My family of 4 enjoyed the Monarch...we participated in many activities. The buffet lunch wasn't great but we did enjoy the dining room. We only explored Ensenada for a couple of hours and then returned to the ship. San Diego and Catalina were nice ports. We had 2 inside staterooms which were small but our room steward was wonderful as well as the dining room staff! For our 1st cruise, we thought the Monarch was an excellent intro to cruising.
She's an older ship but the public areas got a major refurbishment last year. All round we enjoyed it, even the stop in Ensenada. The only con is the staterooms are on the small side. But you don't spend much time there anyways. Oh yeah, the breakfast in the dining room was pretty good, didn't care for the buffet eggs or coffee.