Monarch of the Seas (RETIRED) Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
2-3 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
0

3 out of 5

Good party ship...maybe not 4 families

Sail Date: August 27, 2010

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Family (young children)

Room Type: Oceanview

This ship has definitely seen better days. But for the price (super discounted resident rates) it was a reasonable value. We've cruised before on Carnival and it seems like RC folks on this ship tried to affect the same party-like atmosphere but didn't quite meet the Carnival "fun ship" benchmark. The ship is definitely showing it's age but that wasn't a huge deal for us...e.g., wooden boards worn down/not shiny, lots of peeling paint throughout, screws missing in stateroom bed, table in stateroom scratched, walls and ceiling with small stains, etc. The dining room and other interior main areas seemed to be fairly well maintained.
The food was fair to an occasional great e.g. well cooked steak in dining room, perfectly cooked scallops, but overcooked shrimp. The layout of the dining area creates a lot of out of control lines. We realized after the first meal in the Windjammer that they also open up the Jade for breakfast and lunch with smaller versions of the main buffet- ample seating, better views, less people. Pizza from upstairs was always a good option and we did room service a couple times. The spinach dip was blah but at least we got chips. Did the soda card. Unfortunately, the bartenders are less than thrilled when you present your soda card. I had one exchange with a bartender when his only words consisted of "what kind of soda do you want" ...no hello, thanks, good bye, have a great day, etc. Certainly NOT super friendly when it comes to redeeming the soda card.
There weren't a lot of kids on the ship since Florida (and so many other systems) had started back to school. That was probably a good thing since often the drunk adults on board were outright rude. First day we got on board only one of the two pools was operational. As you can imagine fitting ALL those people into that little pool, besides being a health hazard, just didn't work out so swell. The shallow end- designed primarily as a baby pool was filled with a group of 7-10 obnoxious adults who weren't shy about calling out kids if they happened to get splashed. I get that kids can be a PITA on a cruise BUT I was sitting right at the edge of the pool- as was every parent who had a kid in the shallow end- and they weren't acting overly crazy or out of hand. There were just too many kids to fit in such a tight space made even tighter by 10 adults laying in their play space. One drunk gal actually called a little girl who stumbled and fell down "a brat" and said "don't you have to go to dinner soon". Interestingly, most of the drunks were actually 40+ , not the younger crowd. We were actually on the way to muster and two women were on either side of another woman who couldn't stand (note: muster happens BEFORE you sail). Sadly, that was just one of about a dozen falling down drunk, food falling from their mouth, episodes we witnessed over the course of three days. Evidently, the bartenders and servers don't seem to have to worry about ABC laws on board. Nonetheless, our little family of 3 just trid to skirt around these folks. And thank GOODNESS they opened the 2nd pool by the 2nd day. Just a shame they didn't have it operational on the busiest pool deck day of the cruise.
They have a decent offering of activities, but the vast majority of activities are adult oriented- not very kid friendly. I think the RC plan on this particularly boat was for you to throw your kids in the kids club and let them take care of things. The club was lovely but we didn't use it because we actually enjoy spending time together. The rock climbing wall was fun, there was a pingpong table and basketball hoop outside and arcade that was pretty overpriced. We really missed the waterslide and mini golf from Carnival.
We LOVED the long days in port and enjoyed Coco Cay.
We chose to carry off luggage to disembark. Glad we arrived 45 minutes before that time b/c the dining room filled quickly. As soon as they started to let us leave it was total chaos

Pros: Long days in port

Cons: Sooooo many drunk adults

Recommends Monarch of the Seas (RETIRED)? Yes!

Ship Quality
Interior spaces were fairly well maintained. Exterior was pretty worn down- planks worn, not shiny, lots of areas of peeling paint, towels were old and faded. Good size ship but not as many amenities as we had on our last Carnival cruise. But for 3 nights didn't make that much difference. Maybe.
Cabin / Stateroom
SMALL! Our last cruise we had a balcony. This time we opted for an oceanview with a porthole. There was a huge area of wasted space in front of the porthole but before the bed setup. We stored our luggage there since it seemed like something should be stored there. Little to no drawer space. Bathroom was cruise-ship predictably small. The decor was worn and outdated. The pullman bed had missing screws, and gum stuck to the wall underneath. The layout was ridiculous with the pullman bed down you couldn't walk around the two twin beds pushed together for sleeping. We referred to our 2nd floor deck as the "poop deck" because the smell of sewage (port-a-potty like) as you walked through the halls was ever present the entire cruise. Beds were reasonably comfortable and the pillows were decent.
Children's Programs
The kids room is great. The activities they had scheduled were pretty lame- wii or throw a ball against a wall. Very few scheduled activities for kids outside of the kids club. They have a really small arcade where the games are fairly expensive, but at least it helped pass some time. The kid staff was nice but not cheerful. The Coco Cay kids area was like a kid stable- and not near the water or beach. I suppose it at least gave the kids somewhere to go while parents did excursions. The waterslide on the island was fun, but not sure it was worth $20. The aqua park was too far out from shore and really, really tough for our 8 year old- so we ended up getting a refund. My husband who did the aqua park said it was incredibly exhausting for him and he exercises routinely. The concept is good but not the implementation particularly for kids.
Food and Dining
NO structure to the lines in the Windjammer buffet area- it was small and total chaos during peak times. No sandwich options throughout the day unless you ordered room service and then it was only 1 cold option. Meal times were good to great. We realized that the Jade opened up for breakfast and lunch to add space which was great.
Service and Staff
This ranged from a 2 for bar staff (entire cruise) to a 6 for wait staff in the dining room. Sadly, nobody on the ship seemed really happy. Mostly intent upon upselling or selling stuff. But, just not happy.
Entertainment
Mostly adult oriented, not much for kids to do. The rock climbing wall was a novelty, but only about a 29 minute experience and then it was done. One pool was not opened up the first day. When both pools were opened, they size of the pools was better than on our past cruise. Kids activities were less than attractive for our 8 year old so we kept him with us most of the time. Entertainment staff seemed to try really hard to create a fun festive environment but it just seemed to fall short most of the time.
Cococay (Cruiseline's Private Island)
This was a great beach day! The waterslide was fun but a little pricy @$20 per person. Aqua park isn't great for younger kids- even my husband was exhausted and creeped out by the "dark water" and depth. We wanted to use the sail boats but the hurricane produced too much wind (ironic) to do any of the self propelled boats or sailing. The far side of the island is beautiful and much quieter. Snorkeling was rough because of the choppy water and lots of jellyfish, but they had a couple cool areas they set up- cannons, plane, ship parts, etc. Lunch was the usual burgers and hot dogs. They also had BBQ chicken and ribs which were great. The sand was gorgeous. Staff on the island maintained the typical not-so-cheerful, not super friendly attitude from the boat.
Nassau, Bahamas
We did a sail and snorkle excursion on the Sea Horse booked through the ship. It was actually a better deal than going directly to some of the tour outfits. We really enjoyed the trip- even with the HEAT. The staff were GREAT. We showered after snorkeling and took a taxi to Atlantis. Since it was after 6pm we got to walk through the Dig and see all the super cool aquarium stuff for free. And walked through the hotel. Wanted to go to arawalk (sp) cay or potter's (under the bridge) for authentic cinner but our son was tired so we went to senor frogs. The view was great the food was overpiced and typical bar food and it smelled like old alcohol, cigarettes and a hint of vomit. If you're looking to party and have the $ to drink here it seemed like fun though.


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