About Me!

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Welcome! I am Jane-Ellen (JE) I'm a travel agent and I am happy to share with you my love of travel. I am not a journalist, I simply enjoy traveling. My favorite travel destinations are Walt Disney World, Cruises and anywhere on our Harley. My husband, Steve and I are out on our Harley when time, work and weather permit. We try to take weekend trips whenever possible.
Walt Disney World has been a favorite spot to vacation since our first trip in 1983. We have had over 30 weeklong vacations and now living in Florida we visit monthly, although recently I find myself there weekly. Hey I am doing research!
Cruising is another passion. We have been on many cruises, predominately in the Caribbean. A seven day cruise is the best way to really unwind and relax; but if a three or four day cruise crosses our path, we set sail. I am an Accredited Cruise Councilor, and a Certified Travel Councilor. I have the highest level of education from all major cruise lines.
Many clients have asked for insider tips for Disney World and cruising. That is my goal to offer insider information on Disney, Cruises and biking.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Monarch of the Seas Cruise

Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas

Our Monarch of the Seas Cruise January 7-10, 2011
Part One

We left Weeki Wachee, Florida at 8:00AM on Friday for our weekend cruise on the Monarch of the Seas. It was an easy 2.5 hour ride over to Port Canaveral. It was by far the easiest port for embarkation; the parking garage had plenty of parking close to the terminal and lots of port employees to guide you thru the embarkation process.  We checked in quickly, with only three people in front of us, had our pictures taken and were on the ship by 11 am.

We did not check our luggage pier-side so we just wheeled it up to the Windjammer with us. We enjoyed our lunch looking out the window at the brand new Disney Dream. What a ship that is! I will have to cruise on The Dream just to give a ship review (then its work related!).  

We met a nice couple at lunch, also from Florida, this would be the theme of the cruise; everyone it seemed was a ‘local’. The Monarch, was one of the largest ships to sail in 1991, but by today’s standards, is considered a smaller cruise ship at 73,000 tons.  This makes the ship perfect for quick weekend get-a-ways for anyone who is within a few hours drive of Port Canaveral.  The ship is nice and comfortable with wonderful staff and plenty to keep you busy!

Even the band members were cold!
We dropped our bags at our ocean view stateroom.  There are not many balcony staterooms and the staterooms in general were not as up to date as the brand new ships (no flat screen TVs)  but the bed was comfortable and the room was always clean thanks to Dion, our cabin steward.  The bathroom of course was smaller than I would like, I was accosted by the shower curtain each morning. I haven’t found a cruise ship bathroom that I like yet. I will put out a new bulletin when I do!

It was a very cold day by Florida standards, too cold to swim so we toured the ship for the afternoon. The one good thing about a smaller ship, we never got lost once, that’s a first for me.  We toured the ship and found it looking great. We began our exploration in the Centrum the open multilevel area in the heart of the ship. This area holds the Guest Relations, Excursion Desk, Shops, Ben and Jerry’s, CafĂ© Latte-tudes, Crown and Anchor Desk. This area had some comfortable seating to give you a place to sit and enjoy the changing view while enjoying your latte or ice cream.  

We worked our way around the ship walking from deck to deck to see what we had in store. The Sound of Music Theatre is large and there were not many view obstructions.  We toured the Ship Shape Fitness Center with the hopes of working out at some point but that never happened. I guess Sorrento’s pizza called my name louder. We had pizza for an afternoon snack there most days. This is where the ice cream was located so it was a fun spot in the afternoon.

The pool area was nice and never seemed too crowded.  The bar staff was always close by to bring you the drink of the day.  We had the pool area to ourselves the day the ship moored at Coco Cay, we visited the island for half the day and came back to the pool around noon. It was heaven. My only complaint was if I had to hear Ricky Martin sing about shaking his ‘bon bon’ one more time I was going to jump ship!

Dinner was very nice in Claude’s dining room, our waiter Albert, his assistant waiter Sweedon and the head waiter, Mustafa were all very attentive, more so than on any other ship we have sailed. We had a large table and almost every other person seated with us was from Florida, most from within a 2 hour drive. Ed, a senior from our area has been on the Monarch nine times since November, two others have been on the Monarch many times in the last year.  When the wait staff from other areas of the dining room walked by they greeted our tablemates by name, often stopping to give them a hug and ask how they were doing.  I thought Ed should be the mayor the Monarch! We enjoyed everyone’s company very much. Albert, our waiter, told us a joke each night and Mustafa, the head waiter, gave us the weather report for the next day. They really made us feel right at home. The food was delicious too!

We enjoyed the music and shows in the theatre and lounges. We did not make it to the disco or the deck party but a table mate went and enjoyed learning some new songs and dances, he learned the Superman and Stanky Legg dance; maybe I am glad I missed that one.  

We had so much fun and this was only day one!

More to come….

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