This was our third cruise with RCI -- previous cruises were on the Radiance and the Freedom so we were curious what being on a smaller ship would be like in terms of amenities, food, and entertainment. We were very happy overall with the Monarch and we would cruise again on her but she is leaving RCI this spring. Just a few opinions provided below.
ENTERTAINMENT -- better than expected. Marc the cruise director was great (BING BONG!) and the comedian aboard was excellent. In particular, the MOS orchestra was solid and the Dance Quartet was particularly entertaining. Kelly Goodrich on piano was great (just as he was on the Radiance two years ago). The Love and Marriage game show was particularly funny this cruise as the people selected were outrageous.
STATEROOM -- perhaps the smallest room I have ever stayed in -- smaller than my daughter's dorm room at college! That said, the room attendant was great and the room was always clean. No complaints other than being at the very front of the ship, we could really feel the pitching of the ship. Fortunately, neither one of us is susceptible to seasickness. If we were, there would have been a problem!
FOOD -- average. Expected average and was delivered average. Food was serviceable, not great -- but not bad either. Really strikes the middle ground! Chocolate brownies at Sorrento's were surprisingly good. Drinks were strong.
FITNESS CENTER -- small but functional. Never had to wait for a treadmill (although one was out of service the entire cruise). Warning --- if you are very tall (over 6'3"), you will not be able to use the treadmills because the ceiling is very low. I am 6'1" and had very little room up top.
EMBARK/DISEMBARK -- Both sides were incredibly fast this time around -- I don't think it took more than 10 minutes either side -- was very pleased with the speed and efficiency of these processes. HOWEVER, the bus from MCO to the pier was two hours late picking us up. We talked to folks about this and were told RCI recently changed providers -- I suggest they forego the savings and go back to the folks who used to do this. It was particularly frustrating watching bus after bus arrive for "the Mouse" while we and others continuously waited. The bus back to the airport was on time -- no wait at all.
EXCURSION -- only had one day in Nassau as rough weather prevented the stop at Coco Cay. Went to Atlantis and had a great time -- Atlantis reminds me of a cross between a Disney Park and a Vegas hotel. It was very clean, tons of things to do, and we might look into staying there at some point for a weekend as separate trip.
OVERALL IMPRESSION -- as usual, great time had by both of us and we highly recommend Royal Caribbean!