My father (recently retired) and I (SWM;32) left Chicago hours after and hours before a blizzard, pure luck to me since we waived the cruise insurance. Made St. Thomas a stopover, then made San Juan hours before embarkment on the Monarch. Flashed ID's and went straight to our rooms to unpack, were in shorts and sipping Rum Punch within a half hour; had the daily itinerary for the day in hand and examined it closely. I was unwound from my daily grind practically the first night. Dinner in the brigadoon left us in the corner all the way in back, but that was precisely the seclusion we enjoy when eating, and the waiter Milton, enveloped our presence in courteous interaction, information, suggestions, and humor. Our stateroom, small but useful, needed nothing more than a window. Franklin our steward is more than that, by being a friend, a helper, and the watchdog on that floor, he insured that our room was the best it could be.When night fell, the entertainment abounds, from muster practice to cinema flicks (new releases), the Rum was aplenty. Find a spot on the top forward deck around 2 am when the Monarch is cruising at 20 knots and let the pollution, stress, and computer world float away. (Also a cure for hangovers) The shops were cool, the art auction, the casino, the pool, jacuzzi, workout room, and nightclub atmosphere too. The Steiner detox treatment has bred new life into my physique, and I thought I knew everything I had to know about my healthy lifestyle. I have not been enthused about cruise ships like this before, but this has a whole lot to offer us. Seeking solitude on the ship at times became apparently obvious, yet most of the time it was like I had the ship to myself.The five stars represent:1. The Monarch itself2. The Monarch staff3. The relief one seeks on vacation4. The freedom of the open sea5. The dream of sailing carefree!
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