The Traveling Steve's

Inaugural Cruise on The Enchanted Princess November 10, 2021

Steve (DOS) and I just returned from an awesome 10 night Inaugural Caribbean cruise on the brand new Enchanted Princess! Technically speaking it was not “brand new” as it was supposed to start sailing last year in 2020, but the COVID pandemic delayed it’s sailing for over a year. There were also a few “shake-down” cruises for travel professionals, executives, etc, but our’s was the first revenue cruise. As this is a long post, I’ll break it down into sections for easy reading and posting, and hopefully not leave out anything. But to sum up the cruise in one word however, it was OUTSTANDING!

ARRIVAL TO PORT EVERGLADES: After breakfast at our Ft. Lauderdale hotel, (Margo Lar Resort), we drove a short distance to the Port Everglades Cruise terminal, which was only a couple miles from our hotel.

We were sailing out of Terminal Two, and the parking garage is attached to the terminal by a 5th floor skybridge. We arrived early to the terminal around 10:45am, for a 11am “Green” boarding time.

The drop off area was very organized, with lots of port security and police directing cars to the luggage drop off area. As this was the Inaugural sailing for the Enchantment, we had none of the issues of arriving early and waiting for the previous sailing passengers to clear customs before boarding the ship. We quickly dropped our luggage off with the porters, and then headed up the ramp to park the car. Parking Tip: Take a photo of where you parked your car, and the level and Terminal Number by the garage. (After 10 days you will not remember this, and we saw a couple of confused people searching for their car on our return from the cruise- the parking garage is huge, and there are several other terminals adjacent to each other.)

Steve (DOS) with our carry-on luggage (after already checking our three suitcases with the luggage porter!) No one ever accused us of packing light!

BOARDING:

In what seemed like a confusing out-of-the-way walk at first, (but was actually a convenient bypass to the terminal), we took the Terminal Two elevator to the fifth floor (instead of the ground level), where we took the overhead walkway directly to the terminal. The new overhead walkway bypasses the busy arrival/departure traffic and crowds below, making for a less stressful start to the boarding process. The walkway down the corridor is quite long, and was more or less empty when we went, but soon others were following us like we knew where we were going! LOL!

New 5th floor Skybridge walkway from the Terminal Two parking garage to the terminal.

Once at the terminal, we first went thru security screening and had our hand luggage X-rayed. We then proceeded to the huge check-in area ,which was well organized by zones. Checkin was very quick and efficient as we had previously completed the health, passport, onboard payment method (credit card only), uploaded our photos (for security), and other required information via the pre-departure Medallion App. Our Medallion Apps were quickly scanned by the check-in agent, while she also verified our negative COVID test results (taken within 2 days of sailing), and our fully vaccinated COVID shots via our official CDC card, along with our passports. Easy-peasy checkin!

We then headed to board the ship less than 15 minutes after we had checked our luggage at curbside with the porters – it was really a quick and efficient boarding process Princess!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Walking across the cruise-way (ie. gangway), we were pleasantly surprised at our red-carpet-like welcome by crew members!

Once aboard we were immediately awed by the huge Piazza, which is three level lobby area in the middle of the ship. The Piazza was bright and airy, and decorated with Welcome Aboard banners everywhere. We would come back here shortly, but had to find our cabin first to store our luggage.

As we were both new to Princess (except for a 10 day sailing I took on the old Dawn Princess back in 1991), we knew nothing about the layout of the ship except from what we had read or seen online via sneak previews on You Tube. We had a fun time finding our cabin, which was made easy by the numerous interactive ship-board display monitors throughout the ship.

Long walk to our aft cabin on Dolphin Deck. The walk was definitely worth it for the aft view, huge balcony, and also burning the extra calories of our shipboard indulgences!
Huge monitors by every elevator showed the ship map, or even gave you directions to anywhere on the ship; like a portable GPS! In this photo, we are directed to our cabin on Dolphin deck.

CABIN:

In the photo below we are approaching our cabin D727 for the first time, while the Medallion App displayed our photo on the individual mini wall monitor, and even unlocked the door! The App senses you coming towards your room, and presto – your door is unlocked! Pretty cool feature, and no worries about losing or forgetting your room key!

Arriving to our room, the mini-display to my right shows our photo and name as we approach the door, and the Medallion app unlocks it for us!

OUR CABIN:

We had a beautiful Penthouse Suite on Dolphin Deck, number D727. The suite was very nice with a HUGE balcony. We were frequent Celebrity and RCL cruisers pre-COVID, and the living room was much smaller than comparable suites on those lines, but it was quite comfortable, fresh, and the balcony was awesome. The suite had a living room with a chair, love-seat, TV, desk area and chair, complimentary one-time bar setup with mini-fridge, bathroom with large tub and separate shower area, large bedroom with TV, and our favorite part, the aft-facing balcony.

Living room area in our Suite, Dolphin 727.

Bar area with complimentary one-time setup, with mini-fridge below.
Large and interactive TV in the Living Room.
Separate bedroom with supper comfortable Princess bedding. Also had another door from the bedroom to the large balcony.
Bedroom TV with balcony door to the left.
Large and nicely decorated bathroom with separate tub (non-Jacuzzi) and shower.
Toilet area with sink and vanity area. Has separate door from shower area, and also another door off of the living room.
Best feature: HUGE outdoor aft balcony!
Two outdoor lounge chairs with side tables; perfect for lazy sea days!
Aft balcony: There is also a small dining table and chairs for two in the back (next to the partition) and a door to the living room.

MEDALLION SERVICE:

Upon arrival to our cabin, we once again appreciated the functionality of Princess Cruise’s Medallion Service. The Medallion App is a complimentary service Princess has recently rolled out fleet-wide, and provides an incredible array of services ranging from security boarding the ship to unlocking your cabin as you approach the door, to ordering drinks, shore excursions, specialty restaurants, etc, to even providing GPS-like directions to wherever you want to go on the ship! There are also large monitors throughout the ship that the app interacts with when you walk by, and shows floor plans, venues, directions, weather, port information, and even special events – like my retirement celebration!

This in-hall monitor but the elevator even announced my Happy Retirement when I walked by, thanks to the interactive Medallion App!

The Medallion app can even locate your traveling companion (or friends that you allow access) to their location, and allow messaging to to them. We did have a bit of trouble pre-departure completing our check-in forms, but once onboard the I.T. Navigator team was really helpful answering questions about how the app works.

We started out wearing the Medallion lanyard, but as I thought it felt too much like work (wearing a badge), we later bought a wrist-band, and wore the tiny (circular shaped) Medallion like a watch on our wrist. It’s waterproof, so you can wear it in the pool, shower etc, although it’s not a Fitbit or Apple watch, (sorry it doesn’t count your steps), and you still need your phone or iPad to access some of the advanced features such as ordering drink, reserving specialty dining or shore excursions.

Later on in the cruise we bought Medallion wrist bands, and wore these like a watch; a bit more convenient than wearing the lanyard.

TOURING THE SHIP:

As it was still before noon, this was a perfect time to explore the ship before it got to ‘busy’. I put ‘busy’ in quotes, as there were only 954 passenger aboard our inaugural sailing, with well over 1,000 crew members on a ship that could hold over 4,000 passengers. We first went up to the pool deck on the 16th floor, and went walked up to the aft top deck (18) which had a small putting green. DOS and I played around a bit, wondering why the golf ball was so big. Only after playing did we run into another couple who asked us how the Bocce Ball was? LOL! Oops, we didn’t notice the golf balls in the bag next to the golf clubs.

Seven times around the (partial) deck is a mile!
Main Pool area
Outdoor shower area, pool-side.
“Wave Pool” at the aft of the ship
Wave Pool bar area – aft of the ship.
Window-side section of buffet area, located on the pool deck.
Movie’s Under the Stars – Daytime poolside viewing.

SAIL-AWAY FROM FT. LAUDERDALE

Our sail-way from Ft. Lauderdale was actually quiet and without much fanfare considering it was the inaugural cruise for the Enchanted Princess. With the small number of passengers aboard however, (954 out of a possible 4,000), the sail-away was still exciting, just with less people than a full ship sailing would have allowed. We did get a tugboat spray send-off for the first sailing of the ship out of Ft. Lauderdale, which was exciting!

We also sailed past the high rise condos we had walked to pre-cruise (from our Margo Lar Hotel) a few days prior. Like when we were on the beach admiring and shouting Bon Voyage at the cruise ships sailing by, we were also greeted by the same shouts and horns blaring, but this time we heard this from aboard our cruise ship sailing past the onlookers on the beach and rocks as we drifted out to sea.

CONCIERGE LOUNGE

The Concierge was a premium perk for full Suite guests only (does not apply to mini-suites, or club class.). The Concierge Lounge was a pleasant and unexpected surprise for us, as it wasn’t promoted on the Princess site, and only had a tiny little box for it’s location on the deck plans. We had an amazing Concierge, Igor, who could not do enough for us and the other suite guests. Igor did everything from arranging for special services such as specialty dining and excursions, to daily planning and arranging for officers and others to stop by the lounge and meet us. Igor was so kind, polite, and professional; he was like having our own personal assistant!

Our Concierge, Igor, along with the Suite Services Manager, Aprile treated us like royalty!

The Steve’s with the Hotel and Assistant Hotel Director in the Concierge Lounge.

CROWN GRILLE

We went to a couple of the Specialty Dining restaurant’s while aboard the Enchanted Princess, and both (The Crown Grill and Sabatini’s) were very reasonably (even cheap!) priced at $29 and $25 respectively. We went to the Crown Grill the first night, but unfortunately we were a bit disappointed with the food quality and service. Granted, it was the first night of the cruise, but it didn’t have a polished feel to it, and the ribeye steak I had was not up to a fine-dining (or even Outback Restaurant) standard. DOS had the Lobster which was very good, but compared to other ships we have sailed on (Celebrity, RCL), the specialty steakhouse, did not warrant the up-charge for service and especially steak quality. It did have an elegant bar just outside the restaurant, and the dining area itself was beautiful. Perhaps it will come together as the sailing move along.

BREAKFAST IN SABATINI’s

Sabatini’s Italian Restaurant, (another specialty restaurant) was by comparison outstanding! As a suite perk, we had breakfast in the restaurant daily, and the staff were absolutely wonderful! We loved Sabatini’s and went there three nights as well for dinner.

PRINCESS CAYS:

Our first port of call was Princess Cays, Princess’s own private island in the Bahamas. We had reserved a cabana for the day, however after checking the weather the day before we arrived (rainy, windy, and no sunshine), we canceled the cabana once aboard the Enchanted Princess. That was a wise decision, as it was a mostly rainy day at Princess Cays, but we still managed to walk around a bit and have lunch on the island there. Princess Cays is a tender port, so the ship docked off the coast of the island, while we took a small boat onto the shore. We did walk by the cabanas on our walk around the island, and later had burgers and hotdogs at the on-island serving pavilion. We ended up going back to the ship after lunch, but still had an enjoyable time stopping at Princess Cays, despite the weather.

St. THOMAS:

The next port of call was St. Thomas, which we had not been to in a few years. We were the only ship in port there, and at times it felt like a ghost town, as many of the businesses had shut down, judging from the large number of buildings shuttered up. We did take the sky-tram up the mountain as an activity, and were afforded some spectacular views both going up and coming down, as well as from the top. St. Thomas, like some of the other islands we visited was already decorated for Christmas as well.

DOMINICA

Sail-away from St. Thomas

DOMINICA

Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) was the one stop that we could not tour the town unless we booked a ship-board excursion. While DOS and I had been here a few years back and toured the island, on this trip (at Concierge Igor’s suggestion), we took a trolley tram ride for a 1 1/2 hour sightseeing trip. We toured the Botanical Gardens, and later the Catholic Church on the Island, which seemed ultra-modern compared to the rest of the island, which had been damaged by hurricanes over the years. Dominica required masks to be worn, even outdoors, which was a bit strange, but we complied with the local laws and enjoyed our trolley tram ride. Our ship (The Enchanted Princess) was the first ship to call at Dominica since the COVID pandemic started, and the locals, and especially children were excite to see tourists to their island.

We took our masks off for the photo, but masks were required on Dominica, even outside!
The main (and modern) Catholic Church in Dominica, located across and down the street from the cruise port.

CURACAO

After a day at sea, we arrived at Curacao. DOS and I had been here before, so we didn’t really want to take a tour; rather walk around on our own. We thought we knew our way around, but somehow turned right instead of left after departing the cruise terminal, and ended up in the wrong direction. Coupled with being lost, we got caught in a heavy shower (with heavy winds) that forced us to take shelter in a small bus stop overhang! We still got wet from the blowing rain, but it was all in good fun. We eventually figured out where we were going, and headed back towards the center of town, and walked across the revolving “draw bridge”.

ARUBA

Aruba was our last port of call on our 10 day cruise. Like the other ports, we had been to Aruba several times, and knew our way around the town to comfortably walk or take the local bus. As the weather was not great the day we were there, we skipped taking the local bus to Eagle Beach, and walked around the town for a couple hours before the rains set in and we went back to the ship. We had a funny experience with the local (free) tram service there: we boarded the tram for a ride around the downtown area, mainly as something to do. Well the tram driver went a ways out of the port are, and then stopped the tram, making an announcement in Dutch (the previous announcements were in Dutch and English). The driver then went into a local cafe, sat down at a window seat, and had lunch while we all waited on the tram! I guess that was Aruba time, but everyone aboard the tram waited the 1/2 hour for the driver to return, mainly because no one knew where we were at that point!

Of all the ports, Aruba, was the only port we saw other ships docked there.

We also went by the Renaissance Hotel, which was across the street from the cruise port. This luxurious hotel had a nice pool and bar area overlooking the port, as well as an attached shopping mall, and even an indoor waterway that serviced their own boat shuttle to their private island. The hotel (and island) was also decorated nicely for Christmas.

CLUB CLASS DINING:

Since we were booked in a suite, we had access to the Club Class Dining, which was a special section of the dining room reserved for full and mini-suites booked in Club Class. Basically the menu was the same as the main dining room, however the service was more attentive (with more staff to assist you) and there was an additional entree item each night, as well as table-side preparation as well. As the Club Class is open seating, you do not need a reservation, and we went a few nights, both just the two of us, and with our shipboard friends as well. The service really was very good, and we had an enjoyable night each time we went.

FORMAL NIGHTS:

On our 10 night Caribbean cruise, we had two formal nights. I must say, we were a bit surprised how many people actually dressed in formal attire; i.e. men in tuxes. While DOS and I both have tuxes, we did not bring them thinking the Caribbean would be more casual, but we will definitely bring our tuxes on the next 10 night cruise we are taking in January. We both wore ties and jackets and weren’t out of place, but we were concerned we would stand out if we wore tuxes. Our ‘old’ cruise line Celebrity, had gotten much more causal in the last few years, opting for “Chic Casual”, instead of formal nights, meaning anything goes, and it was no longer dressy. We like to get dressed up now and then, and even without a tux, it was nice wearing different jackets and ties on the two formal nights. On both formal nights we had dinner in the Club Class Dining Room.

Even Igor and Aprile came down to the dining room to say hi to us on the last Formal Night!

THE Chefs Table:

One of the highlights of our cruise was having dinner at The Chef’s Table. The Chef’s Table is an extra cost event ($115 a person), but well worth it. You can only book this onboard, and the first day we immediately contacted Igor for reservations. Unfortunately it was already booked up when we contacted Igor, but he checked in daily for openings, and either they had a cancellation, or added another Chef’s Table evening and we got to go! The Chef’s Table is limited to 12 lucky souls, who like us enjoyed the fine food and wine dining experience. Each course is presented by the Chef and staff, and the wait staff simultaneously delivers each course to the entire table at once; very classy! Paired with the wines, the night was not only delicious, but lots of fun! At the conclusion of the meal, they presented each couple with a hard-cover Princess Dining book, and a rose to the ladies. Since DOS and I were the only male couple, we didn’t get a rose, but an extra Princess Dining book! The Chef’s Table was such a fun evening, and we would definitely do this again.

GIGI’s PIZZA:

One of our favorite lunch time dining venues, was Gigi’s Pizza. Gigi’s was a sit down full service restaurant, and was a complimentary alternative dining venue. While they also served pizza by the slice at the pool area (also very good), Gigi’s was a place to relax, have a salad, pizza, drink, and maybe even dessert. Don’t worry, we walked off the calories with our daily shipboard walks!

POOL AREA

LOTUS SPA (THE ENCLAVE)

FINAL GOODBYE’s

On our last night of the cruise, we had a last and special Champagne toast in the Concierge Lounge by Igor and Aprile. It was bittersweet, but as Steve (DOS) always says, if you’re sad when leaving a trip, that means you had a wonderful time! That we did, and I have lots of photos to prove it. Until next time – Cheers – until we meet again!

6 thoughts on “Inaugural Cruise on The Enchanted Princess November 10, 2021

    1. Steve Uno Post author

      We had a WONDERFUL time meeting you as well. Sailing with only 954 passengers on the Enchantment on a 4,000 passenger ship may have gotten us spoiled a bit in these COVID times. LOL! Looking forward to sailing with you on our cruise in April as well. Happy Holidays and best wishes for continued health and cruising in 2022!

  1. Lidia DiNicolo

    Hello Steve and Steve

    Boris and I had an amazing time on the Enchanted. Was great meeting the both of you and spending time together having fun,
    We really enjoyed the the concierge lounge with the two of you. This is a great site. Glad to see you are enjoying yourselves. We are planning our work exit strategy :))

    Lidia and Boris

    1. Steve Uno Post author

      Hi Lidia! We so enjoyed meeting you and Boris as well! Hope you had a good trip home without any issues (COVID test, flight delays etc). We loved the Concierge Lounge as well as breakfasts in Sabatini’s; both were great suite perks and it felt like our own little country club with friends. I have a few pics I’ll email to you later on; we’re out touring around Maui right now. We would love to see you guys on another cruise as well.

  2. Rick & Celeste Mckenzie

    If we had known what a detailed review of the cruise you were going to provide we could have skipped going.
    However, if we had missed the cruise we would have missed meeting you.

    We hope to cross paths in the future you are enjoyable people

  3. Pingback: Just got back from our Emerald Princess Cruise! – The Traveling Steve's

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