Just returned from a 4 day cruise on the Monarch of the Seas. This cruise is not for experienced cruisers. It is a party cruise essentially, for persons who have not cruised before, and those who have no idea what it means to be respectful of other passengers.
While they work very hard and try their very best, there are far too many tables in the dining room for the waiters and Asst. waiters to do their best work. Please note that staterooms are very small and though you do not have much luggage, you still do not have enough room to store your clothes and your suitcases.
The ship does have an unpleasant odor and it seems that the ship is going into dry dock for two months (January - February 2006)in order to repair this problem.
Embarkation/disembarkation was satisfactory. Food was very uneven as some dishes were well prepared and others not so good, and the entertainment as expected was very good. The price of drinks was borderline unreasonable. The Windjammer Cafe is not designed to feed the high number of passengers. If you go, take your food and sit in the Jade Room which is adjacent to the Windjammer and the Jade Room is much quieter and restful.
Surely this is a very profitable year around cruise for RCL but the company should be careful with its reputation. By this I mean RCl is in danger of offending too many experienced cruisers with this ship and accordingly experienced cruisers will look at other cruise lines rather than become repeat RCL customers.
The 3 and 4 day cruises are adequate for families and others who want to save money and yet experience a cruise. For those, however, who really enjoy traveling by cruise ship and the joys that cruising brings, this ship is not for you. Sadly the negatives outweigh the positives (and there are several positives such as excellent parking, entertainment, a hard working and friendly staff and a wrap around boat deck for walking, and several public rooms are very nice).