We originally booked a 4 day cruise to Bahamas on RCCL Monarch of the Seas departing from of Port Canaveral on 10/1 returning 10/5. The day after I booked the cruise, something came up and was unable to go on those dates. I immediately called Royal Caribbean to see if there was anything they could do. I had read the cancellation policy. After speaking with the customer service rep, RCCL allowed me to push my trip off to the following Friday. I was so relieved. I really expected RCCL to simply restate their policy. Fortunately for me, with no trouble whatsoever, they allowed me to change my date. This would be my 4th cruise on Royal Caribbean.
So off to Port Canaveral we went. Check in at the port was a breeze. Everyone was friendly and smiling. Parking at the port was a flat $60.00. I was expecting the standard $15.00 per day, but hey, you walk across the street and you are at the ship.
Instead of going with everyone to the Windjammer cafe for lunch after boarding, we ate early and went immediately to the Viking Crown lounge. For those who don't know, one of the amenities I love most about RCCL is that at the top of their ships, they have a beautiful bar/lounge with a 360 degree view. We always go sit up there and watch departure from port. It was beautiful and it was basically empty. As we had an inside cabin, this is a great place to start. Plus. I am a smoker, and this is a huge lounge. one side is smoking, one side non-smoking. I didn't even bother the non-smokers. What a beautiful place to start the cruise.
Dining- this is where I really think RCCL could improve this ship. We ate the first night in Vincent's dining room on deck 3. It was actually quite convenient as this was the same floor our cabin was on. I had never had a cabin on the same deck as the dining room, and it turned out to be very convenient. The elevators are always busiest around those times, so we just walked to our state room. Waited a few minutes and then headed back out after the crowd cleared. I had the prime rib. It was just OK, a little thin maybe 1/4 inch thick. Because it was so thin, it really wasn't very juicy at all, but it was OK.
On Saturday we ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. It is buffet and I can usually find something to eat. At lunch the served a sliced beef at the meat station that was inedible. I mean really, the guy cutting it should have known. In the trash that went. I did find some of the best honey dew melon I ever ate at breakfast. So after that dinner, we immediately made reservations at the specialty restaurant Jade. Dinner the second night in the MDR was better.
Jade- We had eaten on the Navigator of the Seas at their specialty restaurant Chops Grille. When I left there, I felt like I just left a 5 star restaurant in Manhattan !! Fabulous !! Jade, unfortunately wasn't quite that experience. You see Jade is a concept restaurant. They basically bring you a hot rock in a ceramic plate and you cook your own food. WOW. Who thought that was good idea? Not only that, but they butterflied a perfectly good 8 oz. fillet mignon. Of course, we both overcooked our steaks, and there was simply not enough room to cook the veggies and shrimp at the same time. It really was awful. Plus they price the food in Jade individually, unlike the other specialty restaurants where you just pay an up charge. The chocolate dessert was very good. I figure RCCL knows that their Jade concept is not a good one, but I just want them to know that when cruisers go looking for great food, and don't mind paying a little extra, we would probably prefer that a chef cooks it.
I also understand that we only paid $200 per person for this cruise and I expected an up charge for Fillet and Lobster, but when I pay it, I would at least like a great meal.
I do not want anyone think this is a bad ship or a bad cruise. The crew was friendly. RCCL always keeps their ships in great condition. They are beautiful. The waiters, stewards and crew members are always polite and cordial. I still had a wonderful time and I will be cruising again on RCCL very soon. We actually pre-booked our next cruise on the ship because you get an extra $100.00 off for doing it there. We didn't even have to know when our next cruise was or on which ship. We can decide that later. I thought that was really a nice feature.
So check out the Crown Viking lounge, keep your cash and stay out of Jade and enjoy your RCCL cruise.