This is written from the perspective of a single dad cruising with his two boys ages 8 and 12 for their 4th cruise, my 12th and their 3rd time on the Sovereign and my 5th. We always go the week after school is out and they get out early here on the 17th of May. Last year we enjoyed the Enchantment and would have gone again but it is being stretched. I am booked again on the Enchantment on November 12 and looking forward to that. This review will be best understood by referencing my photo galleried tilted Dave the Wave's Sovereign of the Seas.
Embarkation- We left St Petersburg at 9 AM Monday the 23rd and drove the 152 miles in just over two hours. We arrived at about 11:20 and since we were the only ship in port that day, the parking was a breeze and we were in the building by 11:30. Everyone is catching on to the get there early routine. As we came up the escalator, there were already a few hundred people in line. I looked for and found the Crown & Anchor sign for Platinum and Diamond members only. We did not have to wait. As we got all the way toward the desk, they checked our docs and we were at the counter. It took about 5 minutes to show docs, birth certificates, DL, credit card and we were given our sea pass cards and on our way. NOTE: I did have a notarized letter from their mother (my ex-wife) allowing me to take them on this sea voyage but was not asked of it and I did not offer it. I have had it each of the four times I have taken them and never been asked for it. Of course, they look like me (a good thing) and we all have the same last name. We went onboard, had our pictures taken and were in the ship before noon. Now it seems they do keep the fire doors closed to the cabins until 1PM so we went to the Windjammer and had some lunch. Actually, I sent the kids into the Windjammer and I had my first Red Stripe of the day! There is some seating by the forward pool where we sat, ate and waited until 1 PM.
The cabin- We have been on the Commodore deck (9) twice before. This time I took cabin 9582 which is a quad all the way after portside just steps away from Adventure Ocean. This proved to be a great location. Our luggage arrived by about 2 PM. I used my cooler as a carry-on and my 18 Budwiesers, 6 tonic waters, 3 limes, 12 bottles of water and 12 pack of soda arrived safely. I gave the cabin steward $10 and asked him to keep my cooler full of ice. (see photo gallery) he was happy to do so and gave us great service with plenty of towel animals. It seems they have removed the tubs from these cabins and replaced with large shower stalls. These are more practical with great water pressure. The cabins have been updated with new curtains, bed spreads and carpet. No complaints or problems here.
The Ship- The Sovereign was in great shape and the changes were nice if not minor. The Sorrento's pizza provided a good respite from a day at the pool and filled the void between lunch and dinner. We never ate in Johnny Rockets as I am still not excited about paying for food when I can eat of what is included in my cruise fare. The pool deck had all new carpet in blue rather than the old green new deck chairs and a new paint scheme in the pool itself. Still the same ship with a fresh new look. Still one of my favorites.
The fellow passengers- This cruise seemed to be full of recent high school grads and their families. They seemed well behaved and appeared to all have a great time. There were some singles, some families, a lot of couples and generally a good crowd. There were a lot of people from Florida. In fact, a large group of girls that were on the Enchantment last year were on this cruise for the same reason as me. The Enchantment was in dry dock. The prospects for meeting single women were not as good this time as a lot of them in my age range were too busy keeping track of their high school kids. I still managed to have a great time though.
Adventure Ocean- as usual, the kids had a great time in here. They have remodeled the whole area, created a new "Living Room" for teens, (which seemed a popular place for them to go to make-out) and the counselors were all excellent. As my kids have gotten older, they are not as into being in there all the time. They met other kids to explore the ship with and had a great time overall.
Pool games- The usual belly flop (see pics in my gallery) I got the bronze medal for my level of difficulty in turning a back flip into a bellyflop. The fat guy in the speedo took the gold medal. I could not top that. (see pics!!). The sexy legs contest was corny as usual. For the first time, the cruise director had guys holding the horses in the horse races. It may have something to do with his sexual orientation but the ladies did not get to participate in anything but the bean bag toss (big deal). If they have a belly flop, sexy legs (for men), why not a bikini contest or something for the ladies?
Food- We ate in the dining room each night at the early sitting and consider this to be an important part of the overall experience. The food was great, the service excellent and they brought Eric a little cake and candle for his birthday (see pics). The Windjammer was great too.
Cococay- A beautiful day here. I took my 12 year old on the Jet Ski tour and had a blast. They asked who wanted to go fast and we quickly replied, "We do!!" SO we got to follow the leader instead of waiting for the slowpokes. If you have ever done this you will know what I am talking about.
Nassau- After having been here several times, we decided to just stay on the ship and enjoy the pool and the amenities.
The overall cruise was great as we expected it to be, the weather could not have been better, the service great, the crew wonderful, the fellow cruisers a fun bunch and I look forward to the Enchantment in November for 5 nights without the kids. If you have any questions, you can email me directly. Please see my photo gallery and you will get the whole "picture". I posted it around the first of June.