7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are retired and have never been to Cuba before. We thought this would be the perfect cruise for us. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our first impression was great disappointment. The pool was netted and the water was green. The ... Read More
We are retired and have never been to Cuba before. We thought this would be the perfect cruise for us. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our first impression was great disappointment. The pool was netted and the water was green. The hot tubs were netted and empty. This was to be the theme of our experience as there so many time things were out of order or closed for maintenance. The soft serve machine was down, three of the seven treadmills were inoperable and the gym was insufficient for the number of guests wanting to use it. We resorted to walking on the walking deck, which was also closed for maintenance in some areas. This ship just came out of dry dock and it was evident. The Windjammer and bars were lacking in supplies that had not been restocked in time for the cruise, but we’re eventually restocked by day five. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired as one was canceled just days before we boarded the ship. Actually after experiencing one of RCL tours with this cruise, we were blessed that it was canceled. We booked a tour for a night in Cuba with RCL and it was so bad, the majoryof people walked out. The music was amateurish at best. We paid $109 per person to walk to a local restaurant and get two drinks and an appetizer that consisted of sliced cold cuts, cheese, grated carrots, and lettuce. We walked across the courtyard to another restaurant had two drinks, an appetizer and tipped our server and the cost of that was about $35 total ( not per person). What a huge mark up for profit, especially when you can get a Lobster dinner in town between $12-15 per person. If anything we’ve reminded ourselves of why de shouldn’t book tours with the cruise line and continue booking thru Airbnb. Our tours in Cienfuegos and Havana that we booked thru them were simply amazing and so much more affordable. We had a three hour walking tour with a small group of five and the cost to us was $45. Our guide even bought us gelato and mojitos as we toured. We had breakfast in Chops and they were slow and didn’t listen to what I requested. I asked for an omelet with mushroom, bell peppers and cilantro and I got an oil covered omelet with tomatoes, onions, and spinach. I ended up not eating it. As we waited we observed ceiling that were missing, paint that was peeled or incomplete. The size of the ship was nice, however, as we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the number of passengers on the ship and there were plenty of areas to go for a quiet retreat if we needed it. With all that being said, I would probably sail again on this ship, but would wait a year so that all the issues could be resolved. I certainly WOULD NOT book another shore excursion thru the cruise line. Airbnb experiences had won my loyalty and business for shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
This ship is an embarrassment to Royal Carribbean and is the smallest and oldest ship in their otherwise great fleet. It is not at all workable for those requiring mobility assistance with scooters or wheelchairs as the dining room is just ... Read More
This ship is an embarrassment to Royal Carribbean and is the smallest and oldest ship in their otherwise great fleet. It is not at all workable for those requiring mobility assistance with scooters or wheelchairs as the dining room is just too tight to maneuver so guests with these needs will have to use the buffet. It is an old ship with low ceilings. Carpeting was changed, some new furniture was purchased and some seating areas were reupholstered. However, the chairs in the Schooner Bar should have been thrown out as they have sprung seats and are badly worn. The pool is minuscule and the gym is smaller than those in most people's homes w. very limited equipment located on a not easy to get to mezzanine. This is a budget experience - a very inexpensive cruise but one suitable only for first-time cruisers who do not understand what a true cruise ship experience is like. Food was good and the crew was helpful but this is not a ship for anyone with experience cruising or with even a modicum of taste. It was commissioned as a transport vessel for people traveling to visit Cuba. It is not intended to be a cruise ship with amenities. The entertainment was very good and the dining room staff was great. This might be a good cruise for recovering alcoholics because guests are never approached for drink orders. The Loyalty Ambassador was bombarded with complaints from not happy frequent cruisers and she responded with a very bad attitude and was a poor rep for RC. RC is a great cruise line so try their other ships. This is not representative of a great company like RC and you will not be happy on this ship unless you have nothing to compare it to. The Captain never appeared at any of the Welcome parties and appeared not to exist. That is not an issue for us but some guests like to see the Captain's presence. Perhaps he was not happy serving on such a small and ancient vessel. However, his staff, for the most part, were extraordinary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Price, timing, and when my husband got it set up. My husband has some physical issues and he made it through with flying colors thanks to excellent service. The staff at the cabin level and dining staff was excellent. Ganni the fitness ... Read More
Price, timing, and when my husband got it set up. My husband has some physical issues and he made it through with flying colors thanks to excellent service. The staff at the cabin level and dining staff was excellent. Ganni the fitness head was very personable and called us by name the entire cruise even though we didn't take advantage of the exercising option. I can't say enough about the Stephani Parker tribute to Whitney Houston. It was phenominal. Loved seeing Victoriia and Tejas at every meal and enjoyed speaking with Victoria at Windjammer during the day. Shared stories with Ana our cabin steward. She was always there when she was needed and responded quickly to our needs. She was appreciative of our use of the service tabs and thanked us for our communication with her that way. The towel animals were okay. I have seen them on other cruises and so I was not knocked out by them like I have been before.but the personable and professionally friendly service was really special. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I chose this cruise because I needed 9 points to reach Diamond Status on RCCL. Booking a suite would achieve that. We were in an Owner's Suite with a very large balcony which was just beautiful. The weather didn't cooperate so ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I needed 9 points to reach Diamond Status on RCCL. Booking a suite would achieve that. We were in an Owner's Suite with a very large balcony which was just beautiful. The weather didn't cooperate so I could take advantage on days at sea. My initial opinion of the ship was awful......the Windjammer restaurant was crowded and all the chairs were stained and the napkins had ink stains and were frayed. The food was average. Being a small ship it was easy to navigate. The service was excellent - from the room attendants, to restaurant staff Viktoria and Jie. The staff was always smiling and helpful. Now to the best - the entertainment was far superb to any RCCL ship we've sailed. The cruise director was entertaining, the dancers, the comedians, singers and show were top notch......Stephany Parker show was dedicated to Witney Houston and we could have listened to her all night.......the Theatre was full capacity every night... The food was very good in the dining room and we dined at Chops one night. No need to book Chops for extra money since they serve Lobster and Filet in the dining rooms as well. I read that on other reviews, but they did not tell you the cost ranges from approximately $18 to $40 with gratuity. I saved some money on this trip due to the fact that the Casino was very tiny and they must have had some problems with the AC because there were portable AC units in the rows. It was very uncomfortable. RCCL probably lost some money there !! The lounges were huge with entertainment there also. I would not hesitate to send any of my clients on this short 5 night cruise. In April 2016, we sailed on the Anthem of the Seas and by far this cruise was so much better.. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Good ship to relax, drink and forget about all your troubles. Cruise director was very friendly and helpful perfect sense since there's not much kids the staff was friendly. The food was good, getting on the ship and ... Read More
Good ship to relax, drink and forget about all your troubles. Cruise director was very friendly and helpful perfect sense since there's not much kids the staff was friendly. The food was good, getting on the ship and getting off was quick The cabin was clean but no mini-fridge. Shower works well, nice hot water, I got upgraded to a room with a window for no extra charge but when I open the curtain “SURPRISE” there was a life Boat right in the window I laft for 5 minutes. Maybe a little to much Latino music should have more Big Band,Oldies. The food at the Windjammer did get quite cold fast In all cruise line that have been Royal Caribbean always have the better food. leaving and entering the ship was very easy and good process. In General that was good I will recommend Royal Caribbean In all cruise line that have been Royal Caribbean always have the better food. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We choose Royal Caribbean because of their knowledge video on gluten free, and we choose this ship because it was smaller and we thought it would be more intimate and accommodating. We then choose an owners suite, to have the extra special ... Read More
We choose Royal Caribbean because of their knowledge video on gluten free, and we choose this ship because it was smaller and we thought it would be more intimate and accommodating. We then choose an owners suite, to have the extra special attention, due to the Celiac issue, and we ensured everything would be, good by phone and by email, before we booked. In short, we were very disappointed, and even though the senior staff on-board did everything they could for us, it took until the third day for things to be smoothed out - and this was only a five night cruise! We had to complain so much to get someone to listen, it got frustrating, tiring and annoying - this was not the cruise experience we booked for. We learnt so much: the ship had just come back into service, and they had not ironed out all the issues, procedures and kinks. Even though it was 'newly renovated', it was a tired looking ship, and many main areas were grubby looking, ripped wallpaper, broken toilet roll holders, and rust/over painting was everywhere. As we got ready to disembark, they were replacing the carpet in our suite. The staff were fantastic, enthusiastic and entertaining; our main dining room servers were the best! Only two ports on this cruise; one we walked around and did our own thing - the other we took a excursion, which was just OK. As for gluten free, we did everything we were told, but still had issues being fed - my wife actually did not gain any weight on this cruise, which is better than the last one we took, where she lost 5lbs!! The food was average, salty, and lots of it, if that is what you like. The production shows were good, but the headliner shows could have been better. Due to being a smaller ship, entertainment was limited during the days at sea, but we had gone to relax and do nothing - so worked out fine. Overall, if you like enormous amounts of food, hanging around doing nothing, sunbathing and drinking, and not caring about the finer things around you - then this is the cruise for you... Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
My husband and I arrived home two days ago from a cruise on the Empress. I like many others had reservations regarding the ship after reading so many bad reviews. My husband and I had a wonderful time cruising. It actually was one of the ... Read More
My husband and I arrived home two days ago from a cruise on the Empress. I like many others had reservations regarding the ship after reading so many bad reviews. My husband and I had a wonderful time cruising. It actually was one of the best cruises we have done. The service was excellent and we thought highly of Joersch and Aubrey who work as waiters in the Starlight dining room. Joersch could always be trusted for recommendations on entree items. Our cabin was refurbished and had no problems. We were in 7180. Our cabin attendant was friendly and efficient as was all of the staff on the Empress. It is a smaller vessel and does not have all the bells and whistles of the larger ships but that was the understood before we boarded. It has a small pool that we enjoyed with the other cruisers as well as a rock climbing wall. There are lots of activities for guests but the teens I talked too seemed rather bored. Great choice for those who want to relax, eat, drink and be merry..Grab a deck chair and enjoy. 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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