We just booked a 4 day on the Monarch of the Seas in Late January. The renovation pictures I have seen look nice. Has anyone recently sailed on her and did you have a Cat. "D", thats what we booked. Any insights on shore excursions? Also I see that they have Ben & Jerry's and Seatle Coffee shop and I am going to guess thats not free?
Robert, we've done that itinirary several times (but still trying to get on the MOnarch).
Here are some shore tips:
* Catalina -- In the center of town on the main drag, there is a place to rent golf carts. Get there before noon and you get 3 hours for the price of 2. That is plenty of time to see everything, including the Wrigley monument and botanical gardens. If you don't want to do that, you can walk to the Casino and take the tour for $10 (which is fun, too)
* San Diego -- take the shuttle over to Horton Plaza and buy a day pass for the trolley for $5. You get to see all parts of the city, can jump off here and there, and youy land back just a short block to the pier.
* Ensenada -- the wine country tour on board is very enjoyable, and the scenery is great. Also, the blow hole (bufadora) tour is great -- lots of little shops and it's neat to see. You can book it through the ship, or jump in the van at the pier and they will take you for $13 a person.
Thanks for the tour tips, we will be on the Monarch in March. The golf cart rental sounds like a definate yes. One more question, is the harbour tour (1 or 2 hour) in San Diego worthwhile? Thanks for any info.
The Monarch was just refurbished, but no it's not a Vision class or Radiance class ship either. Expect smaller.
In terms of the harbor cruise, Richard, in my opinion, you will get the same views just coming into port and leaving. Where the ship docks in San Diego is very picturesque (as compared to the views in San Pedro).
I would be more likely to take the trolley around, or I heard from a felloow passenger you can take the #7 bus direct to the San Diego Zoo. (It's about a 5-mile cab ride, too).
Also in San Diego, they have a complimentary shuttle to either Horton Plaza shopping center downtown (great for walking about and hitting the Gaslamp Quarter) or it will take you to Seaport Village, which is a very picturesque theme-like port shopping area with lots of cute shops, restaurants and fantastic bay vistas.
I've sailed twice on the Monarch since it's refurb. The first time just the second cruise after the refurb and was very disappointed in just about everything.
My last cruise 11-17-03 was very nice, I would say everything met or exceeded my expectations. The ship looked marvelous, the crew among the best on any RCCL cruise, this was 8 in last 5 years on RCCL.
I had the standard outside Cat. F on my first cruise and it was about 120 sq. ft., yes it was rather small. On my last cruise I was upgraded from Cat. G to Cat. D and really liked the larger cabin. I travel solo and the smaller cabin is OK for me, but traveling with a companion, I would go for the larger Cat. D cabin.
The 3 day weekend cruise is from what I hear a lot more rowdy than the 4 day cruise. The Schooner Bar is very nice and the bartender Rey was great, please say "Hi" from Roland if you meet him. Boleros lounge is also a nice place for drinks and entertainment.
The shows were quite good and the many different entertainers in the different areas of the ship were quite varied and good. There was something, somewhere on the ship for everyone. Don't miss the Jazz Jam session, it was great.
The food and service in the dining room was marvelous, the food in the Windjammer was also very good with a lot of variety. Make sure to visit the Jade Windjammer where there is an Asian flavor and upstairs the Jade Sushi. Sorrentos had pizza, sandwiches and dessert s with 24 houe beverage service.
As I said, everything was very good on this cruise, but the crew was over the top.
Excellent service from the entire crew.
Thanks for your thoughts. We will be sailing her 12-22 over Xmas. We have one of the very tiny outside category F cabins on deck five. With only 120 square feet of space, those rooms must be just a bed and a door. Oh well, we'll find ways to enjoy our cabin.
We've tentatively booked a suite for my family -- myself, wife/mom and 2-16.5 year-olds -- for a 4 night cruise in late January. My only real concern is the weather. I can be pretty chilly on land at this time of year and wonder about temperature difference on the water. Also, if weather is inclement, do you think there is enough "inside" activities to keep everyone occupied and happy?
Chuck, we had one of the 120 SF cabins on the old Viking Serenade ... it was still laid out pretty well, and we still had the vanity etc. I guess the time we really noticed the size difference was when getting dressed for dinner, with a lot of "excuse me's" "sorry" "can you hand me that" type comments :-)
And now we are booked for Jan. 5th. We got one of the handicap inside rooms which look twice as big -- I'm really curious how it will be. Defintely looks wider, and I am sure the bath will be wider, too.
Hmmm ... maybe I will post and see if anyone has ever one of these cabins.