We booked this cruise about 2 1/2 weeks before sailing date. We left at noon for the port and got there at about 1:20, quickly found a parking spot and carried our 2 small suitcases to the terminal. We only spent about 5 minutes through the security line, then up to the check in line. As usual check in went very smoothly, going through the priority line.
We found that the cruise outdid our expectations. Noting that the Monarch was slated for sale to Pullmantur like the Sovereign, we thought that the ship may be showing signs of age. To the contrary, the carpets, walls and the ship in general was very well maintained. The only exception we found were the casters on the chairs in the Schooner Bar. At least half didn't have working casters.
We ate dinner in the dining room each night. Our service and food were very good, our Head Waiter was one of the best ones we have had. Our waiter was fairly new but did a good job, likely in part due to the fact that his section was only partially full. He only had 4 diners on Formal Night. We had lunch in the dining room one day (Nassau), and Windjammer the other two. I was disappointed in the lunch on Coco Cay day. I would love for them to keep the dining room opened on port days. Breakfast was in Windjammers, where we could get the freshly cooked eggs and omelets.
We were thrilled about how we were treated as Diamond Plus members. Even though there is no Diamond Club or Concierge, the Viking Crown Lounge had a private function each night between 5-8. And they also had the Crown and Anchor welcome back party, during which my wife and I were presented with our glass block for completing 210 points. But we were most impressed with the Loyalty Ambassador/Future Cruise Consultant, Michelle. She acted as a concierge, helping us out with minor issues, putting us in touch with the group coordinator and even helping us get first (OK, second) off the ship.
The entertainment was good. The comedian they had on the first night was hilarious. The outside entertainer (who we had seen a couple of times), El Gaucho was very good. The production show, Can't Stop the Beat was well done. However, having seen that one at least twice before, I was not glad to see it again. The cruise director staff were quite good for the most part, especially Kaci, who had a great sense of humor and interacted well with the guests.
Disembarking was a breeze - again thanks to Michelle. We were on the road by 7:30 and unfortunately back to work.
We really enjoyed our short cruise on the Monarch and will try to book her again for a weekend getaway before she goes over to Europe.