Britteny....I haven't read Cruisemates in a couple weeks so just now saw your question regarding Monarch vs. paradise. This is a review I posted on another message board site, and I thought I'd share it here for you.................
For those that are interested, the following are my thoughts on the Paradise.
I've sailed on RCCL's Monarch 4 times in the last year so I was doing a comparison of the two ships.
We went on this cruise with our friend and his fiance, and two other couples of their friends.
While Monarch is nice (and I'm a bit partial to her) the Paradise is newer and I have to say, I rather liked her.
Rooms: on Paradise are a bit larger than the Monarch.
The linens were plusher. Bigger softer towels, feather pillows, and comfy duvets. All oceanview cabins had robes to use and Dove products in the shower.
Food: Dining room, Dinner: On Friday night, I had one of the best steaks I've ever had on a cruise (excluding the specialty restaurant on the Adventure of the Seas). Saturday, I had prime rib. Both were cooked to perfection and very tasty and tender. Hubby had lobster (which the Monarch doesn't offer). If you like traditional Caesar salad then you would love it on the Paradise because you could taste the anchovies. (I didn't particularly care for it, but that's just a personal taste.) Sunday night, I had the beef wellington and that was wonderful too. Every meal in the dining room was excellent.
Buffet: This is where, in my opinion, the Monarch is better. I didn't like the choices they had on the Paradise so I ate a burger at lunch twice. The Paradise has a great deli sandwich bar, and the sandwiches there were delicious...I had that one day. Their pizza was comparable to the Monarch's.
Embarking: We waited an hour in line to get checked in and on the ship. Now, I don't know if that's because we got there later than we usually do....12:30 as opposed to 11:30-12:00 normally. Plus, we are Diamond Members on RCCL, so we get priority checkin so maybe thats not a fair comparison.
Disembarking: They don't do it by colored tags. They started it with "self assist" (those carrying off their own luggage), then they called those on the Lido deck and Promenade deck. About an hour after that, they said everyone can leave. Well..that wasn't so smart. Although, I have to admit people were WAY more considerate than I've experienced on the Monarch. Everyone stayed in orderly lines. They told us it there was a half hour wait, but in reality it was an hour from the time we got in line to the time we got off the ship. Once off the ship, we stood about 10-15 minutes in the customs lines. And they did not have separate lines for those with passports and those without (at RCCL they have separate lines for those with and those without passports.
Entertainment: I'm kind of done with the whole production shows thing, but I did peek in and they looked typical of any cruiseline show. I never made it to the late night comedy show because I found a place I would rather be...at the sing-along piano bar (America Bar). I spent every night there while hubby did his usual casino action.
On Sunday afternoon, we played bingo, and as usual, we didn't win. I played name-that-tune trivia (I lost), the match game (I won!...wooowhoo...I got a CCL medal!) and drink trivia (I lost...but only because 1/2 the questions were about beer and I don't drink beer. If they stuck to hard liquor, I would have won hands down....
Nightlife: Besides the sing-along piano bar, I went to the disco. I prefer Paradise's disco over the Monarch disco. On the Monarch, the disco is really a lounge that they use as a disco at night. The seats are too much like a lounge. On the Paradise, they have tables that surround the dance floor and the DJ. Its a much better set up for socializing and meeting new people....and I did just that.
Bars: They are much stricter on their drinks. They have certain rules for certain drinks. For example, I like to drink Barcardi Limon and Diet Coke. But, I like to get it in a larger glass (like a beer glass) so I can have more soda mixed with the drink (not more booze, just more soda). That way, I can drink more, but not drink more alcohol. Well...they would not allow us to have a drink made in the bigger glass (even though we aren't getting more booze, just more soda). I had to buy a regular Barcardi Limon & diet coke, then purchase a separate can of diet coke, then ask for a bigger glass and I had to pour the small drink in the bigger glass and then add the extra coke. What a pain! Also, if you wanted the souvenir glass, you could only get the drink of the day, or a frozen blended drink. You couldn't get, say, a rum & coke in a souvenir glass.
Casino: Typical casino. However, I felt it wasn't as smokey as the casino on the Monarch. I don't know if it had a better air filtering system or if there just weren't that many smokers on this ship.
Ages of Passengers: I would say the average age on this sailing was early/mid thirties. And there were a lot of kids onboard, but I did not see any unruly teens or pre-teens. And there were quite a bit of families. We had 2nd late seating (8:30) and I don't even recall seeing little kids at that seating. I was disappointed in how casual people dressed at dinner. However, I think that's mostly because these weekend cruises attract a lot of first time cruisers that just don't understand the dress codes.
I will say that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this ship/itinerary to anyone. Hubby said he liked it better than the Monarch, but I'm torn. While I liked it...I like the perks that RCCL gives to its loyal customers.
So, if anyone is considering either of these two ships, I would recommend either of them in a heatbeat.