Hi everyone, I just got this email asking which ship this couple would prefer to go to Baja -- the Monarch of the Seas or the Ecstasy.
Having just sailed both in the past 3 months, here is my take on it. Do you all have any more input?
Here is the excerpt from his note and my answer follows:
In a message dated 4/9/2004 9:02:19 PM Pacific Daylight Time, (edited)@juno.com writes:
We are in our 40's and am looking for ship that is more "Ocean
liner" verse "Cruise ship". Which boat has more class, which has better
food? Better staterooms, and better dining room service
Thanks for the email asking about the 4-nighter ships, by and large, I believe the Monarch of the Seas you would prefer (I have sailed on both ships in the past 3 months). However, Carnival does outshine the Monarch in some respects, and there is one extra point to consider. I will touch on all these below.
* More Class? Hands-down the Monarch of the Seas would win in this regard. It is more hotel-type/elegant feeling inside, while the Ecstasy has a definite Las Vegas decor with a lot of neon, etc. The Monarch was also just refurbished in the past 6 months, so it is very fresh looking.
* Better food? By and large, everyone seems to praise Carnival more in this respect. I find the difference pretty negligible, though. In terms of dining service, I had *excellent* servers on the Ecstasy ... very personable and made it a fun voyage for me (I was traveling alone). On Monarch, we had a wonderful server from Turkey, who, again was very personable.
* Better staterooms? Here is where Carnival outshines the competition. It's staterooms from inside to ocean view are *much* larger than the Monarch's. I would say about 40 square feet bigger. Decor-wise, though, the Monarch's cabins are very elegant, while Carnivals on this ship still have all the pink and orange everywhere. Plus the one I had 2 months ago was showing a lot of wear. Monarch's are very small though, with little floor space.
The one option you may have is when the Ecstasy is replaced by the much newer Paradise in September. I have never been on that ship before, but you should find photos of her online.
But, for the bottom line, I think you should go with the Monarch. It's very elegant, good shows, pleasant buffet restaurant, and pretty decor. Also, the Monarch is the only one that stops in San Diego, which makes for a wonderful 4-night vacation.
Hope that all helps.