This was the first 3 day cruise for both my husband and I. We have been on cruises before...my husband has been on Royal Caribbean before, but this would be my first time on RCCL. I have been on Celebrity cruises, and I am a bit spoiled as to what I expect a cruise to be like. I did look up many reviews on the Monarch of the Seas, some good some bad. So I decided to go into this cruise with an open mind.
Embarkation: Was Quick and easy. Everyone was very pleasant and we got on board in less than 20 minutes.
We traveled with carry on bags...for a 3 day cruise all you need is a carry on bag. While on board we went immediately to our rooms to place our luggage there. This has been the first time we got an interior room. The room was small. Another reason why it is probably best to bring carry on bags. You will probably won't have enough room to navigate large luggage. There was not enough drawer space to put your clothes away, so I kept most of my casual wear in the luggage. There was plenty of hangers, though. So all the nicer clothes went on hangers. Our room was below the 3rd floor Centrum, where a lot of music and entertainment was played. We could hear lots of noise, but at night by 11 pm it was quiet. If you are an early sleeper, best bet is to not have a room that is below an area that will have music or entertainment going on late into the night. Our room attendant Simeone was very nice. Our remote control didn't work and he quickly got us another one in a matter of minutes.
We wanted to grab a snack to eat, since it was too late for lunch and not time for dinner. We were scheduled to have dinner in the Claude's dining room at 5:45 pm. So we decided to grab some pizza on the 12th floor above the Windjammer. The slice i got was cold, so I was not a fan...so i decided to head to the 11th floor of the Windjammer and grabbed myself a hamburger and some fries. It was pretty good. I have to say it was the only time I had something to eat at the Windjammer. I am not big on buffet style eating, so I convinced my husband to stick to the dining room for our meals.
The one item that was a major hit for us was the Self Serve Soft Serve ice cream next to the Pizza on the 12th floor. I have to say my husband and I ate ice cream every day on the trip at least twice a day. Everyone we talked to young and old, loved it.
As for the sit down dining, we ate at Claude's for dinner. Our wait staff was amazing. Always catering to our every need. One night I did not care for the item I chose for dinner and they were eager to get me something else that would be more appetizing. The food was good, I would say 3 star dining, good enough to eat. Desserts were AMAZING!! As for breakfast we ate at Vincent's, breakfast was good, but the service was not as good. A fellow female table mate and I asked for lox on the side with our omelets, the waiter had the lox (which was barely noticeable) placed inside our omelet. When we inquired about it, he said that we had asked for lox inside. And we both said, no we asked for lox on the side. So he brought out an order of a lox plate with bagel, capers etc for just one of us. We both looked at each other and decided to share it since it looked like I was not going to get the lox. It was disappointing considering that our waitstaff for dinner was so good to us.
The shows were good. We saw two comedy shows, one magician and some music acts. I would have to say overall, you can find something to do.
As for the pools, we decided not to use them. The 3 day cruise is considered a party ship, so you have so many people drinking and filling up the pool like crazy. We saw the whirlpool just filled to the brim with people. Don't get me wrong I don't mind partying, but it's young people who can't handle their liquor that you have to worry about. Also, you will find tons of kids and teenagers on this ship. If you want to relax and have a more quieter atmosphere this ship is not for you.
Bahamas: We did a 3 hour submarine and bus tour. It was great, but it was hot that day, so we got a bit dehydrated. If you plan on doing that excursion be sure to bring water, or buy water.
Coco Cay: Loved the private island. We did Jet Skiing, Kayaking, Snorkeling and just relaxed on the beach. I have to admit Jet skiing for an hour was 1/2 the price than jet skiing at Bermuda. And we got a chance to get into the water and pick up starfish. It was great. Snorkeling was fun, but too bad that most of the coral is dead. There is no one giving guidance to those snorkeling that they shouldn't step on the coral.
RCCL had a BBQ on the island filled with hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs etc. One thing to point out....if you are getting food, be sure to cover your food with a plate. We got that advice from our waitstaff at Claude's. Seems there many seagulls that wait for the moment you are not looking to come and steal your food. So beware.
Monarch of the Seas in summary is a decent ship. It has a bit of the 80's 90's look to it, but it is still clean and maintained well. If you love to party this is the boat for you. There is amazing music by the pool area, live bands and always a signature drink for the day being served. On the night you leave the Bahamas to head to Coco Cay, right before we leave the port, there is a big pool party with lots of dancing and a large late night buffet. Everyone is on the pool deck dancing drinking and enjoying the festivities before the boat leaves the port at 11:30 pm.
Things not to expect....Don't expect to get chocolates on your pillow every night. The towel animals are only done on one night only.
If you are on a tight budget, this ship is a good way to get a cruise vacation in without breaking the bank, but with that said don't expect to see and experience a 5 star cruise ship. I wouldn't say you get what you pay for, because I think you get a bit more than what you pay for. As long as you go in not expecting too much, you will probably enjoy the cruise so much more.