For a moment, I thought that I had boarded a Seabourn cruise. The staff onboard this ship greeted us at every turn. We stopped to look at the model of the ship and a staff member came to ask if she could help us find something. We were quite impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the crew.
Although we had booked an ordinary ocean view cabin, we got an upgrade to a Superior Ocean View, cabin 9572. What a bonus that was. Our stateroom seemed palatial. The Monarch is an older ship and it’s easy to see and compare the high style of the era when it was built with more modern ships. We found the ship clean, pleasantly decorated and very easy to navigate.
Once we dropped our carry-on in our rooms, we headed to the Windjammer for lunch and were struck by the difference between this buffet and the Market Cafe on the NCL Star. There were tables of all sizes arranged at different angles throughout the dining area. The many food stations offered every type of food, including lots of Asian obviously to appeal to that significant component of passengers. We tried the Asian, which was tasty. The only time we do buffet is when there is no other option, but we weren’t disappointed with this.
Monarch has a marketplace set up where you can get samples of food from the specialty restaurants, samples from the liquor store and demonstrations of products. They also have a raffle giving passenger one entry for each of the individual booths that they visit. We had nothing to do, so attended this and entered into the drawings.
I won something, but more about that later.
To win something, you had to attend an event in the theater, which was followed by a shopping seminar. At the first draw, I won a game of bingo. Not really my cup of tea, but I did go attend the big event. Of course, I didn’t win. There are lots of complaints about the cost of bingo and the poor payout for the games. I am always amazed at how much people spend on bingo, but that is because I am neither a big gambler or addicted to bingo. Obviously bingo makes huge profits for the cruise lines.
Not being big shoppers, or maybe I should say, not being jewelry shoppers, we weren’t sure if we would learn anything here or be interested in what they had to say. We noticed that the crowd expected to get prizes from the shopping guide who had several things to give away. He simply asked people to raise their hands if they wanted something. He should have paid attention because he gave one woman several prizes. That seemed a poor way to distribute his stock. We sat way in the back and would never been within tossing range of a prize.
What I did learn from this seminar is that you can get VIP certificates from the shopping consultant. One just happened to be for very good rates at the spa. This came as a surprise and I never would have expected the shopping consultant to offer such good rates. So, if you want a good deal on spa services, you might want to consider sitting through the presentation or even tracking down the shopping consultant. On the other hand, if you are a big shopper, you will see the shopping consultant frequently.
More next time.