My husband and I are thinking of taking our first cruise. We have an opportunity to go from Los Angeles on a RCCL for 4 nights. Does anyone know if this is a good cruise and if it's a good time of year to do it?
The Monarch is a very nice ship. It is an older ship, but you can't beat it for one of their four day cruises. The public areas are very nice, but the one bad part is the small cabins. I would not invest a lot of money in one of the upgraded cabins. We have been in the inside and outside on the Monarch, and there is really not much difference except for a window you can't really see out of, or would want to. I also don't know where you live. If you live within driving distance to Los Angeles, it is a great cruise. Parking is $10.00 per day right at the terminal. If you have to fly to get there, then it is a waste of money to take the cruise. I would rather take a first cruise maybe closer to home even if it is a seven day cruise. The Monarch is kind of a party ship. This is expecially true on the three day weekend cruises. Most of the people on the ship live in the greater Los Angeles Area and for them it is cheeper than going to a motel. I just thought of something else---if you do have to fly to get to LA, then consider making a week or two vacation in LA with part of the vacation going on the Monarch. We have met a lot of people who also do that. Any further questions let me know..........
Just got back from a 4 day on the Monarch of the seas.. Nice trip. The above post from yumasky is correct so a will not repeat it here.. Also I would check the price on the Vision of the Seas which is a 7 day trip to Mexico and sometimes is the same price as the 3 and 4 day trips.. It sails from the same port and is a better value.. More nights (7)at about the same money.. Also it is a much better trip and a better (newer) ship..OM
As first time cruisers, my family enjoyed the Monarch. We are within driving distance of LA so it was a nice getaway without having to fly anywhere. If you are in the LA area, the Disney Cruiseline will be on the West Coast next summer...7 nights and 3 ports: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. We have that booked for August. A plus of the Monarch was that the formal night was not too over the top. We didn't feel out of place wearing nice dresses (cocktail dresses for me and daughters) and a nice suit for DH. You will have a great time and don't worry about the small cabins as you will be out and about for the majority of the cruise.
I think that is a great way to "try" a cruise for the first time. You didn't say what time of year, but I sailed her in January, and the ports were all clear as a bell. March was the only time we encountered rain/drizzle.
Here is a link of a photo gallery I took of the Monarch.
Thanks for the help. I just reread my message are realized I didn't say that we'll be in LA in late Dec. Actually, what we want is a 4 or 5 day vacation that is relaxing and we'll be in the LA area. So, a cruise is what I thought of since the weather will be too cool to hang out at the beach. Due to time restraint the Monarch is the only cruise we'll be able to try.
We did the 4-day on Monarch last January. The cabins are small but they've done a really nice job with the refurbishment, so the ship looks beautiful. We really enjoyed our cruise. The nice thing about the 4-day in winter is that it is a much quieter cruise, not a party cruise at all. We had mostly older people and some families with young kids (like us). But definitely not a lot of kids. The service was really good on the Monarch, crew seemed happy. The food was spotty, some was great, some ok. We love going to the dining room, but some nights didn't eat much there and ended up at the Windjammer buffet, which was better and more consistent. The Spa and Gym were nice. My husband really liked the Sushi (for a charge) in Jade. Some of the entertainment was really good. Usually these winter cruises are a bargain and if you like a quieter cruise, the winter 4-day is for you. You may have some rain, but it could be gorgeous. It will be a bit chilly when you're out to sea.
Gosh, lots of good information here about the Monarch (which we sailed this January). All kinds of details I had forgot -- promenade deck window cabins, etc.
Weather-wise, November is fantastic in San Diego ... sunny, but kinda chilly in the evening (50s). December and January are usually the same way ... maybe mid-60s during the day. This past Christmas, we did get rain, but that usually only happens every 4-5 years. January weather is gorgeous, too ... the photos in my Catalina article were taken in January.
I agree, too, the 4 days are much more mellow. I even asked our waiter and he concurred, when compared to the 3 nights. Also, you can usually get a cheaper rate for the 4-nighter!
For you first-timers, this is the perfect way to try out a cruise for just a little money.
__________________ Harry Martin
Moderator - Mexico and G/L message boards
we sailed monarch in april, it was our first cruise with children. It was fabulous, the kids loved the camp and we all had a great time on excursions. RCCL offers california residents discounts on some weeks, we got it so cheap$280 each. It is a good way to get a basic feel of cruising, my in- laws just back last week, there 1st cruise it exceeded there expectations for the money. One note everyone I spoke to has said the last night back from ensenada is rough!!!!!!!!!!!!! so be for warned. Once you cruise you will be hooked, it is the only vacations we take now, can't beat the value for the money and all the activities, food,shows, etc. Happy cruising!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks everyone for the info! We are really looking forward to our 1st cruise!
Can someone tell me what is done about breakfast seating...Do we have to eat at a certain time in the dining room? We have an early seating for dinner. Is the breakfast set up the same way, or do we eat at Windjammers??
It's open seating for breakfast in either Vincent or Claude's. They are open until 9:30. The Windjammer and Jade have buffet service and they are open until 11:00 or so. The food in the forward Jade was a little different than Windjammer. We alternated as 1 daughter really liked the dining room and 1 liked the buffet!