Monarch of the Seas
by Amanda - aka cruisebunny7 Bahamas June 11, 2010
I decided to take my mom on a suprise cruise for her 51st birthday. After looking at sailings available and the dates I had in mind I decided to give Royal Caribbean a try and I have to say it was the best choice!
We flew from MI on the day of embarkation, we purchased the cruise 2 weeks prior to embarkation so we had to arrange our own transportation from MCO to the port. We arranged transport with ATC (around the clock) and I can't say we were impressed, we had to wait over 45 mins in MCO. Once the shuttle arrived we were on the road, it is only a 45 minute shuttle ride from MCO to the Port, but I would not bank on it always being that quick as it looked like they are gearing up for construction this summer.
We had both cruised out of Port Canaveral before, but it is always impressive to see the ship for the first time, the Monarch is a beautiful ship with yacht like lines, and we love how RCCL incorporates so much glass into the exterior design of their ships. Check in was a breeze and we were off to the ship. The Monarch is the oldest and one of the smallest ships in the fleet, but she is in fantastic shape. Yes she is slightly outdated in spots, but overall she is in fantastic condition and impressively clean.
Our cabin was an oceanview room on Deck 3 midship, we had a "secret" door that led from our hallway directly into the lobby. It was a fantastic location!! The rooms are smaller than on CCL but space is used wisely, there were two medicine cabinets, many hangers and bountiful drawer space, I do have to suggest packing a power stip so you can charge numerous things at one time. There is a hair dryer onboard, but I did not use it. Our cabin steward was fantastic and always had our cabin looking great once we returned from either shore excursions or dinner at night.
We ate dinner in Vincents' dining room, our tablemates were great as was our waitstaff. The food was great, yes it was disappointing to not have lobster on the menu, but I am not a seafood person so it was not something I would discount the cruise experience for. The windjammer cafe' was also wonderful, the food was presented well, there were not many options, but what was offered never disappointed. The only complaint I would have is the location of the ice cream, the two machines are only on the top section of the restaraunt and it was often difficult to get up and around to the ice cream from other decks.
Nassau was a repeat port for both of us, we did the Discover Atlantis tour. It was alright, Atlantis is gorgous but Justin Beber was performing that night so the hotel was filled with crazed young girls. My mom and I are both in decent shape, but many on the tour were not in great shape and it required us to walk around 2 miles, many people had issues with that. Once we were done with Atlantis we visited the Straw Market, I bought a nice overnight bag for cheap so I was happy with our visit to Nassau.
Coco Cay was amazing! We got off the ship around 1130 and went right to the beach, we walked down to Barefoot Beach. It was fantastic, we sat under a thatch hut for around 2-3 hours and only saw a few other passengers. The beach and island were very clean, no jellyfish during our visit. I am definatly looking forward to visiting again soon.
Overall, the Monarch of the Seas is an older ship, but a fantastic one. I am now a loyal to royal customer for life! Our trip home was uneventful and I am planning my next RCCL cruise for this coming November when my husband comes home from overseas during his leave this fall. My mom loved her present...it was much better than a card. :)