Sail Date: July 2019
The good—Ship was easy to navigate, clean, and nice crew in all areas. Variety of entertainment options. Quick on and off in Miami. No long lines anywhere on ship. Shows in theatre were pretty good, ranging from RCI singers and ... Read More
The good—Ship was easy to navigate, clean, and nice crew in all areas. Variety of entertainment options. Quick on and off in Miami. No long lines anywhere on ship. Shows in theatre were pretty good, ranging from RCI singers and dancers, comedians, hypnotist, and individual singers. No large crowds anywhere on the ship. The bad—food was not good in both windjammer and dining room. Limited selection, not proper temperature, dry baked goods. Sprinkles machine didnt work properly for the entire cruise and had limited hours. Jr suite was really just balcony cabin with limited storage, small bathroom with no tub, and tv that froze up every few minutes. Warning—dont book on 9th floor—right below pool so VERY noisy. We never smelled the odors that other reviewers mentioned. Pool was very small (max 24 people)—great on port days, but so crowded on sea days. Repeated same movies many times and most were more suitable for kids. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was originally a cruise to Cuba which was the only reason we chose this ship. When the Cuba ports were cancelled we decided to take their offer of 50% off but didn't expect much from this "old" and "small" ... Read More
This was originally a cruise to Cuba which was the only reason we chose this ship. When the Cuba ports were cancelled we decided to take their offer of 50% off but didn't expect much from this "old" and "small" ship. We had a wonderful time. No way did the ship seem old. All of the public areas and our cabin were very clean and just lovely. We loved that the ship was smaller since it was so easy to get around and there were no crowds anywhere. You could walk into the buffet area, the showroom or the pool area and always get seats. We have been on many cruises where getting seats anywhere is always a hassle. The entertainment was top notch. We especially enjoyed the many beautiful costumes. The food was very good and our wait staff friendly and very efficient. In fact every service person we encountered was super friendly. Since we always take a balcony room and there are no regular balconies on this ship we opted for a junior suite which in actuality was the same as a regular balcony on any other ship. If you are thinking of going on the Empress, don't even hesitate. You will enjoy it! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We choose this cruise because of Cuba, and stayed with new itinerary (Costa Maya/Cozumel) after Cuba closure on June 5th. Each person received 50% of their cruise fare credited to their seapass card. Which wasn’t right, it should’ve ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of Cuba, and stayed with new itinerary (Costa Maya/Cozumel) after Cuba closure on June 5th. Each person received 50% of their cruise fare credited to their seapass card. Which wasn’t right, it should’ve been credited back to main account holder. The ship is small and it smelled like sewer by main elevators for the duration of the cruise. It has 1main dining room. Lido deck buffet was very limited in selection.The pool was drained every evening for maintenance. If you are sitting anywhere else besides poolside, be prepared to never see waitstaff. We had an interior cabin, super compact, beds were comfortable. Tv had only 4 channels and 3 of them were of RC ads. The bathroom was very small, had a couple of corner shelves for our personal items. The toilet flooded every night. We were told to flush throughout the night to keep it from overflowing. The same activities every night at the 2 bars on board, Boleros had karaoke for 1hr every night, Played live music for about 3hrs every afternoon. Schooner had piano player couple of hrs every night. The theater nightly act was either a comedian, a dance show or a movie, fairly entertaining. One thing for sure is that we won’t be booking this ship again, and maybe not even RC. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Cuba. We were disappointed when we learned we would not be able to go to Cuba, but Royal Caribbean really went above and beyond for us. The 50% refund was extremely generous. While I was on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Cuba. We were disappointed when we learned we would not be able to go to Cuba, but Royal Caribbean really went above and beyond for us. The 50% refund was extremely generous. While I was on this new itinerary, I never once felt that I was missing out on anything. In fact, it was the best vacation I've ever had. Since I'm a planner, I had done a lot of research on the Empress of the Seas, and I was a little nervous about the ship. That was all for nothing! The ship is amazing! Yes, it is a smaller ship - the smallest in the fleet - but guess how many lines we waited in during this vacation? None. That includes our embarkation. We walked in, went right up to the counter and were on the ship in a matter of minutes. When we got to our cabin, we noticed that it was small, but we knew it would be. We had plenty of room in our cabin. I did bring magnetic hooks with us and that helped to provide some additional space by hanging things on the walls. Bringing these hooks was probably the best tip that I got from my research. I've read in a few places that there was a weird odor on deck 5. I smelled it, but it wasn't a big deal. The dining room was great and I was happy with the food quality and selection. The best part is if you don't like what you ordered, you send it back and get something else. Or, if you like it a lot, you order another! We went to Chops on my birthday and that was fantastic too. It was a step up from the dining room and my 9oz filet was so tender that I could cut it with a butter knife. First class entertainers on this ship! Loved the shows I went to! The music around the ship was always fun and lively. I booked some of my shore excursions through the ship and thought those were fantastic. We did the behind the scenes tour of the ship and loved everything we learned. It was great to learn about what goes on behind the scene on this ship! My daughter found a great group of friends with the teen group. This really provided an opportunity for her to get to know the other teens and she really had a great time. The pool was usually crowded, but it was still really great. I loved it! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We took this cruise with our best friends. The whole reason we booked this cruise was to go to Havana, and the week before we were scheduled to leave, the government shut it down. RC offered us a full refund or a 50% refund if we chose ... Read More
We took this cruise with our best friends. The whole reason we booked this cruise was to go to Havana, and the week before we were scheduled to leave, the government shut it down. RC offered us a full refund or a 50% refund if we chose to cruise. We were all so desperate for a vacation that we went for it. We opted for The Key program, which I can't recommend enough. Because of this, we got on the ship early and had a complimentary lunch at Chops. It was ok, and service there was soooo slow. We were in there two hours. Food was only ok, but our service team in the main dining room was great, Rommel and Stanmore. We really enjoyed the games and dance lessons, and the entertainment staff was great. They were all engaging and so much fun. Our cruise was not crowded at all, and I felt like I got to know some of them. We did a Fury snorkeling excursion in Key West and spent the day at Mr. Sanchos in Cozumel, which we did by ourselves. Other reviewers aren't kidding about the smell. It was really bad in certain places. We had a great time because we got away and spent time with each other. I wouldn't go on this ship again because I feel like there are better options out there. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise, and the small ship, because of the Cuba itinerary. 11 days before we were scheduled to sail, the new US restrictions were put in place. Royal Caribbean did a great job coming up with an alternate itinerary with three ... Read More
We chose this cruise, and the small ship, because of the Cuba itinerary. 11 days before we were scheduled to sail, the new US restrictions were put in place. Royal Caribbean did a great job coming up with an alternate itinerary with three stops in the Eastern Caribbean on short notice, although the time for arrival in San Juan changed only a few days prior. This left us unable to do the activity that we had planned, and when we got on board (since we were within the window where we could no longer book online), most of the shore excursions in San Juan were already sold out. We were able to take the "St. Johns on your own" tour from St. Thomas where you were able to climb aboard a chartered ferry "Island Girl" over to St. John. The guide on board was terrific and the convenience of leaving right from where the ship docked, rather than having to go over to red hook to catch the ferry, was terrific! Embarkation at the Port was a breeze, but the common areas felt overcrowded and chaotic until rooms were opened. The ship definitely had a smaller feel, with smaller cabins and less amenities, but the smaller ship also seemed to lead to more of an intimate feel, both with getting to know other passengers and interactions with the ship staff. In terms of activities, the ship entertainment staff had a full schedule offered (trivia, dance classes, games, etc.) that would rival other ships we have been on. There were several headliner shows, but mostly comedians, with some being better than others. There were only a couple of nights put on by the ships entertainment crew themselves. (Perhaps it was a longer itinerary than most for this ship, or due to the itinerary change.) In general, the food was excellent! The head chef was the most present that we have seen on any ship. In addition to seeing him on the Galley tour, we saw him walking through Windjammer and Starlight Dining room at different times of the day throughout the cruise. Our biggest disappointment with the food was our dining experience at Chops. Although we have enjoyed Chops on other ships, our steaks were overcooked and our waiter was absent during this dining experience. The Bottomless Brunch and Galley tour was a fun sea day activity and it was interesting to see the full operation. We had the filets from Chops (much better cooked this time), but to our dismay, the same absent waiter. The head waiter in starlight noticed and quickly made sure that our table, and the others he was serving, were accommodated. We have come to have very high expectations of dining service on Royal Caribbean ships and our first few nights on board we had servers that were pleasant, but nothing exceptional. When we were sat with Eri and Charles on night five, they were so exemplary that we asked the hostess to seat us with them the rest of the cruise. Eri described food with such a passion that you were he got everyone excited about the food before your first taste. Charles remembered personal details about your dining preferences that made you feel like a regular in your favorite restaurant. Staff members like these made the experience! Our last hours on board were a little hectic as a medical emergency caused an unplanned stop in Nassau on our final evening. While this stop seemed to be executed very well (we were in and out of Nassau in 20 minutes), the delayed arrival back into Miami seemed to cause disembarkation chaos. The staff assisting seemed overwhelmed and several of them left the theater while one person tried alternating trying to sing songs in the microphone, and ask trivia questions, while guests were seeking out information due to the change. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The service was impeccable. When my husband stopped by Guest Services to pick up the Assistive Listening device they got overzealous and installed blinking lights and bed vibrator in the room. That was very kind but I didn't need all ... Read More
The service was impeccable. When my husband stopped by Guest Services to pick up the Assistive Listening device they got overzealous and installed blinking lights and bed vibrator in the room. That was very kind but I didn't need all that ( and it changed the set up of the room) so they took it right back out. We loved having the assigned seating at 6pm. We loved having the same wait staff each night. I emailed special requests ahead of time---They were able to give us a private table away from the piano so I was able to enjoy without trying to explain my deafness to people They handled my food allergies easily. The main dining room was my something I looked forward to everyday. We loved every single thing about the size of this ship. We never felt crowded, never waited in line, never felt rushed. We asked Guest Services and they said it was fully booked and had 1600 people on board when we sailed.There are rumors about Royal taking it out of commission with Cuba off the table. I hope not-- I would sail this ship again in a heartbeat. The biggest surprise--- the teen club. As you know, they have little to nothing on the website about having a teen club. I was very, very worried that my 13 year old would be bored. We made him go to the teen meet and greet the first night promising to pick him up in 2 hours. We were thrilled to find out that instead of a dedicated room---they have a "roaming" teen club. Fabian had the kids all over the ship from morning until midnight. They played hide and seek, uno, scrabble, a scavenger hunt, went to the shows as a group and played a days long spy game called paranoia. My son was gone from sunup to curfew and had the best time. Added bonus--- no electronics were involved so it really was a throw back to the childhood of disconnect. I think Royal is missing a huge marketing opportunity and parents would sign up for this ship just to get their kids off the devices. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 46th cruise and we are Diamond members. Allow me to begin this revie with The pros: The service was the best of any cruise ship we have ever been on. The staff was eager to please. The production shows were terrific. ... Read More
This was our 46th cruise and we are Diamond members. Allow me to begin this revie with The pros: The service was the best of any cruise ship we have ever been on. The staff was eager to please. The production shows were terrific. Very professionally done and entertaining. The ship was in good shape considering the fact that it is almost 30 years old. The cons: There was a sewerage smell the entire five days on the ship. The food in the buffet was just plain BAD. Same food every day, very limited selection and it was not tasty. Food in the main dining room was just OK. Our outside cabin was more like a closet. When getting off the bed, we had to walk sideways. No ref ridge in cabin. Very little drawer space. We found the drinks in the Schooner bar to be watered down. Much better drinks when ordered in main dining room. Our waiter Milton and Head waiter Nick were excellent. the embarkation and debarkation was very fast and orderly. The embargo on Cuba began while we were docked in Havana. We left the following day and learned that we were the last ship to leave Cuba. The country itself was run down as the communist government owned everything. We learned that they pay Medical Doctors $53 per week so most of them have to hold additional part time jobs. Our tour guide was an engineer with a Doctorate degree but claimed she made more money as a tour guide because of the tips. I would normally rate this ship as 3 stars, but because of the smell, I cannot rate it better than 2 stars Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my 63rd cruise, itinerary is usually my main focus and wanting to visit Cuba there was only a few ship offerings. I have always had very good experiences sailing RCL and despite the numerous negative reviews and the size of the ... Read More
This was my 63rd cruise, itinerary is usually my main focus and wanting to visit Cuba there was only a few ship offerings. I have always had very good experiences sailing RCL and despite the numerous negative reviews and the size of the “Empress” I decide to give it a try, lucky my sailing was the last Cuba sailing before the new travel restrictions were put into place. Having recently sailed the mega ships the boarding process could not have been any easier. Navigating the ship is fairly easy and the hub of activity is on decks 5 and 6. Even-tough this is a small ship I found lots to do as there are numerous activities throughout the day. In the evening there was two venues with music and the usual fill of activities to participate. There were a number of bars, but “Balleros” was my main hangout plus the music was very good. I ate in main dining room , windjammer and the only specialty restaurant Chops, all were very good to excellent. Staff and service throughout were amazing. Even tough this was a small ship I never felt any rocking throughout the voyage. I did encounter that sewage smell on mid deck 8, but it was occasional. My only complaint was the cabin(the worst in 63 cruises.. but more below). Overall, the Empress is an underrated ship, it has much to offer, food, activities, staff and yes character. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise to go with a group of friends. The Ship: was nice for the most part. It was comfortable to be on. It generally handled the sea state pretty well. It was nice to not have to walk forever to get from one end to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go with a group of friends. The Ship: was nice for the most part. It was comfortable to be on. It generally handled the sea state pretty well. It was nice to not have to walk forever to get from one end to the other. The age of the ship did show though in some public areas. We went on the All Access tour and saw many of the behind the scenes areas. In general, the ship looked well cared for. Controls looked somewhat dated but that's fine since they seemed to work well. The Cabin: Here the disadvantage of an older ship shows. The cabin was small and had only a window. The general condition of the cabin was fine. The bathroom was tiny with a little shower tucked into a corner. You almost had to leave the door open to sit on the toilet. But the shower worked well and seemed to be in very good condition. Dining: Hmmm... Hit and miss. Some of the food was awful. Prime rib was the right color but missed badly on texture and taste. Beef medallions were the same. They did not taste roasted. Lobster bisque was horrific. Chicken was good. Most desserts were quite good. Pork was good and fish was fine. Civiche seemed to be just a kind of shrimp cocktail. The food in the buffet was generally OK if but over cooked. All that said, it wouldn't stop me from taking the ship again. Didn't pay any attention to the entertainment or activities. Service: Excellent all around Ports and Shore Excursions: Ports were good even if to almost seems 70% of the cruises I go in have stopped in Cozumel. Key West was good but the highlight of the cruise was the stop in Havana. The shore excursion of Old Havana was great. We got to see how Cubans actually live. Our tour guide was very open about conditions in Cuba and did not stray into politics or propaganda. I'd love to go back but, as Americans, we can't. WiFi: Hit and miss. Some areas of the ship had great wifi but in the cabin it worked ok for 1 device and poorly for the other. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
EVERYONE with Royal Caribbean made us feel like we were so important to them and they would do anything within their power to accommodate our every need. The service, entertainment, and food was all excellent! We had a few meals in Chops ... Read More
EVERYONE with Royal Caribbean made us feel like we were so important to them and they would do anything within their power to accommodate our every need. The service, entertainment, and food was all excellent! We had a few meals in Chops Grill and they were good, but the food and service in the main dining room was so good, we probably will not spend the extra money next time. A larger pool would be nice, but that was not the goal of our trip or we would have booked a larger ship. We had three adults in an ocean-view cabin and had plenty of room. We purchased The Key and felt like the benefits were great compared to the cost. After a lot of research, I also found that most excursions were actually less expensive booking directly through Royal Caribbean, contrary to many review warnings. We loved the ports of Key West, Cuba, and Cozumel! Definitely agree with "small ship, HUGE heart". We did walk by a few small areas with a less-than-pleasant odor a few times, but I have never been in a venue accommodating over 2,000 total people where you couldn't find a few spots that were not exactly pleasant. If given the chance, I would do this exact trip again next week, no questions asked!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Empress of the Seas is an older and smaller ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The ship was very well maintained. Rooms are very small by todays standards but they are functional. The food and service was up to Royal Caribbean ... Read More
Empress of the Seas is an older and smaller ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The ship was very well maintained. Rooms are very small by todays standards but they are functional. The food and service was up to Royal Caribbean standards. Very nice to have a ship that played Caribbean music by the pool when in the Caribbean. Making guests check out towels for pool and returning them worked real well. If some one left the pool they picked up the towels rather than leave them. That way you always knew if a lounge bed was available. Even on sea days this made lounges available by the pool all day. Life guards were great at keeping glass bottles from being taken into pool. No problem getting tables for 2 at anytime dining. Casino was small but adequate. Use of shuffling machines, 6 to 5 black jack payouts and no even money on black jack at black jack tables below $25 minimum is the main complaint. Missed diamond club area, which is not available on the ship. Biggest complaint was the lack of dress code enforcement at the main dining. People were admitted in shorts, tee shirts and tank tops, even on casual sheik night. Don't have a dress code if you're going to allow anything. A lot to see in Havana. Like stepping back in time 70 years. People were friendly. Felt very safe. Very clean. Easy to come and go through customs. Visa was easy with Royal Caribbean @ $75. Cigars were a great bargain. Make sure you buy in a national store or factory or you probably will get counterfeits. Price is the same in all stores. Know how to get to a store. They don't have easily noticed signs. You must use CUC Cuban money. Exchange rate for American money will cost you 13%. It will cost you 4% to change the money back to American. If you have Euro's or Canadian it is even. Exchange is fast and easy right at the cruise pier. Old Havana Heritage Walking Excursion booked with RC was good. It covered pretty much all of old Havana. We weren't happy that they added a bus portion to the tour. We were only told about this when our tickets arrived on board. We didn't want the bus tour but had to take it. It took up an hour of the tour. Cost $62 per person. Cafe Taberna Excursion booked with RC was good. Cost was $98 per person. 10 minute walk from cruise terminal. Nice show from 9:00 to 11:00 with band and dance couple that gets audience involved. 2 drinks and snack were included. Food is available at additional cost. Can get a little boring after 1 hour or so, especially if you don't know the language. You can leave and walk back to ship at any time if you want. Cuba's Classic Cars excursion booked through Vacations To Go, who we booked cruise through, cost $178 for 2 people and lasted about 3 hours. Very nice tour. Viewed most of the Havana Cuba highlights with stops at Revolution Square and Hotel Nacional. Half the cost of similar tour through cruise ship. All convertible cars were provided. Guide spoke English well. He was quite informative. Hotel Nacional was a great stop. Improvements to tour could be a little more time at hotel. Felt a little rushed at that stop. Tour included alcoholic drink at hotel. Meeting location was perfect. Easy to find and guides were there on time. A little disappointed with the fact that tour requires 4 per car. We were a couple and would have liked a car for 2. Maybe an option could be provided for this. If you just want to ride in the classic cars, there are plenty available outside of pier. You can rent them at $40 - $50 per hour for up to 4 people. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is my 4th RC cruise. I chose this one because I would get two days in Havana. I really enjoyed this cruise, despite the ship's flaws. The itinerary was excellent (Key West, Labadee, and two days in Havana). The customer ... Read More
This is my 4th RC cruise. I chose this one because I would get two days in Havana. I really enjoyed this cruise, despite the ship's flaws. The itinerary was excellent (Key West, Labadee, and two days in Havana). The customer service was outstanding, including my awesome stateroom attendant. The food was generally bad, limited, and repetitive. This probably prevented me from gaining weight, though. There was a foul septic tank odor that permeated decks 5 and 6 for half of the cruise. I had to change staterooms (from third deck to 7160), because of a loud banging noise coming from an engine pump. I was very happy with 7160. This was the smallest ship I've been on, and I actually preferred the small size. However, I wish they offered Friday night Jewish services (I don't know if they even offered Sunday morning church), and I wish the entertainment was better (I enjoyed the comedians and the Marriage Game, but I walked out on the impressionist and the finale show). I also wished they showed more adult movies on the pool deck. I wish the solo traveler's get together was held at the sail-away party, so we could meet up earlier in the trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my first cruise. It was truly a wonderful experience and one that I would definitely do again! We chose this cruise for the two Cuban ports but also for the two sea days for relaxation. Cuba was quite the experience- a very ... Read More
This was my first cruise. It was truly a wonderful experience and one that I would definitely do again! We chose this cruise for the two Cuban ports but also for the two sea days for relaxation. Cuba was quite the experience- a very interesting, very HOT place. We learned a ton and are so grateful for the experience! I guess the Empress is a small ship but it felt plenty big to me as a new cruiser. I will first mention the best parts of the ship. The pool, I thought, was incredible. We never had a problem finding a place in the pool. It was clean and deep and quite lovely. We also never had a problem finding a place in the hot tubs in the evenings. Because the Empress is a small ship we were able to feel rocking when the wind and waves picked up but that was a very pleasant feeling for us- maybe not for others! The food in the MDR was SO GOOD. The service was ok- we had to ask for things (more than once on several occassions) but it was clear they were trying very hard. Our cabin steward, Kevin, on the other hand- was truly wonderful. He made sure there was ice in the cabin every evening for my mom to ice her injured knee. He was so friendly and really did a great job making us feel special. Ok, so now for the "not so great, but certainly didn't ruin our experience" parts. The stench of sewage in the middle of the ship on decks 5 and 6 was bad. Really bad. Like, made me want to lose my lunch bad. So we did our best to stay away from the middle of the ship on those decks. Also, my white swimsuit was stained yellow from the water in the pool and hot tubs. I haven't had a chance to really work on getting it white again but that's kind of disappointing. Evening activities were another somewhat disappointing fact on this cruise. We found that between the hours of 8pm and 10:30pm there was really nothing to do, or eat. We are not old folks by any sense of the imagination (mid 30's) but we don't like to stay up REAL late. There was never any dancing or fun stuff going on after dinner and the show. We wanted to go to some of the dance parties but most didn't start until 10:30pm that was just too late for us. Also, between the hours of 9 and 10:30 the Windjammer is closed. So, right at 9:30-10pm ish when you want a bedtime snack there is nothing except room service with a $7.95 charge. Another issue we had was finding places to lounge outside in the shade. The top decks are out because there is zero shade. Deck 6 is the only other place that has outdoor lounge chairs and they were mostly full all the time. Aside from that it truly was a great cruise!! If you want to go to Cuba it's a great deal I think. If you want to go for the sake of the ship, maybe not your best bet! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chance to visit Cuba and feel safe about it. We just took the 5 night cruise to Cuba on the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas. I had read many of the reviews from past passengers and had a view of an old run down ship. This was our 20th ... Read More
Chance to visit Cuba and feel safe about it. We just took the 5 night cruise to Cuba on the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas. I had read many of the reviews from past passengers and had a view of an old run down ship. This was our 20th cruise but the 1st with Royal Caribbean and based on the reviews was not expecting much. This ship is old and small but really a nice ship. It is well maintained and good looking inside and out. The staff was wonderful and some of the friendliest of any ship we have been on. Our room steward Ike was the best we have ever had. The food and selection in the dining room was very good and some of the best compared to other shops we have sailed. Our waiter Leonard was fantastic. The buffet for breakfast was typical and good. But, the buffet for lunch was the disappointment when it came to food. Selection was small and mediocre to bad. On other ships we have been on, they have a grill for burgers and hot dogs that are quite good. This ship just served them from pans on the buffet and were not good. Other reviews made it sound like the seating in the buffet was tight and hard to find a seat. We did not encounter this. Activities were the usual trivia and games that were handled well. Shows were good. Especially the Lionel Richie cover singer Derik Floyd. Casino was small but not crowded. Several tables and a good variety of slots. Cocktails and drinks on the ship seemed more expensive than other shops we have been on. $8 for a beer plus tax and gratuity made it almost $10. Frozen drinks were typically $15. Maybe all cruise lines are like this now but 9 months earlier we paid about 6 for a beer and $10 for a frozen drink. We visited Cienfuegos and took a tour with Royal that was a typical excursion. Visited a fort, had lunch in a beautiful newer hotel, visited the city center square with several historic buildings. Not sure what we expected but reminded of somewhere in Mexico like Mazatlan. In Havana we did another Royal excursion. Again, not sure what I expected but the tour was fine but Havana reminded us of a post war war zone. The buildings are in total disrepair and look abandoned but yet people live in these buildings. Lines of people at bus stops. Lines to get into the grocery stores. Very sad and sorrowful. All in all, we really enjoyed our cruise and learned about Cuba. Encourage others to go. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this particular cruise because it was one of the few seven-day cruises to Cuba...most were shorter. The good news was the itinerary and the Cuban ports as well as the Cuban tours. The shop’s casino was excellent and the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it was one of the few seven-day cruises to Cuba...most were shorter. The good news was the itinerary and the Cuban ports as well as the Cuban tours. The shop’s casino was excellent and the public areas were very good. The bad news was that the food, specifically in the buffet was cheap, bland, and generally inedible. This was one of the few cruises we’ve lost weight. (The Chef’s Table was excellent, but exorbitantly priced at $85 a person.) The dining room was good, but not very good. The rooms are tiny in an effort to squeeze every foot of space into a profit producing area. We had a Junior Suite that was also tiny. The junior crew is willing to provide service, but are generally undertrained by the senior staff. The ship’s most senior officers were rarely seen and, when the made an appearance, made little eye contact with customers. The Crown and Anchor Society is also something of a joke...they offer little. The theater entertainment was very good four evenings; however, terrible on two nights. Because of the general reduction of amenities...no welcome drink...rancid toilet articles...few bar snacks...unappetizing food...and so forth...we do not plan to sail on Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to go to Cuba and I had always loved RC. However, this was the a terrible ship. The smell of sewage was overwhelming. During the disembark the crew blamed the smell on Keywest. If I weren't a local Floridan I might have ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and I had always loved RC. However, this was the a terrible ship. The smell of sewage was overwhelming. During the disembark the crew blamed the smell on Keywest. If I weren't a local Floridan I might have believed them. Also, it didnt explain the gut wrenching smell on the 4th floor at sea. The room was a interior nightmare. The ceiling was multi-colored stained old smoke room. The Anniversary package we purchased was late and left a lot to be desired. The AC was broken , except for 1 night out of 5. The bathroom , had old scum on the walls and the previous guest hair hanging from the shower head - upon arrival. The carpet was definitely in need of replacement. The door handle to the bathroom had several screws sticking out - that took the crew 3 days to repair. Into say the room was a let down was completely and understatement. The whole room needs a scrub down and new paint The ports were excellent . Keywest, cozumel and Cuba. The excursions we had to cancel because of running late / lack of information were quickly resolved and the staff were very helpful. The pool bars and staff were overwhelmed and it showed. The crew is usually upbeat and get the party started. Unfortunately, this crew looked over worked and stressed. They weren't going out of their way to show a smile or make you feel important. The wind jammer had standard cruise buffet food. The only happy person was the washy-washy young lady. They guarded the ice cream machine with the smallest cones, I'd ever seen. My poor boyfriend resorted to getting two at a time. The main dining room was just blah... the crew again looked stressed and asked me to give a positive review. Just kinda hoped for more since I'm a seasoned cruiser and this was my boyfriend's 1st cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this cruise because one of the ports was Havana. We knew it was a smaller, older ship, so we knew what to expect. Some of the reviews we had read before we sailed complained about cleanliness and the food. Our experience was the ... Read More
We booked this cruise because one of the ports was Havana. We knew it was a smaller, older ship, so we knew what to expect. Some of the reviews we had read before we sailed complained about cleanliness and the food. Our experience was the opposite ! The ship was very clean, and the food was wonderful. There was one evening in the main dining room that I didn't like my appetizer ( nothing wrong with it....it was something I tried for the first time) Our server, Emile was only too happy to suggest something else I might like. ( which I did) He and all the ship staff were super friendly and helpful. We had a cabin with a window. We knew it would be small, but it was clean and very comfortable. We don't overpack when we travel, so we had plenty of room for our clothes and toiletries. The only " negative" things I can say is that the Wifi was very slow, and although the shower curtain was clean, it had seen better days. Our room attendant ( can't recall his name) was very friendly and efficient. ( he gave us his card so we could call him anytime we needed anything ) The cruise company can't control the weather or ocean conditions, so we knew there was a chance we wouldn't get to all our 3 ports, but we were blessed with beautiful weather and smooth sailing. Key West and Cozumel were nice , but Havana was the icing on the cake. We had done some research , so we had an idea of what to expect. Never pleasant to see poor living conditions and stray dogs and cats ( in Old Havana). A tour of the city in one of the many classic cars ( make sure it has a Taxi sticker) is a must. There are many drivers looking for fares, so you can bargain with them. It was very hot, and we didn't want a full hour, so we made a deal..... $40 for 45 minutes. The entertainment on the ship was wonderful ... very talented musicians, singers and dancers. There were lots of choices of things to do/participate in on the ship. ( take a hi lighter to make it easier), as the list for each day is lengthy in the daily newsletter, the Cruise Compass. We really enjoyed our experience on Empress of the Seas. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise as a replacement for the trip that we were to take last year when I ended up in the ER. Trip did not start out well when they cancelled our flight at the last minute (Southwest). When we finally arrived at the ship we ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a replacement for the trip that we were to take last year when I ended up in the ER. Trip did not start out well when they cancelled our flight at the last minute (Southwest). When we finally arrived at the ship we were hungry and exhausted. We waited over 2 hours to be able to get to our room. We were very surprised when we saw how small the ship was and the fact that there was only 1 pool that could maybe hold 18 people at best. We never got to use the pool. My husband had always wanted to see Cuba which is why we took this trip. It would have been nice if the Cruise Line had told us that they had booked us a day in Cuba when everything was closed due to Holiday. Why would a cruise line book a day in a port where everything was closed? Unbelievable!!! This was supposed to be the high light of our trip. Our room was the smallest room that we have ever seen or been in, you could not even turn in the shower but the water was hot. Thank God. The Schoonover bar smelt like raw sewage for at least 2 days. I almost got sick from the smells. The food in dining room was about a 3. One night my ice cream was delivered to me soupy. I do not like to drink my ice cream. :(We were shorted our time in Key West. it started with 11 hours and ended up getting only 5 1/2 hours. felt very rushed. Thank God we had been there previously. The scheduled port times, the ship, the room and the food was the worst that we have ever had on any cruise that we been on. This girl may be done cruising. This was my 6th cruise and 4th with Royal. No longer Royal. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Let’s begin with what I now regard as a “Bait & Switch” maneuver from RCCL. They sold us a “Best of Cuba” cruise with three ports in Cuba including Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and an overnight in Havana. Santiago ... Read More
Let’s begin with what I now regard as a “Bait & Switch” maneuver from RCCL. They sold us a “Best of Cuba” cruise with three ports in Cuba including Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and an overnight in Havana. Santiago has been closed since the middle of 2018. We booked our cruise with these three ports advertised, in November of 2018. We were not notified of the change in itinerary. We only discovered the new itinerary in March of this year during our early check-in process. Of course, Royal Caribbean covers themselves through their cruise contract that states that Itineraries are subject to change at any time. But they are still selling (to this very day) a port that they know full well is not available to their ships! I find that to be deceitful. So, after day 4 of an 8-day cruise, we reach our first Cuban port of Cienfuegos. The original itinerary had us docking at 7:00am and so we booked a private tour to Trinidad with that in mind. We docked at 8:00am and were told that tender tickets would not be handed out before 9:00am and we would not be disembarking until 10:00am. The cruise line contracts with tour companies on the island that are owned and operated by the Cuban government, so the Shore excursions get priority over everybody else. After pleading with the Crown and Anchor manager, Andy, (our Elite Captain’s club status on Celebrity transferred to Diamond status on RCCL) and meeting with the guest relations supervisor, and several other pleadings, they agreed to let us off around 8:30am. Other passengers weren’t so lucky. We met a couple who didn’t get off until 11:00am and their tour basically consisted of a ride to Trinidad where they met our guide, had lunch and returned to the ship. Total time ashore – 7 hours. Day 5 at sea. Around 4 am we heard an emergency alert over the PA system of the ship. Later that morning, we learned it was a medical emergency and that we would have to turn around and head for Grand Cayman to medivac a passenger. New ETA to Havana 3:00pm; 8 hours later than planned. Day 6 of this 8 days “Best of Cuba” cruise, we finally arrive in Havana at 4:00pm. With the same departure time set for the following day. Total time in port – 24hrs. We stood in line for one and a half hours at the gangway on deck 5 before we could disembark in Havana. We met our guide at 5:00pm, 8 hours later than planned so our whole day Havana tour turned into 4 hours. In total we were in port 32 hours out of an 8 day “Best of Cuba” cruise that was scheduled for three ports including one overnight. Now to the ship. The Empress of the Seas. We did our research and read the review. We lowered our expectations knowing that the cruise ship wasn’t the object of this cruise. The Itinerary was. We expected the staterooms to be small, perhaps not as small and cramped as they were as one cannot get in the bed without ducking under the bunk upon each side of the walls or turn around in the tiniest of showers. You can’t open the bathroom door and the closet at the same time. One blocks the other. So I’m not going to whine about size. It seems that Royal Caribbean has put no effort and no money into maintaining this vessel. The lounge chairs with their plastic straps are straight out of an old Vegas off-strip motel poolside. The entertainment and activities for three and a half sea days was disappointing. The food in the dining room and in the buffet was mediocre at best and repetitive. The menus were misleading as their dishes are misnamed and therefore underwhelming. If you’re going to call something a Vol au vent and present a flat piece of soggy pastry in sauce on a plate, be prepared to disappoint. Same with describing a rum soaked sponge cake and serving a dinner roll soaked in syrup masquerading as a Baba au rum. This was our fifteenth cruise. Our first on Royal Caribbean, and also our last. We talked with several other frequent cruisers of other cruise lines and they had the same reaction as we had. Never Again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I want to start this review with the statement that my wife and I are very hard to discourage on a cruise. We have cruise 19 times on many different cruise lines and yes some of them are LOW. Embarkation & Disembarkation, we ... Read More
I want to start this review with the statement that my wife and I are very hard to discourage on a cruise. We have cruise 19 times on many different cruise lines and yes some of them are LOW. Embarkation & Disembarkation, we arrived at 11 am, but we had a check in time for 12 30. They let us move right on in and check in was smooth and easy like always. Dis, we do express all the time, so we took our luggage down to the Theater and between 7 45 & 8 30 we were off the ship. Great. First, The Ship, I want to say, Yes the ship is old and small, but for getting around the ship was nice and quick. Yes were things that need fixing, and touch up, but what old things don't. Food, we don’t really like eating in the dinning room so I can’t really talk about that (we don’t like dressing up). On this cruise we ate in the Windjammer all the time. We like the variety of foods and if it wasn’t up to our taste, we went and got something else. But it seem that everything we picked up was very good. I also want to let you know that out of all the cruises or most of them, you need to try the “Fish Fingers” with the tartar sauces. Lite and fluffy, WOW. Who ever is the baker on that ship is doing a great job. They had a Large Cake just about every night, real Ice Cream !!! You got to try !!!! Over all we enjoyed all the foods and we did not go Home hungry. Entertainment, we went to a couple of the Head Liner, first day Andy Woodhull (okay), Juggling Randy Cabral (Great), Louis Johnson Comedy (Great), Jeff Tracta, singer/Impressionist (Great) Port Shopping, Cozumel, we”be been there about a half dozen times so we did nothing there. Cienfuegos Cuba, Royal Excursion, Cienfuegos Tobacco, small port, small town, we were the only ones in port and we thought that everyone else would be doing different parts of the town. NO, there were waiting lines on every tour we stopped at ??? 4-5 buses ?? I don’t think this was really planned out well by the Tour Guides. Nice to see everything about 3 to 4 times as you drive around. As we got back we didn’t have that much time to shop. Which was okay with us. We would have like to, but. We would have gone right to Havana but we had a “Heath Emergency” and go out to Carmen’s to deliver him to the hospital. So we spent the next day traveling to Carmen’s. Havana Cuba, My wife and I did not take an excursion. We decided to just go out on the town. We had from 4 pm one day to 4 pm the next. Our main thing was to get some Rum and Cigars. Rum, I will tell you try NOT to buy from the Hotels there prices are just a little bit higher a couple of CUC. Try to buy from the local stores, seem to be lower. Cigars & some Rums, I would Highly recommend this Cigar store in this Hotel, #24, Conde De Villanueva. Store, Trends De Habanos, I will tell you that it was by far the cheapest we found after walking all around. It was one of the taxi drivers that turn us on to it. Box of Chiba, 4 Romeo’s, and a couple of bottles of Havana 3, 7, 15. If you want to try some local foods you will have the opportunity any where in OLD Havana, and you can’t go wrong any where. Casino on Ship, YES, it’s small and very tight in some places to just to get to a seat. There were just 6 Video Poker machine, all were .25. I can honestly say that it was a VERY tight week, Yes we hit a couple of things at different times but that did not pay for the week. TIGHT !!! Most of the other cruises we have gone on they were just a little looser. Lots of Penny machines. Over all review, We enjoyed the cruise for the relaxation any where we wanted to go and do nothing. We seen Cuba had some great foods in Havana for 24 CuC. Yes, I would go back for a second visit just to eat some other stuff and get more Cigars & Rum. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Do not go the dirtiest ship ever! Upon entry carpets stained in common areas as well as rooms, outside decks filthy, old ship with visible rust, Horrible food, filthy, no one speaks English or knows anything on ship, over 100 sick with ... Read More
Do not go the dirtiest ship ever! Upon entry carpets stained in common areas as well as rooms, outside decks filthy, old ship with visible rust, Horrible food, filthy, no one speaks English or knows anything on ship, over 100 sick with virus that started many cruises before and has gotten worse as time went on, decks 6/7/8 smelled of sewer water for over 3 days. They knowingly had viruses from past cruises and still did not clean nor sanitize ship! This was told to me by medical staff. The worst cruise we have ever taken. They also try to buckle and dine you to death! Cocktails run 15.00 plus!! Most upscale restaurants do not charge that much for mixed drinks. Changed port to Cozumel that was surpassed to be Sante go de Cuba. This was a Cuban cruise which was advertised this way with that port even though they have not been there for over 8 months but knowing continued to advertise as such!! DO NOT GO!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, ... Read More
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, "you can cancel, but you will not get a refund". After taking at least 20 cruises on many different cruise lines, this one ranks as the worst. The food was barely edible. The food on the buffet was generally cold and when I brought it to their attention, they found a legion of middle managers who apologized profusely and then did nothing about it. In Cienfuegos, the crew was totally unprepared to handle the tender disembarking and return.They shuttled passengers back and forth with two small tenders. At least 1500 passengers were left outside in a pouring rain for two hours while they slowly brought people back to the ship. The only shelter from the rain was crowded with the ship staff. The passengers were so upset about conditions on this ship that they were yelling at the MC on the evening show. I would not recommend Royal Caribbean based on this experience. The ship is old but and poorly maintained, but if the ship was managed better, it would have been a much better experience. We have been to Cuba on other cruise ships and had a very enjoyable time. I agree with other customers. Choose another cruise line! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I was very upset that RCI cancelled one of the Cuban ports and switched it to Cozumel (along with 1500 other people). I really, really liked Cuba. I liked the small ship but I'm not a huge cruise fan and I do not like the mega-ships ... Read More
I was very upset that RCI cancelled one of the Cuban ports and switched it to Cozumel (along with 1500 other people). I really, really liked Cuba. I liked the small ship but I'm not a huge cruise fan and I do not like the mega-ships so that's just personal preference. I met so many nice people because the ship was small. :-) The staff were generally very nice and helpful. I did not care for the dining room food - it was just blah. The volume of the music on the pool deck is too loud!!!!! The entertainment was good though the regular singers/dancers were "okay". Loved the coffee package as I am a coffee lover. If you know it is the oldest and smallest ship and you accept that, then you will have a really nice trip. The Chichen Itza excursion is not worth it. We were there for only one hour at high noon. The Botanical Gardens excursion in Cienfuegos was very nice. The Free Havana Walking Tour I found on TA in Havana was EXCELLENT! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I, like many of my shipmates, chose this cruise specifically because it visited three Cuban ports: Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana. As MANY others have noted in previous reviews, RCI advertises these ports, knowing full well that ... Read More
I, like many of my shipmates, chose this cruise specifically because it visited three Cuban ports: Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana. As MANY others have noted in previous reviews, RCI advertises these ports, knowing full well that for at least the past six months, they cannot port in Santiago. They continue to advertise three Cuban ports, and then literally as soon as final payments are paid, the RCI website is updated to show that in fact you won't be visiting Santiago: the ship will stop somewhere else instead. In our case, it was Cozumel, Mexico. Since most Caribbean cruisers have been to Cozumel before, this wasn't a particularly attractive alternative. RCI doesn't do its guests the courtesy of notifying them of this change. I only found out via the CruiseCritic roll call for the cruise. So if you are interested in this cruise, be forewarned: you will probably NOT visit three ports in Cuba. There was, for us, only one positive about this cruise: the crew. With the exception of the cruise director (whom none of us saw at any point in the 7-day cruise, even being out and about all the time!), the crew were friendly, helpful and really just an amazing bunch of people. They made up for many (but not all) of the many shortcomings of this ship (and RCI in general.) MANY NEGATIVES: where to begin? Let's start with the cabin. We had an inside (see below). Another problem? The food is average AT BEST: and often downright bad. We're not fussy by any means, but of the seven meals, 3 of them were awful (we couldn't even eat them), 2 meals were mediocre, and only 2 were average in taste and quality. Our dining room waiters did their best: always asking if we wanted something else, and so on, but we don't like to waste food, so we just figured (on several nights) to have a bit of a "fast"..... The dining rooms (both the main Starlight areas and the Windjammer buffet) are horribly overcrowded, with tables pushed so close together that you literally had your neighbors' chairs up against the backs of yours. They are also VERY understaffed: they need at least 50% more servers in both areas. We like to talk with our servers and get to know them a bit, but they were so busy that they rarely had time to even slow down, much less stop! The swimming pool is a joke. First of all, it's a uniform depth of 1,80m (a bit over six feet). It is VERY small and because it has no shallow area, older people tend to just sit on the edge with their legs in the water. This makes getting into and out of the pool a real challenge, and once you're in the pool, you have to keep swimming, because you can't stop anywhere on the sides (with all those dangling legs!) Maybe 20 people (if they crowd close together) can sit around the sides, and only 10 or so can "swim" (by which I mean tread water in a very confined space.) Finally, it's a salt-water pool, so if (like us) you don't care for salt-water pools, you won't enjoy this one. We went in on the first day and never went back: it was always very crowded. The casino onboard has an interesting two-level design, which we liked. There are a couple of things you need to know about the casino, however. First of all, it is completely non-smoking. Not a problem for us, but for many, this will be a disappointment. The other thing we didn't care for was the fact that about 75% of the slot machines are old: and I mean 20+ years old! Some of them still use coins, believe it or not, that's how old they are! Many have buttons that don't work, or are out of order for "maintenance". If you plan on playing the slots, you cannot charge to your "SeaPass" card. You have three options: bring cash (USD) with you; use the ATM to get money (for a $6.95 fee); or go to the cashier and charge it to your SeaPass (for a 5% fee). So if you are going to get more than $107 to gamble with, use the ATM. The fee is actually better than getting it at the cashier's. Generally, though, we were bored with the selection of machines after 2 days. Honestly, going to this casino is like going to a small "locals" casino in Las Vegas: lots of old, tired machines, and really low payouts. Another irritating aspect of this cruise is the way RCI has two levels of customer service when it comes to shore excursions. This is particularly true in Cuba. If you are booked on an RCI excursion, you get off the ship first. But if you have made independent plans, tough luck. You have to wait on the ship until all of RCI's "customers" (as they put it) have left the ship. Then you can go (unless you are in Cienfuegos: then you have to get a "tender ticket" and wait even longer for your turn.) So for example, we arrived in Havana at 0700. Because we had private tours, we couldn't get off the ship until 0930. So you may want to schedule any private tours for later in the morning (i.e. when it's getting hotter!) because if you had an 0900 tour, you'd probably miss it in Havana. We did one ship excursion, the "Chichen Itza Mixed Reality" tour from Cozumel. We had not been to Chichen Itza, and it's a long trip, so we thought a ship tour was safer in terms of getting back in time. The description of the tour is quite a bit different from the reality: the virtual reality they offer is in fact a slide show on a tablet, that you do with the guide on the long bus ride to the site. The guide and driver were excellent, but we only had 90 minutes at the site, out of an 8-hour excursion. As to the Cuban ports, the town center of Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though I honestly can't imagine why, unless perhaps UNESCO felt like Cuba ought to have a site or two. The best way to see the "sights" in Cienfuegos is to hop on the little Transtur tourist (covered open-air) train that departs every 45 minutes or so from the pier. It's a 40-minute tour, costs 5 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos), and makes a lengthy stop at Jose Marti Square (where all the "UNESCO" sites are located.) Then it continues on to Punta Gorda, where all the rich government officials and other revolutionaries live, and goes past some of the beautiful old hotels and the Palacio Valle and along the Malecon. You can walk to Jose Marti Square from the pier, but many of the roads are rough, unpaved, and you have to run the gauntlet of touts selling pedi-cab or horse-drawn carriage or "classic car" tours. We found Havana to be amazingly underwhelming, and certainly not deserving of the hype we'd read before our trip. Again, a few well-maintained (tourist-oriented) streets surround by squalid, dirty, rather smelly neighborhoods with decaying buildings and a lot of poor people living the socialist dream. No, we're not political at all, but the irony to us (as Europeans) of the failure of the revolutionary ideals was very sad. Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly lengthy experiences. Long lines, long waits, and once you did get on the ship, all of the cabin areas were closed off, with signs saying, "Cabins will be available after 1330." Our luggage did not arrive until just before dinner. RCI transfers are a joke. At disembarkation, we did "self-assist" so as to catch the schedule 0815 transfer to Fort Lauderdale airport. We waited in line for 30 minutes, then finally got off the ship and walked to the bus. We sat on the bus for 90 minutes before leaving at 1000! The ship itself is old and very tired, despite the fact that it just came out of a "refurbishment" at the end of March 2019. We couldn't see much that looked like it had been upgraded or updated: perhaps they just put in more tables and chairs in the dining areas, and renovated the cabins for the officers and the cruise director. To us, Empress of the Seas seemed like a ship that needs to be completely rebuilt, possibly for one of the luxury lines. It certainly is nothing more than a cash cow for RCI, because they don't seem to be spending any money on facilities or crew. 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

Find an Empress of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise