By Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel
2:36 PM EDT, April 24, 2013
Port Canaveral welcomes a new cruise ship this week as Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas begins year-round three- and four-night Bahamas itineraries.
The Enchantment of the Seas replaces the Monarch of the Seas, which has been transferred to the cruise line's sister brand Pullmantur and sailed its last trip out of the Brevard County port earlier this month.
And while Royal Caribbean has been putting several of their older ships through major renovations, Enchantment of the Seas recently went through a smaller renovation -- adding Royal Advantage program amenities such as a nursery, outdoor movie screen and new dining options.
The 989-foot-long, 2,252-passenger ship first sailed in 1997. In 2005, it underwent a massive refurbishment in which the line cut the ship into two and added a 73-foot-long section making it the largest of the Vision Class of the line's ships built in the mid 1990s. Its signature features include a pool deck with interactive splash pad with dual suspension bridge on either side of the ship. It also features the popular rock wall and a bungee trampoline attraction. It had been sailing year-round out of Baltimore, which now has the recently upgraded Grandeur of the Seas.
The December 2012 dry dock saw the addition of the line's Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, '60s-era R Bar and new dining option, the Park Café gourmet deli.
Other enhancements include Wi-Fi service throughout the ship, flat panel TVs in each stateroom, interactive digital signage and an outdoor, poolside movie screen that proved popular on the Oasis-class ships. Also new to the ship are the Concierge Club lounge for suite guests and Diamond Club for the line's loyalty program members.
This ship's first trip is Thursday, April 25 for a four-night Bahamas trip with stops at the line's private island Coco Cay and capital city Nassau as well as one night at sea. It then will begin its normal Monday-Friday, four-night and Friday-Monday, three-night itineraries year-round. The three-night itinerary also makes stops at Coco Cay and Nassau.
The Enchantment of the Seas is one of six ships with a Universal Orlando partnership, offering discounted, multi-night stays at the resort pre- or post-cruise with ground transfers between the ship and hotel.
The ship is one of two Royal Caribbean ships calling Port Canaveral home, joining Freedom of the Seas. It's the first new Royal Caribbean ship at the port for four years.
The port also is home to the Disney Dream and the new Disney Fantasy as well as the Carnival Sensation, Ecstasy and Dream. The Disney Magic will be calling Port Canaveral home in January 2014.
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