Monarch of The Seas Sept 3rd 4 day Baja Cruise.
This was our 5th cruise with this itinerary. Our 15th cruise overall
Arrived at LAX Monday morning and was picked up by my daughter and driven to the port. We arrived at the port around 10:30 and had no line at check in. We then had to wait until 12:15 to board the ship. While we were waiting to board I noticed lines starting to form for check in, by noon the wait looked to be about 20 to 30 mins. We were on the ship by 12:30. An announcement was made that the cabins would not be ready until 1 PM so we went to the Windjammer for lunch. After lunch we made our way to our cabin 2013 inside.
Our cabin was small but adequate size for two. Plenty of closet space for a 4 night cruise. The cabin could sleep 4 with the pull down beds, but I have no idea how four people could move around in such a small space. The only thing I did not like about the cabin was there was no safe available in it. Our bed was in a twin configuration but was made into a double by dinnertime. We rarely saw William, our cabin steward but the room was always kept up and even had towel animals on a couple of nights.
The crew seemed very friendly with everyone saying hello whenever you passed them in the hallways.
The ship was kept clean and hallways clear of room service dishes.
I am not going to comment on the quality of the food. I have the taste of an eight year old and would have been happy with beans and wieners the entire cruise and maybe a baloney sandwich thrown in.
We ate most of our morning meals in the dinning room, had one breakfast in the Windjammer, food not as hot as the dinning room plus I did not see any hash browns which were on the dinning room menu.
Lunch was always on shore so I can't comment about the lunch menu at either venue. I did have pizza one night but not impressed with it at all. It seemed several hours old. They close the pizza counter at 7pm and re-open at 9pm. I was there when the first re-opened and probably got a slice that was there when they closed earlier. Dinner was ok in the dinning room. Our waiter had all the names in his section memorized by the second night, 22 people quite a feat in my opinion.
About the only shipboard entertainment we took advantaged of was karaoke. Fun to listen to, not much talent on this trip.
San Diego was the first port. We had purchased bus passes and spent the day riding around town and a few hours in Balboa Park at the model train museum.
In Catalina we took the Eco Raft Adventure. That was the highlight of the trip. It runs about 10 miles up the coast to see some of the islands eagles and seals. On the return leg we headed away from shore a bit to look for dolphins. After a 10 or 15 min ride we were in the middle of about 200 dolphins. You could reach out and almost touch them. They were jumping, spinning and racing with our raft. We spent about 20 minutes among them and then had what seemed like a speedboat ride back to the dock. I would highly recommend this excursion. The ride back was quite rough and you are setting on the side of a rubber raft with only a rope to hold on to so take that into consideration. The price was the same through the ship or if booked on your own. I was going to book on my own but went through the ship just in case we missed the port for some reason.
Ensenada Mexico we took the Fox Studio tour. A one-hour bus ride north about two hours there and another hour back. It was ok. Something to kill time. You have a couple of hours to wander around town when you get back.
Debarkation on Friday morning was fairly smooth. We decided to carry our own bags off as we had a 12:45pm flight back to Phoenix. We got up early and were in the dinning room for breakfast by 6:15 am. Before we had finished breakfast they announced we could leave the ship. We finished eating 25 minutes after the announcement and made our way to deck 4. We stood in line for 10 minutes and were off the ship; in another 10 minutes we were through customs and out on the sidewalk. We were dropped off at our airlines three hours before our flight home.
All in all a very good vacation. Four days goes by much too fast, but then it seems to make our 7-day cruises very long.