I returned to Monarch in September for still another "short cruise" occasioned by the fact that I need to be home on weekends now, thus precluding my usual practice of "longer cruises". I find myself agreeing with several of those who "posted" in September, and violently disagreeing with someone who seemingly had their cruise "ruined" because the serving utensils in the buffet area were "too hot" - how silly can you be I ask? How can your cruise be ruined by something so unimportant?
As always embarkation was very well organized, quick and painless. As a long time RCI cruiser and Diamond Plus member I received my first "upgrade" - from SO to a Grand Suite. Very nice to say the least, and of course having a large cabin and balcony "made my day".
Yes Windjammer food is not gourmet - but its better than this bachelor can prepare at home, and I seldom eat in the Windjammer anyways preferring the Main Dining Rooms where I find the food to be more than adequate, especially considering the price point of these short cruises. They can only deliver what you pay for!!!. I am however somewhat vexed to learn that RCI gets 27%+ of their revenue, even more than Carnival, from "on board spending". So be prepared to pay extra for many things - even squeezed orange juice at breakfast.
Entertainment is fair and their Production Shows, which have been around for years, are "long in the tooth" and sorely need replacing/updating. I do not participate in other activities and so cannot comment.
RCI's Frequent Cruiser program, Crown and Anchor Society, is, as far a I am concerned, the best in the industry and I have 190+ cruises to back up my claim. It, and low prices, plus singles discounts, are what keeps me at RCI and I have 13 cruises booked for 2012.
Coco Cay has been restored after hurricane damage, Nassau is as bad as Nassau always is - however these short cruises have to "touch" a foreign port to comply with our US Jones Act, and there aren't many alternatives available.
Disembarkation for those doing the "self assist" (Carry your own luggage off) program was effortless and I was sitting on the shuttle bus to MCO before 8:00 am.
As always the crew aboard Monarch are superb. The oldest RCI ship seems to have the crew with the best morale, which indicates that senior managers know how to treat, and work with, their people.
If you wish a "good" weekend or short week (4 day) vacation try RCI and especially the Monarch and you will not be disappointed - provided of course that you don't look for silly little things to complain about.