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Marylou Kanupp

Age: 53

Occupation:HR Generalist

Number of Cruises: 13

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Monarch of the Seas

Sailing Date: 05-1-2009

Itinerary: Bahamas

First, a little background: This was my 13th cruise (lucky me!), and was a great way for my husband and I to spend the weekend. We have decided that taking one short and one long cruise each year is the way to go for us. Our sail date was May 1 - 5, 2009.

Living in Central Florida, we drove to Port Canaveral, planning on arriving around 1:30 or 2 pm. Well, we got there in plenty of time, but then went through an unexpected scenic tour of the port. Seems that the Freedom of the Seas would be docking before the weekend was up, and we had to go to another parking lot way out in the north-40. It actually took us longer to wait in line, park the car, get on the shuttle, and go through security than it did for us to drive to the port. Oh well, we just laughed about it and said it was our first excursion of the weekend!

By the time we got on the ship, lunch was over and the muster drill was starting in 10 minutes. Since we carried our luggage on, we quickly put a few things away and went to the drill. Then up to the pool deck for sail away. Weather was great, and music was playing, and there was a drink in my hand (sigh). I was finally starting my mini-vacation.

DINING - The food was very good, and we were lucky enough to have some great table-mates. We were at a table for 6 (#480) and our waiter (Ferdie) and assistant waiter (Reagan) could not do enough for us. Saturday was the formal night, and most of the guys were either in suits or a nice pair of pants with a dress shirt. Most of the women had on either longs dresses or fancy outfits. I only saw a handful of people who were not dressed up at all. The waiters all sang us a song on the last night, which was a nice touch, and they had some live music too.

We ate at the Windjammer most days for breakfast and for lunch. The variety was not bad, about what one would expect on a ship buffet. The only thing I missed was an omelet station as I am not fond of processed scrambled eggs, but they did have some ready-made omelets which were pretty good. Lunch had a good selection of hot foods and cold. There was never a problem finding a table, as the staff kept the tables clean and emptied as soon as someone was finished with their meal.

CABIN - We chose to stay in an inside cabin (#3593), and while it was extremely small - we still had plenty of room for our stuff. The shower curtain and I got real friendly a time or two, but other than that, we were very happy with our cabin. We love the darkness of an inside cabin, and how quiet it is. Makes for some great sleep, and that is part of what we look forward to on these short cruises: rest and relaxation. Our cabin steward kept our room nice and neat, and kept our ice bucket full.

ENTERTAINMENT - We did not go to any of the production shows, but we did catch the comedian, El Gaucho. I cannot remember the last time I laughed that much. His humor was not crude, but was still funny. If you get the chance to go and see his act, you will not regret doing so. Our table mates met up with me and my husband for a night of karaoke - which was lots of fun, and very memorable.

PORTS - As this was a weekend cruise, we had only 2 ports: Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island at CocoCay. We arrived at Nassau around noon, so we slept in and had a late breakfast. We got off the ship and went straight to Atlantis. We enjoy walking around the facility, looking at the fish in their awesome aquarium, and then spending a bit of time in the casino. After we got back to the ship, it was time for dinner and the rest of the evening.

We opted to stay on the ship when we stopped at CocoCay. We have been to the island before, and love the white sands, the blue water, and the lunch provided. This time, we just stayed on the ship and enjoyed the feel of the place almost to ourselves. Slept in again, and then went up to the pool deck for a bit of sun. It was a very nice and relaxing day.

DISEMBARKATION - This was a bit of a mess, as everyone was held up waiting on a handful of non-US citizens to go to immigration. The same names were called over the loudspeaker over and over, and it held up everyone getting off the ship for over and hour. I felt bad for the crew members as people were getting a bit testy and crabby at having to wait to get off the ship. It was a sad way to end a great weekend cruise, but I guess some people feel like if they argue loud enough, they will get to go. I just sat, read my book, and waited for my time. Once called, it was only a matter of a few minutes and we were off the ship.

SUMMARY - The Monarch is a great ship, and I would not hesitate to book another cruise on this ship. Everything was very clean, and the staff was very friendly. Many times we would be walking around the ship, or sitting around enjoying a drink & and we would see a crew member, or a member of the ship's staff, who would stop and ask about our day. They truly seemed to appreciate everyone on board!

We did take advantage of the future cruise OBC, and booked a cruise on the new Freedom of the Seas for next year. It was easy to do, the deposit was reduced, and I was able to transfer my reservation to my TA with no hassle.

Try the Monarch & you will not be sorry!!

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