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Old August 13th, 2006, 10:54 PM
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Default Monarch or Paradise

Hi all:

We are thinking about taking a short 3-night cruise in December to shake off the winter blues. LA is a short 1 hour flight from our house so we are going to book either the Paradise or the Monarch of the Seas.

Does anyone have an opinion as to which ship is better? The prices are within $20 of each other and the itineraries are identical so cost and itineraries are not deciding factors here.

Thanks
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Old August 13th, 2006, 11:22 PM
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I have been on Monarch twice and will be going on it again this Christmas. We really like the ship quite a bit. Never been on Paradise so I really cannot comment on that. Just take a look at all the ammenities for both ships and then decide what will suit your needs the best.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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I cruised on both last summer within 3 weeks of each other. While each cruise was great, I prefered the Monarch because of the ship. The only drawback was the rooms were sooooo much smaller. But like you said, it's only for 3 days.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Monarch is much nicer ship with a much better pool area!
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Old August 14th, 2006, 11:28 PM
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Thanks for the input. It looks like Monarch wins. This will give me a chance to sample RCCL.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 12:11 AM
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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.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Laurie:

Thanks for the great reviews of both ships. Have you ever done this cruise in December or near there? If so, what was the temperature? It seems like it would be to cold for shorts, but I was wondering if it's warm enough for capris during the day?
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Old September 5th, 2006, 11:51 PM
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Brittany...

Its been about 7 yrs since I did the LA-Ensenada cruise December. IF I recall correctly, I seem to remember it being capris and lightweight sweater type weather while in Ensenada. While at sea, it can get a bit cool. And if you are out on deck at night it can get a bit cold.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:40 PM
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I have been on both ships in the last year, Monarch just last week. Paradise is a newer ship with a bit bigger cabin, but the food, service, entertainment is much better on the Monarch.

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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:42 AM
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Thanks, DG3, I am definately leaning towards Monarch.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Woo hoo, we just booked the Monarch last night for a quick weekend getaway in February. $219.00 per person for an inside guarantee! We are going with another couple for their first cruise, so we get to show them the ropes. Hopefully the weather in Ensenada won't be too cool in February, we've already warned them not to expect this to be a "tropical" experience but just to enjoy the ship.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 06:08 PM
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Well, my review certainly won't be as detailed as Laurie's, but if you want a big beautiful atrium area, I would choose the Paradise. We've cruised her many times (mostly when she was still a beautiful non-smoking ship!) but she certainly is a lot bigger than the Monarch. When my sister & I took my mother on a cruise, I was disappointed that there was no beautiful atrium to show them. They also had a lovely piano player in the middle of the ship, which we both really enjoyed.

Either way, as I always say, any cruise is a GOOD cruise!
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Old September 25th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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Jean, I don't know what you have been drinking (but I'll take a couple of gallons please). The Monarch has a beautiful atrium also, just not in your face beautiful. If anyone wants to see it just do a search of the Monarch in the picture gallery
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Old September 25th, 2006, 08:18 PM
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Oops! You are correct, Cruiseguy, for some reason I was thinking of the Holiday...

I guess I could blame my brain freeze on the delicious Rum Punch we had on a catamaran many years ago that was soooo yummy! It went down so smoothly, we didn't realize how snockered we were until we starting asking for more Pum Runch!!!

...but I still like the Paradise...
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Old September 26th, 2006, 01:36 AM
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No problem Jean, like many others, been there done that. Just want to do it again . Paridise is a nice ship, I just like the Monarch better. But then again--thats why they make Fords and Chevy's
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Just got back from the 4 day Ensenada, San Diego and Catalina Cruise. This was my forth cruise in the last three years on RCCL. The service could not have been better, every time my wife or I used a towel we would get back and we'd have a new one. The waiters were excellent, in the past the show were just so so. But this time they had some of the same shows but the singers and dancers were so much better, we went with a large group and everybody we talk to enjoyed all the shows. The comedians Carl Banks and Mike Wilson were very funny. Overall the food, service and entertainment was great. Would highly recommend RCCL.

We had a person in our group who did the Carnival Mexican cruise, they enjoyed that ship as well. Said the food was about the same, rooms a little bigger but the service was better on RCCL.
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