Can You Hear Those Glass Ceilings Shattering?:
The captain of the Monarch is Karin Stahre-Janson, the first female captain of a cruise ship. Our pilot on the flight from Atlantic City to Orlando was also female.
I would like to say that we sailed off into the sunset, but that would be geographically inaccurate as the sun set behind us.
Shortly after we sailed it was dinner time as we had main seating. We ended up at a table for 12. Our table mates were a varied group ranging from a brother and sister and thier respective spouses to a couple from Nebraska and 4 single ladies. One of the single ladies I dubbed Larry the Cable Guy's sister, she was loud and boisterous and a source of great amusement thoughout. She would have horrifed the most prim and proper, but we thought she was great fun. I kept teasing her good naturedly but was careful after finding out she was both a postal worker and a biker
. She was always on the case of one of the couples who were perpetually late for dinner, all in good fun.
Carl, our waiter, and his assistant, both from St Vincent, were a good natured and fun wait staff. They not only remembered our names, but our preferences throughout the cruise. This is the sort of thing you miss with anytime or freestyle dining.
Food in the dining room is where RCI's cutbacks are obvious to veteran cruisers. The food was uniformly well prepared, artfully presented and delicious. The portion sizes have been cut, which is not always a bad thing. The selection was good with more pasta and chicken dishes than I remember. The first night Caeser Salad was served family style. Lobster night is gone for shorter cruises as well as Baked Alaska and Creme Brulee
Dress in the dining room was decidedly casual, even during formal night. Although I own a tux, I opted for a jacket and tie. I only saw one tux that night. Formal night was ill-timed as we were still docked in Nassau and were not scheduled to sail away until midnight. RCI should seriously consider dropping formal night on cruises of 5 mights or less.
After dinner, we played bingo for a $500 prize and an upgrade to a junior suite. We took the 9 chances for $36 and used the automated handheld which automatically checks off the numbers. We were one number away when someone called bingo.
We rationalized that we would have lost it faster in the casino.
Drink prices seem to have gone through the roof on RCI. The drink of the day which included the glass (real glass not plastic) to keep was $9.50. Soda stickers for your sign and sail card good for unlimited soda was $24 for a three day cruise
RCI has prohibited all alcohol being brought on board including wine. That is the first time we encountered that restriction. Just another example of seeking new revenue.
The first night saw a combined show for both dinner seatings featuring Kivi Rodgers, a very funny comedian.
To be continued...