Friday, July 25, 2014

Three Sisters - The Sovereign-Class Ships

In 1988 Royal Caribbean launched Sovereign of the Seas, the first of three “Sovereign-class” ships. Monarch of the Seas quickly followed in 1991, then Majesty of the Seas in 1992. With our recent cruise on Majesty of the Seas, we have now sailed on all three of the Sovereign sisters. I thought it would be fun to look back on our Sovereign cruise in 1996 and compare the ships and our cruise experiences.

Sovereign of the Seas portrait

Sovereign of the Seas was the first cruise ship to have a multi-leveled atrium, setting the standard for modern mega-ships. The Centrum, as Royal Caribbean called it, was five decks high with curving brass and chrome staircases and two glass elevators. I still remember the awe of stepping onto the ship and seeing the Centrum for the first time. Wow! There was a string ensemble playing classical music, a gold piano and a waterfall. Cruising is definitely less formal now, but the Centrum is still an impressive sight.

Sovereign of the Seas Centrum
Sovereign Centrum

Majesty Centrum

Majesty of the Seas Centrum

One unique feature on the Sovereign-class ships is the 360-degree Viking Crown Lounge. Unlike the newer Royal Caribbean ships, the lounge on the Sovereign sisters wraps completely around the aft stack. We never spent much time in the Viking Crown Lounge on any of our cruises except to take a few silly photos. :-)

Ron with wheel 1996

Ron with wheel 2014

Viking Crown Lounge

The three sisters also share the miniscule size of the staterooms, just 120 square feet for a standard oceanview. The interior cabins are even smaller. I don’t know how we managed to spend 7 nights in an interior cabin on our Sovereign cruise. I think that was last time we ever booked an interior cabin!

Oceanview Stateroom

The pool decks on all three ships have the same layout (2 large swimming pools with a pair of hot tubs in between), although each has some individual touches. I thought Monarch’s pool deck was the prettiest because of the statue of the woman at one end of the pool and the color-changing lights at night. But I also liked the swirling awnings over the hot tubs on Majesty.

Monarch of the Seas pool deck
Monarch Pool Deck

Over time, Royal Caribbean made modifications to the ships to keep up with cruisers’ changing expectations. When we sailed on Sovereign, there were just two dining options – the two main dining rooms and the Windjammer buffet, which only served breakfast and lunch. There were no pizza restaurants or specialty coffee shops, but there was a midnight buffet! We’d force ourselves to stay up till twelve to see the amazing food creations, even though we were still too full from dinner to eat any of it.

As Sovereign, Monarch and Majesty were refurbished, new eateries like Café Latte-Tudes and Sorrento’s Pizza were added. Monarch also got Jade, an Asian restaurant, while Majesty got Johnny Rockets and the Compass Deli. I liked Majesty’s dining options best, especially the deli which served wonderful crepes in the afternoons. Yum!

midnight buffet
Midnight Buffet

Sovereign of the Seas menu
Menu from Sovereign of the Seas

Majesty of the Seas is now the only Sovereign-class ship left in Royal Caribbean's fleet since Sovereign and Monarch were sold to the Spanish company, Pullmantur Cruises. I'm glad we got the chance to cruise on Majesty before she follows her sisters to Europe.

Years sailed:
Sovereign of the Seas – 1996
Monarch of the Seas – 2010, 2011, 2012
Majesty of the Seas - 2014

Nassau in 1996
Nassau in 1996
Nassau in 2014
Nassau in 2014

1 comment:

  1. I just crawled into my computer to get at that midnight buffet!