A view of the Florida coast from the top deck of the Monarch of the Seas
Cruise Lines has a fleet of 22 ships in six classes. The Monarch of the Seas is the sister ship to the Majesty of the Seas. These two ships are the only ships in the Sovereign Class of Royal Caribbean. Debuting in late 1991, the Monarch of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's oldest ship, and it certainly shows. While it is a comfortable ship, the Monarch does not offer the same luxurious amenities offered by other ships in the RCCL fleet. The Monarch or the Seas is stationed in Port Canaveral and has a year-round itinerary visiting the Bahamas for three or four nights.
The food on the Monarch of the Seas is terrific. The portions in the main dining room are large and very, very good. You can order as much as you would like, too, which is nice. There are four courses in the main dining room: appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. Do have dinner here. The food at dinner is much better than the food available in the buffet.
If you decide that you want to see the show, get there early. There is only one main show on the short itinerary on the Monarch of the Seas, and it is often standing room only. If you get there late, you may not even be admitted to the theater. Go early, have a drink or two, and wait for the show to begin. There is more seating if you just want to see one of the stand-up comedians, who are decent. The late comedian is definitely not for children!
Pros and Cons
The Windjammer Buffet is a great restaurant choice, especially for lunch. The food is always hot and fresh. However, there isn't a soft serve ice cream station in the afternoon or evening. In the morning, there isn't an egg or omelet station, which is a big disappointment when it comes to comparing this buffet with other buffets available on other cruise ships. There is also a large selection of Asian food, which is absolutely delicious.
The rooms are small and showing wear, even though they went through a relatively recent refurbishment. The showers in the bathrooms are tiny and water goes all over the floor when it is in use. Make sure you don't put your clothes on the floor while you shower, or you will be in for a very unpleasant surprise. Another con about the room is that there are no in-room safes. If you have valuables that you want to lock up, you have to put them in the safe at the Purser's desk.
A big pro about the Monarch of the Seas is that the rates to sail on it are very low, especially at the last minute. Two people can easily sail on the Monarch and spend money on extras like the spa and shore excursions for well below $1,000 for the weekend. Depending on the cabin category, the rate for the weekend could be about $500 for two people.
Overall, the Monarch of the Seas is a nice ship for a short getaway. Although the ship shows signs of age, wear and tear, it is still in good condition. The food is good, the entertainment is great, and the rooms, while small, are comfortable. The staff on the Monarch of the Seas is certainly what makes the trip great. Crew members go out of their way to accommodate guests. The itinerary to the Bahamas offers the options of relaxing by the pool and doing nothing to partying until the wee hours of the dawn. There is something for passengers of every age on the Monarch of the Seas, whether a toddler participating in the youth program or a senior citizen napping by the pool.
Candice "Candy" Cain began writing professionally in 1994. She is star of the developmental reality series, "Wedding Lane with Candy Cain." She has been published in several magazines and writes her own blog covering destination weddings. Cain has a Bachelor of Arts in dramatic literature from the George Washington University.