I am surprised to see the four excellent reviews written on Oct 12, considering these people were most likely on the same cruise on me and the majority of the people on this cruise looked as miserable as we were. Perhaps they work for RCL.
Background Information: I have been on 5 other cruises...some big ships some smaller. My boyfriend and I took the RCL Monarch of the Seas to the Bahamas, 4 nights. Getting on & off this ship was quick & painless. We never waited long. Check in online & print your boarding passes in order to save time.
The positive pretty much stops there. This was the worst cruise I have been on. The Monarch is old and outdated. The size wasn't too bad, but they obviously never updated anything. Paint was pealing, rugs were old & dirty looking. Even at the bars, the spots where you rest your arms were old & torn.
The cabin: Yes, we knew it would be small. Your typical cruise cabin is small. We delt with having almost no room to move around. I mean, who spends time in their cabin? The bed was just aweful. On the first day, our sheets were stained & dirty. I typically try not to complain to staff, but there was NO WAY I was sleeping on dirty sheets! We called room service immediately, and they told my boyfriend that the sheets would be changed after the safety drill. We waited a little bit after the drill and then went back, no new sheets. I called this time, and the irritated man on the other end advised "They will change them as soon as you leave the room." We left the room again and wondered around, took our time, even though we really wanted to get back & lay down for a bit, take a shower for dinner. Thank goodness we had the late seating! We finally go back to the room, & they were at that point cleaning other rooms. We walked in, discovered the still dirty sheets, and in comes a room steward. He was clearly irritated, mumbled to us that he was taking care of it, so we kindly advised that we would leave & give him space (since you could not fit 3 people in that room). Boy was he in a bad mood.
The bed itself felt like a stiff board with sheets over it. The first night I got about 4 hours of sleep. Luckily I drank enough the next 3 nights in order to get some sleep. I guess if you like an extremely stiff bed, you may like it, but it hurt just to sit on that thing.
The food quality varied. Breakfast in the formal dining room was just ok. The portions were small & the selection was limited. We found it odd that no one was pouring us water-until the waiter took our orders & asked if we wanted $4 bottles. Aha. We said no thank you, we will just take the water in the glass (it is free, and tastes just fine). The next 2 days we ate breakfast at the Winjammer Cafe & it was nice. There was more to choose from, tasted just the same. They also put out this cranberry flavored water which was refreshing. Lunch at the buffet was ok, we were never that impressed. We ate dinner in the formal dining room every night. We were at a table for 6 but the other 4 guests never showed, which was nice because it was a nice quiet dinner for two that way. The first night was bad. My boyfriend got the meat selection (I want to say it was prime rib, but I can't remember) and he liked it. I got the 'quesadillas' and boy was that a mistake. It was two tortillas filled with tomato and spinach, that's it. It tasted like a thin piece of pizza in which they forgot most of the ingredients. On the first night, our waiter was rude and seemed irritated. However, on the next 3 nights he lightened up a bit and was nicer. Perhaps he realized it was just the two of us at the table and that he needed a bigger tip from us. On a positive note, he was more than willing each night to bring us extra if we did not feel like the portions were big enough. The portions were small, but we were always full by the end of dessert (I think due to all of the bread we ate).
Drinks were ok. Stick to beer or rum & coke, which will cost around $5.25 with gratuity. Watch it-gratuity is already included in the drink price, but of course they still leave a space for additional tip. I do enjoy wine, so on the nights I had wine at $8 a glass it was costly. We had a bottle with dinner one night. The cheapest bottle was $29. I considered getting that wine package but I knew I wasn't just going to drink wine the entire trip. Most of the mixed frozen drinks or 'special' drinks they made for the day were $8 as well.
Islands: Cococay was nice, accept for the food. The lunch was terrible. I had a hamburger which tasted like cardboard, with mac & cheese which I had 1 bite of & spit out. The drinks on the island were the same price as on the ship. My boyfriend started drinking in the late morning, the usual Captain & diet. After lunch, they magically got smaller-same price though. When he asked for the same size he had before, they refused & said that was just a 'special' earlier. Once again, they were not friendly when speaking to him about it. I guess they figured people would get drunk enough not to care that they reduced the size of the drinks after a certain time? The island itself was beautiful-plenty to do. Don't pay for the nature trail-just take it yourself. We saw plenty of wildlife & there are signs giving you all of the same info as the tour guide probably gives. Toward the end, we went left instead of right & found the other side of the island. We were disappointed we didn't find it earlier in the day! It was very quiet, with cabannas to sit under and it did have a bar there. There was a big stingray in the water though & someone said they saw some kind of shark, so be careful if you go in the water on that side. I read someone else's review that there was rain-I enver saw a drop of rain the entire trip! You have to take a small tender from the ship to the island, which was quick & painless. No waiting there.
The next day was Nassau. I have been there before and I knew that there isn't much to do in town. As soon as we got off the ship, there were tons of people selling cab rides, etc. Take a cab for $4/person to Atlantis. We paid for a package to spend the day there & it was nice but very expensive.
On the last day, all of the ATM's on the ship happened to be out of service, but you can use your sail card for the final tips & casino (for an extra cost, of course). Luckily we ended up with just enough money to give the tips. I am not a gambler but my boyfriend was not impressed with the casino. He only plays table games and said they don't shuffle right, so watch out. We did not attend the nightly shows, so I can't comment on them. We did not partake in many activities as we just wanted to do our own thing and relax. We did attend the party by the pool the night we left Nassau, which was cool. They played music and got people to dance, served food, etc. I ordered a captain & diet & they poured so much captain I had to give it to my boyfriend and order a beer.
Even the fellow travelers were rude. Perhaps they were miserable. There were a lot of rude drunks. My boyfriend and I like to drink but we know how to act like human beings at the same time. Overall, there were ups & downs, but I would recommend a newer ship in which the people are more kind & courteous. I know this ship is done in the spring & we figured that the staff just stopped caring (unless they get a tip, of course).