Royal Caribbean LineSovereign the Seas ReviewBahamasMark Rader
Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Sovereign of the Seas
Sailing Date: 2006
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Sovereign of the Seas Cruise Review
My wife and I, plus four friends and family members, just returned from a 4 night trip on the Sovereign to the Bahamas. I read other reviews extensively and will focus on the things that I found to be inaccurate in other reviews.
First, let me say that we all had a fantastic experience on this cruise. The service provided by the Royal Caribbean staff was absolutely impeccable! On the last night of the cruise, we all tried to remember something....anything....that was less than perfect. We were at a loss to remember anything!
Other reviewers have discussed the 38 million dollar refit in 2004. Yes the Sovereign is an older ship. No, it does not have some of the "gee whiz" factor of the newer ships. However, we found it to be in very good condition overall. Especially, when you consider the relatively low cost of cruising on the Sovereign, I would go again in a minute! We found it to be a great value for the money!
The Alcohol Policy: I had read that R.C. allowed guests to purchase alcohol in the duty free shop for in-room consumption by paying a higher price (approx $9.00/bottle) that would compare roughly to a "retail" price. I was informed on board that this policy was discontinued about 6 months ago. They can and do search baggage for alcohol when boarding and when returning from Nassau. Other reviewers have complained about the high cost of alcoholic drinks. We found the cost to be reasonable and comparable to what you would pay in many bars in the states. They do add 15% gratuity to the price of the drinks. Examples: Beer $3.00 + .45 gratuity, and mixed drinks were typically $5.00 + gratuity. A fine single malt scotch was $7.00 + grat. If I were to go again, I'd consider trying to smuggle some booze in my luggage. I heard of people successfully doing this.
The soft drink policy: If I HAD to pick something to gripe about, I'd say it was that they charge for soft drinks (even during meals). You pay $6.00 per adult, per day and $4.00 per child, per day, for an insulated cup that allows unlimited refills. Otherwise, it's $1.50 per can of soda. I'd recommend taking several 2 liter bottles in your luggage. The Jr. Suites on Deck 10 have refrigerators and they provide ice buckets (regularly filled by your room steward) in all cabins.
Cabins and Suites: My wife and I stayed in a Jr. Suite on deck 10. These are the cabins added during the 2004 refit. We loved the extra space and the balcony! It became the gathering place for our whole group. I would highly recommend paying the extra $ for these cabins. However, having said this, others in our group were perfectly satisfied with their Ocean View cabins. One caveat: If you decide to spring for a suite, I'd recommend staying in one of the forward cabins (suites 1510 - 1548 and 1010 - 1048). The reason? The aft cabins (suites 1050 - 1088 and 1550 - 1588) are located below the pool deck. We did notice noise from people walking, jumping, running around on deck. This was only a serious problem on the night of the pool party (the third night on the four night cruise). The racket that night was unbelievable! One potential negative of a forward cabin is that you will notice a little more motion. If you are prone to seasickness, you may want to opt for an aft cabin.
Food: We did not eat at Johnny Rockets but heard good things about it. We ate all evening meals in the Dining Room. We found the food overall to be quite good. If you go in expecting a 5 star restaurant, you will likely be disappointed. If you go in with slightly lower expectations, I think most people will find the food to be very good to excellent. The service at meals was outstanding! Unlike other cruise lines that have instituted mandatory gratuities, these guys are working for their money! They bent over backwards to satisfy every request. I cannot say enough about the service on this ship!
Entertainment: We attended all of the shows and found them all to be excellent.
Driving and Parking: Take exit 205 off I-95 (not 77 as stated on RC web site. They have changed the exit numbers!). Parking is now $12 per day.
Atlantis Excursion: Either $78 or $54 depending on whether you want beach access and lunch with the tour, or not. I would recommend doing this on your own. Pay $6.00 roundtrip for a water taxi or $8.00 to $10.00 roundtrip per person for a taxi (less walking) and $30.00 at Atlantis for a wrist band to see the aquarium and the rest of the property.
Summary: Loved it! Would go again in a heartbeat! Have fun!