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
6 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our 4th cruise - and 4th different cruise line. The Empress of the Seas is an older and smaller ship. If you accept that fact, you will have a great time. The service was outstanding, and the food in the main dining room was ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise - and 4th different cruise line. The Empress of the Seas is an older and smaller ship. If you accept that fact, you will have a great time. The service was outstanding, and the food in the main dining room was excellent. The Cuba cruise is too short to spend much time or place much emphasis on shows, or alternate dining venues, or activities. Hence, trying to compare those to other ships seems pointless.There are stage performances, a spa, a casino, several bars, and both adult and child activities. While all are on a smaller scale, the staff is excellent and the reduced population makes it easier to navigate. Likewise, a smaller cabin was not a problem as you are rarely in it. I recommend this cruise for those wanting a quick get-away with some new sight seeing and some quality service. If you rally want the the deluxe cruise experience or lots of on-board activities, you should look at longer cruises and larger boats. Overall, we had just as nice an experience as we have had on longer European cruises. Final note: we met a number of staff who had 15-30 years experience. It definitely showed, The staff was the key to an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My family and I specifically chose the Empress of the Seas for its itinerary-Cozumel, Havana (overnight), and Nassau. After reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic, I was a bit worried about sailing on this specific ship. No ... Read More
My family and I specifically chose the Empress of the Seas for its itinerary-Cozumel, Havana (overnight), and Nassau. After reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic, I was a bit worried about sailing on this specific ship. No worries! My family and I were presently surprised at the service and how well maintained the ship was. The ship is the smallest in the NCI fleet, which was fine by us! Mega ships are overrated; being on a smaller ship makes it much easier & quicker to learn the layout of the ship and you can walk from one end to the other in 5 minutes! Excellent dining experience in both the dining room and the Windjammer cafe! Huge selection of foods available...and quality of the food was very good to excellent. Desserts at the buffet were much better than I remember from my past experiences on NCL and Carnival. There were options for beverages at the Windjammer for those who chose not to purchase the pricey drink packages-lemonade, iced tea, fruit punch, water, and coffee. The coffee was much too strong for my taste, but it was decent. Staff on the ship couldn’t have been more helpful-from Deny (our room attendant), to our waiters in the dining room-Valento and Viny, and who can forget the hilarious activities staff who made playing trivia every day a hoot! Our accommodation was an oceanview stateroom. Yes, the rooms are small, but how much time do you actually spend in your room!?! I don’t know about anyone else, but I go on cruises to spend time in the ports of call, on the sun decks, and at activities, not wasting away in my room!!! Past posts indicate the ship is in poor repair and musty/dirty. I can tell you that I found none of this on the Empress of the Seas. I am a neat freak so I would have definitely noticed these things! No areas of the ship were closed off due to maintenance when we sailed (as I had read in previous posts). The pool and hot tubs were well maintained and were never shut down. Embarkation and debarkation when stopped at ports of call was quick and painless. I was a tad worried about getting sick on a cruise, given what is publicized in the media so often. The staff went above and beyond to encourage passengers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before meals to help with the spread of germs. I can tell you as a nurse I sincerely appreciated this! Shout out to Neilbert for greeting us at the Windjammer Café multiple times a day and encouraging us to “washy washy”!!! I would definitely consider traveling on the Empress of the Seas in the future! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
A group of 28 of us were on the Empress the last week of March 2019. Embarkation and debarkation was easy and fast. We all took this cruise to go to Cuba this week we were spending 2 days in Havana. Although its is an older ship and ... Read More
A group of 28 of us were on the Empress the last week of March 2019. Embarkation and debarkation was easy and fast. We all took this cruise to go to Cuba this week we were spending 2 days in Havana. Although its is an older ship and not a mega ship the ship has been kept in very good condition. Before going we read a number of negative reviews of the ship, food and service on board. We found none of the negative reviews to be true except that the cabins are a little smaller than the mega ships. The food was excellent both in the main dining room and buffet in the Windjammer. Our steward Martin Smith kept our cabin spotless. All the ships personnel were courteous and helpful and always with a smile. We have been on many of the mega ships and it was a welcome change not to have to walk 15 minutes to get from the front to the back of the ship and no long lines at the buffet or to get into a shows. We all agree "absolutely" we would go on this ship again especially with the overnight in Havana. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Empress of the Seas Cruise Evaluation (March 17-25, 2019) March 17, 2019: We were among the very first to check in for our cruise after arriving at the Pier at about 10.30 am. Our taxi found the Terminal G where Empress of the Seas ... Read More
Empress of the Seas Cruise Evaluation (March 17-25, 2019) March 17, 2019: We were among the very first to check in for our cruise after arriving at the Pier at about 10.30 am. Our taxi found the Terminal G where Empress of the Seas was docked. We did not receive any communication on the exact terminal except that the ship will be at the Port of Miami. In any case, we were upbeat, and we were delighted in finding the terminal. Our delight was however short lived when we stood at the check-in counter for at least ten minutes waiting for the computer to reboot. It was a premonition of additional negative experiences during the cruise. The check in for the fire drill was so outdated. Instead of scanning our cruise cards, one of the cruise staff was checking off names on a sheet of paper! We had our first dinner at Starlight on Deck 5, and I was handed a menu with food stain on its already faded words. It seemed that the menu has lived beyond its life span and was old enough to be discarded. Our table was besides the window, and we requested that the window drapes be lowered down to prevent sunlight from blinding our eyes. But the drapes’ strings were broken, and the waiter had to pull it down by force! We headed back to our cabin after the evening show. I called housekeeping for two additional pillows. When the pillows were not delivered an hour later, I called again. We waited for another 20 minutes. I called the third time. It was already late in the evening, and we wanted to sleep. The pillows were finally delivered to our room after we were about to doze off to our dreams. Altogether, we waited for 2 hours for the pillows. March 18, 2019: We went to Windjammer for breakfast, and sat at a corner waiting for service, but no server came. There were waiters serving in other sections, but they never seemed to see us (and others) sitting at another section. We decided to get our own drinks instead. We didn’t meet our cabin steward until this evening when he saw us going into our room. He asked us for our names, and checked his list for our names. Unlike our cruises on Princess where the cabin steward visited us as soon as we checked in, greeted us with our names correctly, and introduced himself/herself, making us feel welcome. There was no nameplate in our room indicating the name of the cabin steward. March 20, 2019: We arrived at Cienfuegos this morning, but we were required to tender in. We have never seen such a mess in getting the tender tickets. First, we signed our names on a sheet of paper, and then we returned to have our names called in order to receive the tender tickets. There was so much confusion because we could hardly hear the person calling out names. Why would they required us to sign our names, and then be seated to have our names called was beyond our comprehension. The arrangement was insane. Why couldn’t they just hand out the tender tickets when we came into the waiting room? March 21, 2019: We were told just minutes before arriving at Cayman Island that the ship would not be docking at George Town as originally planned due to weather conditions. The ship was then docked off Sports Bay, and we were tendered in. We were told through the intercom communications that shuttle buses were available to take us into town due to the change of the docking station. We took the tender onto the shore. There was, however, no shuttle bus to take us into town. We were instead required to take a taxi into town at a cost of US$6.00 per person per trip. For two of us, it would mean an additional $24.00 (to and back from town). That was a surprise to us. Other cruise lines would provide complimentary shuttle services when there is a change in an itinerary. No announcement was made on having to pay for our shuttle into town. If the captain has alerted us to this arrangement, we would be at least more forgiving. After lingering for a few minutes on the shore, we decided to return to the ship along with other dissatisfied passengers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise because the original itinerary included Santiago, Cuba. Last November we were on the Holland America Veendam and sailed to Havana and Cienfuego. Havana is a large city and we decided another trip (plus Santiago) was ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the original itinerary included Santiago, Cuba. Last November we were on the Holland America Veendam and sailed to Havana and Cienfuego. Havana is a large city and we decided another trip (plus Santiago) was of interest to us. As it turned out after 49 cruise with 8 different cruise company this was definitely out worse cruise. Not sure when Santiago, Cuba was cancelled and replaced with the Cayman Islands we could not tender into Santiago. But we did accept that. However, the cruise itself was just short of a disaster and like others we were happy to disembark March 25. To start the cabins are tiny and we ended up with bunk beds over our own. Not much room to move but my wife did bump her head twice. The news channels on the TV were not available until the last three days and even then half the time the picture and sound was frozen. No movies in the cabin to watch and only 2 that were shown up on the top deck. The Windjammer cafe was always jammed with people eating overcook food. The windows all around the ship were dirty which ruins the views of the seas. I finally hit the ceiling when I order a package of 3 wines and after the first bottle was told I had to have of one of each of he three choices. I fought that one out until the Director of Food and Beverages relented and allowed us to have a second bottle of the one we preferred. The food in the dining room was mediocre at best. What a tremendous difference between our Cuban cruise on the Veendam and the just concluded trip on the Empress of the Seas. NEVER AGAIN will we sail with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Disappointed in not making the third port of call in Cuba. Also the fluctuation of times for port arrival and departures. Overall experience was good. We found that having brunch in the dining room very strange and unwarranted. The Wind ... Read More
Disappointed in not making the third port of call in Cuba. Also the fluctuation of times for port arrival and departures. Overall experience was good. We found that having brunch in the dining room very strange and unwarranted. The Wind Jammer was a full time buffet so why have a buffet in the dining room. We went to be waited on not go to another buffet. All excursions booked off ship were excellent. However, we felt we were being penalized for not utilizing the Royal Caribbean excursion booking. Lauren of Blexie Tours in Havana was excellent as was Angel Molina (Chichi), our tour guide in Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Their knowledge of the areas and the history made the tour very exciting and educational. We highly recommend both of these tour guides. We really enjoyed the headliners especially the comedians. The adult only shows were very funny and we all had a great time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I wanted this cruise because of the three stops in Cuba. I was very disappointed when one stop was eliminated. The ship is old, but well maintained. The staff was great as was the food and cleanliness. I'm really into the ... Read More
I wanted this cruise because of the three stops in Cuba. I was very disappointed when one stop was eliminated. The ship is old, but well maintained. The staff was great as was the food and cleanliness. I'm really into the entertainment and the stuff in the main room was excellent. I wish there was more music thru-out the ship. The worst part was the internet and the TV. They kept blaming the satellite, but that didn't seem like the issue. I'm used to being able to pick several movies to watch on the TV and that wasn't an option. Also March Madness was on and most of the time you could not get those channels. The cabins were small with little storage. The shower would probably be a challenge for a large person to maneuver. We were traveling with two people who have mobility issues and the smaller ship was a plus. The staff was very helpful. We even used wheelchairs to get on and off the ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this ship because of the itinerary. I was thrilled that we would be making 3 stops in Cuba and thought that the itinerary would outweigh the fact that this was an older ship and there were no balconies. Embarkation was a breeze ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary. I was thrilled that we would be making 3 stops in Cuba and thought that the itinerary would outweigh the fact that this was an older ship and there were no balconies. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship by noon. The Windjammer has the typical buffet lines instead of food stations and it just didn't flow. The food was okay but the coffee was the worst that I have had on any ship. Not to mention it continually ran out of coffee and cups. Staff were great and kept tables clean. Although the ship had just come out of dry dock, there were ongoing issues with the ice cream machine, ice machine and hot tubs. There was never any issue with finding a chair by the pool and hardly any sight of chair hogs! The layout of the ship was disconcerting with the Windjammer in the front of the ship and the gym above the Viking Lounge. You could actually see people riding bikes from the floor of the lounge. Boleros was terrific and had some great Latin entertainment. The Schooner lounge was centered in the middle of the ship. The piano player was good but the singer/piano player that came on later - not so much. Entertainment in the show lounge was good, for the most part. The comedians were funny and I enjoyed the late night adult shows. The production number at the end of the cruise was great. Our ocean view stateroom on deck 8 was small, typical though of older RCCL ships. I missed not having a refrigerator and there were no shelves in the closet so space was limited for clothing. Drawers were tiny. The bed was comfortable and I had no trouble sleeping. Our cabin steward kept our room clean and left a 'towel birthday cake' for my husband on his birthday! The staff in the dining room were terrific and very attentive. Food always came out hot and there was only one night that I couldn't find anything that really appealed to me. We ate in Chops one night and that was pretty typical. We found the staff very helpful and ready to help out in any way they could but getting off the ship during the week was one area that, I thought, could be improved upon. Passengers who had booked RCCL excursion had priority getting off the ship and we, having booked privately, were late getting off the ship to meet our tours. It felt like we were being penalized for not booking with the ship. It was sad that we missed our third stop in Cuba due to some pier issues(?). Overall, despite the small glitches, we had a great time. We always find a way to enjoy a cruise and there was nothing during the course of the week that jeopardized that. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The issues started with RCCL changing the itinerary right after final payment was due. Then there were the scheduling changes to arrival times at ports while on board the ship that even the crew gave different answers depending on who you ... Read More
The issues started with RCCL changing the itinerary right after final payment was due. Then there were the scheduling changes to arrival times at ports while on board the ship that even the crew gave different answers depending on who you asked. Even though there were schedule changes we still arrived late to every port even to disembark in Miami. The fact that they would not issue tender tickets until 9:30 am and would not allow the first tender to board until 10 am was ridiculous. That is the punishment for using private tours and not RCCL's. Also wish they would have told us that we were staying in Havana until 1 am instead of 10 pm so I could have made plans for a night activity as I did not want to purchase Tropicana show tickets from the boat for $200 each. They ran out of chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and butter. Also did not like that they did not offer breakfast and lunch in the dining room on sea days when you could sit down and actually enjoy it. They had a buffet brunch on all sea days. No need to have 2 buffets. Loved the smallness of the ship as it was so easy to get around and from one end to the other. The crew were great and friendly. Inside cabin was not as bad as I expected. Plenty of room for all of our stuff. Just put suitcases under the bed. Shows were okay. The comedians were good. Do not know the reason for the gymnast??? There were two dress to impress nights despite our booking confirmation specifically stating no formal nights. Activity staff was great and the parties they through were fun. However they need to update their material as I was on this same ship 19 years ago and they repeated quite a few of the same things ie, quest game and 70's dance party appearance (do not want to ruin the surprise for others). But as I stated we had a great time and loved Havana and Cienfuegos and wished we got to Santiago de Cuba which was why we booked this trip for the three Cuban ports. Not sure that I will cruise RCCL again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first cruise in several years, after having taken a "break" to fulfill other travel goals. Previously, I had been on a number of cruises spanning 5 different cruise lines (RC, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian and ... Read More
This was my first cruise in several years, after having taken a "break" to fulfill other travel goals. Previously, I had been on a number of cruises spanning 5 different cruise lines (RC, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian and Holland America), mostly sailing to Caribbean destinations. Despite not having cruised in a bit, my husband & I were able to distinctly see how the cruise lines seem to be cutting more and more corners. However, we took this particular cruise purely for the itinerary (the chance to visit Cuba!), so we weren't necessarily "let down" with our experience on the ship itself. Embarkation was a breeze - but I think this is because we arrived relatively late in the afternoon. Turns out, that's the perfect time to board a ship for a pleasant embarkation experience! It's not like we were itching to eat in the buffet, like many other people seem to want to do! The ship is nearly 30 years old and very "petite." If you are boarding this vessel expecting a myriad of activities, you will be vastly disappointed. It's also not the most pleasant-looking ship in the world. For lack of a better phrase, it is "old-school!" I was worried about feeling more movement on a smaller ship, but we were blessed with smooth sailing throughout (except for one somewhat rough evening). We had a mid-ship inside cabin and it was probably the smallest cruise cabin we've ever had. The cabin was a bit rough around the edges and I'm assuming all of the cabins could use a good refurbishment soon! Luckily, we had clean bedding (super important). Our cabin steward was really nice, as well! As far as food goes, I think the best thing I had on the entire cruise was a "warm cookie" dessert in the MDR one night. Otherwise, the food was just blah. I felt like everything was loaded with salt (or sugar!). The buffet was entirely unappealing to us (it usually is, no matter what cruise line we are on). Even breakfast was a bit of a letdown. On sea days, they have a buffet in the MDR. A buffet! The whole point of going to the MDR for breakfast is to have a sit-down breakfast. Obviously, this is a corner being cut! We have another RC cruise planned later this year (again, only because of the itinerary) on a larger ship, and we have higher hopes for that one. However, we might spring for the ultimate dining package since there are more specialty restaurants on board (the Empress only has Chops Grille, which we did not try). Generally, I got the feeling that the dining staff would all rather be on a newer, larger ship so they, too, can enjoy more pleasing dining experiences! Please, RC, improve the food! Offer better training to chefs and cooks. Do something! We booked our excursions for Cienfuegos and Havana through RC. In retrospect, for all that we got, the prices were quite reasonable. We opted for the "Culture and Beauty of Cienfuegos" and "Havana Bucket List Experience" tours, respectively. The Cienfuegos tour included a visit to the El Nicho waterfall (about an hour drive each way). There was also a brief stop in the city itself (which, is more like a town, really). Our tour guide in Cienfuegos was great! The Havana tour was even better! Obviously, Havana is the big city of Cuba and is more culturally sophisticated. Being in Havana was absolutely surreal. Our tour there was the entire day and provided a sweeping overview of the city's main points of interest. It also included an amazing lunch at one of the few privately-owned restaurants. Once again, our tour guide in Havana was awesome! We loved Havana, and would gladly visit again someday - assuming travel for U.S. citizens remains available! Oh, and we were so thrilled to get not one, but TWO passport stamps for Cuba - getting passport stamps on cruises is certainly a rarity. We did not have much interaction with other staff members on the ship. A few visits to the guest relations desk, a few visits to the shore excursions desk. We also visited the "next cruise" desk. One of the employees there was very polite and helpful. The other one was definitely not (and did not know English well enough to be in that particular position). We weren't blown away by anyone, and did not feel as though there was any "above and beyond" exceptional service. In fact, the automatic gratuity per day is kind of an outrage, but nothing negative happened, which might have prompted us to reduce it. I'd feel better if gratuities were just rolled into the price of the cruise so they aren't even noticed by anyone. Overall, we had a good enough time. Experiencing two destinations in Cuba compensated for any shortcomings in the cruise itself. Cuba is a do-not-miss destination, and cruising is an efficient way to visit! Read Less
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Went on this cruise for several reasons, first cruise,never been to Key West and Cuba and travel with friends. For some reason Key West was changed to Grand Cayman, not happy. Once onboard the staff at every step of cruise did all they ... Read More
Went on this cruise for several reasons, first cruise,never been to Key West and Cuba and travel with friends. For some reason Key West was changed to Grand Cayman, not happy. Once onboard the staff at every step of cruise did all they could to make you feel comfortable. They were knowledgeable and helpful. The ship is old and showed it's age. There was constant maintenance being done such as painting,replacing windows and repairing plumbing issues in bathrooms. By the way bathrooms were smelling like urine. The ice cream machines were constantly breaking down and some became inoperable. The pool did not open until the second day and the whirlpool after first day did not open any more. The entertainment was good to great as it was diversified. Something for everyone. The positive side of sailing on a small ship was the opportunity to meet new folks. Will cruise again but definitely not on Empress of The Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Wanted to cruise to Cuba without a single supplement. Obtained one of the four single ocean view cabins. Small but ok. The food was at best only average. The grits were cold and the eggs were either under or over cooked. The menu ... Read More
Wanted to cruise to Cuba without a single supplement. Obtained one of the four single ocean view cabins. Small but ok. The food was at best only average. The grits were cold and the eggs were either under or over cooked. The menu lacked any Asian food. The buffet was large but largely uninteresting. The steaks were a little bit too tough. The cabin steward was excellent. The dining attendants were really first rate. They remembered my name and my choices. The excursion crew were top notch. The excursions were great especially the nightclub with the old members of the Buena Vista Social Club. There are too few perks on this ship for Diamond Tier members since there is no Concierge Lounge on the ship. The internet connection is truly fast and excellent. The ports were good except they could not land in Key West due to storm damage of the port. The ship was only average as was the cruise neither is good enough for me to return to this ship or to recommend it to my friends and family. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to visit Cuba. The Good - Our best experience was table 512 in the main dining room! Marvin and Louie, awesome people! Dinner we had the best service, great guys with a sense of humor, friendly and professional! The shows ... Read More
We wanted to visit Cuba. The Good - Our best experience was table 512 in the main dining room! Marvin and Louie, awesome people! Dinner we had the best service, great guys with a sense of humor, friendly and professional! The shows were fantastic and there was plenty to do on the at seas days! The food was nice, kudos to the chef as things were no overly salted or sweet! The Bad - No Jacuzzi was available the entire trip and the pool was not available until after two days . We decided to do an inside cabin this time and the cabin was much smaller than the pictures show you on the Royal Caribbean website . In addition the beds were put together and there was no walking space. The only way to get to the restroom was to jump over the bed and out through the front of the bed . The bathroom was much smaller than I remember another crew ships. In addition, multiple days on the more common floors there were foul odors transmitting through the air . I attempted to do the Royal Caribbean survey however I missed the deadline so I thought it would be best to put it here . The Ugly - The ship was in poor condition and definitely showed its age . Also, because we did not book shore excursions with Royal Caribbean we were treated as second best . In areas where there were tenders, we were not allowed to get off the boat until all the royal Caribbean shore excursion people were off first . When you asked a Royal Caribbean employee what can be done since they were time limit on the excursions they said if you didn't book them through us there's nothing we can do . One employee even said, next time get down to the room where they were giving out passes earlier. Which was just a rude comment! I certainly wouldn't consider that customer centric! I did call him out on it and even though there was an apology, it was disheartening to be spoken to like that while on vacation. I'm not sure if it's the ships we picked on royal but I'm doubtful I would choose Royal again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Once we got through the craziness of getting our bags taken by the porters and then checking in which didn't take long we were welcomed onboard. Cuba here we come.It doesn't take us long to see that the crew love their little ... Read More
Once we got through the craziness of getting our bags taken by the porters and then checking in which didn't take long we were welcomed onboard. Cuba here we come.It doesn't take us long to see that the crew love their little ship.We had a oceanview room which was small but was understandable due to its age.Both the dining room and the windjammer served up good meals which we enjoyed.The nightly shows were good entertainment which we appreciate how much work and effort they put in.The arrival into Havana was very picturesque from both sides of the ship.All the colours of the convertible cars was something to see.We walked around the streets on day one and then we had a full day tour on day two.It was everything we imagined it to be.Full of smiling faces and colour and interesting buildings. Our night parisian cabaret show was well organised but very crowded. But well worth it to see the wonderful costumes and singers and dancers.Alas all things come to an end and we have to say goodbye to what was a lovely time on the 'empress'. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
So we wanted to visit Cuba and thought a cruise would be a stress free way to experience it. While Cuba was great, the cruise part was horrible. The ship had just gotten out of dry dock and was clearly in no way ready to sail with ... Read More
So we wanted to visit Cuba and thought a cruise would be a stress free way to experience it. While Cuba was great, the cruise part was horrible. The ship had just gotten out of dry dock and was clearly in no way ready to sail with passengers. When we first arrived, there were rust stains on our carpet in our state room from the sprinkler, things were dusty, the closet door was off the hinge, our hot water and water pressure didn't work, some drawers didn't open and some did but were old and rickety. There was even an exacto-knife blade left in one of the drawers. Our balcony floor had some sort of grime on it to the point that we didn't even want to step foot out on it. They corrected the stain and water pressure situation. That night however, at about midnight, we began hearing banging and noises that sounded like hammering that went on until 4 in the morning at which time loud moving of table and chairs began. Sure enough, there was a construction crew working in the middle of the night on the pool deck immediately above our cabin. This went on for 3 nights in a row, despite being told it would not happen again. Even when that stopped the 4th night, we would continue to hear the moving of the table and chairs when the cleaning crew began around 4a.m. We go no uninterrupted sleep the entire time! At one point we began to smell very strong sewer stench that went on for two and a half days. There was a maintenance crew working on pipes during that time so clearly there was a problem. We heard from several people that their toilets overflowed and one lady said her hair dryer even caught fire! The entire ship is very dated, with cabinetry in the cabins that don't work, stains on apolstry, musty smells in many areas of the ship, no shade on the pool deck, pool not even filled or working the first two days. The staff did the best they could with a horrible situation and the food was actually quite good. The ship itself was beyond horrible and Royal Caribbean should be ashamed of themselves to send it off in this condition. It absolutely reflects on the quality of this corporation and we will not longer give them our business. 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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