Sovereign of the Seas
by SC Cruiser
January 3, 2006
Sovereign of the Seas, January 3-6, 2006. We had a group of twelve family members, ranging in age from 18 to 76. Six of us flew out of Charlotte on USAir. We were supposed to leave Charlotte at 7:45 a.m. and arrive in Orlando at 9:15 a.m. We had to wait two hours before the crew finally declared our plane a no-go due to mechanical problems. We were pulled off the plane, waited for an hour, and finally boarded a different plane to Orlando. We arrived in Orlando, three hours later then we had planned, but still in plenty of time to make the ship.
After arriving in Orlando, we then had to wait 45 minutes until the next RCCL shuttle bus. As our nerves were a bit fried after worrying about whether we would even make it to Orlando, the wait for the bus was aggravating. Given the option, I will not sail out of Port Canaveral again. Enduring an hour bus ride after dealing with flying is not high on my list of activities to relish in future vacations.
That said, we were still able to be on board by about 2:45 p.m. As we had booked a junior suite, we did not have to stand in line to check-in, and our luggage was at our cabin within 45 minutes. For others in our party, I think it took about twenty minutes to check in, and luggage arrived later in the afternoon. Lunch was still being served on the buffet when we were all on board.
Our junior suite was great. I don't know that I'll cruise again without a balcony. The cabin was clean and we experienced no sewer odors, as I had read online that some folks experienced. There was a damaged piece of Formica (about 6" x 6") behind the door, next to the closet, but other than that, the room was in good shape. The bathroom had a real tub/shower unit, which was nice. I did not, however, succeed in learning how to take a shower without soaking the entire bathroom. I think I identified that the shower water would run around the edge of the tub onto the floor.
The Cabin Steward was personable, but not highly efficient. Due to the flooding issues referenced above, I went through a few extra towels. I had to chase down extra towels on one occasion. On the second night, she picked up our dirty beach/pool towels, but did not leave replacements as the literature indicated she would. Again, we had to ask, but as soon as we did, the towels were quickly provided. I heard no complaints from other members of our party regarding their cabins, except for my college-student nephews (who were paying their own way and accordingly booked the least expensive cabin they could) joking that they were bunking in with crew.
When we arrived for our first night's dining, we learned that despite cross-referencing all our Reservation numbers, two of our group of twelve had not been seated with the rest of us. The Maitre' D quickly corrected this when we brought it to his attention.
The dining room staff was the highlight of the ship. Our waiter Ash and head waiter Jerry were incredibly attentive and entertaining. They went above and beyond the call to playfully tease and joke with my 75 year old mother. She is still laughing about them weeks later. The dining room staff were also most obliging with bringing multiple entrees and desserts to my two college-student nephews. They also quickly accommodated when my niece asked for a dish she had ordered to be re-made without an ingredient to which she was allergic.
The ordering of drinks at dinner was a bit confusing. It seems if you want wine, you have to order from one person. If you order beer or a mixed drink, it must come from another person. It seemed unnecessarily time-consuming, but only a minor annoyance.
The food was good, but not great. Still, no one went hungry, and we had a wonderful time.
Nassau was fairly typical. Our group split up so that some could shop. The younger crowd went to the Immigrations Department to get our passports stamped. My wife spent a lot of time at the straw market, which is within easy walking distance of the ship.
Coco Cay was a pretty beach area. We just lay around on the beach for a while, refusing the vigorous efforts of the guys hawking "Coco Loco" drinks at the tops of their lungs. When it started getting cloudy, we headed back for the ship. We did eat lunch on the island, but the food was even worse than on the ship.
We didn't attend any of the theater shows, but we did visit the casino each night after dinner.
The "dueling piano" guys in the piano bar were incredible. They must have photographic memories for both tunes and lyrics. We enjoyed their show on two different nights. We howled watching them teach one poor girl the sometimes risqué hand motions to "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog."
When we received our luggage tags for leaving the ship, some in our group were early and some of us were later. I went to the front desk and asked for additional early luggage tags so that we could all stay together, and they were most eager to assist, even giving me extras. After clearing customs, we were not long boarding the buses for the return trip to Orlando.
All in all, it was a great trip.