Built in 1988 for Royal Caribbean International as the 73,000 GT Sovereign of the Seas, it was once the largest cruise ship in the world. The ship was transferred to Royal Caribbean’s Spanish subsidiary, Pullmantur, in early 2009 and now operates cruises in the Mediterranean and South America.
Sovereign is a unique example of a cruise ship built just before cruise ships became the mega cruise ships we know of today. She has plenty of open deck space, spacious interiors, but also facilities you’d expect to find on bigger ships, such as a rock-climbing wall.
The ship caters predominantly for Spanish-speaking guests, but don’t let that put you off trying a cruise on Sovereign with Pullmantur. The crew speak English, drinks are all-inclusive, and the cruise fares are superb value for money.
The main focal point of Sovereign is the gold and red decorated four-deck-high Centrum. Deck 3 is home to the photo gallery, where photos can be purchased from around €10. The reception, shore excursion desks, library, and the Esp@cio Internet area are situated on Deck 4. Deck 5 is dedicated to a range of souvenir, jewellery and duty free shops. The suite concierge desk, and conference rooms can be found near the centrum on Deck 6.
If you've ever watched the 2004 Travel Channel Documentary 'Dry-Dock, A Cruise Ship Reborn' which still gets played aboard some Royal Caribbean ships, then you'll be familiar with the large glass clock that took pride of place in the Centrum on Sovereign of the Seas, well that's still onboard, just tucked away in a corner now.....and still broken!
Staterooms aboard Sovereign are nothing to get excited about. Staterooms are small compared to other ships, and are designed for practicality, rather than comfort - although the beds are very comfortable. Decor and fabrics remain the same from when the ship sailed with Royal Caribbean International.
Review based on stateroom 6020.
El Duero Restaurant (Deck 4, aft)
One of two main restaurants, the El Duero is open for breakfast, lunch and evening dinner. Breakfast and lunch is open sitting, and served buffet style. As Pullmantur caters predominantly to Spanish-speaking guests, evening dining times are quiet late compared to other cruise lines. First sitting is at 7:30 p.m. and second sitting is at 9:45 p.m.
El Guadiana Restaurant (Deck 3, aft)
The second main dining room aboard Sovereign is the El Guadiana and operates two set dining times, just like the El Duero. The menu remains the same each night in both restaurants, so features plenty of dishes, which are separated into categories, such as 'from the sea,' 'from the mountain' and 'from the garden.' In order to offer tailored dishes to suit everyone's tastes, a lot of dishes are served without vegetables or potatoes. A variety of potatoes, rice and vegetables can be ordered as an accompaniment.
Buffet Panorama (Deck 11, fwd)
With stunning vistas from Deck 11, Buffet Panorama is a spacious buffet, serving a variety of international, and traditional Spanish dishes. The daily paella dish is always popular, as well as Spanish omelette at breakfast.
Wú Restaurant Fusion Bar Lounge [€] (Deck 12, fwd)
Serving Asian cuisine on the high seas, Wú is Sovereign's main speciality restaurant and serves delicious dishes from Thailand, China, and Japan. Dishes are priced individually and range from €5 up to €10. Set menus cost €20 or €25.
Tapas Bar [€] (Deck 5, mid)
A cruise ship dedicated to the Spanish market isn't quite complete without serving tapas. A recent addition to Pullmantur's Sovereign is the Tapas Bar. With affordable pricing ranging from just €1 to €3, selections include meatballs, chicken wings, roasted octopus, Spanish omelette, and anchovies.
The Grill (Deck 12, mid)
For a quick bite to eat by the pool, The Grill is the place to head for. A recent partnership with popular Spanish pizza-chain Telepizza, means delicious pizzas are now available from The Grill aboard Sovereign.
The Spinnaker Piano Bar (Deck 5, mid)
Always a hive of activity, the Spinnaker Piano Bar is one of the most popular bars on the ship and is home to live music. The nautical-themed decor, adds to the warm charm, and friendly service on offer here.
Casino del Mar Sports Bar (Deck 5, mid)
A recent addition to the ship is the Casino del Mar Sports Bar. Located within the casino, and sharing the same entrance with the Spinnaker Bar, this is a great spot for sports fans to gather, socialise, and watch the latest sports games that are shown. When games aren't on, it's a quiet spot to enjoy a coffee in the day, or to have a classic cocktail in the evening.
Panorama Bar (Deck 11, mid)
The Panorama Bar is the main outdoor bar on Sovereign.
Marina Bar (Deck 11, aft)
Located on the pool deck, the Marina Bar is a refreshing pit-stop on hot days by the pool.
Wú Restaurant Fusion Bar Lounge (Deck 12, fwd)
A perfect place to gather for a pre-dinner drink, this contemporary bar is located within the glamorous Wú Restaurant, but you don't have to be having a meal to enjoy the stylish surroundings.
360° Bar & Lounge (Deck 14, aft)
The clue is in the name. This bar, that wraps around the funnel, offers stunning 360° views overlooking the entire ship. It's impossible not to have the best seat in the house! This is a great place to head for a relaxing drink and watch the world go by.
Broadway Show Lounge (Decks 5 & 7, fwd)
The Broadway Show Lounge is the main entertainment venue aboard Pullmantur's Sovereign, and is home to the production shows put on by the Sovereign show team.
Rendez-Vous Lounge (Deck 7, mid)
If you enjoy a good dance, or want to learn some dance moves, then the Rendez-Vous Lounge is the perfect place for you. The venue also plays host to various dance classes, quizzes, the daily bingo sessions, and karaoke.
Zoom Disco (Deck 8, aft)
It's the place to be at night. Drinks are flowing, and the DJ is playing your favourite music. The retro neon-pink decor adds to the charm of this lively nightclub.
The Spinnaker Piano Bar (Deck 5, mid)
The Spinnaker Piano Bar is one of the most popular bars on the ship and in the evening is home to live music, usually performed in Spanish. The nautical-themed decor, adds to the warm charm, and friendly service on offer here.
Casino del Mar (Deck 5, mid)
The large Casino del Mar is home to various slot machines and card tables, which payout in dollars, rather than the Euro currency used throughout the rest of the ship. A small video arcade is also located near the entrance to the casino.
Sovereign has two pools and two hot tubs, both located on Deck 11. There's also a small paddling pool for young children.
A full-size tennis court is located at the aft of Deck 11, along with two table-tennis tables, but guests must retrieve the key to the tennis court, as well as rackets and balls from the reception desk.
For the adventurous, Sovereign features a rock climbing wall, situated on Deck 12. Unlike other cruise lines, where activities like this would be included in the cruise fare, Pullmantur charge €5 for 10 minutes, but considering the great value cruise fares Pullmantur offer, this additional charge is understandable.
Sovereign has a spacious Spa and Gym complex called Spa del Mar, which offers a range of beauty treatments, a hair salon, and a gym, which looks out over the aft decks of the ship.