My husband and I recently cruised the Caribbean on the Monarch. Embarkation went fine. The staff was friendly and polite. The ship itself was a bit older, thus not impressive in decor. Also,it seemed very crowded. Lounges were walk throughs, thus crowded too. Sometimes it was difficult to find a seat in public areas. Elevators were too difficult to get too and I had a torn cartilage in my knee. Shows were crowded, making seats difficult to find. Several couples had words over the saving of seats.Cabins were smaller than other ships we have been on. We were in an outside cabin, but it seemed like a walk-in closet. If you select this ship, it would be wise to upgrade to a large cabin. Our steward was, however, very hard-working.We felt the ship was inundated with children and teenagers. They ran a bit wild. It seemed no rules were applied to things like running, laying on stages during performances, playing on elevators, etc. Some of the teens were rude. They interrupted performers and taunted volunteers in the karaoke. We actually avoided one lounge because of the teens, and we were not alone in this avoidance. The food on the ship was awful compared to Princess, for example. We enjoy meeting people, but the people assigned to our table seldom came to the dining room. I don't understand this because the food in the Windjammer Cafe (buffet) was terrible! In addition, there was not much variety at the buffet. Room service was a joke! They have very little choice. For example, I ordered toast and coffee. They didn't have toast. Neither do they have bagels. They do have rolls, however. Yes, I am talking about dinner rolls with no butter or jelly. When my husband requested toast or sweet rolls, like the ones on the buffet, the waiter was rude! They don't have them either.In the dining room, the service was good. We did have 2 of the friendliest waiters on board. We tipped them well. However, I was appalled at the emptiness of the dining room on the last night of the cruise. This was the night you tipped and many passengers were not there. RCI has a very long way to go with the improvement on their food. Many fellow passengers commented on this.The shows were ok. The musicals were better than the juggler or comedian, but the musicals lacked the background special effects, lavish costumes, etc. which we experienced on other cruise lines.As for other activities, there weren't many unless you count the teenage activities at the pool. Bingo yes, but trivia, bridge other adult type activities were non-existent.Overall, we would not cruise again on the Monarch. However, we had already booked a cruise to Hawaii with RCI on the Vision. We booked a suite this time. Unless this is a better experience, however, it will be the last with RCI.BLK AZ
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