This past New Year we decided to take a cruise to celebrate New Years at sea. We've take 3 Carnival cruises and one other Cruise to Mexico (don't remember the cruise line - we had a bad experience). So we decided to try Royal Caribbean because they have the best deal for a short cruise for New Years. The service was moderate at best. Compared to Carnival the food was definitely not up to par and the service was not as friendly. The buffets were lacking and all they had to eat if you missed your dinner or lunch was pizza that tasted like something you buy in the frozen aisle at a local grocery store, salty hot dogs and low grade hamburgers. They had decent deals on their liquer and jewelry and the comedian was good, even though he had alot of material that criticized the service and food of the cruise(something I've never heard a comedian joke about; it's like biting the hand that feeds you).
Nassau was fun. You really don't need to follow the excursions for this island. It only cost $4/person to taxi to Atlantis, where you definitely want to visit.
Coco cay was a great port. We snorkeled and toured the small island. There were plenty of excursions there if you had the $$$, but you can still enjoy the place without them.
On New Years eve we did a 50 minute massage special for $99 which was pretty good and then dressed up for a poolside party. They had a band playing 70's music (which was a weak choice for the occasion) and they botched the counting up to New Years because the Captain got on the PA and announced it, which cut off all the other PA's. So it was a little Chaotic. The D.J. after mid-night did not help because he was mixing songs terribly and would only play a minute of a song and then switched it to some unrelated genre which was hard to dance to. However, the bartenders became very generous that evening and we all got blasted on the top deck dancing away the night which was fun. Overall we had a great time, but don't count on cruising Monarch of the Sea for New Years. You can probably do better on a Carnival Cruise. I was told by other guests that the 7 night+ Royal Caribbean cruises are much better than the Bahamas cruises. Guess I'll pass anyway.