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Tommy Henderson

Age: 44


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Monarch of the Seas

Sailing Date: November 15th, 2004

Itinerary: Baja, Mexico

I can guarantee that no other persons have had an experience quite like we had on this , our first cruise ! We travel frequently , very frequently but now can think of nothing but cruising. My wife and I took advantage of this cruise to include our wedding and honeymoon in one . Accompanied by friends and family we drove from our home which was a little over an hour all freeway to the Port. We borded the ship aprox 30 minutes after arriving and checking in. We were traveling with a large group of experienced cruisers. During check in , we were informed of the welcome buffet lunch and we took advantage of that first thing. After lunch we took a brief self tour of the ship before finding our way to our cabins. From the time we originally planned this trip up to this moment, I worried about cabin size and comforts. We opened our door and found exactly what I had expected , nothing like some of our favorite hotel suites we enjoyed. However a little better than I had anticipated. I am 6'4"s and a big guy so like I said , I had been preparing myself for the worst. Yes then I opened the door to the head. Very clean ! shower was much better than I had expected and comparable to a really nice motor home. Still having a great time and excited about our trip and our wedding ! Ok Ok , it got a lot better real quick. I will go ahead and tell you that this cruise was the most fun we have ever had on any vacation and just forget about the cost. The price is ridiculously CHEAP ! I am not complain , but I don't know how they do it. Ok we had early dinner seating and enjoyed dinner in the dinning on Monday night. We all went to dinner casual just like we boarded the ship. Dinner was great. Everyone in our party was able to find more than a few selections for dinner that were enjoyed by all. We were blessed with exceptional weather for the entire duration of our cruise and it was smooth sailing all the way. We never once felt movement of the ship. The first time I knew we had sailed was at dinner when I saw the lights of the port passing by the dinning rooms windows. Even though we were accompanied by friends and family , we all just did our own thing. Our cabin was thoughtfully arranged with our beds in a queens size formation which turned out to be extremely uncomfortable for both of us. I called our cabin steward and within minutes he had our cabin rearranged in the two twin bed corner group formation. worked out much better for both of us. Have I said anything negative yet? Then only complaint any of us had ever was THE ELEVATORS !! Very very slow , to many people trying to overload them when they were the slowest , very hot , very uncomfortable , people can be animals ! Hahahahaha , ok I have that out of my system. Take stairs if you can. From here on its all good.

Day 2 , woke early and wanted to smell the sea air. I went on deck just as we were approaching the entrance to the port of San Diego. Thoroughly enjoyed the long slow crawl through the Naval Ship yards escorted by the US Coast Guard. Beautiful morning nice cup of coffee from the buffet and standing on the bow with the wind in my face. A very nice ride. San Diego is very familiar to me since I live two hours drive time away. We did not rush to leave the ship but eventually took a couple hours in port and enjoyed a nice walk and a little shopping in Sea Port Village ( a trendy nautical themed open air mall } surrounded by the hundreds of slips filled with commercial and pleasure boats and yachts. Weather once again , couldn't ask for any better aprox 80 degrees everywhere we went all week. We re boarded the ship that afternoon and had lunch. Its crazy to spend money for lunch off the ship when you've already paid for it onboard. Save that cash for the Casino at night. Dinner day 2 , we all got dressed up and went to the first formal dinner. They want you to get dressed up just so you'll be more apt to have your picture taken as many times as you like in a number of different professional photographers booths. Each booth features a different back drop scenery to remind you for eternity how much fun you had on your cruise. After all what else is there to do when you would just be standing around waiting for the dinning room to open. Dinner was great , I shed my coat and tie not long after pictures and nobody called the fashion police on me. Enjoyed a dinner and after wasn't sure which we enjoyed more. It was a toss up between the food and the delightfully friendly and entertaining wait staff.

Day 3 , Wednesday morning we found ourselves docked off shore in Avalon Bay just off Catalina Island. This was to be our big day. We were leaving the ship for our wedding ceremony. Our ceremony was all planned in advance , we were married right in the middle of the town of Avalon. Everything went like clock work. We arrived to find the minister waiting for us on the beach. Within minutes our small wedding group swelled to what seemed like hundreds as we were the entertainment for the moment for the people of Catalina and the hundreds of passengers which had come a shore to see the sights. People cheered and wished us well and from this second we never ventured anywhere on sea or on land that we were not recognized by all and showered with goodluck wishes. When we boarded the shuttle boat back to the ship from Avalon my wife of course in full length white wedding dress , veil and flowers and the rest of the party and I all dressed in Hawaiian attire. We were seated on the inside deck as a group when we noticed that we were being serenaded by another passenger. Sitting across from our group was Young man and two young girls all Filipinos. This young man just spontaneously began singing the old Nat King Cole classic Unforgettable and he was almost immediately joined by his two companions. It was very thoughtful and directed at my wife and I. It was very moving and he even had several of our party in tears. I guess we were pretty cute and newlyweds of course. I thanked the young man and realized that the three of them were waiters from the ship. His name was Charlie and he made us unforgettable to all that were there for his performance on the ride back to the ship. This would not be the last time we saw Charlie. Not long after reboarding the ship from Avalon it was again time for dinner. My wife stayed in her wedding dress and we took advantage of the photographers services once again. Everywhere we went on the ship , people would applaud us when we appeared , and most had witnessed our wedding ceremony.

The dinning room staff was especially attentive this night and treated us to Champagne and even supplied a special wedding cake that we didn't expect. What fun we all had and we felt like real celebrities. That night after dinner we enjoyed a live show in the theater . Coincidentally after that show, the cruise director was hosting a live game show reminiscent of the old Newlywed Game show. At first I was looking for the exit but after alot of coaxing and prodding I agreed to compete along with my wife for a chance to be contestants in the show. You guessed it ! We were selected as the most newly newlyweds on board and we played the game along with 3 other couples. We did not with the most points , but we definately were { to our mutual embarrassment } the stand out stars of the show. What great fun ! I think we actually embarrassed some family members than ourselves but it was well worth it. We were treated to FREE cocktails and presented with some lovely parting gifts. To our surprise this show was taped for onboard closed circuit television and guess what there is to watch on tv going from Catalina to Ensenada ? 24 non stop hours of us on the Newlywed Game telling our most intimate secrets over and over and over again and again. Now we were truly the celebrities everywhere we went. Even in Ensenada , as we walked the streets of town people were recognizing us and shouting from restaurants and upper balconies " Hey there go the newlyweds !" It was nuts but again What Fun ! before we got off the ship to shop in Ensenada we were hanging out on the pool deck when I was attacked by the cruise director and forced against my will to be part of another fun game . It was a SEXY Legs contest, Guess who won ? Yep. At least my wife and friends were totally enjoying seeing my embarrassment. Thursday night was not only the day after we were married but also happened to be my wife's birthday. Again at dinner we were surprised again , this time with a birthday cake and again Charlie was there. He took a few moments away from his guest to make an appearance at our tables to once again serenade my wife for her birthday. { Charlie got a special something in an envelope that he wasn't expecting at the end of the cruise } What can I say except that each and everyone of us had the best time ever . We never worried about cabin space , we just wish we could have stayed another 5 days .

Amazing friendly talented staff , comfortable accommodations , professional service , good food { Room service is highly recommended for service if nothing else } , amazing value and to say alot for your money doesn't come close. The only thing we needed more of was time. Highly recommended to all and we are already planning a repeat cruise for our first anniversary ! We Cant wait last but not least , we had our car there in port and couldn't care less how long it took top get off the ship, who cares ? If you have to catch a plane and don't want to be late , your welcome to carry your own bags off the ship and leave whenever you like after the ship docks back in Los Angeles. Just have Fun !

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