Having cruised with Carnival for our last 3 cruises, we somewhat missed Royal Caribbean. My wife and I decided to go for a quick weekend cruise and leave the kids with her parents. We went with a weekend cruise on the Monarch out of Port canaveral. The stops were Nassau on Sat and CocoCay on Sun.
We arrived at the port at 11:30 and were able to promptly park, checkin and were on the boat by 11:45. That was great as the antipated boarding time wasn't untill 1:30. We had the Burgers and Dogs from the lunch buffet. That was the start of our rough time with the food on the Monarch. Burger was dry and flavorless and the hotdog was boiled and not so great either. It didn;'t realy bother us though as who expects much from a boarding day lunch? It sure was nice to be acknoledged and attended to by the friendly buffet dinning staff though! Really missed that when on Carnival.
After getting situated in our room, my wife got a pina' colada and I got a Sam Adams and we wandered a bit before the safety Muster. The ship is small and older but kept in great shape. Everything was clean and there were no odd smells. All staff were friendly. After the safety drill, we went back tot he room.
We had an outside stateroom with an obsrtucted view on Deck 8. The window was large and the light it let in was quite nice. The stateroom was a decent size for being one of the smaller ships. Stateroom service was good however we only had a towel creature one night and never a little mint or anything. Don't get me wrong, it didn't bother us but worth mentioning. The beds were VERY uncomfortable. It was like there was a flexible peice of plastic on top of springs and under a thin bit of pillow top. They are also a bit short kind like the matresses in most RVs. The pillows and linen were nice but the beds made for some sore backs in the morning.
The cruise director is good and quite engageing. He did very well with the 70's blow out party which has kinda become a "thing" on the Monarch and something not to miss. He held his own quite well with the professional dancers while still MCing the event.
Now, besides the beds, my biggest complaint with the monarch is the food. Bear in mind though that we ate all our meals in the windjammer buffet. Both my wife and I started feeling a bit "off" after lunch and then after dinner, we had some serious troubles. We found that if we stuck to the Salad we were alright but branch out to about anything else and we were in for trouble. The food was not really all that good either. Most of it was pretty devoid of flavor. Fortunately, I over heard a couple other people talking about the stomach issues on the stairwells so it wasn't just us. It was soo bad that I started dreading our 7 day cruise we have comming up on the freedom until we started just eating the salad. I don't know what it is they put in that food but it should almost be classified as poisoning.