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Royal Caribbean InternationalSovereign the Seas ReviewBahamasJackie

Age: 38

Occupation:Computer Programmer

Number of Cruises: 2 previous

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Sovereign of the Seas

Sailing Date: January 26th, 2006

Itinerary: NOT FOUND


Royal Caribbean International
Sovereign of the Seas Cruise Review
Bahamas

Jackie

My husband and I along with our 2 young children (ages 3 & 5) went on the Sovereign of the Seas for our yearly winter get away from dreary weather.

After a great deal of research (including reading reviews on this site), we chose the Sovereign of the Seas for their Kids Club & the price.

I have been on 2 previous cruises, my husband on 1. We both have traveled around the Bahamas/Caribbean enough to know what to expect. Our expectations of the actual cruise were not high. We are not 'cruisers' by nature. Preferring a resort and following our own agenda. The primary reason we chose a cruise this time is to take advantage of the kids club and get a little of our own time. My youngest is 3 and any resort in the Caribbean requires children to be at least 4 to be in the kids club.

We boarded the ship around 1:00. We went to our room - inside cabin on the 2nd floor. The room was exactly as other cruise ships I'd been on - small, efficient. If you've never cruised, it's a shock. If you have, it's exactly like the others...

The only issue I had with our rooms is the fact that RC wouldn't try to accommodate our family better. We purchased 2 rooms at the base price about 3 months before the cruise. I called, our travel agent called and I inquired upon boarding, but RC wouldn't provide us 2 rooms together. We really didn't care about the location of our room in the least, we just wanted 2 rooms next to each other. Surely they could have relocated a single room to accommodate us... especially someone else that had a 'guarantee' price. But, I didn't get the feeling that our request had any priority. We adapted fine - 2 rooms on the same floor, but about 3 halls away from each other. But, this is something that I think RC could have done a better job with.

We ate at the Windjammer with the kids that night. The food at Windjammer was pretty good. I especially liked their attempt at ethnic variety. The Indian food on the last night (a personal favorite of my husband and I).

We attended the Kids Club presentation at 8:00. I was beyond impressed with the staff of the Kids Club. All were college educated, enthusiastic and earned my trust quickly. The kids went off to the Kids Club that night from 8:30 - 10:00, while we went off to the Casino. ;-)

When we picked them at 10:00 (it is free until 10:00, $5 an hour per child from 10:00 pm - 1:00 am), the kids were beyond disappointed that they had to leave.

The following morning we were supposed to go to Coco Cay. Our speaker in our room abruptly woke us up at 8:00 a.m. to let us know that the weather was too bad to stop there, so we were heading straight to the Bahamas, to be docked that evening.

My second complaint of this cruise: speakers in the room that you can't turn off. I'm sure the crew found the fact that we weren't stopping at CocoCay very important. But, myself and a sleeping child (who rarely sleeps past 7:00) were beyond irritated that we were woken up to be told this fact. They went on to do 3 announcements about this fact. Of course, waking us up for the day. This was the only time that the speaker in the room was utilized. All other announcements (of less importance...) were just announced in the hallway.

After this abrupt awakening, the first thing our children said: 'can we go see our friends at the Kids Club?'. After breakfast, we had them go in for about an hour before we had to pick them up for lunch. We gave them a nap in the afternoon and signed them up for the Kids Club dinner at 6:00. We kept them in until 11:00 p.m. that night while we had a formal dinner and played in the Casino.

The formal dinner was really good. Our waiter was clearly disappointed that we hadn't shown up the night before. Another tip for RC... they put all of us (our 2 children included) at a formal dining table. Maybe some parents do dine in the main dining room with their children... but, we personally had no desire to do so. While I felt for our waiter and the fact that this is the only evening we were going to use the main dining room, it's still our perogative to dine where we'd like.

During that dinner, they had the Kids Club march through all dolled up in their pirate attire. It was very entertaining and the kids were having a blast.

The following day, we spent in the Bahamas. It was a gorgeous, sunny, just -the-right-temperature day. The kids stayed on the ship in the Kids Club. While we got beepers while on the ship, there was no way of communicating with us while off the ship. This initially made us hesitate going off the ship. However, the confidence that was built up with the staff at that point made it a fairly easy decision to get off the ship.

The following day - my favorite day of the whole cruise - we ended up going to Coco Cay. The weather was picture perfect. The island is really a charming surprise. I had been on Labadee one of the other islands that RC owns (at least back in 1999...) which was nice and a fun day. But, Coco Cay was more natural & beautiful. You could snorkle right by the shore and we literally saw a Sea Ray and other fish within 10-20ft of the shore. And the water.... just as crystal clear as any water in the Caribbean.

As for the kids... we played with them in the sand for an hour or so. Then, they saw one of their 'friends' walk by heading towards the make-shift Kids Club on Coco Cay and they insisted that they go in there. The Kids Club on Coco Cay is a fenced in area far away from the water where the staff plays games with them, water games and crafts. We had them in there about 45 minutes before lunch. We then ate lunch on the island with them. After lunch, the Kids Club opened up again at 1:00 - 3:00. At 3:00, the kids played on the beach with us & a couple of their 'friends' that were sitting close by for about another 30-45 minutes before we caught the next tender back to the boat.

Other points about the cruise:
-We went to one of the entertainment nights which was a Colombian musician, comedian, entertainer. Very good show. Well worth it.
-I'm not sure I could tell the ship was completely refurbished recently. It wasn't lavish, but it wasn't dismal either.
-The food was good. Not GREAT. But, good.
-the kids dined at Johnny Rockets 1 evening with us. It was ok. Not worth the 'coverage charge' IMO.

This cruise exceeded my expectations namely because of the Kids Club. I can not imagine having a better experience with kids if I was on the Disney Cruise. (Which is 3x the price, no casino and swarming with kids.). I will definitely cruise Royal Caribbean again with the kids. And tell all my friends - especially those that were skeptical about taking the kids on anything but a Disney cruise.

The biggest issue that Royal Caribbean has in this area - is keeping this extraordinary part of the cruising experience a secret.

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