the holiday decorations still out and it looked beautiful. But as we sailed out of Baltimore, the sunset was more beautiful than anything.

    The next morning it was up to the Meet & Mingle. What great prizes they gave and we each won items during the raffle drawing.

    The first port of call (after a couple days of cool weather while at sea) was to Labadee, Haiti. Royal Caribbean's private peninsula on the island of Haiti/Dominican Republic. What a stunning place. You can be as active as you want or do absolutely nothing. We stayed active.

    In the above photos you will see the beaches, (chairs/clams are free with expectations of tips), a tram and safari ride (fee) and some photos below show an area set up for Suite/Diamond Plus guests.

    But if you want to be very active - head to Adrenaline Beach. You are within a short walk to zip lines ($89 for the one long run), Dragon Coaster ride ($19 for 1st person/free for someone to ride with you, $5 for extra ride, $40 for all day pass - weight limit of 350 lbs), volleyball, soccer, basketball, snorkeling, and swimming. So much to do. Another area has the Aqua Park (large blow ups in the water to play on for a fee).

    On around this big island of Haiti/Dominican Republic we came on to Samana, Dominican Republic. You had to tender into this port and we found it boring. Taxis offered rides to waterfalls and beaches but that was it. We walked around town and saw very little. One nice shopping area. After an hour, we were back on the ship.

    After a boring day in Samana, it was an exciting night on the ship. New Years Eve and the festivities have began. First, off to dining room for hats, crowns, horns and a very special menu for New Years. Our waiter, Gracias, was fabulous and even entertained us with games many nights. And of course, if you closed your eyes and listened to him, you could believe Mike Tyson was your waiter. lol
    Also on this day, I celebrated my birthday. Gracias presented me with a dessert and the staff sang Happy Birthday. Seems Dec 31st is a popular birthday date on ships. ;)Many venues around the ship were set up for the New Years celebration. As you can see in the below photo - the Centrum was very popular and is where we celebrated. The Captain also was there for the countdown and many of the staff. We might not have had the ball drop like New York but plenty of balloons did. Several headed to the pool where dancing was happening. After a day at sea to recover from the late night of New Years - it was off to St. Thomas, USVI. For the first time in many visits here, we found they have public transportation for $1 or $2. The problem, it looks just like the shuttles for tourists. But we figured it out and headed to Sapphire Beach. Lovely beach but with the drizzle of rain and cool breeze, we found the beach empty. Our ship was parked at Havensight Pier which is shopping heaven.

    From the US Virgin Islands to the British Virgin Islanda. First stop there - St. Maarten. This island is one to just take off on your own. So just as you get off the ship & walk through the gate to the right you will find rental cars. We chose to go with Coastal Rental and get a jeep for $60. And off we went.
    From the Dutch side, to the French side, stops at Natural Reserve and on to Bikini Beach, part of Orient's famous clothes optional beach - well, fun fun fun. We even made a stop at the locals favorite beach - Friars Bay.

    When the rain shower came, we decided to grab lunch so we headed to La Sucriere. What a great French restauant. From there, with our bellies full, it was back on the Dutch side, by the resorts, casinos, lovely beaches and even by the airport that is famous for planes flying just above the tourists heads on the beach as it lands.

    Finally we were at Philliburg. It comes complete with a Boardwalk that runs the entire bay and is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops. And just behind those venues you find Front Street filled with shopping. A must for anyone going to St. Maarten.

    The below photo is our last view of St. Maarten - the pier which we are docked at. Also complete with many shops but please go and experience St. Maarten - a gem in the Caribbean Seas.
    Our final port of call - the British Island of Tortola. If you have never been there - I suggest the island tour but since we had just been there, it was off to Virgin Gorda for us. A short 15 minute walk from the ship took us to Speedy's Ferry Service. For a cost of $30 per person you get round trip ferry service to the island. And an additional $8 per person gets you taxi pick up to and from the Baths. So we were game.
    Once at the Baths National Park - you pay the required $3 per adult $2 per child for the entrance fee. You have the option of going right down the path to the Baths or left down the path to Devils Bay. Both places you need to visit and once down there - you can experience Devils Path which is unique and connects The Baths to Devils Bay or vice versa. Be sure you can handle climbing, tight places, ducking, and some wading through water to make this hike.

    In case you filled your day at Virgin Gorda and didn't get any shopping in - don't worry, there is plenty of stands to hit up really close to the ship.
    Now for the entertainment on the Enchantment of the Seas. Between all of us, we tried to hit all the shows in the Theatre. Some where good, some not so good. First night was a comedian named Jimmy Caroll. He was very good. We did miss the first formal night show. It was a production show and Bob/I had seen it. Next was the Juggler, Mike Price. Since we do not like jugglers, we were worried. He was the best ever. His laser show, juggling in the dark was awesome. To begin the 2011 we attended the LUDWIG show. A fabulous pianist but add comedy to it - it just didn't work for us. Sorry Ludwig.

    The next production show was Can't Stop the Rock. We had also seen it and Micah/Chelcy liked it but of course, the music might have been older rock and they hadn't heard the songs. The 50's, 60's, 70's party is always great with the Village People there. Thank you staff. And the John Joseph & Johnny B is a show that MUST be seen. They did the ultimate by adding singing, music with comedy and it worked big time. Great show - best ever. We also attended a lecture on Haiti and Dominican Republic. Very interesting. Sadly, the lecturer had people that wouldn't let him talk since they knew so much about the area.

    One thing we LOVE on RCCL is the salad bar in the dining room (which also serves as a breakfast fruit/cereal/granola bar for breakfast. And of course the Dining room staff were excellent. Around the ship we enjoyed the sporting activities as well as activites put on by the staff.

    And one highlight was going back stage with the entertainment staff. Very neat to see how they put these shows together with very limited space for set props and the cast themselves.

    Of course, going from Caribbean waters to the open Atlantic in the winter weather gave some changes. Micah and Chelcy watch from the cabin window at the rough seas.

    And I always enjoy heading by the pool and watching from the pool deck to the ocean below. I remember being on the ship before and the grate wasn't below the window. Hmmmmmm made me wonder if someone had fallen. Yikes
    We enjoyed our time with our new friends from New York and New Jersey - our tablemates for this cruise.
    Above, Micah and Chelcy on one of the formal nights and below, all four of us on the last formal night.

    Having our son and his girlfriend with us on this cruise made it even more special. Our son will be graduating in May 2011 and will start the next step of his life. And traveling might be different for him. So we are so glad we spent this time with him before his next journey begins.
    Thanks, as always, for visiting our blog and reading our adventures. I do hope you can use some of this information when you have visits at these same ports. Again, thanks for taking this journey with us.

    The End

    (I have a video of the Dragon Coaster ride and the New Years Party on the Enchantment of the Seas but couldn't get it to download. May try again later so check back)

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