5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The boat was really small therefor I got sea sick because of the weather. In addition to this, instead of visiting 3 ports, we only got to visit 2 ports; which meant 4 days at sea and 2 days off of the boat instead of 2 days at sea and a ... Read More
The boat was really small therefor I got sea sick because of the weather. In addition to this, instead of visiting 3 ports, we only got to visit 2 ports; which meant 4 days at sea and 2 days off of the boat instead of 2 days at sea and a possible 4 days off of the boat. Although, I know the weather can not be controlled other things that could be controlled were not up to par. The air condition in my room did not work. Drilling took place at 8:45 in the morning above my room which awakened me out of my sleep. The advertising was false. You do not need an excursion booked to get off the boat in Cuba. You just need a visa. The teen activities were cancelled because just like babysitting, no cruise ship staff stepped up to host the events. The customer service staff did not explain the dining experience correctly to me. The explained that the only option that I had for dining was the top deck (Windjammer) and if I made reservations for the other dining experience on the 4th floor. When I responded I couldn't remember if I did or not they told me "Well if you didn't they're all booked up now." They never explained to me or bothered to research (which I now see on the card after the fact), a first time cruiser, that you already had reservations to eat in this restaurant everyday at 8. When I asked, "Well it has to be something to eat other then the top deck because I know were supposed to have 2 formal nights..." they responded, "Oh, the formal nights are just for you to get dressed up and take a picture with the captain when he comes out." This cruise was an horrible experience! To top things off, the weather was not even updated in a timely manner on the ship's television. On Saturday the weather guy was still updating us on the weather from Tuesday-Friday, not SATURDAY. The only three positive things that I have to say about this trip was Havana was beautiful, I got to swim with the dolphins in Ocho Rios (that was something that I didn't do last time I visited Ocho Rios), and I witnessed immigrants being rescued. Other than that, this cruise sucked. It was best described as such by a lovely older couple I met on the ship. "This ship is the nursing home ship of all other ships." Then I was further disappointed when I called customer service today to try and resolve some of these issues before leaving a negative survey but Jaycee told me, "She apologizes but all of these things were listed in the contract." This cruise ship sucked! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I was hoping for a great relaxing 6 day cruise to Cuba with my family but turned out really disappointed in our Cuban Cruise experience on the Empress of the Seas with Royal Caribbean in December 2018. Our main issue resides in Royal ... Read More
I was hoping for a great relaxing 6 day cruise to Cuba with my family but turned out really disappointed in our Cuban Cruise experience on the Empress of the Seas with Royal Caribbean in December 2018. Our main issue resides in Royal Caribbean’s inability to properly accommodate and plan around a common storm system that lasted all of 1 day. I want to start by saying that we certainly understand the need to plan around a storm for a safe and comfortable Caribbean cruise for passengers but the contingency plan that was enacted was completely unacceptable based on the original expectations we had for our 6 nights in Cuba Cruise with Royal Caribbean. Not to mention, the storm that we needed to plan around lasted all of one day and was as common as any other storm that goes through the region. Basically, our 6 Night Best of Cuba (Miami roundtrip) cruise turned into a 1-day in Havana and a 1/2 day in Jamaica cruise nightmare. I would most certainly not have booked this royal Caribbean cruise if I knew that if there was even a chance that the resulting trip would turn out this bad. To illustrate, here is our ORIGINAL itinerary we booked: Day Port of Call Arrival Departure Day 1 - Depart Miami dock, At Sea Day 2 - At Sea Day 3 - George Town, Grand Cayman 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Day 4 - Cienfuegos, Cuba 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Day 5 - At Sea Day 6 - Havana, Cuba 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Day 7 - Head home to Miami dock, At Sea Here is the ACTUAL itinerary: Day 1 - Depart Miami dock, At Sea Day 2 - Havana Cuba 8am-5am (nothing is open after midnight in havana btw) Day 3 - At Sea Day 4 - At Sea Day 5 - Ocho Rios Jamaica 7am-2pm (half day) Day 6 - At Sea Day 7 - Head home to Miami dock, At Sea 4.5 days stuck at seas in a cramped and outdated 30-year old artifact of a cruise ship was not my idea of an acceptable contingency plan for the CUBAN cruise we paid $1800 for (2 people, normal cabin). Btw, you PAY FOR EVERYTHING on the boat. From $5 water bottles to $7 beers at the bars, no expense is spared from your final bill on the Empress of the Sea. The only thing I can say we really appreciated was the very friendly crew and the customer service they provided. Without them, we surely would have had a full-on mutiny on our hands. We stopped to rescue a lost ship of fisherman at sea which was pretty cool (this rescue in no way affected our itinerary as the crappy contingency plan was already in place). In addition, the Incredibly slow and expensive wifi, mediocre cruise ship food, and a tiny room makes me wish they just dropped us off at Guantanamo Bay for 6 days and picked us up on the way back to Miami for a truly authentic Cuban experience (the jail cells are likely larger than our cabin room). We also saw a mouse in the hall outside our door in the hall which was just icing on the proverbial cake. Jeez, I normally hate to complain and ramble on but there is just so much disappointment to list when it comes to the last few days. BUYER BEWARE: Royal Caribbean is a terrible choice for your next Cuba cruise or trip to Havana or any Caribbean cruise for that matter. You have been warned. We have subsequently filed complaints with the front desk for our group but was informed that we need to follow up with the office in Miami for any type of refund or credit requests. *Updated Dec 22nd 2018 (still in the middle of this nightmare Caribbean cruise to Cuba) by your royally pissed off passenger in room 7518. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was scheduled to stop in Havana and Cienfuegos, Cuba, as well as Grand Cayman. On our way to the port, we received a text telling us they were going to have to shift the itinerary due ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was scheduled to stop in Havana and Cienfuegos, Cuba, as well as Grand Cayman. On our way to the port, we received a text telling us they were going to have to shift the itinerary due to bad weather predicted later in the week. Our visit to Grand Cayman was cancelled and to compensate they planned on extending our stay for several hours in Havana. We were a little disappointed, but we really booked the cruise for the Cuba ports. The next day a letter was left in our cabin while we were in port in Havana. They informed us we would be unable to go to Cienfuegos. Apparently tenders are required at that port and the seas were too rough to make it feasible. Needless to say, we were extremely disappointed. They chose Ocho Rios, Jamaica as an alternate stop. We had already been there on a previous cruise. Due to all these last minute changes, we were at sea for 3 1/2 days. This ship is the oldest and smallest ship owned by RCCL. There is very little to do on board. Our consolation was a refund of the $75 we paid for our visas to visit Cuba. They have refused to offer us anything else despite repeated phone calls to their offices. This was my 5th RCCL cruise and it will most likely be my last. I do want to say that the dining room and housekeeping staff were excellent. The food was mediocre, typical for RCCL ships. Our cabin was extremely small and I have been on numerous cruises. The entertainment (comedians mainly) was very good. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We just got off Empress of the Seas yesterday after an 8 day Best of Cuba cruise. It was wonderful. The embarkation process in Miami went very smoothly. We were there quite early and they got us inside in an organized line. There ... Read More
We just got off Empress of the Seas yesterday after an 8 day Best of Cuba cruise. It was wonderful. The embarkation process in Miami went very smoothly. We were there quite early and they got us inside in an organized line. There was some waiting, but only because we were so early. We were on the ship about 11:00. The Windjammer opened at 11:30. Our room was ready at 1:00 and luggage arrived before dinner. It was a very smooth process. While the Empress of Seas is an older ship and small, it has a lot going for it. It is very clean and the crew was extremely friendly and motivated to make the cruise a great experience. There are a lot of floor to ceiling windows and a lot of window seating throughout the ship. There are many quiet places to hide away while reading a book or napping. We enjoy smaller ships so this one was just our size. We had an inside cabin and it was quite small, but we expected this. Although it was small, it sufficed. Ours was on the 4th floor fairly close to the diningroom and very quiet. It was perfect for sleeping and we didn't need it for much more since we didn't spend much time there. The closets are smaller than on other ships (even the smaller ships) and there was no refrigerator. Just things that are helpful to know. Our cabin attendant was Dilcia and she did a great job keeping our cabin clean. The main diningroom staff was fantastic as was the food. Our waitress, Houibo, was friendly, competent, and a great dancer ;) They have Cuban food choices on the menu every night. The Windjammer buffet was about what we have experienced on other ships. The way the buffet is set up doesn't allow for a smooth flow of the line of people and there are rails that make getting to the tables a maze. But it was about as expected otherwise. They serve afternoon snack, late night snack, and late night dinner, which is nice. There aren't any other "included" restaurants and we did not go to Chops. All in all, it was as expected. Entertainment and Activities were as expected, as well. Being a smaller ship, there are not a ton of activities, so, if you need to have something going on constantly, this may not be the ship for you. We don't need a lot of activities as we like to lounge by the pool with a book, so perfect for us. We went to about half of the shows and they were good and about normal for what we would expect. We aren't super into the shows, either. Service was excellent. I think every crew member we encountered was friendly and wanted to make sure we were having a great cruise experience. I was very impressed by that. Our itinerary was changed, which was a bit disappointing. But, after we got over it, we definitely enjoyed all of the ports. Havana is wonderful with the classic cars and literally being stuck in the 50's. We took an independent tour from Cuba Outings that included a walking tour and classic car tour. It was excellent. In Cienfuegos, we had a ship tour that went to Juegos fortress and included city highlights. The tour was ok, but not outstanding. We had been to Grand Cayman before, so we just walked around and shopped. We had also been to Labadee and really, really love it there. It's such a nice, lazy beach kinda place and that's just what we do! I would go on this cruise again, but probably won't only because there are so many places I want to go that I haven't been. But I definitely recommend it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
When I walk onto a ship for the first time, my rating is 100. It’s up to the ship, crew, and overall experience to keep it that way. How did they do? To start off, ports of Havana and Cienfuegos in Cuba were fascinating. I was very glad ... Read More
When I walk onto a ship for the first time, my rating is 100. It’s up to the ship, crew, and overall experience to keep it that way. How did they do? To start off, ports of Havana and Cienfuegos in Cuba were fascinating. I was very glad we were able to go to both ports. However, I do not recall that there were any enrichment activities on the ship, and was surprised about that. Other ports were pretty typical for the Caribbean. I liked that the ship had places on deck to sit that were in the shade (there are also plenty of sunny places). The promenade on Deck 6 wrapped all the way around the ship, and one could walk four complete laps to reach a mile. That deck also had plenty of deck chairs to quietly sit and read, doze, or contemplate the azure seas. Smokers had about as much deck space as non-smokers, which was apparently by design because of the Cuban ports of call and plans to offer freshly rolled cigars. (There turned out to not be any cigar rolling, but still a few guests smoked cigars out on deck). If you are someone who likes to find places on deck at night where you can see the stars, head forward on Deck 6, and climb the stairs to Deck 7 or Deck 8. Tender operations went smoothly, as did embarkation from Miami. Disembarkation back in Miami was a little mixed up: we were told to wait in specific public rooms and watch the screens to know when our group could leave (no overhead announcements). Alas, there were not any screens in our designated public room, and our projected time to leave came and went. Finally, a crew member came into the room, and hollered for certain groups to follow her. We did, then entered another public room, where we waited until another crew member came to lead us off. We were finally off about a half hour after we thought we would be. We took a taxi to the airport, which was $27 plus tip. We had dinner in the dining room 6 out of the 8 nights, where the food was usually good; there were just a few times that it wasn’t good enough to finish or try to finish. The cod on the second night was not good (but the sauce was), and the French onion soup off the always available menu wasn’t good, at all. The filet of sole about the fifth night, however, was excellent. It would have been nice to have the dining room open for lunch because the Windjammer Café was very crowded for the first hour or so at lunchtime. One day, the main lines in the Windjammer were so crowded that we went to the burger line; there were pork and chicken burgers but the hamburger tray was empty. I took a chicken burger, then discovered there wasn’t barbecue sauce. Alas, even the ketchup bottles were empty. The chicken burger turned out to be quite dry, so it could have benefited from some sort of sauce. Another day at lunch, there was fish and when I asked for tartar sauce, was told there was none. At breakfast, the orange juice and apple juice were very strong. I do not care for watery juices, so for me to feel like I needed to add water was extraordinary. Cleanliness in the Windjammer Café didn’t reach a top score: on more than one occasion, when I reached for the salt shaker, it had not been cleaned lately and was crusted with food from other peoples’ fingers. Even in the evening, dress on board was quite casual, which was fortunate considering there wasn’t a lot of space in cabins to store gowns, cocktail dresses, tuxedos and dark suits. On at least one evening, recommended dress was above smart casual, and many ladies did wear fancy dresses while men wore suits and ties. I also saw people in shorts and blue jeans in the dining room, but no one blinked and eye. The library was small, and appeared to be comprised of books that had been donated by guests on previous cruises. By the second or third day, however, they were nearly all checked out. There are many comfortable places around the ship to sit and read, both indoors and on deck. Front desk staff was nice, but didn’t go out of their way to find answers to unusual questions. Excursion staff didn’t know a lot of about the excursions that wasn’t printed in the brochure. I signed up for one shore excursion, but it was cancelled because of equipment failure. Would I go to Cuba again? Heck, yes! Would it be on the same ship? Probably not. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Cuba. All other ports were not as important to us. Empress of the seas is a small enough ship to dock in Havana. In Cienfuegos we tendered in. The ship may be old in years but you could ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Cuba. All other ports were not as important to us. Empress of the seas is a small enough ship to dock in Havana. In Cienfuegos we tendered in. The ship may be old in years but you could not tell from it’s condition. All common areas looked to be in very good or excellent shape. My cabin had an ocean view on deck 8. The cabin was small and had no other furniture except for a chair in front of a mirror and a small desk. The walls of the cabin had no art work or pictures. There was an excellent flat screen tv. Where the room loses lots of points is the bathroom. It is very tiny. Can hold one person only. Not much space in shower. However, we made do. Breakfast and lunch are always a buffet. Food is okay. Dinner in the dining room was pretty good. Plenty of choices. Plates at the buffet could have been collected sooner. Service at dinner was excellent but wine brought to the table could have been delivered in a more timely manner. Entertainment at night was very good to excellent. We really enjoyed every show. In Havana we arranged a private tour which was a lot less costly and offered more than the ships tours. After a full day of touring which included a ride in a 1950s era Dodge convertible, the tour guide returned us to the ship and came back at night to take us to a show that we bought tickets for. Royal Caribbean charged triple for the same show. In Cienfuegos we took a ship excursion to Trinidad which we enjoyed. All in all we enjoyed our experience in Cuba. The Cayman Islands and Labadee in Haiti were our other 2 visits. Disembarkation could have been handled more smoothly. The ship had us gather way to early to leave the ship. (I was leaving with my luggage.). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Other than seeing Havana, the rest of this cruise was awful. I won't repeat what others have said about the ship (old) but it was clean. Pros: Havana and the people who live there. Go with an open mind. Some of the service staff ... Read More
Other than seeing Havana, the rest of this cruise was awful. I won't repeat what others have said about the ship (old) but it was clean. Pros: Havana and the people who live there. Go with an open mind. Some of the service staff in the bars and restaurants provided excellent service on board. Cons: Mostly the on board experience was bad. I have taken cruises before and knew what to expect. My main purpose was to see Cuba. The food on board was mediocre at best. Other than drinking, gambling, and shopping, there were NO activities on board. There was one lecture on sugar cane that they called a "series". Be aware, if you book a cabin on Deck 9 you are directly below the pool deck and it is very noisy day and night. Also incessant loud musak in all public rooms (mostly country western). The tour guide in Havana(booked through RC) was also bad. Very difficult to understand and did not provide much useful information. Other passengers who booked tours independently seemed to have a better experience. Only attended one evening performance on board. It was OK. Not interested in jugglers, comedian, etc. Service: some of the service people were excellent but many walked around like they were in a trance (ie never asked if we needed something,etc.). Made you feel like you were bothering them if you asked for something or had a question. Summary: I think there are better ways to visit Cuba. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Over-all rating 10: Ports of call, small number of guests 1400, quality of service, food, activities..it all was great Areas of Improvement: Beverages: Pre-paid adult beverage pkg: $45/day must include both adults so $90/day/6 days. ... Read More
Over-all rating 10: Ports of call, small number of guests 1400, quality of service, food, activities..it all was great Areas of Improvement: Beverages: Pre-paid adult beverage pkg: $45/day must include both adults so $90/day/6 days. My fiance does not drink and the alternative offered of the regular beverage pks did not interest her. Essentially, we were off the ship boarding/departure/tours about two days so could not use pkg. Suggest a daily package even if a bit more for one. Phone service: Not on hold long, Unfortunately, all week long we could not hear what the other person was saying so it was of little use to us. Check-in/check-out: seems they might have more agents on duty, long lines. Handicap Rooms: not enough with balconies Service: Outstanding in all areas but a few of the staff did not know location questions when asked and had trouble with English We are handicapped so we could not participate in all activities. We did, however, find other things to do and the trip over-all was fantastic. Highly Recommand. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This cruise was originally scheduled to go to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba with a stop the following week overnight in Havana. Santiago was supposed to be changed from a port where they could dock to a tender port, due to damage at the ... Read More
This cruise was originally scheduled to go to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba with a stop the following week overnight in Havana. Santiago was supposed to be changed from a port where they could dock to a tender port, due to damage at the pier. Shortly before departure I received an email stating that Santiago would be canceled and an overnight in Havana substituted. While it is true that the contract of carriage gives the cruise line great latitude to do this, it was unfortunate that no consideration was offered to the passengers for whom this represented an unwelcome change. Often cruise lines will do so voluntarily in the interests of customer satisfaction. Royal Caribbean chose not to do so. Disappointing. Havana was a great place to visit. The ship tour "Easy Panoramic Havana" was a bit expensive, but we had a very good guide and the tour took about six hours including visits to Revolution Square, the fortress and a shop with an introduction to the fine points of Cuban cigars and rum. This was very helpful if you wanted to buy such souvenirs, but did not have experiences with these products. A stop at Fusterlandia, filled with Gaudi-like mosaics was truly a big surprise and a highlight. Our guide said that we were free to ask any questions and she would answer them. I was not expecting such candor. Her English was excellent, so much so that I asked her if she had lived in an English speaking country. She replied no, she had only ever lived in Cuba. A couple on the tour inquired about tickets for the show at La Taberna and she walked there with them after the tour and assisted with booking. This tour gave an excellent introduction to Cuba and the city of Havana. I was not sure what to expect in Havana and I was pleasantly surprised to find the city in considerably better shape than might have been expected from some comments on this site. While there are undeniably some rough edges, there are many beautiful buildings and the history was very interesting as well. Our tour guide had mentioned that it was perfectly safe to walk around at night and this proved to be the case. Many elegant European style buildings were fully lighted as well as the pedestrian only streets in the city center, the plazas and the Malecon. There were many lively restaurants and it seemed every block had a band playing Cuban music. Some of the areas had rough spots on the sidewalks so you had to watch where you were going! Some people may not be used to areas that are not designed just for tourists, but I found Havana to be very similar to many cities in Italy, Spain and other parts of Europe. Keep an open mind and give it a try! Cienfuegos is a smaller city and seemed more of a work a day place than the capitol city. The town square has some pleasant buildings and the pedestrian shopping street was lively, full of local shoppers buying every day things. Just don't go expecting expensive boutiques and designer label shops. The walk back to the ship is anything but scenic, but the distance is not far. The Cuban visa is issued at check in and the $75 fee assessed to the on board account. The Cuban Travel Certification form is not too difficult to fill out and you need to bring two copies with for check in. Although the visa states it is good for thirty days, it is in fact a one time visit visa and is collected before leaving Cuba for the last time. Even Royal Caribbean did not provide correct information about this prior to departure. Guest service staff explained it fully on the ship. Prior to that it was a source of confusion that the cruise line could have avoided for the guests if they had provided correct information to the guests prior to departure. The Empress is one of my favorite ships. I have been on it many times and some of the things that people on this site have complained about are valid concerns. Yes it has some limitations and rough edges, much like Cuba itself. But the food and service in the dining room (unfortunately not in the buffet) are some of the best in the line. The two productions shows in the theatre are the hottest anywhere. The one time only show featuring just the musicians on board was a great show and the closing number by the ships orchestra was one of the most rousing renditions of When the Saints Go Marching In I have ever heard. The big ships have a big lesson to learn from the Empress! But the one truly noticeable thing about the Empress is the quality of the crew. While no ship is perfect in this regard, this ship generally excels in this area. If you are thinking about Cuba the one thing I would emphasize is that selecting a cruise itinerary that docks in Havana overnight is a must. The look and feel of the city at night is something that should be experienced and contrasted to the daytime. No visit to the Tropicana night club this trip-something to save for next time.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We love cruising, and DH being a big cigar smoker- Cuba was at the top of our bucket list. Like everyone else, we wanted to go before there was a Starbucks on every corner. We went with 2 other couples- 1 being a real classic car fan. ... Read More
We love cruising, and DH being a big cigar smoker- Cuba was at the top of our bucket list. Like everyone else, we wanted to go before there was a Starbucks on every corner. We went with 2 other couples- 1 being a real classic car fan. Price was certainly right, so we went on Empress on a B2b to see more of Cuba. At first we were disappointed that Santiago was replaced with another Havana stop, but found that 3.5 days was certainly not enough to see everything. After following reviews for several months we had pretty low expectations...the ship, Cuba, tours, etc. Were we wrong! Yes, the ship is old and small. We knew that, and weren't expecting The Edge (our next cruise!). We found it clean, and as we don't use alot of the newer ship stuff anyway. It was full the first week (Thanksgiving), but never once did it seem crowded. Some of these reviews just seem to nitpick every little flaw- look at the entire picture! However, the service and food more than made up for it! I think our cabin steward, Gusti, lived outside our door! He couldn't do enough for us. And our waiter was so good we followed him the second night to another table! He insisted we try everything, and was never wrong. He kept bringing us more appetizers, another main dish, etc, yet we were still one of the first to leave the dining room! We were going to try the specialty restaurant, but the MDR food was so good we cancelled. Cruise director Bobby and the rest of the activities staff also helped make the cruise exceptional. Everyone was very friendly and really seemed to enjoy their jobs. Cuba itself was clean, but poor, as was expected. Our lunches at Paladars were exceptional and such fun (and cheap!). The people were very friendly and helpful. The experience was like something 100 years ago! It truly was experiencing a different culture, which we don't see enough of in our travels. Architecture was beautiful, and restoration efforts for their 500th anniversary next year were amazing. We took 3 private tours with 2 different operators- FerTours and Cuba Connections. I will go into more details on reviews of each later. Cuba Connections would be my recommendation. Most memorable moments in Havana (so many to choose from!)- Rum Museum- do the cocktail tour. Regular tour is 7 cuc, but for 15cuc includes a stint behind the bar learning to make drinks (and drinking them!). Feeling no pain, joined in with the band on the maracas. Had a fantastic tour of Hotel Nacionale and got tickets for the Cabaret Parisienne that night. Show was very good, and paid 35cuc rather than over $100 through the ship. Got great seats down front, Also went to the Jewish synagogue, which was a surprise. Very modern and beautiful. Again, they made us feel very welcome. From Cienfuegos also went to Trinidad. Don't do it! Too long of a drive for not much! During a full day in Havana went to Pindar del Rio- Vinales- to the tobacco plantations. Fantastic! That truly was a journey back in time. Spent 2 hours on a highway 1 lane each way, often behind horse-drawn carts. At the plantation went into a barn to learn about the cigars, then went for a smoke. I even had a Montecristo! Government takes 90% of the tobacco, but the farmers can keep/sell the other 10%. Got Montecristos for 3cuc each! Ended up with 7 boxes of different cuban cigars! During a RCI sale we booked 2 ship excursions, which we normally don't do. Even these exceeded my expectations. In Cozumel did the swim with dolphins- fantastic time, fantastic value! Included the swim (much longer and more intimate than I thought), beautiful grounds at Chokobban, and a great open bar & buffet ($70pp!). The snorkel in Georgetown was one of the best! Bit of a drizzle in the morning, but by the time we got to the protected reef the sun was shining. 20 of us on a boat that held 80 was perfect, the rum punch at $3 (mostly rum) was great, the depth was perfect (not too shallow and not too deep) and the guides were great, always feeding the fish. All in all, the perfect trip (if we ignore the horrible American airlines flight back home)! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because it happened to fall during Thanksgiving week. We've been on a Cuba cruise 2 years ago and weren't thrilled to be visiting Santiago rather than Havana. We were told that the dock in Santiago has been ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it happened to fall during Thanksgiving week. We've been on a Cuba cruise 2 years ago and weren't thrilled to be visiting Santiago rather than Havana. We were told that the dock in Santiago has been damaged and is under repair. We were given 2 days in Havana as a substitute, which was perfect. There is no Diamond Lounge but we were allowed 3 drinks per person in any bar during the nightly Diamond event. There was a cocktail party on the open deck of the Boleros bar on embarkation night and we had an exclusive breakfast daily in the Starlight dining room. The bar service was slow during the Diamond Happy Hour and the Boleros bartender was anything but friendly. Havana is an easy city to get around in on your own and since we visited before, we did our own thing. We booked a salsa class on both days with a local studio in central Havana, and while the streets were dirty and the area run down, no one bothered us and we had a good class, although there was no air conditioning in the studio. We ate at the San Cristobal paladar nearby and highly recommend it for excellent food and service. Note that Presidient Obama and his family had dined there during their visit and there are photos on the wall of that visit. Cienfuegos is a beautiful city with historical architecture and in much better condition than Havana. We did some shopping at the open air market next to the central plaza and ate at the Dona Nora paladar nearby. We had a balcony table and enjoyed an amazing meal with drinks, full dinners and dessert for under $50 with the tip. We enjoyed a rare 15 year old rum for only 6 cucs! We also booked a visit to the Hotel Nacional for their cabaret show. It's easy to reach by taxi and the hotel is glamorous and very historical. The show was amazing and reasonable at $35 per person, which included a mojito and a seat near the stage. We'd seen the Tropicana on our last visit and this is a good second and certainly not as crowded. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We booked the ship for the destinations. RC must have taken note of all of the customer complaints. We did the Best of Cuba trip on Thanksgiving week and it was unforgettable. Our Santiago stop was replaced with Havana. We stopped in ... Read More
We booked the ship for the destinations. RC must have taken note of all of the customer complaints. We did the Best of Cuba trip on Thanksgiving week and it was unforgettable. Our Santiago stop was replaced with Havana. We stopped in Havana for 1.5 days, Cienfuegos for 1 day, and Grand Cayman for 1 day. We had plenty of time to explore each city and were able to go out at night in Havana. I would not recommend purchasing any excursions through the ship. You can purchase the same thing from a local for 1/3 of the price. The staff on the ship was excellent as well, and the dining experience was excellent. Windjammer was slightly disappointing but the main dining room was great. The rooms were older, but again, we booked the ship for the destination. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to experience Cuba. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I'd read many reviews about the Empress of the Seas before I made my booking. After reading them the impression I had was the ship was old and the rooms were unfathomably tiny; virtually unusable. It was like having an old broken down ... Read More
I'd read many reviews about the Empress of the Seas before I made my booking. After reading them the impression I had was the ship was old and the rooms were unfathomably tiny; virtually unusable. It was like having an old broken down rusting ghost ship containing hundreds of dirty broom closets all stuffed with people clawing to get out! After having just returned from a voyage on the Empress of the Seas I can tell you people are probably not wrong in their description of small spaces and aging equipment but they are certainly wrong on their expectations of those things. First of all, It's a real modern working cruise ship! It's not the movie Titanic. You will not be able to unload multiple steamer trunks and address your entire personal staff easily in these small rooms. But how much room do you really need? On my trip to Cuba. The destination was the focus. I viewed the size of the accommodations as being last on my list of priorities. It turned out to be a very nice accommodation and never once did I say I wanted a bigger room. I did find myself thinking, "I wish I had a bigger bed". But I lived and I slept very well each night rocked gently to sleep by the motion of the ship. Even that was fine. As far as aging equipment and a small-sized vessel. It is EASY to understand the comparison to all of the venues of those mammoth sized ships out there. I rather enjoyed the novelty of a more intimate setting. You know people pay a LOT of money to travel on S-M-A-L-L ships all of the time. They are more desirable because the service is more personal and things are more conveniently located. So don't be deterred on the "small size" of the ship comments. They are probably left by people that will never be able to afford a highly personable cruise experience opting instead for huge venues and massive crowds. The ship was refurbished and is absolutely acceptable. The buffet was, for me, one of the weak points. I have to mark them low for that. I think they need to start eating their own meals the food from the buffet themselves and maybe not depend upon the feedback. I think it's common sense when the deserts look amazing but lack any taste, you're serving the wrong stuff. The staff (except for the photo girl that kept interrupting my meals and barking that I remove my lanyard, making me smile to her liking .... for the money making purposes of the ship. That my friends is not good customer service.) The staff is EXCELLENT!! I left the ship on a first name basis with many of the staff members. I loved them all. (except the photo girl from hell). The other low marks I give are for the ship's excursion desk. They were billed as "experts". When I would approach them with questions I was "handled" and told basically if I wasn't doing one of RCI's excursions... they didn't know anything at all about basic Cuban facts. Entertainment was much better than expected! Great!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise because the price was definitely right and we were mildly curious about Cuba. We have cruised lots of times on several different ships -- usually Celebrity Cruises. And now we understand why the price was right. ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the price was definitely right and we were mildly curious about Cuba. We have cruised lots of times on several different ships -- usually Celebrity Cruises. And now we understand why the price was right. The Empress of the Seas is the oldest and smallest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Indeed, RC had previously sold the ship but later bought it back; refurbished it; and uses it for short cruises to Cuba. We were not unhappy. We had a fairly nice experience -- thanks to the staff and our own good travel companions. But we often repeated the same words: "we've been spoiled by our earlier cruises." Why: the ship is smaller so naturally the number of activities and amenities is less. The food was good but we have eaten great on other cruises. Naturally there are fewer shops but the same good prices for what was for sale. Sometimes I asked myself if the ship is the training ship for new employees. The staff was the best part of the ship: they are all so friendly; they remembered my name and my drink and eating preferences. They engaged in conversation even when they did not have to do so. They were responsive to my every request. Note that if one member in the suite buys a drink package, the second person is also required to do so. I can understand why they are doing this but what if you have one drinker and one who does not care to drink over $60 worth of booze on a daily basis?! They only disappointed once: they failed to notify me by letter of the mix and mingle event. They did schedule the event on the final day of the cruise which was pretty useless for some of our members who had hoped to connect with each other. Would I book again on this ship? Yes, but only for a short cruise. Never for a repositioning cruise of longer than a week. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
All around blah cruise (my 19th) compared to Carnival and NCL. Poor plumbing, tiniest shower, pay for yoga class??? And waiting for 3 tenders of people for one overpriced excursion. Chop fine dining for fee was great. No bill copy ... Read More
All around blah cruise (my 19th) compared to Carnival and NCL. Poor plumbing, tiniest shower, pay for yoga class??? And waiting for 3 tenders of people for one overpriced excursion. Chop fine dining for fee was great. No bill copy delivered by 6am in day of depart. 5 days of comedian. Coffee card of $32 for 15 drinks great. Food was never even a C. Main dining room was below average. Food in dining room C, Buffet D, Staff B, Room 4000 D, Tender days D, Front Desk A, Shuttle from MIA $16-lllYoga class All around blah cruise (my 19th) compared to Carnival and NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because it was supposed to have two stopovers in Cuba. Unfortunately one of the ports was dropped a few weeks before embarkation. Key West was added in its place and while Key West is nice, it isn't Cuba and most ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was supposed to have two stopovers in Cuba. Unfortunately one of the ports was dropped a few weeks before embarkation. Key West was added in its place and while Key West is nice, it isn't Cuba and most of the passengers had been to Key West. We did go to Havana. We arrived around 3:00 p.m. and by the time we went through customs and exchanged our money, it was 4:30, about an hour before sundown. We had made plans with an independent tour, Old Car Tours, and we were glad we had. Even though it was dark, driving around in the convertible we were able to see things. We were in port until 5 a.m. but we do not stay up that late. We did go to the Cafe Parisien and it was an excellent show. Highly recommend both Old Car Tours and the Parisien. Buy tickets for the Parisien when you get there and it is about 40 CUC. Much cheaper than the ship excursion. Past reviewers had recommended to not do the meal, so we did not. Passengers who had gone on ship excursions were very unhappy. Demanded refunds. We also visited Labadee which was surprisingly nice, and Nassau. Overall we had a great cruise but mainly because we had booked independent excursions. The ship itself is old and small which we knew going on so we were not expecting grandeur. The centrum was quite nice but small and not large enough for the activities they had there. The Windjammer was a nightmare because it was way too small for the number of passengers. We always tried to find an out of the way table that wasn't too crowded. We had no cable TV until about the fifth day. The crew was very nice and helpful. Even though a lot of the passengers were unhappy about the itinerary, we could not blame the crew. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Chose this cruise because it had two ports of call in Cuba. Called We never saw cuba in the daylight. The first port of call was cancelled and the second was Havana. The ship arrive late and left at 5am. It was dark when we got off the ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it had two ports of call in Cuba. Called We never saw cuba in the daylight. The first port of call was cancelled and the second was Havana. The ship arrive late and left at 5am. It was dark when we got off the ship and dark when we left. RC will do nothing to compensate us. RC knew the first port was closed 3 weeks before departure and never notified the passengers nor their travel agencies. No cooler in the rooms No TV, missed all of the national elections No telephone messaging services Visited Key West-a waist of time for the purpose of the trip. Very old boat they have recommissioned and needs a lot of upgrades. Considerable amount of rust and over paint. Home office management not helpful nor caring. On the positive side the entertainment was the best. Food was great. Staff was very hospitable and responsive. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was a present to my husband to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary (which took place on the cruise) and I selected it specifically because it visited 2 ports in Cuba. In the end we only visited one port (Havana) and had 6 useful ... Read More
This was a present to my husband to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary (which took place on the cruise) and I selected it specifically because it visited 2 ports in Cuba. In the end we only visited one port (Havana) and had 6 useful hours there and only 2 of those in daylight. Some time towards the end of October the itinerary for this cruise was changed and the stop at Santiago de Cuba cancelled. We received no notification of this at all from RCCL and were offered no alternative cruise. The stop at Santiago was replaced with Key West. I found out about the change by accident when I received an e-mail from the tour operator in Santiago with whom I had booked a tour. The new itinerary specified that the arrival time was due to be 2.00 p.m. on 9 November. This was then changed to 3.00 p.m. We docked at 3.00 p.m and this was when the real shambles began. The disembarkation of passengers was very poorly organised. Groups who had booked shore excursions through RCCL were called forward to disembark first and those of us who had booked independent tours were told to wait. As far as we were concerned, this was unacceptable. We managed to join a queue to disembark but did not clear Immigration until 4.45 pm. We started our tour at 5.00 p.m - 1 hour late and had only 1.5 hours of touring Havana in daylight before it got dark. Some of the people who had been in Group 3 did not get through Immigration until 6.45 pm. RCCL blamed this on Cuban Immigration, but there seemed to be plenty of officials processing people through the booths, so the problem really seemed to be from the organisation of groups leaving the ship. The management of the queue in Immigration was very poor. There was nowhere for elderly or infirm people to sit and a severe shortage of RCCL staff visible to answer questions and deal with unhappy customers. Considering the fact that this cruise was entitled ‘The Best of Cuba’ I feel that it was grossly mis-sold. We spent more useful time in Key West than in Havana. None of the passengers could understand why we left Key West at 11.00 pm and then spent 15 hours covering a distance of approximately 90 miles. The boat hardly moved for most of that time. I can understand that Immigration is slow in places like Cuba, but RCCL must have known that this would be the case, so having cancelled the stop in Santiago they should have negotiated an early arrival in Havana or organised an overnight stay to compensate passengers for missing out one of the Cuba ports? To give guests 1.5 hours of daylight in a port is simply a disgrace. I went to the Guest Services Desk on the ship to register my dissatisfaction with the events in Havana and spoke to a “Senior Guest Services Officer”. I am sure she had had a very tough day with the number of complaints made about Havana, but I was very offended when, as I was calmly explaining my disappointment, she kept looking away from me and appeared bored and disinterested. I chose to cruise with RCCL having looked at the itineraries of several different cruise companies. I was attracted to the ‘Best of Cuba’ itinerary and remembered the excellent cruise we had with RCCL last time we went on a cruise holiday. I now sincerely regret this decision. It is such a shame that all the excellent work of the staff on board was completely overshadowed by what appears to have been very poor organisation and scheduling of the stop in Havana. I sent a letter of complaint to RCCL when we got back and eventually received a phone call from someone called Mirielle. I can’t understand why they even bothered to call. She kept apologising and in the next breath said they would not be offering any service recovery for an itinerary change! The overriding message was “tough”. We could have forgiven the fact that the boat was old and that the corridors often smelt musty or smelt of sewage. We could also have forgiven the poor choice of restaurants and the horrendous “smash and grab” atmosphere in the Windjammer. Entertainment as pretty good and there were some outstanding staff members who went out of their way to give excellent service. However, we booked this cruise to go to Cuba and it did not deliver. Needless to say, we will not be cruising with RCCL again. There are too many other excellent cruise companies out there to choose from. Why choose one that cheats it’s customers? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My wife and I had always wanted to go to Cuba. We booked this cruise especially because it was billed as the best of Cuba. Whilst it only had 2 stops we were very excited and we made the long flight from Australia to the States full of ... Read More
My wife and I had always wanted to go to Cuba. We booked this cruise especially because it was billed as the best of Cuba. Whilst it only had 2 stops we were very excited and we made the long flight from Australia to the States full of anticipation. With only a week before to cruise, RCCL emailed to say that the intinery was being changed and that instead of going to Cuba de Santiago, the full day stop, we would instead be going to Key West as there was a problem with the dock which was under repair. We subsequently found out that the problem with the port was due to the Empress hitting it on the last cruise! Key West was fun but it wasn't what I booked. I wouldn't have travelled all the way from Australia for an afternoon in Havana! The ship left Key West and travelled very slowly towards Cuba, in fact it sailed so close that Havana could be seen before it turned away and sailed in a circle before returning. Given that the main part of Cuba had been lost WHY didn't the Captain get us into Cuba earlier? Instead we arrived as scheduled at 3pm. Getting off the boat was a joke. It was so slow. RCCL blamed this in Cuba. RCCL knew it would take hours to get us off the ship so they should have got us earlier. We didn't clear customs until 5:30. By the time we had changed money over it was almost dusk. Little did we know that pretty much CV all shops would be shut and that all bars and cafes and restaurants stop serving at 10. We were left with worthless money that we couldn't change back. NO Apology was made by the Captain for the Cuban debacle. NO on board credit was offered. We paid $75 USD for less than one hours daylight. There were long lines of people complaining on board. We were told that there was nothing the dhiy could do but that corporate would compensate all passengers. Surprise, surprise RCCL Corporate are refusing any compensation. We were left so angry and disappointed. The food, the service, the entertainment on the ship were very good. The only apology made on board was from the cruise director. Poor bloke he had no control over shore events but took a stick over it. Bottom line is that the Empress is an old, tired ship run by a line that doesn't care about its passengers. Fine another way to get to Cuba. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this as a 7 night best of Cuba cruise for the itinerary booked a year out original booking was 7 nights with 2 ports in Cuba , Santiago De Cuba arriving at 9:am untl 5:pm 2nd Cuba port was Havana arrive at 3:pm until 11:59pm ... Read More
We choose this as a 7 night best of Cuba cruise for the itinerary booked a year out original booking was 7 nights with 2 ports in Cuba , Santiago De Cuba arriving at 9:am untl 5:pm 2nd Cuba port was Havana arrive at 3:pm until 11:59pm . As months went by RCCL added a port Labadee Haiti nice surprise since nothing was taken away and now we are 8 nights. We did not choose this cruise for the ship as she is an old gal and very mellow so we were not expecting to much. September 17,2018 RCCL sent a e-mail first change Havana time change still arriving at 3:pm now leaving at 2:am , great we can now go to see a show. From here it all went down hill. I was on cc about 2 weeks before we were departing reading reviews from passengers that just got off this itinerary thank you cc I found out that Santiago was changed to Key West .I called my TA and 12 days before sailing I receive a letter RCCL sent to all TA stating due to delays with the pier construction in Santiago de Cuba we replaced with Key West.....Are you kidding..... to find out while we were on this cruise it was Empress who hit the pier and damaged it . As it could not get any worse as we were sailing they changed time again in Havana now arriving in Havana at 2:pm departing at 5:am really what are we going to do in Havana until 5:am More problems ,, some passengers were off the ship by 3:15 pm and had there shore excursions. Others like myself and bf and other couples we met did not . Months before I booked a private tour with I love Cuba Photo Tours. back and fourth e-mails confirming our met time at 3:pm at 3:15 I sent him a message we were still on the ship and I will keep him up to date. Now Mind you Cuba's internet is very sparce . Totally disorganized. We the passengers were told to wait in line in one area of the ship after an hour we were told to have a seat in another area of the ship they made announcements they were trying to move as quickly as possible . When we did start moving off the ship it was daylight . We wound up waiting on line and by the time we finshed with customs, exchanging money it was 6:15 pm and dark outside. all the stores close at 5:pm RCCL really screwed this one up. No I love Cuba photo tour , no shopping , We and 2 other couples we made friends with took a taxi tour for 1 hour 2 cars and the fumes from these 2 cars we rented for an hour were enough to kill you. We had less then 3 hrs to step foot in Havana , again all stores were closed eveything to see in the dark was not what tjhis trio was supposed to be. My tour cancelled for the obvious. I cried for days.. Best part of this cruise the crew were wonderful across the board, food was excellent, MC Carlos was great and so were the shows on the ship. RCCL YOU REALLY DISAPPOINTED EVEYONE OF YOUR PASSANGERS........ Entire crew the best we ever had , From Guest Services to Wait staff, Bartenders, Cabin Steward, to all who kept the ship spotless we thank you. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Oh my goodness!! We have cruised on numerous cruise lines and has wanted to try RCL!!!!We are currently on the Empress of the Sea and very very unhappy!!! I must question the unfair business practices of this cruise lines!! Beginning 17 ... Read More
Oh my goodness!! We have cruised on numerous cruise lines and has wanted to try RCL!!!!We are currently on the Empress of the Sea and very very unhappy!!! I must question the unfair business practices of this cruise lines!! Beginning 17 days before departure when we received an email from RCL stating that the port in Santiago was no longer an option and had been replaced by KEY WEST!!!! If we would have wanted Key West we would have booke Key West. we wanted the 2 Cuban ports!!! This the reason we chose RCL—- they offered 2 ports in Cuban!! Upon receiving email 17 days prior we calledRCLand asked to cancel this cruise as this was not what we signed on for,. We were informed by the agent and his SUPERVISOR that —to bad so sad you can cancel but we are keeping your monies!!! We feel this is a classic example of bait and switch!!! Not 1 person on RCL has offered any sort of compensation for what we lost!!! With that being said — the ship it self is disgusting— floors in dining room under tables are NOTvaccumed each night— mirrors in elevators are not cleaned— our cabin mirrors were smudged when we arrived and as of today ( day 4) have still not been cleaned— our toilet has black junk under the rim - oh yuk!!! Food in the FR has for the most part been good although it is always only Luke warm!!! If we were able to rate RC on this site they would receive a minus 10—-cruise lines should NOT treat their guest this way!! As I stated earlier we have traveled on several other lines and have never received this type of treatment!!! STAY AWAY from ROYAL CARRIBEAN!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose this cruise "8 night Best of Cuba" on Empress of the Seas because I wanted to see Cuba. We were supposed to visit 2 ports in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Our first port was cancelled a week before we left and ... Read More
I chose this cruise "8 night Best of Cuba" on Empress of the Seas because I wanted to see Cuba. We were supposed to visit 2 ports in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Our first port was cancelled a week before we left and substituted with Key West. We were very disappointed but knew we were still going to Havana. We chose to do a private tour in Havana. On the day we were going to Havana we were told we would arrive at 1:30pm we did not arrive until after 3pm. It took us THREE very long hours waiting on line to get off the ship. We were dropped in Havana at 6pm. It's VERY dark in Havana at that time and there are very few street lights and to make matters worse all the shops and attractions were CLOSED!!! They exchanged our money in the terminal and we had no where to spend it and then the exchange windows closed, we were stuck with money that's not worth anything and you can not exchange back in the US. We were promised the "Best of Cuba" and all we got was a Cuba drive-by!! How very disappointing that Royal Caribbean felt this was OK and did not want to address this situation with the 1700 very disappointed and angry passengers that were on board. We chose this itinerary on an older very small ship for the destination and we did not get that destination. I must say the crew and staff were very nice and the service was good, but the management and corporate office we not. I would definitely NOT recommend this cruise and at this time I wouldn't even recommend Royal Caribbean, as a Diamond member I have sailed that cruise line many times and I feel like they could care less about my vacation experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I planned this trip as our honeymoon. Our marriage was about the only solid thing about this trip. We selected this itinerary because we wanted to visit Cuba. We were disappointed before the trip even started, because RCCL ... Read More
My husband and I planned this trip as our honeymoon. Our marriage was about the only solid thing about this trip. We selected this itinerary because we wanted to visit Cuba. We were disappointed before the trip even started, because RCCL gave us minimal notice about removing Santiago de Cuba as a port of call. We spoke with other passengers on the cruise who said RCCL waited 2 weeks past when they made the decision to cancel the port before informing cruisers because we had no time to cancel the trip/recoup any money. Once on board, I suffered severe food poisoning (not flu), and was required to be isolated in my cabin for 24 hours to prove I was not still exhibiting symptoms (I understand to make sure I did not have the flu, but there were no movies to watch and guest services would not credit me internet while trapped). I completely missed one port of call because I had to stay in my stateroom. I received a letter stating RCCL would compensate me for my missed time, but I am still waiting for contact. Let me be clear, RCCL had NO issue marketing the romance and appeal of CUBA being the theme of this trip, but had as little interaction with the country as possible. We suspect it has something to do with the fact that there are very few financial interests for RCCL on land in Cuba past some watch company they hawked on the cruise. They moved the Havana arrival time to later in the afternoon (14:00 to 15:00), (we made it through Customs around 16:30) so we had even less time in daylight to appreciate the beauty of this city. Our excursion was about half the intended length because many places the guide pointed out were already closed. We were promised shopping locations and plenty to do, but everything had closed up (except restaurants) by 18:00. Other cruisers mentioned we could have stayed in Havana longer the next day, but the potential port fees made the Empress flea to our next planned stop in Nassau (boring) instead. It would have been a great opportunity for RCCL to make a good customer service choice but they did not. We have reached out to the company to express our disappointment with the bad experience multiple times, and RCCL takes NO responsibility for their poor customer service, last minute changes, and complete bungling of the Havana port. Other cruisers mentioned their exchanges with CSRs stated that "they will do something on board the ship for all passengers", but nothing ever happened, except a plea for good ratings. Guest Services lines of complaining cruisers was long the entire cruise, but they had no power to do anything for passengers. I would never treat a customer like this, and am shocked, appalled, disappointed by this behavior/lack of accountability. Shame on us for trusting them, but mostly, shame on RCCL. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Let me start by saying that the workers on Royal Caribbean ie. the housekeeping, the food staff etc. were absolutely incredible from the day we came onto the ship to the day we left. Royal Caribbean management, however, is an absolute ... Read More
Let me start by saying that the workers on Royal Caribbean ie. the housekeeping, the food staff etc. were absolutely incredible from the day we came onto the ship to the day we left. Royal Caribbean management, however, is an absolute disgrace. They do not care about their customers. They advertised this cruise as the "Best of Cuba Cruise." However, two weeks before the sailing they relayed that one of the Cuban ports was cut out and replaced with Key West. We paid $300.00 for an excursion in Havana, Cuba with the promise of being in an American Classic Car for the tour. Well we spent 45 minutes in the car and the rest of the 6 hour tour in a greyhound bus. Not only that but we also had to pay the $75.00 for the Cuban visa to enter the country. Royal Caribbean advertised that were were going to be in a beautiful car but instead we spent it on a big bus. They advertised a shoddy tour and did not deliver what was promised. Then...we only spent about 12 hours in Cuba (3:00 pm-5:00 am) and they tried calling it an overnight trip. Unless you're going to a nightclub, there's nothing to do in Havana after about 11 pm. I have also cruised before and have to say that Empress of the Seas was the most underwhelming and boring ship ever. There is nothing to do on the ship. There's one pool that gets pretty packed during the day. They have shows here and there but not as many as other ships do. The gym is terribly small and gets packed so don't plan on getting a decent workout in. I attempted to talk with management and was shrugged off and bounced around from person to person. Each person I talked to had no idea what to do or what to even say. I called corporate and spoke to Rudy and Noreen. Both of them said they were taking down my complaint to ensure that it never happened again. And when I told them both that the cruise was a waste of my time and money they said that the cruise wasn't a waste of my time. AS IF THEY WERE THERE ON THE CRUISE!!! Royal Caribbean is running a scam and has no idea what they're doing. They're also doing nothing to ensure that they keep guests coming back. They relayed that management and the executives made the decision that they would not be offering any compensation what so ever for the cruise because cutting out Santiago De Cuba wasn't on them, it was on the Cuban government because the Cuban's couldn't get the pier up in time. Which is funny because Empress of the Seas was the one that crashed into the pier, destroying it, about a month ago on another disastrous voyage they made. I told them that they had wasted my time and delivered a disappointment and they told me there was nothing they could do for my wasted time and the time I took off from work. Royal Caribbean does not care about their guests. STAY AWAY!!!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We specifically booked this cruise to see Cuba. 1st Santiago de Cuba was cancelled. 2nd we arrived late in Havana and did not go ashore until 4 p.m. 3rd our tour guide (through RCCL) took us 1st to a cigar store which only left 30 mins. ... Read More
We specifically booked this cruise to see Cuba. 1st Santiago de Cuba was cancelled. 2nd we arrived late in Havana and did not go ashore until 4 p.m. 3rd our tour guide (through RCCL) took us 1st to a cigar store which only left 30 mins. of daylight for our panoramic tour of Havana (We only saw the Christ statue). We then spent 2 hrs. driving in the darkness unable to see anything. Our tour guide ignored the bus passengers' requests to return to the ship. Our cabin was small; the ship was very old and things needed to be cleaned and repaired; the crew's command of English was lacking; the food in all dining places was mediocre at best; Shore Excursion Desk cared not at all about our horrible Havana experience. This entire cruise/tour experience has left us seriously questioning if we will travel with RCCL in the future. If you are interest in seeing Cuba, look to other cruise lines like Celebrity. 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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