Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Sovereign of the Seas
Sailing Date: July 30th, 2004
This was our third cruise and our second with Royal Caribbean. We chose the 3-night cruise and purchased it as a gift for our daughter for her high school graduation. I highly recommend booking your next cruise with Cruise411.com. They give very accurate information and the price that you see is the price that you pay. NO hidden charges.
We drove to Florida and spent the evening before we sailed at Radisson Resort at the Port. It’s a beautiful hotel with larger than average rooms. The pool is beautiful and the breakfast buffet was excellent. They have free parking and a shuttle that takes you to the ship. This saves loads of time and was very convenient. Just make sure that you reserve a shuttle time at the front desk.
Embarkation went very smoothly. It was much faster than we anticipated because we had filled out all of our information online before leaving home. I highly recommend this as it speeds up the process. Make sure that you have your passport or birth certificate and photo ID ready. We boarded the ship around 12:30 and were disappointed to find that we couldn’t get into our rooms until 1:00 p.m. Also, the shore excursion desk didn’t’ open up until 2:00 p.m. No problem. We just hung around and waited.
The muster drill went very smoothly. One suggestion – wear very cool clothing as those life jackets are really hot!
We booked a Junior Suite on Deck 10, Cabin 1042, and were very pleased with the size of our room. It was very spacious compared to the last cruise that we had been on. We had a TV/VCR, a refrigerator, a bathtub, marble countertops in the bathroom, a safe, a chair, a table and a small sofa. We had read and been told that there were no balconies on Sovereign of the Seas. Much to our surprise, we opened our cabin door and there was a balcony! We asked our cabin steward about it and he said that our room was an experiment. It was basically a practice room for when they dry-dock the ship in November. At that time, they’re adding balconies to the entire 10th deck. My daughter and her friend had the Junior Suite next door to us and although their room was really nice, it wasn’t nearly as nice as ours. I HIGHLY recommend requesting cabin 1042 if you’re going to sail before November 2004. Our cabin steward, Derkson, was very good and left us several cute towel animals. We left him a couple of notes with special requests and our request was always waiting when we returned.
If you’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean before, make sure that you sign up for the Crown and Anchor Club. It’s free and easy to do online on the Royal Caribbean site. Because we were members, we had two robes hanging in our closets for our use, got a coupon book and got a small travel bag for toiletries. What a perk!
We elected to eat breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Café. The food is served buffet style and there was a large variety. If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, you might try the dining rooms. However, the food was good and plentiful. My only complaint was that the bottom floor of the Windjammer was very very warm. So warm that it was uncomfortable. This was probably due to the fact that you couldn’t enter the café except through outside doors. I think that they’re going to change the design when they dry dock in November.
In the evenings, we had the 8:30 p.m. seating and ate in the Kismit Dining Room. Our waiter was Rolando and he was excellent. He was also very funny as he did magic tricks for us after dinner. Some interesting facts about Rolando – he has been on Sovereign of the Seas since it went into service in 1988. Also, remember the movie “The Perfect Storm?” Rolando was on that ship! It was very interesting hearing him describe the storm. The food was very good and served promptly. You can request as many appetizers or entrees as you like and my husband took full advantage! The dining room was all on the same level and wasn’t as extravagant as the dining room on the last cruise we took but it was beautiful anyway.
We didn’t order room service but my daughter did and she said it was very good.
We went to the shows each evening before dinner. The shows were very entertaining and very family oriented. The Flashback show featuring the Royal Caribbean dancers was excellent.
Since we don’t drink, we only utilized the bar during the evening shows when we ordered a Coke. We were pleasantly surprised to see that a can of pop was only $1.50. Our daughter and her friend purchased a drink card for their pop. For them, it was well worth it however, if you don’t drink much pop, it’s too expensive.
My husband and I relaxed in our room and didn’t hit the lounges but our daughter and her friend made the rounds of the ship while exploring and their favorite place to be was in the lounge where they had adult karaoke. They absolutely loved it. They also liked the 70’s disco.
We decided to save money and not book an excursion into Nassau. When we got off of the ship, a local man approached us about taking us on a tour of the island and to Paradise Island. Along with another small group, we decided to go. He charged us $25 a person for a 2-½ hour tour. His name was Felton and he was excellent. He took us in a small van around the town. He pointed out important residences and government buildings and explained what they were. He also gave us a history lesson about the island that was very interesting. (50% of the people who live on the island are 18 years old or younger!) We were able to get out several times and explore a little bit on our own. He then took us across the bridge to Paradise Island. I’ve read several reviews of people who were unhappy visiting there but we had a great experience. He parked and gave us an opportunity to take photographs. They, he took us into the hotel and took us on a small tour. He took us to the aquarium and explained about all the fish in the huge tanks and what purpose they served. We then went on a short tour of the casino and out on an overlook where we could see the swimming area, etc. Did you know that they have a suite in that hotel that goes for $25,000.00 a night?! You must stay for a minimum of 7 days and it’s booked solid for the next 5 years! Incredible. Overall, I think that we had the best tour. The ship offered the same tour for $24 per person but it only lasted 2 hours and you only got a brief photo stop at Paradise Island. No aquarium tour, etc. We highly recommend going with a local guide. Didn’t do any shopping but noticed that you could take a horse and carriage ride around town. It’s a beautiful place to stop.
Woke up on Sunday morning to an announcement that there was an emergency with a crewmember on the ship. It was also raining. Because of these two things, we weren’t able to get off the ship until 10:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m. If you booked an excursion, you can get right off the ship. If not, you must get a tender ticket and they call these in order by number. This was a tiny bit frustrating as I got my tender ticket at 11:15 a.m. and wasn’t let off the ship until 1:00 p.m., as it was so crowded because of our delay. I highly suggest that you get your tender ticket immediately so that you don’t’ have to wait.
The island was very beautiful but a bit crowded for me. I didn’t ever wander over to the other side of the island but hear that it was a LOT less crowded. My daughter and her friend went kayaking and absolutely loved it. My husband went scuba diving and although he thought it was pretty, the water wasn’t very clear because of the rain. I didn’t book an excursion, as I only wanted to lay around and rest. Didn’t spend a lot of time on the island but went back to the ship after a few hours and took a nap. The food was good and plentiful but they had really long lines.
Because of the weather, we got back into Port Canaveral a little late. We were asked to be out of our rooms by 8:00 a.m. After the people with carry-on luggage left the ship, we were in the second group called to disembark. I was pleased with the time, as we were one of the first ones off. Radisson’s van picked us up and took us back to our car.
All in all, we really enjoyed this cruise. It was perfect for a short get away and for less than $500 per person; we got a big nice room – with a balcony! Ha! The ship shows some wear because of its age but has been beautifully maintained. They are adding a Johnny Rockets, a Portofino (sp?) Restaurant and completely refurbishing the ship in November. I would highly recommend this ship for anyone looking to relax!