While the Queen Mary will always be my first love, I never had the pleasure of sailing on her. My first cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas leaving from San Pedro, CA on a 3 night Baja Mexico adventure.
Recently my parents were on a cruise and were visiting Aruba when I got a call from them. They were so excited to see the Monarch as it is now known in port with them. The Monarch is now part of Pullmantur Cruises fleet and while the name may have changed slightly, there is no mistaking this former Royal Caribbean ship! On April 1, 2013, Monarch was transferred from Royal Caribbean International to Spain’s Pullmantur Cruises to join her sister ship MS Sovereign after serving for Royal Caribbean International for 22 years.
This got me reminiscing about my years of cruising and how if not for how amazing our early experiences were would we have completed 32 more cruises since that first one? I doubt we would have.
The Monarch of the Seas was and will always be something special. It did 3,4 and 5 night sailings from California and then later from Florida and were considered “party” cruises. With such short trips it made it easy for quick getaways for folks living in California and we also encountered lots of groups on board such as companies rewarding their employees by taking them on a cruise. I used to wish I worked for companies like that!
Compared to the mega ships of today, the Monarch of the Seas was a small ship. It was launched in 1991 and was 880 ft in length with a maximum speed of 19 knots. This ship was part of the Sovereign class and had a passenger capacity of 2,390. The largest ships in fleet for Royal Caribbean today have a capacity of over 6,000 passengers. Monarch holds her place in history for being the first ever major cruise ship to have a women captain at the helm. Swedish born Karin Stahre Janson took charge in 2007 but has since been joined by a host of other female captains for other operators.
Our first trip departed June 11, 2004 to celebrate my moms birthday. While it was only a 3 night trip it left a huge impression on us. Unbelievably friendly crew, cocktails at the pool and our first visit to Ensenada, Mexico to visit La Bufadora! In 2005, we cruised twice on the Monarch, once for my birthday in April and then again in June for mom’s birthday. On the June trip we introduced my brother to cruising and he has been a fan ever since. Our last trip on the Monarch was in November 2007 as the ship’s home port was then moved to Florida.
From the band singing happy birthday while leaning over the railing to locate me, to unforgettable interactions with crew especially those in food and beverage departments this convinced me cruising was for me and have been cruising multiple times a year since then. Royal Caribbean does it right when it comes to the diverse nature of the crew and how so many crew are from the Caribbean. This creates such a warm and welcoming experience that is rarely matched by other cruise lines.
While cruising on other ships in the fleet you never know when a crew member is going to come up to you and say “Don’t I know you from the Monarch?”. With the amount of passengers the crew encounters they always seem to remember those they met on the Monarch of the Seas. This ship was something special to anyone that cruised or worked on her that I have not found with any other ship.
Thank you Monarch of the Seas and Royal Caribbean for beginning my cruise addiction and I am proud to still be sailing with you. In fact, we have 4 cruises booked this year with Royal Caribbean and I cannot wait to see who we meet again!
Please contact us to book your cruise to build everlasting memories like ours.