2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. The unfortunate timing of the rough waters made it pretty much suck. Being the smallest ship, it rocked back and forth and up and down 24/7. Which ruined any excitement or ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. The unfortunate timing of the rough waters made it pretty much suck. Being the smallest ship, it rocked back and forth and up and down 24/7. Which ruined any excitement or enthusiasm one would have for the experience. Of course everyone we meet from cub cruisers to veteran cruisers said it was the worst cruise (as far as being tossed about) that they had been on and not to let it ruin our desire to go on others. But when you're eating breakfast and the dishes, apples and plexiglass protector come flying off the buffet because of the ship's rocking, one has to understand why we didn't enjoy the cruise. However, with that being said, it's not royal caribbean's fault the waters were really rocky. So here's my opinion of the onboard ship experience. Food and service was fabulous While the ship is the oldest, i felt it was maintained and keep up well. Entertainment was so-so. Magician and hypnotist were lame but the dancers and whitney houston tribute were great. Especially the ballroom dance couple. I felt that royal caribbean spends too much effort on hacking their wares, whether it's pictures every time you turn around. (i was almost expecting a photographer in the toilet to capture my first bm while on the ship:) clearance sales from the gifts shops, bingo cards...just lighten up on the sales royal caribbean and focus more on the customer's happiness and you'll get more sales. Worst part of the trip (besides the rocky waters) was the fact that our stateroom was directly above the ceiling speakers for the theater below. So every night we heard every show, dance, game, party as if it was in our bathroom. Kept us awake almost every night. Called one night and complained the next day and it wasn't acknowledge. I'm sure everyone who gets those rooms complains each trip so they're used to it. Would i take another one? Well it's going to have to be a huge ship with lots of port stops and not a lot of days at sea. Oh and heres one big money saving tip... We stayed at the la quinta inn at the airport and they offer free parking during the entire cruise and even take you to the port for free. The return trip costs $10 per person. I WAS EXPECTING TO PAY $20 A DAY AT THE PORT GARAGE, SO NEEDLESS TO SAY I WAS EXTREMELY HAPPY TO SAVE $100 Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I chose for the price and the number of days. This was my first cruise so I didn't know if I'd love it or not. There were many concerns over this ship since all of the April sailings and all but 1 of the May sailings had been ... Read More
I chose for the price and the number of days. This was my first cruise so I didn't know if I'd love it or not. There were many concerns over this ship since all of the April sailings and all but 1 of the May sailings had been canceled due to the galleys not being ready in time for those sailings. I had worried up until embarkation my trip would be canceled. There were many negative reviews from those who had sailed on the 3 trips before my cruise. I was actually hoping RCI would call me asking if I wanted to cancel, I was that scared! But, let me say, I am so glad I went! The food was absolutely fabulous! I was on Deck 7 and the a/c was perfect. On port days, decks 3 and 2 were a bit warm, but that was the only time. The casino had no a/c, but had plenty of air circulating with fans. Reports of plumbing issues were minimal and I only noticed a few odors on days 4 and 5 while walking through the hallway to my stateroom, but had no issues myself. The crew was so pleasant and catered to my every whim. Would I go again? I can honestly say it was the most gratifying vacation I have ever taken, and in fact, I have already booked my next cruise with RCI for June 2017! True, this ship is older and does not have the bells and whistles of the new ships, but she has been fully remodeled and looks absolutely beautiful! The shower was a bit small, but I understand most cabins are like this. I went with my 15-year-old daughter and she had fun with the teen activities planned by the staff. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I am writing this to express my sincere disappointment in my recent cruise on Royal Caribbean Empress of the Sea. My wife and I sailed from June 2nd to June 6th for our one-year anniversary. This was my first time on a cruise ship and ... Read More
I am writing this to express my sincere disappointment in my recent cruise on Royal Caribbean Empress of the Sea. My wife and I sailed from June 2nd to June 6th for our one-year anniversary. This was my first time on a cruise ship and my wife’s second. She was very excited to go on this cruise with me and hyped it up saying it’s an amazing experience. Well I will tell you the trip was far from an amazing experience with my wife apologizing to me constantly throughout our trip. I told her not to worry as long as we are having a good time together it was not her fault for our experience. Needless to say she was very upset hoping this would have been different experience. To make this easier I have listed each day and some of the negative experience we incurred. Day 1 - There was issues with guest getting off the boat from another cruise and therefore we had to wait to get on to the ship in a timely manner. They finally corralled the hundreds of people on to the ship were we walked around to check out the ship and sign up for various event and drink packages. We were told at 1pm we would be able to get into our room and the signs on the door eluded to that. When 1pm came around we were told we could not go in because they have not finished cleaning the rooms. We were able to enter an hour later but told we could only change and had to leave the area. So we headed to the bar. This is where we were faced with under staff and long lines that would be continuous throughout our trip. Dinner on day one was terrible, we both ordered the strip steak and what came out was far from a strip steak (we own a restaurant) and laced with gristle we could not eat. We each had 2 or three small bites of the 8oz steak. The rest of the table shared our same disappointment. Once the casino opened we both wanted to try our luck, however the AC was not working and was very hot and stuffy, we could only stay for a few minutes before leaving to get fresh air. Also we were told the bar would not be open in the casino. Day 2 - We spent this time at Key West leaving the ship at 8am and returning at 6pm. Once again dinner was subpar. Not to mention that people were not wearing “casual” clothing. Many wore gym shorts and jeans. Casino still no air and now were told that they were working on it. All bars were still short staffed and took very long to get a drink. I decided at late night I wanted to take a swim my wife decided to sweat out the casino. It was 11pm and I had read that towels are not available at this time so I called Guest Services to check if the pool was open and if I could use a room towel. He said the pool was open 24 hours and I could use my towel. I got dressed for the pool and headed up only to see the pool was closed. I asked a nearby maintenance man what was going on with the pool and he said it was closed for cleaning. I asked him when it would be open he said 1 hour. I waited and waited finally after 1 hour and a half and still no water I went back to the room. This is just lack of communication and could have been relayed to guest services that the pool would be closed. Day 3 - We decided to just relax by the pool, we got lucky and found a chair that wasn’t already claimed by guest deciding to come at a later time and hold a spot. The pool area filled up quickly because this was our sailing day. My wife went to the bar only to stand in line for 25 minutes to get a beer with only 2 bartenders and no server on the pool deck. The lines continue to get out of hand and there was no way to get a drink even at other bars. My wife waited 35 minutes and finally got called on to order. She ended up buying the cooler with beer so she would not have to wait again. She had a package plan that cost over $250 and still had to pay for beer. We arrived at our dinner that night and dressed to impress because we brought formal wear not knowing it was dress as casual as possible. We decided we would dress up anyway so with my bowtie and her cute dress we decided tonight we will order from the Selection from Chop that cost extra. I was going to order the filet and my wife the filet and lobster. When we ordered we were told that that selection was not available. So why was it listed on my menu. We tried to order another item but again told this was no longer available because they were out. We ordered and once again the food was subpar at best. Dressed up we tried the casino again. Nope AC still not fixed so we decided to just go to bed. Day 4 - Our day at Cococay, This excursion was ok, my wife original thought we were going to the real Bahamas and not a private made up island. However beach and water was what we wanted so we enjoyed ourselves. We paid for the Aqua park and the water slide. But lines on the slide only allowed us down 3 times and the sand at the bottom grinded the skin off our backs. We gave up to not waste the day in a line. The Aqua park was fun until a handful of guest started getting stung by jelly fish so we cut out of there before our time was up. Very long lines at lunch and when we ordered drinks, beer was not cold and we were a little disappointed we could not get frozen drinks. I enjoyed the snorkeling but the bottom of the areas were littered with trash, I personally fished out 14 cups and other trash to bring to the trash can and out of the water. One of the attendants at the jet ski area noticed I was cleaning the water and said “save the waves” and thanked me. I was wondering why they weren’t doing that. I even found a sea pass from January that I handed in when I got on the ship and they were shocked it was still out there. This evening was the best dinner we had had all trip, but when we ordered dessert they were out of Baked Alaska and another one we wanted. So we just asked for cookies, which were rock hard. Someone came up to explain the cooler had went down so that is why we had no dessert. Day 5 - We had booked an excursion doing the bus tour of Miami since we had a full day before needing to get on the plane. We asked and were told that the busses are a get of and get on type of bus tour and that the busses run every 20 minutes. We decided to spend the money on this so we can explore Miami. When we got on the bus there was no tour guide just a earphone telling us what was going on. When we got to a location we wanted to jump off we were told that the next bus would not be for another hour or so. What happened to every 20 minutes. So we stayed on. I will say that the breakfast and lunch buffets food was not good at all and on some days I could not even eat the food. Breakfast eggs were runny, bacon was flimsy and greasy. Lunch the ribs were boiled tasting and the tacos were stale. Overall the experience just wasn’t what I expected and when people asked me how it was I am embarrassed to say it wasn’t that good. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Me and my wife and her 2 kids were hoping to enjoy fully our first EVER cruise. We choose this cruise so we wouldn't have to get the boys out of school, so we choose to wait until they finish school. But by doing so, the choice of ... Read More
Me and my wife and her 2 kids were hoping to enjoy fully our first EVER cruise. We choose this cruise so we wouldn't have to get the boys out of school, so we choose to wait until they finish school. But by doing so, the choice of cruises were limited. So we booked with Costco for the cruise as well as for the excursions. This cruise was a real joke. After cancelling many weeks of activity because the boat renovations were not finished, we were the "lucky ones" to be the first to experience the return of the Empress of the Seas. Fail after fail : -The first evening, the boys were ready to enjoy the outdoor movie...but the audio wasn't working and it was never fixed over the 5 days of the cruise. -Our first dinner at the main dinner restaurant was horrible. Our server ( Marvin ) was very nervous and we could tell that, as for many other employees, that he obviously lack experience in that kind of job. It took us 2.5 hours to finally call it 'a quit', as we were still waiting for our dessert. The other dinners were a bit better but as the menus were planned in advance and the dessert choices (5-6 total) were mostly including ice cream into them...and after the second day, they were out of ice cream, so the dessert choices were limited to 2-3 options. -The same thing for the ice cream machine who was working on and off for 3 days, then it was definitively "out of order" for the rest of the cruise. -The cafeteria style of restaurant ( the Windjammer ) was serving food that looked and tasted like hospital food with very limited food options, not too mention that the food was cold. Cheap desserts like jello, some plain chocolate pudding... -The pool was tiny, way to small to accommodate so many guests. -One morning, there were no more running water. - For our shore excursion, we were told by the pool's staff that there will be a towel kiosk on the docks. An employee at the guest desk also told us the same thing. When we got off the boat, there were no tent or any visible Royal Caribbeans staff member ( only one tent for Carnival Cruises). So we had to bought two towels at $20.00 each for our excursions with the dolphins. As we got back, now there was a kiosk of Royal Caribbeans who was offering ice cold water to get refreshed while we were waiting in the heat, for a small boat to take charge of us and bring us back on the Empress of the Seas. But....there were no more water, only some ice cubes were remaining into the 2 plastic containers ! I just can't understand that such an experimented company could let that happens. They have all the expertise to plan and to make sure that they will not run out of anything. SHAME...SHAME...SHAME Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My husband and I are from California and flew to Miami, Fl in order to board this ship. We had a lot of bad things happen in our lives and decided a vacation was much needed so we planned to go on this cruise and we planned for 6 months; ... Read More
My husband and I are from California and flew to Miami, Fl in order to board this ship. We had a lot of bad things happen in our lives and decided a vacation was much needed so we planned to go on this cruise and we planned for 6 months; we were very excited. You can imagine our disappointment when what we had saved for, budgeted for and looked forward to for nearly 6 months fell very short of our expectations. To begin, we had our reserved dinner time at 6:00 in starlight dining, dinner took a very long time to get to us, we got to dinner about 5 mins early and waited a decent amount of time to be seated. When finally seated we were given menus and placed our orders. Our servers Atanu and Junior were absolutely fantastic and checked on us frequently, in fact they were the 2 out of 3 people that made the cruise bearable. We finally got out of dinner at about 8:20 which we thought nothing of since it was the first night, however this was the case every night with the exception of one night. Our next experience was with brunch on Sunday, we were so excited for brunch, we got there at 9:30, which was when it started, then was seated after 10-15 mins of waiting in line. We waited a total of 2 1/2 hours for food. While waiting for food nobody came to check on us and we were forced to get up and look for water and bread and serve ourselves. When we finally received food I was not given what I had ordered but at this point I was so hungry I just ate it. Which brings me to my next point, the food in both Starlight and Windjammer was very disappointing in quality and abundance, most times I just went hungry because the food was so bad and/or lacking. They ran out of a lot of food and drink items. Another issue we had was that the AC was not working in several locations causing us to sweat while within those places. We tried to relax and unwind in the hot tub but it was not hot therefore it was not relaxing, we asked them to fix it but nobody seemed to understand what I was asking. There were many times we needed to get something or talk to someone from guest services which led us to waiting in line anywhere from 30 mins to over an hour just to talk to someone. The people working guest services were all very dismissive or did not know the answer to our questions and needed to find someone to ask. With nothing but bad experiences we decided to go grab ice cream from the soft serve machine because ice cream fixes everything, upon finding out there was no ice cream, and there not being ice cream the whole trip, we were disappointed. I told my husband, "I am trying my best to make the best of this situation," after saying this I realized that this is my vacation, I should not have to try and make the best of the situation. In addition to those problems there was a point when the toilet wouldn't flush and there was no hot water for the shower. There was not much room on the deck for sitting, it was always crowded and one day we had to wait 10 mins in line just for towels. I approached the guy working at the shore excursion desk to inquire about what time the ship was to leave Key West and he told me it would be leaving at 4:00 p.m. which sent me in a panic since our shore excursion ended at 4:00 p.m. We went to wait yet again in the guest service line to cancel our shore excursion only to find out we needed to be on by 4:30 p.m. and that the ship was leaving at 5:00 p.m. There were other minor issues here and there but again I was trying to make the best of a bad situation. After e-mailing them, calling them, being told to call back in a week, and calling back in a week we were offered only 15% off a future cruise that has to be used within a year. This felt like such a slap in the face after our experience. Overall this experience left me heartbroken, disappointed, and exhausted. As of now we don't plan on ever cruising with Royal Caribbean again and I hope that nobody else has to deal with these issues in the future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was my first cruise. A gift for my 60th birthday. i was dissappointed. Guests as well as experienced staff were frustrated with under trained newer staff. Cruise food is supposed to be terrific,,,, craved meats were overcooked and ... Read More
This was my first cruise. A gift for my 60th birthday. i was dissappointed. Guests as well as experienced staff were frustrated with under trained newer staff. Cruise food is supposed to be terrific,,,, craved meats were overcooked and dry, no gravy(?), couldnot keep even the lettuce pans full, runny scrambled eggs,ran out of ice tea the last day. No need to go on food quality- not good. the air conditioning was broken throughout most of the ship. casino was 90 degrees inthe evenings. The outdoor movies had no audio. The only ice cream machine on board broke the firt morning. Lotsa unhappy children. Lines to board the ship took 3 hours. Lines to go on shore took at least an hour, excursion groups were broght to front of lines. To even get a beverage at the bars were 1/2 hour.the photo shop broke down for a day. This was a overall poor experience. Would not recommend this cruise to anyone. The only shinning star we had was our dinner srever named dave powell. Experienced and professional. Good guy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Toilet overflowed. Toilet wouldn't flush Air conditioner didn't work and was very noisy and would wake us up. No ice cream the entire cruise so most deserts were unavailable Ice cream machine was broke most of the ... Read More
Toilet overflowed. Toilet wouldn't flush Air conditioner didn't work and was very noisy and would wake us up. No ice cream the entire cruise so most deserts were unavailable Ice cream machine was broke most of the cruise Windjammer cafe - no utensils, no napkins, no coffee creamer No limes at bar but didn't tell you until they charged for a drink where limes were required 25 minute wait for a drink Overcrowded pool area - couldn't access Had to refill our water ourselves at dinner - terrible service 3 hour dinner time with terrible service No spinning although it was advertised Long check in wait, and then found out our sea pass cards didn't work and had to wait in another long line Had to be in theatre at 8:15 for departure, but didn't leave until 10:30 - No communication and terrible checkout process - some missed flights No formal night, although we called twice and were told we needed formal clothes Refused lunch in windjammer due to tank top, couldn't get changed because maintenance was working on overflowing toilet Dinner beverage assistant would disappear and couldn't get drink and bread at dinner Told there wasn't a running track as advertised, but then found it on our last day No 24 hour food service Promised table for 2 at dinner, but didn't accommodate 30 minute wait to have dinner, and then was 3 hour process Too many people for ship accommodations Read Less
Empress of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.5
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 2.5 3.4
Family 2.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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