Just back from the 11/17/03 sailing on the Monarch of the Seas. This cruise makes number 20 for my husband and I with the majority of our cruises on RCCL. Got a great "happy hour" rate with a last minute booking.
Arrived at the port about noon. Embarkation was a breeze with no long lines. Got onboard right away. Announcements were being made that cabins would no be available until 1:00 pm. We had brought out luggage onboard so thought we would go to the cabin to drop it off before heading up to the Windjammer for lunch. Met Alex, our cabin steward and he said our cabin was ready. Quickly unpacked and headed up for lunch.
The Windjammer is divided into 2 sections. Traditionl buffet in front and Asian and traditions selections in "Jade" in back. Jade is the place to go. Great views and less hustle and bustle. You can take your food back there if you get it in the traditional Windjammer. Upstairs in Jade is a sushi bar. Nominal charge and, I think, open at dinner only. Upstairs in Windjammer is a pizzaria and deli sandwich bar. We ate both breakfast and most lunches here. Only ate lunch one time in the dining room and it was "very slow".
Overall dinner in the dining room was good, not great. Service was exceptional and we had great dinner companions. I had looked forward to some fish/seafood and found the shrimp scampi good but the other fish entrees were breaded with very little fish to be found.
Entertainment was very good with something for everyone from productions shows to comedians. Chris, the Cruise Director, was a high energy guy who really made the 50/60's night fun. We've gone to them on every cruise we've been on and this one had the most participation. Don't miss the dueling pianos in Boleros.
Cabin was small but adequate. We had an outside cabin no deck 5. With the beds together there isn't anywhere to sit and you have to crawl on the bed to open/close the curtains. For a short cruise it's OK.
Great itinerary. Plenty to do in San Diego. We walked to Seaport Village and Horton Plaza. We've been to San Diego many times so had already been to the zoo and Sea World. In Catalina we rented a golf cart and did our own tour. Plenty to see withing walking distance too. In Ensenada we walked to town and back. Happened to Revolution Day and the start of the Baja 1000 off road race so the town was hopping.
Debarkation was the pits. Not the way you want to end a great vacation. We didn't get a bill so had to stand in line at the purser's desk before we left. Must have happened to alot of others too as the line was quite long. Then it was wait again as we were in the huge group of "no passports". If you had a passport you breezed through. We waited 45 minutes in a very slow moving line. They had 2 lines dedicated to passengers with passports!!
This cruise was a great value for the money. Would do it again.