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Royal Caribbean Cruises aboard the Sovereign of the Seas
Above: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Sovereign of the Seas Cruise Ship.

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Ship Details
Began service: January, 1988 Refurbished: January 1999
Guest capacity: 2,276
Total staff: 840
Length: 880 feet
Passenger decks: 14
CDC inspection score: 94

Sovereign of the Seas Overview

The Sovereign of the Seas cruise ship departs from Orlando, Florida. Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to Bahamas.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean's
17-year-old Sovereign of the Seas, half the size of the Voyager class ships, was once the largest and most elaborate cruise ship at sea. In the past few years, it was showing its age, not only in the normal and expected wear and tear of an older ship, but also in its amenities as well. But, rather than retire the Sovereign or sell it off to a European tour-and-cruise company, Royal Caribbean decided to give the ship a major facelift. The public rooms have been upgraded, adding areas that are popular on its more modern ships, and expanding its teen and children's programs.

The newly refurbished Sovereign of the Seas has a whole new look and a young, vibrant attitude. Big verandahs were added to 62 of its cabins, the dark and closed-in buffet area was scooped out and expanded, lounges were rearranged to maximize space, a la carte food options (Johnny Rockets, Seattle's Best Coffee, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream) have been added, and two teen and children's areas have been created.

Sovereign now sails three- and four-day Bahamas itineraries from Royal Caribbean's new port in Cape Canaveral, and is an example of a successful ship refurbishment.


Most of the cabins on Sovereign are tiny. The new fabrics and carpeting can't do anything to make them bigger, but they are clean and new looking, with great storage spaces and roomy bathrooms. Superior oceanview categories are slightly larger than regular oceanview, with more storage options. Each cabin has a small TV, newly renovated bath with shower, and two twin beds that can be made into a queen.

Deck 10, where the upper level of accommodations are to be found, has seen the addition of 62 balconies. The suites: owner's, grand, royal and mini, have been beautified and refinished. All of the suites on this level have bathtubs, large TV's and elaborate storage space.

Note: The porcelain bathtubs are nice, but they are raised about six inches from the floor and are very deep. They are difficult to use for a stand-up shower for those over six-foot-tall, and they are really hard to get into and out of for those with hip or knee joint problems.


Sovereign of the Seas has two main dining rooms: Mirage on Deck 4 and Illusions on Deck 3, each with two seatings. Meals are elaborate and well planned, and even on the shorter itinerary, traditional fare like lobster and prime rib is available. The pastry chef is exceptional, preparing desserts that look like works of art.

The buffet (or cafeteria-style) restaurant is located forward on Deck 11. The food at Windjammers is freshly prepared, with a carving station and additional areas including traditional and deli fare, Asian eats, salads, and desserts. The drink station is also located here.

Johnny Rockets is like a 1950's-style drive-in restaurant, with big juicy burgers, thick malts and shakes. There is a surcharge of $3.95 per person to eat here, and the sodas, malts and sundaes are served a la carte. Sorrento's Pizza has tables that resemble pizza slices and bright-red chairs. There is no charge for this restaurant.

Room service is more elaborate than on most other cruise lines, with hot breakfast items and even a modified dining room menu available to all guests, not just those in suites.

Sovereign of the Seas also offers midnight snacks that are delivered to the lounges (Boleros, Schooner Bar, Voltage) and casino where you can enjoy them between midnight and 1am.


All of the entertainment on this ship is fabulous, from the silly waiters in Johnny Rockets, who occasionally break into song, to the elaborate productions in the beautifully refurbished, Follies Lounge.

The new production show for the Follies Lounge, "Dancin' Thru The Movies," is elaborate, colorful and joyous. There are occasional headliners in the theatre as well.

Bolero's features a Latin-flavored band, Tropical Breeze, plays jazz tunes, salsa and merengue, and several line-dance songs. Late in the evening, it transforms into a dueling-pianos venue.

For quieter evening, there's piano entertainment in the Schooner Bar and guitar music in the Viking Crown Lounge.

Caribbean Wave hangs out on the pool deck enhancing the atmosphere with calypso and reggae.

The new disco, Voltage, hosts rockin' beats most of the time, including "Rock-a-Roake" for those brave enough to take the microphone, and the band Devilicious providing contemporary tunes.

Movies are shown on in-cabin TV's on a rotating basis, but only one movie is played per day on each of the two movie channels, repeating over and over again. Other TV selections include CNN, ESPN, local satellite offerings, and shipboard information including port overviews and shopping.

The large casino has a huge variety of table games, slots and poker machines.

Fitness & Recreation

Royal Caribbean has positioned itself as the cruise line for active lifestyles, and Sovereign is no exception. From the 30-foot-tall rock climbing wall at the aft of the ship to the well-equipped fitness center and spa, opportunities are plentiful for those who want to keep up their regimen of exercise.

The Sovereign Day Spa and Fitness Center offers a wide variety of treatments including massages and facials, and a "dry float" bed that provides hands-off heat and massage therapy in a dark, quiet room. Exercise equipment includes treadmills, stationery bikes, weights and cardio machines. Pilates, yoga and spinning classes are available for a small fee ($5 to $10); aerobics classes are complimentary. A salon is also available for hair and nail treatments.

There are two pools on Deck 11, with two hot tubs between them. There is a walk-around track but no jogging track, and what used to be the sports area with basketball, is now an area for teens.

Public Areas

Royal Caribbean has "ramped up" the public spaces and entertainment venues on this ship, with even the names of the rooms indicating hip, hot action.

There are several conference rooms and a business center on Deck 7. Deck 5's central atrium is home to the ship's shops, which include the usual logo items, duty-free perfumes, liquor and cigarettes, and some other specialty items that are put on display in the middle of the center. Adjacent to the shops is Latte'tudes, the coffee shop in partnership with Seattle's Best Coffee, and the ice cream shop featuring Ben and Jerry products, both available at an a la carte charge.

The Internet Center, or Royal Caribbean Online, is located both in the Centrum area on Deck 6 and in the Business Center on Deck 7. There are several packages to choose from, and wireless is also available for those who have laptops with wireless cards. Hot spots are located in areas surrounding the centrum, but not in the staterooms.

Smoking is only allowed in limited sections of most bars, on the outside decks, and in the casino. Cigar smoking is only allowed in the Viking Crown Lounge.

There is no self-serve laundry on Sovereign of the Seas.


Royal Caribbean has teamed with Crayola and Fisher-Price to bring an exciting and enriching environment onboard its ships.

The entire aft end of Deck 9 has been turned into Adventure Ocean, the multi-roomed children's area with age appropriate activities for each group; parents can stay and play too. And, for 6- to 36-month-olds and parents, there is a music and movement class.

The other aspect of the new children's center, is the "day camp" for kids older than 3. Aquanauts (3 - 5), Explorers (6 - 8) and Voyagers (9 - 11) all have their own areas in which to play and learn. The program is free with the exception of Internet time, which ranges from sending an e-postcard for about 25 cents to using the Internet at 25 cents per minute.

Note: All children must be completely potty-trained; "pull-ups" and swim diapers are not allowed at all.

Teens from 12 - 17 have their own spot on Deck 11, away from most of the crowds. Parents are not allowed. The Living Room is a colorful, cozy spot with seating areas for chatting and sipping sodas. Right behind it is Fuel, the new disco for the teens, complete with a "mocktail" bar and dance floor. And beyond that is the open back deck for ping-pong, sunning and deck parties.

In-cabin sitting is available through the purser's desk and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, based on availability. Minimum age is one year; the charge is $8 per hour, in cash, for up to two children within the same family, $10 per hour for a maximum of three children in the same family.

Expert Sovereign of the Seas reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Bahamas.


Discount Code

Sovereign of the Seas cruise reviews

Cruise Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced CDC inspection. Sovereign of the Seas Score: 94

Cruise Critic: Sovereign of the Seas
The Cruise Critic gives Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas a 3-ribbon rating.

Web links

RCL Cruises
Request a brochure, or find a travel agent who represents Royal Caribbean Cruise Line at the company's official Web site.

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