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Old October 20th, 2003, 06:23 PM
Susan D.
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Default RCI questions from a first timer

We are looking at two RCI ships as possibilities for a family get-together/anniversaries celebration next year. The ships are the Enchantment of the Seas and the Navigator of the Seas, and we had a couple of questions about the ships and sailings.

First, does the Enchantment have soft serve ice cream available--and not at an extra charge (I know the Navigator has the Sprinkles ice cream bar) and on either ship, is it actually ice cream or is it frozen yogurt? I know, this is rather petty, but we like ice cream a lot!

What can you tell me about Labadee? What is available to do there?

How did you like your room size--esp. if you had an inside cabin? On balcony rooms, was there room to put a chair out on the balcony and sit?

What, in your opinion, are the greatest strengths of the RCI line? I personally think the RCI ships look nicer and have an atmosphere that is more our family's style, but since it is the family members who are having the anniversaries that make the final decision, I am afraid that they will choose a Carnival ship because of its larger rooms and (sometimes) cheaper prices. Not that I have anything against Carnival, but we are very quiet people and won't make use of lounges and shows and poolside games and a party atmosphere. (I know, Royal Caribbean has all that too, but they also have their observatory, and ping-pong and rock climbing--plus the ice skating and mini-golf on the Navigator, that we would use.) So, what would you offer to, perhaps, tilt the scales in the Royal Caribbean direction?

What did you think of the food? I have heard so many mixed reviews on it that I don't know what to think. To help me qualify your answer to this, please tell me what kind of food you usually eat and enjoy. :-)

For first time cruisers, would you recommend a 5-day or a 7-day cruise?

Also, any information and experiences on these two ships (Enchantment and Navigator) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old October 20th, 2003, 06:36 PM
serene56
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Default Re: RCI questions from a first timer

I have sailed Carnival and Royal. Sailed in September on the VOyager which is a sister ship to the Navigator.

We sailed the first time on a 7 day cruise ont he Sensation back in 2000. I am planning my 5th cruise for March for a 4 night cruise. On anything lesser then a 7 day you are just getting the hang of crusing and its time to pack up and go home.

I liked all my cruises but prefer Carnival for the reason that Carnival has more activies planned for the people who dont do lounges or dances at night...which are us.

Ok-on the Navigator there is the ice skating show. Not too sure about eh enchantment.
(you do realize you are looking at two completely differnt vacations here)

We sailed the Voyager because it was almost 150pp cheaper then what carnival offered for an inside room. (we got a balcony for less)

The food?? Lets see. I gained 3 pounds and my man gained 11. The people who complain about the food---ask them how much they lose.

I thought the food very good. I dont cook it or clean up after...its fabulous. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner wjhile on a cruise. Midnight buffet and snacks all day long. Navigator has a Johnny Rockets...not sure if the enchantment has one.
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Old October 20th, 2003, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: RCI questions from a first timer

I'd vote for Navigator, sounds like its more fit for you, plus you are traveling with a group, will there be kids along too? If so, definitely Navigator, more for everyone to do without it getting too wild for some of you.

I absolutely loved Labadee, its a wonderful "beach" day with lots of water activities running all day. You can get a chair and do nothing, also a lunch BBQ which was nice. I'd suggest reserving a water mat, you can use in and out of the water, but they do rent a lot and you'll want one, was great just floating in the water for hours..

We also pre-booked the waverunner excursion and that was great fun, a nice way to see areas of the island you wouldn't get a chance to. If you like to go faster they will put you in front and you have a stop or two to wait for the rest of the group to catch up. My husband enjoyed it so much, he signed up for the last run of the day.

We thought the food on Explorer was great, service also and entertainment wonderful. You'll have to catch a parade or two and don't miss the ice show, everyone in the family will enjoy it.

Let us know which ship you decide on, either one is going to be a great time, especially when you are cruising with friends/family, have fun.

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Old October 21st, 2003, 06:22 PM
Susan D.
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Default Re: Re: RCI questions from a first timer

Thank you both for your answers.

Serene56, you mentioned that you thought Carnival had more nighttime options--I'm curious, what are they?

And, yes, I do realize that these are two different itineraries and ships--I'm not exactly comparing apples with apples, but they are still the two I'm deciding between.

Again, thanks for your help, and thanks to anyone else who answers this!

Susan
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 06:31 AM
salem5050
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Default Re: RCI questions from a first timer

Ok here is my two cents.
I have only been on three cruises so not as seasoned as others.
I have been on the Enchantment, its a wonderful ship and very easy to navigate around.
The next ship we are going on is Navigator, so not sure what to tell you from experience, but I like the large ships, and there seems to be plenty athletic things to do on that ship.
We took a Carnival cruise last March on the Victory, very difficult ship to find your way around but, I have to say the food in the dining room was far superior to the last cruise we went on in Sept. which was RCI Serenade. I think the activities are pretty close on the RCI cruise and Carnival. The rooms are bigger on Carnival, but who cares you are not in them that long.

I vote for the Navigator.

Mary Margaret
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Old October 24th, 2003, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: RCI questions from a first timer

What can you tell me about Labadee? What is available to do there?

Labadee is awesome. Been there about 7 times. Here is what I have tried.

For Free...
Barbque
A few beaches (one you can't swim in [dragons rock] because the tide is too rough but it is usually more quiet - great place to take a nap under a palm tree)
Beach chairs
Several hamocks in the trees scattered about (HIGHLY RECCOMENDED)
Island market (very aggressive vendors).

Paid Excursions...
Wave runners - $99 (they give a tour of the island with it - alot of fun)
Parasailing - $79 (beautiful view of the island and sea but they only let you fly for about 10 mins)
Floating mat -$10 (Nice way to relax)
Castaway at Malfini Beach - $50 (Highly reccommend this one for adults! They take you to a remote beach (only 12-15 people) and you spend a very relaxed few hours snorkling, floating on a mat, relaxing on a loung chair on the beach and drinking some nice rum drinks out of coconuts. Mats, snorkle gear and complimentary punch included. Other drinks are about $3 so bring some cash. They have built up labadee quit a bit since my first visit and Malfini beach is a nice way to get away. One of my favorite excursions.

Have not tried/Not sure:
Water park - ($15) (I have no kids so I have not tried it but it looks like fun for the little ones)
Kayak adventure -($38) Looks like a fun way to tour a bit of the island. Thinking of trying it next time.
I think they built a bar on the island but have not tried it.

How did you like your room size--esp. if you had an inside cabin? On balcony rooms, was there room to put a chair out on the balcony and sit?

Room size is fine for 2. Not a noticeable diff between standard inside and base balcony in terms of size. The balcony rooms come with 2 chairs (upright, not lounge) and a small table. Enough room to enjoy the view, read, or you know ;-> Some of the balconies on the rear of the ship are larger but be careful since the lower decks offer a view of the steel superstructure. I prefer the side myself. Compared to Carnival the rooms are a bit smaller but you are not in there enough to make it a major concern. If any of your party is elderly or otherwise handicapped, they have special handicapped rooms that offer wider rooms for the same price.

What, in your opinion, are the greatest strengths of the RCI line?
Most options, Customer service, attention to detail.

I personally think the RCI ships look nicer and have an atmosphere that is more our family's style, but since it is the family members who are having the anniversaries that make the final decision, I am afraid that they will choose a Carnival ship because of its larger rooms and (sometimes) cheaper prices. Not that I have anything against Carnival, but we are very quiet people and won't make use of lounges and shows and poolside games and a party atmosphere. (I know, Royal Caribbean has all that too, but they also have their observatory, and ping-pong and rock climbing--plus the ice skating and mini-golf on the Navigator, that we would use.) So, what would you offer to, perhaps, tilt the scales in the Royal Caribbean direction?

We have sailed RCL 9 times. Deviated once to Princess when Grand Princess came out and regretted it. Have not sailed Carnival but have spoken to many of their passengers in port. Here is what I have gleamed from them. The old image of beer bongs and funnels by the pool is well documented (for those of you who don't know what this means, they take a large funnel with a hose attached. Pour a bear into it. Suck it down through the hose). I have heard many accounts of people with cases of beer by the pool and people throwing up from drinking. However, these stories are always from past cruises many years ago. I have not heard a story of anything like this occuring within the last 5 years. Their new ships look very nice and they have stopped the use of excessive neon and obnoxious bright color schemes. Carnival has made great strides to change their image to a more family oriented vacation and they seem to be succeeding. I have heard some accounts that the food was not very good and that they can be stingy but I have not heard any major issues with them so if you get booked on one of their newer ships you should not be overly concerned.

The Navigator (or any other voyager class ship for that matter) offers so much more in terms of options for everyone than other ships that it makes more sense. You seem to know most of the activities offered on board so I won't go into them but I don't think the other cruise lines compare. In my mind, Voyager or radiance class offer the best balance for people of differing lifestyles.

What did you think of the food? I have heard so many mixed reviews on it that I don't know what to think. To help me qualify your answer to this, please tell me what kind of food you usually eat and enjoy. :-)

I will try anything once. The general consensus will probably tell you that RCL offers better food than Carnival. The food in Navigators main dining room is good. Some dishes are better than others and sometimes you get a dud. The wait staff wants nothing more than to make you happy and will change your meal or give you a taste of several if you like. The trouble is that there is only so much you can do when you are serving 1,500 passengers at a time. The food on the larger ships tends to get a bit institutionalized. Many people try to compare the food to a fine four star restaurant that only serves 50 at a time. This is not a fair comparison and the reason you get such mixed reviews. Between Enchantment and Navigator, you will probably have slightly better food on Enchantment. However, for $20/pp on Navigator, you can go to Chops steak house or portofinos. Well worth it if you want an incredible meal.

For first time cruisers, would you recommend a 5-day or a 7-day cruise?

7 day itins offer newer ships and better itineraries.

Also, any information and experiences on these two ships (Enchantment and Navigator) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Tough decision. I have been on both (got engaged on Enchantment) and they are both excellent ships. I don't know if they have the rock wall on Enchantment yet but there are more options for everyone on Navigator. I would definitely push for Navigator if I were you. Like I said, there is not wrong decision here, strictly a matter of personal tastes.

Enjoy your cruise!!

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Old October 24th, 2003, 06:56 PM
Sooshie
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Default Re: RCI questions from a first timer

Just returned from the Enchantment and had a wonderful time (best cruise yet). The food was great. The cruise director (Matt Baker) made the cruise. If you have any questions about the Enchantment, please feel free to email me.

Susan
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Old October 25th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Re: RCI questions from a first timer

Sooshie,

I am sooooo glad to hear that Matt Baker is now the Cruise Director. We were on the Enchantment 2 years ago and he was the Assistant CD and My husband & I thought he should be the CD and probably would one day! We just loved him, very nice and VERY funny. At that time he was "Bingo Matt". Good for him!

We were on the Navigator a few weeks ago, and the ship was great and tons of fun, but Enchantment is still my favorite.

I thought the food in the dining room on the Navigator just OK, not great, and a few things were even bad (the steak on Lobster night is TERRIBLE, everyone said the same thing). Some of the appitizers were very good though, better than the actual main course. Chops was very good, worth the $20 PP. Overall, the food on the Enchantment was WAY better, but that was 2 years ago too. So far the best food I have had is on Celebrity Mercury. Carnival's food was better than RCI.

Labadee was GREAT. Very beautiful. As much or as little activity as you like. The best port for us so far.

Navigator is great for families..........really can't go wrong. And a lot of peace & quiet too if thats what you want. The solarium is great for that, but we prefer the fun and music by the main pool. I thought all the shows were very good on both ships. We had a balcony room, first time for us we always had a window on past cruises. My husband enjoyed sitting out there and having a drink while I was getting showered and dressed. I think the size is just fine for 2, would be to crowded with more than 2 people.

If you like rock climbing walls and a great sports deck, my vote would be Navigator. If you like a little elegance along with modest activities, I would choose Enchantment. Also, Navigator is newer..............if that matters to you.

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