Enchantment of the Seas has been a popular member of the Royal Caribbean fleet since entering service in 1997. During her service life, she has been based in a number of cities and has performed several different roles. As of this writing, she is based in Miami, doing three and four night short cruises to the Bahamas and Key West (four day cruise only).
Short cruises from Miami have a reputation of being party cruises but Enchantment's Hotel Director Colin Clarke does not see Enchantment as falling into that stereotype. “That's what you would think. The three day, most probably, would have that conotation of a bit of a party cruise, not so much the four day. You see a lot of family groups coming on.”
In addition, “on our shorter cruises, you are going to see Nassau, you have a [private] island experience, which is a pretty nice way to spend a day, and then you are back. That is going to be beneficial for those that have limited time off. What you get to see in a short amount of time is pretty entertaining.”
Still others, use Enchantment as a “test ship” to see if they enjoy cruising before committing to a longer voyage. “The whole [cruise] experience can be a bit daunting. 'Will I get seasick? Am I going to like it? This is a good way to whet the appetite. I've seen people who come back and say 'we had our first cruise on Enchantment and now we have ventured out. We have been on Freedom, Oasis and Allure.' It has a knock-on effect.”
Royal Caribbean is well-known for its big cruise ships. Indeed, the top six largest cruise ships in the world are Royal Caribbean ships. However, ships like Enchantment allow Royal to also appeal to cruisers who prefer smaller ships. While there may not be enough space for all the features available on the large ships, Enchantment's size has its appeal.
Guests appreciate “the more personal feel where you get to meet everybody on this class of ship. You get to know the crew a little bit better. You get to at least see everybody. That is still a critical part of this ship where some people are very loyal to this class of ship because there is a little bit more interaction. You don't feel that you are one of the crowd. I'm surprised at the amount of people that warmly regard this size as a nice size.”
Similarly, Enchantment has the ambiance of a more traditional cruise ship. “Walking down the forward or aft stairwells, you still feel like you are on a ship.”
Along the same lines, even though many of Royal's newest and largest ships are based in South Florida, Enchantment attracts a high number of guests who are in the top tiers of Royal's Crown and Anchor loyalty program. “The highest we have had is 32, that is 32 Pinacles, never mind Diamond, which is unheard of. There must be a certain appeal to coming here.”
Part of Enchantment's appeal is no doubt due to the fact that she frequents Royal Caribbean's private island Coco Cay. In fact, crurrently, Coco Cay is on the itinerary of every Enchantment cruise.
“There has been quite a bit of work done on Coco Cay recently. The first phase is finished and they are working on phase number two now. If you are at the jet skis, that whole bay was redone. They put a new rock wall in, they re-sculptured that whole beach actually. Further around, cabanas have been put there. I think 35 of them are there where they re-did the beach. They put the floating bar there.”
In the past, each ship used its own supplies when visiting Coco Cay and on each visit a ship would have to ferry supplies to and from the island. Now, Royal is moving towards making the island more independent.
“We have now sort of locker areas for each ship so you can do one delivery that will last for x amount of time. As part of phase two, there will be even more provision and storage over there.”
Also in Coco Cay's future is a pier where the visiting ships will be able to dock. Currently, Coco Cay is a tender port and swells that would negatively affect the tenders can require a ship to cancel a visit. The pier should allow ships to call at the island except in “except when you have some terribly windy or inclement weather.”
Cruise ships are built to last 40 years or more. Thus, Enchantment is middle aged. “Because we are an older ship, that does not provide any excuse for the ship to be dirty.” Therefore, keeping the ship clean and well-maintained is a priority. “I think we are on the right path. [The crew] is keepig up the obligation of keeping the ship looking the way it has to be and doing the jobs that can be done without taking her out of the water.”
Royal Caribbean has been conducting a revitalization program taking features that have proved popular on its newer ships and injecting them into the rest of its fleet as they come in for their periodic sessions in dry dock. Enchantment has not gone through this process yet. “We are going in in November 2017 for a dry dock.” What changes will be made to Enchantment at that time are yet to be determined. However, “we are going in for the full on scrub and polish. We'll be looking good.”
Cruise ship interview - Royal Caribbean International - Enchantment of the Seas - hotel director