1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
NEGATIVES Photos cant only get on disc when complained of this manager said only corporate can make modifications and only pkgs starting 1 hundred on up or 19 for 1 Bingo 3 sheets $42 must be 21 but can gamble in casino at 18 Beer ... Read More
NEGATIVES Photos cant only get on disc when complained of this manager said only corporate can make modifications and only pkgs starting 1 hundred on up or 19 for 1 Bingo 3 sheets $42 must be 21 but can gamble in casino at 18 Beer sampling additional and drinks cant ask for a double only a single Lbgq limited to one area and only to limited times that allowed straights to be in same room only advised on a flip screen in one area not on daily itinerary sheet Captain doesn't come down to dinner even on captain dinner night Sushi making class additional and not offered elsewhere on menu. When weather service forecasted that hurricane Dorian was going to hit port same as our return cs did not have any information until 3 days into it and was not announced till 3 days prior to departure date nothing was pre arranged causing hundreds of people to pay more to get off in a different port and make flight arrangements costing more. Limited 18 to 20 have limited things to do for their age group. One pool only deep end no shallow end with small water park. Salt water. putting kids and adults in pool and 3 jacuzzi together. Fancy app for royal however it is not available or supported on the ship Express of the seas They offer a tour of the kitchen but its additional of course. They have a decent comedian show. The ship is small so its easy to find your way around but takes forever for a elevator 2 smoking sections deck 6 and 10 both outside but no smoking in the casino. Future credit is given instead of present credit when on board when Hurricane Dorian kept us out to sea and was only 1 days worth of credit for the hassle of having to change flights, take additional time off work, kids off school and spend additional money that was not planned for. POSITIVES The dinner staff has excellent customer service Shiv and Xiangying were our food servers and they really made our Birthday and Anniversary special. Decent entertainment 80s dancing, karaoke , juggling acts, ragge music (loved the ragge band) the best shows are doable for early dinner but not unless you rush to get to the show from the pm dinner. More shows should be at 10pm not dinner at 8 and show at 9pm. Deals in the onboard shops Nurse and Dr available but times available not so great. Rooms are upgradable for a small charge of 1 hundred on up The room service is excellent and very clean. But we didn't have our beverage pkg cups until we asked for them. Laundry service good but slow Security is good and ontop of things but often I would smell marijuana onboard and sat next to a guy on my tender boat back to the ship who admitted it was in his bag. No issues with the stuff but if you're gonna say that you can't have it onboard then that obviously wasn't being monitored enough. Excursions are very good and easy to book , well organized but additional in cost range from $40 on up in the hundreds. Safety is of their biggest concern this is responsible and good . It would be nice if someone could give better insight to crew and guests in tough weather conditions other than headquarters holding up information till last minute. There is a gym and spa nice there is acupuncture that I showed interesting and helpful if in pain, facials, massage therapy and hair, nails but no sauna, no mineral pool, no steam rooms or hot chairs. The gym is small very busy in the morning and cruise days. Limited equipment and the jogging areas are limited around the deck. There is a rock climbing wall small one but no frills like mini golf or water boarding. Onboard credit is given before you board if your trip is changed example not able to go to Cuba and given credit to encourage people not to cancel. Casino nice but limited poker machines mostly tables. The bar in the casino has the best drinks on the ship. Schooner bar has good drinks the pirate burbon drink was a nice touch. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I scheduled the cruise when it was going to Cuba. When the laws changed, the cruise itinerary changed to Mexico. I really wanted to go to Cuba, but Mexico was just fine. It's a small ship with one pretty small pool that was super ... Read More
I scheduled the cruise when it was going to Cuba. When the laws changed, the cruise itinerary changed to Mexico. I really wanted to go to Cuba, but Mexico was just fine. It's a small ship with one pretty small pool that was super crowded on sea days. There were plenty of lounge chairs, but zero were in the shade. They only had tables and chairs in the shade. The pool deck was nice, but they played movies super loud and pretty much everyone was complaining about the volume. I still had a great time. The people and the staff were quite friendly and helpful. The ship was clean and the food was good as usual on Royal Caribbean. I prefer a ship with nightly dancing and although they had some, it wasn't a big activity on the ship. I didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants so I can't review any of the restaurants. The lobster in the main dining room was fantastic and the casino had some great machines and tables. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
The good—Ship was easy to navigate, clean, and nice crew in all areas. Variety of entertainment options. Quick on and off in Miami. No long lines anywhere on ship. Shows in theatre were pretty good, ranging from RCI singers and ... Read More
The good—Ship was easy to navigate, clean, and nice crew in all areas. Variety of entertainment options. Quick on and off in Miami. No long lines anywhere on ship. Shows in theatre were pretty good, ranging from RCI singers and dancers, comedians, hypnotist, and individual singers. No large crowds anywhere on the ship. The bad—food was not good in both windjammer and dining room. Limited selection, not proper temperature, dry baked goods. Sprinkles machine didnt work properly for the entire cruise and had limited hours. Jr suite was really just balcony cabin with limited storage, small bathroom with no tub, and tv that froze up every few minutes. Warning—dont book on 9th floor—right below pool so VERY noisy. We never smelled the odors that other reviewers mentioned. Pool was very small (max 24 people)—great on port days, but so crowded on sea days. Repeated same movies many times and most were more suitable for kids. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We took this cruise with our best friends. The whole reason we booked this cruise was to go to Havana, and the week before we were scheduled to leave, the government shut it down. RC offered us a full refund or a 50% refund if we chose ... Read More
We took this cruise with our best friends. The whole reason we booked this cruise was to go to Havana, and the week before we were scheduled to leave, the government shut it down. RC offered us a full refund or a 50% refund if we chose to cruise. We were all so desperate for a vacation that we went for it. We opted for The Key program, which I can't recommend enough. Because of this, we got on the ship early and had a complimentary lunch at Chops. It was ok, and service there was soooo slow. We were in there two hours. Food was only ok, but our service team in the main dining room was great, Rommel and Stanmore. We really enjoyed the games and dance lessons, and the entertainment staff was great. They were all engaging and so much fun. Our cruise was not crowded at all, and I felt like I got to know some of them. We did a Fury snorkeling excursion in Key West and spent the day at Mr. Sanchos in Cozumel, which we did by ourselves. Other reviewers aren't kidding about the smell. It was really bad in certain places. We had a great time because we got away and spent time with each other. I wouldn't go on this ship again because I feel like there are better options out there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is my 4th RC cruise. I chose this one because I would get two days in Havana. I really enjoyed this cruise, despite the ship's flaws. The itinerary was excellent (Key West, Labadee, and two days in Havana). The customer ... Read More
This is my 4th RC cruise. I chose this one because I would get two days in Havana. I really enjoyed this cruise, despite the ship's flaws. The itinerary was excellent (Key West, Labadee, and two days in Havana). The customer service was outstanding, including my awesome stateroom attendant. The food was generally bad, limited, and repetitive. This probably prevented me from gaining weight, though. There was a foul septic tank odor that permeated decks 5 and 6 for half of the cruise. I had to change staterooms (from third deck to 7160), because of a loud banging noise coming from an engine pump. I was very happy with 7160. This was the smallest ship I've been on, and I actually preferred the small size. However, I wish they offered Friday night Jewish services (I don't know if they even offered Sunday morning church), and I wish the entertainment was better (I enjoyed the comedians and the Marriage Game, but I walked out on the impressionist and the finale show). I also wished they showed more adult movies on the pool deck. I wish the solo traveler's get together was held at the sail-away party, so we could meet up earlier in the trip. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my first cruise. It was truly a wonderful experience and one that I would definitely do again! We chose this cruise for the two Cuban ports but also for the two sea days for relaxation. Cuba was quite the experience- a very ... Read More
This was my first cruise. It was truly a wonderful experience and one that I would definitely do again! We chose this cruise for the two Cuban ports but also for the two sea days for relaxation. Cuba was quite the experience- a very interesting, very HOT place. We learned a ton and are so grateful for the experience! I guess the Empress is a small ship but it felt plenty big to me as a new cruiser. I will first mention the best parts of the ship. The pool, I thought, was incredible. We never had a problem finding a place in the pool. It was clean and deep and quite lovely. We also never had a problem finding a place in the hot tubs in the evenings. Because the Empress is a small ship we were able to feel rocking when the wind and waves picked up but that was a very pleasant feeling for us- maybe not for others! The food in the MDR was SO GOOD. The service was ok- we had to ask for things (more than once on several occassions) but it was clear they were trying very hard. Our cabin steward, Kevin, on the other hand- was truly wonderful. He made sure there was ice in the cabin every evening for my mom to ice her injured knee. He was so friendly and really did a great job making us feel special. Ok, so now for the "not so great, but certainly didn't ruin our experience" parts. The stench of sewage in the middle of the ship on decks 5 and 6 was bad. Really bad. Like, made me want to lose my lunch bad. So we did our best to stay away from the middle of the ship on those decks. Also, my white swimsuit was stained yellow from the water in the pool and hot tubs. I haven't had a chance to really work on getting it white again but that's kind of disappointing. Evening activities were another somewhat disappointing fact on this cruise. We found that between the hours of 8pm and 10:30pm there was really nothing to do, or eat. We are not old folks by any sense of the imagination (mid 30's) but we don't like to stay up REAL late. There was never any dancing or fun stuff going on after dinner and the show. We wanted to go to some of the dance parties but most didn't start until 10:30pm that was just too late for us. Also, between the hours of 9 and 10:30 the Windjammer is closed. So, right at 9:30-10pm ish when you want a bedtime snack there is nothing except room service with a $7.95 charge. Another issue we had was finding places to lounge outside in the shade. The top decks are out because there is zero shade. Deck 6 is the only other place that has outdoor lounge chairs and they were mostly full all the time. Aside from that it truly was a great cruise!! If you want to go to Cuba it's a great deal I think. If you want to go for the sake of the ship, maybe not your best bet! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this particular cruise because it was one of the few seven-day cruises to Cuba...most were shorter. The good news was the itinerary and the Cuban ports as well as the Cuban tours. The shop’s casino was excellent and the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because it was one of the few seven-day cruises to Cuba...most were shorter. The good news was the itinerary and the Cuban ports as well as the Cuban tours. The shop’s casino was excellent and the public areas were very good. The bad news was that the food, specifically in the buffet was cheap, bland, and generally inedible. This was one of the few cruises we’ve lost weight. (The Chef’s Table was excellent, but exorbitantly priced at $85 a person.) The dining room was good, but not very good. The rooms are tiny in an effort to squeeze every foot of space into a profit producing area. We had a Junior Suite that was also tiny. The junior crew is willing to provide service, but are generally undertrained by the senior staff. The ship’s most senior officers were rarely seen and, when the made an appearance, made little eye contact with customers. The Crown and Anchor Society is also something of a joke...they offer little. The theater entertainment was very good four evenings; however, terrible on two nights. Because of the general reduction of amenities...no welcome drink...rancid toilet articles...few bar snacks...unappetizing food...and so forth...we do not plan to sail on Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise because I wanted to see Cuba (this one had 3 days on the island) and I have sailed Royal 10 times before. Great ports....terrible ship. Do not go on this ship unless you like a lot of grief due to broken equipment. We ... Read More
Chose this cruise because I wanted to see Cuba (this one had 3 days on the island) and I have sailed Royal 10 times before. Great ports....terrible ship. Do not go on this ship unless you like a lot of grief due to broken equipment. We had a junior suite and it was a joke. Balcony was FILTHY! Terrible. Royal should be ashamed of this ship. THe pool was closed the first two days of the cruise. Upper deck was closed. Stairwells and elevators closed. Broken equipment in the work out area. Busted ice cream machine. Flooded rooms on the ship from broken pipes. Severe smell on various floors that would not clear. I cannot understand why Royal would let something of this poor of quality ship out of port. It was a joke. Shame on the for doing that to their guests. I hope they get their act together soon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I prefer to do my reviews as bullet points in the form of pros/cons in the hopes it is easier to read. Bit of background on us as what one traveler prefers another may not. 47/58 yr old couple married 22 yrs and no kids. 21 cruises and ... Read More
I prefer to do my reviews as bullet points in the form of pros/cons in the hopes it is easier to read. Bit of background on us as what one traveler prefers another may not. 47/58 yr old couple married 22 yrs and no kids. 21 cruises and have sailed 6 different cruise lines to compare to. We are active and not ones to sit in a lounge chair during the day. POSITIVES We always book balcony cabins, but on this ship the only balconies were jr suite/suites for a lot more $$. Booked an OV room and was apprehensive based on how much smaller they are than typical OV rooms. Pleasantly surprised. Of course, would have preferred more space and a balcony, but the smaller size was not as much of a concern as I anticipated. We were in Cabin 7518 and no issues with noise above or below us. Bathrooms seemed to be standard size ship bathrooms. Time in Havana extended. Was supposed to be 2 pm Fri - 8 pm Sat. Departure extended to 1 am Sat nt/Sun morning. Essentially giving us 2 overnights. Used the 2nd overnight to enjoy the Malecon by moonlight and a convertible ride thru Havana in the moonlight. Buffet offered a wide variety of options. Was the best dining option for us. However, the variety didn’t seem to change through out the wk if that makes sense. Each nt they had a different make your own station. One nt was pasta, another was quesadillas; another nt pizza, etc. Our travel mates didn’t care for the buffet in the evenings, though. They felt the buffet was more casserole like dishes and the food was not served warm enough. Perfect example of when you read reviews know that we all have different personalities/preferences and factor that in accordingly. Brunch in dining room offered 1 free mimosa or Bloody Mary per person on sea days. Have not seen a 1 free drink brunch offered on our other cruises. Was buffet style with more lunch than bkst options. Could get made to order omelettes. Had to request omelettes from your waiter. Service could be slow, though, depending on what time you went. Busy when we arrived, but slow when we left and they often gave us a 2nd drink for free. Easily able to maintain my vegetarian eating preferences. There is a vegetarian menu in the dining room if you request it. If I eat in the dining room I usually just request one side from one entree and another side from a different entree etc to make my own dish. No issues. One of our travel mates sleeps with a breathing machine. Sent RCL an email in advance and they had distilled water and an extension cord waiting for her in her cabin. First time to use the special needs email and was skeptical it would work. Pleasantly surprised. Variety of activities to do on board during the day and evening. Some of them the typical games and shows, but all are good. Love and Marriage has been around forever, but always hilarious. We never felt we we didn't have enough to do and we are busy bodies. Boarding process for us was a breeze! Walked right in at 1:30. Prefer to arrive earlier bc I’m always so excited. However, the no lines boarding process was much simpler for our group of 8 and many who were first time cruisers. Good shows in the evenings. Comedians were our favorite followed by the ventriloquist. We don’t lounge on the deck or by the pool, but seemed to be plenty of deck chairs throughout the ship. Enjoyed hammocks on Deck 11. Don’t think I’ve seen hammock on ships before? No kids on board. No offense to those with children. Saw probably less than half a dozen kids? Not an itinerary that I think kids would enjoy much? Didn’t seem to be much geared towards kids on port days either? Happy hour beer specials at pool bar during sail away from port. $4.99 domestic and $5.99 import. Day 5 they offered punch card for (10) 16 oz Heineken for $49. Pretty good deal by cruise standards. Also 2nd to last day offered 10 drinks for $79 + 18% gratuity of course. Customs at Debarkation was the quickest we’ve ever seen! Did self disembark. No customs forms to fill out. Didn’t need to use the customs app. No global entry line. Didn’t even have to scan our passports at any point. Flashed the passport to an officer, he asked no questions and away we went! NOTS SO POSITIVES Note that I labeled this section “not so positive” and did not say “negative”? There’s a difference. None of the below ruined our vacation or would cause me to hesitate to recommend this sailing to others. Gym was TERRIBLE! 1 elliptical, 3 bikes and 4 treadmills that worked. Several non working treadmills. Some of the treadmills appeared to be fixed mid wk? Free weights, weight machines, etc. Need more equipment even for a small passenger count. No rowing machine. There is room to add a few more ellipticals or bikes or row machine so not sure why they don’t. Walking track on deck 6 is an alternative option for those who like treadmills. Ship itself and crew had a lot of “polishing” to do. This sailing was primarily seasoned cruisers. Everyone we spoke to commented this was probably the worst RCL they have ever sailed. Would not hesitate to book again bc it provided the BEST Cuban itinerary (2 Cuban cities, 3 total days and 2 overnights in Havana) of all cruise lines. However, go in to it knowing many things may not be up to par with what you are used to with RCL. This trip was a perfect example of why I will NEVER say one line is better than another. It all depends on the ship, the crew, the itinerary and many other factors. Each line seems to have their pros/cons and we will never be loyal to a particular brand for many reasons. Dining room took 2 hrs for dinner. We only went the 1st and last nt for that reason. Seating was so tight our chairs touched the back of the chairs of the table behind us and we are not large people. In fact I’m 5 ft tall and 95 lbs. Too close for comfort. Rectangular table for 10 made it difficult for socializing with others. Small cabins compared to other ships. However I will say I was pleasantly surprised the smallness didn’t bother me like I thought. NO food options between 9-10:30 pm. Nothing. Not that we hadn’t eaten plenty. However, this is “different” than what we’ve experienced before on cruises. There is always something until at least midnight. Husband likes a snack when we go to the cabin for the night so learned to bring something back earlier in the day for bedtime in case we called it a night early during the "no food time zone". Not that we needed anymore food! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we had leftover credit from a cruise out of Baltimore affected by Hurricane Florence and the port of Miami was convenient to our latest travels. The lure of Cuba was another important factor. I found the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had leftover credit from a cruise out of Baltimore affected by Hurricane Florence and the port of Miami was convenient to our latest travels. The lure of Cuba was another important factor. I found the ship to be old, not terribly clean as other have stated, the staff didn't seem to be particularly attentive (except our cabin steward who was excellent), the food was so so and not consistent. I am not a fan of large cruises but find myself on them for the convenience of the port cities. I am not a fan of large productions, an inexhaustible amount of attempts to get you to spend money on gems or whatever or overpriced tours. But I usually come along feeling that I got what most cruisers would expect from a ship. Not so here. The room was not only incredibly small but there were bunk beads positioned just close enough that it was necessary to duck ( and I am 5 feet tall) when getting out of bed. But worse yet was the air. It never smelled fresh. I never felt the air conditioning was working properly and even though it was cold at times, I never felt it was comfortable breathing. I did get some sort of a virus day 3. Not sure if there was any connection but while trying to recover, I felt I wished we had a balcony to escape to. At all times I was reminded that this was an old ship, whether walking through areas where the temperature changed dramatically or the interesting decor of the dining room. We heard that after this cruise, it was going to be dry docked. If they are intending to refurbish it, I hope they read the comments. It needs a lot of work. We did find the night time entertainment ( a foreign professional dance couple and a comedian) to be better than we have encountered on other ships. We did no ship excursions learning from past experiences that they tend to be endless bus rides and overpriced. We did hire a private guide (FerTours) in Cuba which proved excellent. We taxied to the Primeval Forest National Park in Nassau and I never checked out the "RC private island". Despite all the negatives, we were thrilled with the overnighting in Cuba. It gave us the opportunity to learn so much more. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
It is not that the Empress of the Seas is bad, it is decidedly average. We selected Empress for the itinerary (Cozumel, Cienfuegos Cuba and an Overnight in Havana). We were happy with the cruise and would sail on her again if the ... Read More
It is not that the Empress of the Seas is bad, it is decidedly average. We selected Empress for the itinerary (Cozumel, Cienfuegos Cuba and an Overnight in Havana). We were happy with the cruise and would sail on her again if the itinerary and price were right. Overall the ship was in good repair. One thing I really didn't like was that I noticed a small error in the final bill and the guy at guest services went out of his way to be unhelpful in straitening it out. Still not sure it is correct. First, the ship is small as cruise ships go these days. I and my wife prefer that and I would consider that a plus. I wouldn't go trans-Atlantic in a ship this size however, I think it is fine for the Caribbean. You can walk from one end of the ship to the other in a few minutes. It only has 11 decks. This ship has a rock climbing wall and a sprinkle pool for the kiddies however no pool slides, etc. My only real pet peeves with the ship overall is that they don't wash the windows in the main dining room (can't get a nice view out the window)) after embarkation, there are a few elevator buttons that are broken, and some of the doors required extra effort to push. Also, at times the pool (only one pool) can get a little crowded. Most of the time there seemed to be some room in at least one of the 3 hot tubs. They do make you check out and check in pool towels which is an annoyance. They didn't make us do that on Princess and Cunard. Besides lounge chairs there were a few hammocks on deck 11 which was a nice touch. They have a full promenade on deck 6 which was nice. I personally didn't like the type of lounge chair on deck 6 however that is personal preference. FYI, the ship is a direct drive diesel powered twin propeller. They have WiFi internet access for a fee (can be purchased in Cruise planner, price goes up and down so keep a watch). We purchased the basic version for one device used it to get email, surf the web, and WiFi calling on an android phone. Worked fine. Cabins are small. However, we managed. Again we picked the ship because of the Cuba itinerary. FYI, no refrigerator in our cabin. I am not sure anything below a suite has a refrigerator however on our departure I noticed a small refrigerator outside a nearby cabin. FYI, they will bring you ice if you call. We did. Used it to cool off the bottles of wine we brought onboard. At embarkation one of our wine bottles didn't look like a standard wine bottle so it took an extra couple of minutes to explain it really was wine. There is free continental breakfast in the cabin, no comments since we didn't try it. Dinning. There are two free dining areas. The Starlight room for a sit down dinner (my time and the standard 2 sittings) and at sea brunch. The Windjammer buffet. We did My Time and booked dinning times in advance. We never really waited however I did notice that some people who didn't make a reservation had to wait. Dinner in the Starlight room was always good. We sat on Deck 5. Near the entry door. (Deck 4 towards the stern may experience some engine vibration. The food in the MDR ranged from average to very good. I thought everything was a little salty (this is my general complaint about most restaurants at sea and on land). My worst meal was tuna which was overcooked. FYI, for those who have an interest, they had lobster tail on the last night of the 8 day cruise. It could always be ordered for extra money. Service in the MDR was always good. We generally sat in the same area and they got to know what we wanted to drink. FYI, the menu for dinner in the MDR has a fixed part which remained the same for the whole cruise and a part that changed every day. I think they always had a vegetarian dish of the day. The specialty restaurant onboard is Chops which we didn't try. They do not have a sit down breakfast (except there might be something for those in a suite) in the MDR. At sea days they have a brunch which we tried once and didn't like. Therefore, although we prefer sit down breakfasts on sea days we had to do breakfast at the Windjamer. It was OK. They have made to order omelets. The toast was always cold. They have fresh squeezed orange juice (free on the refreshment package) however it always took some doing to get someone to make it for me. FYI, they had smoked salmon for breakfast however I was not thrilled with the quality. They had gravlax as a dinner appetizer once and I thought it much better. Lunch in the Windjammer was OK. Decent selection of hot and cold items. Also they always had a carving station. The Winjammer is open late (till 1:30AM, more of a selection till 12:30AM). There was a decent selection until around midnight. Never went later. FYI, the coffee in the MDR and Windjammer was drinkable. However, there is very little coffee I won't drink. There are a couple of bars onboard and while we never ordered a mixed drink it looked like the bartenders knew what they were doing. We purchased the "Refreshment Package" when it went on sale for $17 per person per day plus tips. For us that made sense as it gave us unlimited soda, specialty coffee (small cafe in the back of Boleros that uses Cafe Bustelo), virgin cocktails, bottled water, etc. Willy and all the staff at the Cafe did a nice job with the expresso based drinks. I really liked the expresso based drinks, especially compared to the coffee they served in the MDR and Windjammer. Entertainment and Activities: There were two main musical groups on board: Bamboleo Band (Latin Music) and Mellow Mood (seemed to have a Jamiacan sound). Really liked both of them, although Bamboleo singer did a better job on latin songs. There was also piano music by Olga at dinner. Cruise Compass was not always accurate where they were playing. We went to two shows in the Royal Theatre: a comdey show with 2 brothers and on the final night a las vegas review. Liked both shows. FYI, if you do night arrive early you will not get a good seat. At night they have movies under the stars on the outdoor movie screen. It was not that well attended however we enjoyed it the couple of times we went. Joana (I think that is her name, she is Argentinian with curly hair) made the musical trivia games alot of fun. Again, not that well attended. Might be because about a quarter of the passengers were part of a special group. I did a behind the scenses tour (extra cost) with Karla. I really enjoyed that. Karla did a very nice job. They should however put in the description that there is no time for bathroom breaks during the tour. The cruise director seemed OK however, I thought the one on Princess was better. In general there was enough to keep busy on sea days and we went ashore on port days. I will put more info in the specific port sections however we liked Cozumel although the shopping is not that good and Tequila is overpriced. Really liked our tour in Cienfuegos. Our first day in Havana we really liked our daytime walking tour. We used the ships tour for the Havana Parisien Cabaret Excursion although it was overpriced we did enjoy it. The second day it rained so it was not as enjoyable, had to stay on the bus in the Colon Cemetery Did Miami before and after on our own. Stayed in Southbeach he night before which we enjoyed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We pick this cruise because we wanted to see Cuba. Ship was small, but still had good time. Lines were shorts in dinning room and Windjammer. There was a older crowd and the shows & the events after 9pm only had about 50 or 60 people ... Read More
We pick this cruise because we wanted to see Cuba. Ship was small, but still had good time. Lines were shorts in dinning room and Windjammer. There was a older crowd and the shows & the events after 9pm only had about 50 or 60 people at them. We had a suite on the 9 deck and we will never take a room below the pool deck again.Sitting on the ballancy we could hear the musie during the day and night. All the walking, running & moving of chairs you could hear. Even in the middle of the night when the crew was working out there.Everynight we would be waken The excursions in Cozumel The buggy ride and Snorkeling was good. It was a very Windy so we were told that we couldn't snorkel but we could ride longer and get a free lunch. The riding was great and the gulids were very good. We also did a excursion in Havana Cuba that was four hours long and took us thought the city. was good did take 5 1/2 hours but still good. Wish we had a see day after leaving Cuba to rest some but trip was very good Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to go to Cuba and only the smaller ships can do that. The ship was small, including the state rooms. The bed was not very comfortable and the shower was tiny. However, the crew was great and there were many cozy areas to ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and only the smaller ships can do that. The ship was small, including the state rooms. The bed was not very comfortable and the shower was tiny. However, the crew was great and there were many cozy areas to sit outside of your room. The ship was kept clean and the crew worked hard to keep everyone happy. Entertainment was good but not great. Some shows were very entertaining and others not so much. The lack of lounge chairs on the decks was a problem for those who wanted to sit in the sun, but at least there were usually chairs to be found near the Windjammer around tables near the pool. The food was average with dinner being the best. Breakfast/brunch in the restaurant was fair. The buffet food lacked flavor and variety and seemed to be mostly re-purposed entrees from the previous night's dinner. Cold foods could have been chilled more and hot foods were barely warm. The children of our table mates loved the kids center. Overall, about what I expected from the oldest and smallest ship in the fleet. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The only real reason for choosing this cruise was for the chance to visit CUBA and the time span allotted (2 of my kids are school teachers so had two weeks at Christmas to enjoy) suited our schedule. However, the itinerary was changed ... Read More
The only real reason for choosing this cruise was for the chance to visit CUBA and the time span allotted (2 of my kids are school teachers so had two weeks at Christmas to enjoy) suited our schedule. However, the itinerary was changed and the two & half days allotted to Havana were subsequently cut by a day. We took a private tour the first day arranged by ;Shore Trips which was interesting, fun and very insightful The second day we planned a visit with an NGO organization with a number of donations; this however was foiled due to the fact the ship sailed at 1 am that day not the 5 pm as originally scheduled! Cayman Island? the submarine excursion (only one booked thru cruise line) was cancelled due to mechanical error!!!..REALLY? We were travelling with 2 year old and no nursery was available (understandably, as this was not a "kid cruise") However there was a "toy bag available" to take to the cabin (in fact a variety of kid bags) which we really appreciated. Swimming pool was adequate and the few evenings we checked into entertainment found it t be average. There did appear to be an excess of "selling" (all variety of items at high prices) but guess tht is the norm! Overall service across the ship was average with but outstanding in the dining areas. To be fair, while the food was very mixed, some evenings very good, others just passed the test!. John & Ryan our waiters were superb and went far beyond the call of duty to serve at the dinner table. CUBA...interesting, enjoyable and quite safe. Plan on returning but NOT on a cruise!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Where do I begin. Had a horrific time booking 2 rooms: -- $50 Cuba discounted from one room but not the other. Agent 1 told me no way, discount expired. Agent 2 was more congenial. -- Took 3 tries including one to a supervisor ... Read More
Where do I begin. Had a horrific time booking 2 rooms: -- $50 Cuba discounted from one room but not the other. Agent 1 told me no way, discount expired. Agent 2 was more congenial. -- Took 3 tries including one to a supervisor to get the occupant names squared away. Itinerary was changed 3 times. In all of the times I've cruised, I've never had this many changes. Original was Labadee, Santiago, Cienfuegos, Grand Cayman. In the end, we ended up with 4 sea days and only 3 ports ... UGH! -- Labadee was dropped for Coco Cay. Ok, not bad. -- Santiago was dropped for Havana ... 2 full days. Whoohoo. -- One week before sailing. "Because of a mistake that nobody at RCI caught for more than a week, we're only going to be in Havana 1 day 2 nights AND we're dropping Coco Cay. Here's a $100 for your troubles." -- Cienfuegos was also moved up a day to the 27th, although there was no direct mention of that in any communications. RCI publishes the itinerary without dates, so I didn't realize the change. Missed our Cienfuegos independent excursion. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. No issues. I suspect due to such a small passenger roster. The ship itself was pleasant. Enjoyed the overall decor and the crew really kept the ship tidy. The rooms are small. Our rooms were 8 floor aft. I had a window view, children interior. Plenty of nooks and crannies to stash things away. Because of the inordinate amount of sea days and lack of activities for such a small ship, we were in constant search for something to do. Thank goodness I ordered the high speed internet package for the family. It's the fastest internet by far of all of our cruises to date. I think if I didn't have internet, my family would have mutinied. Even the Captain said it was designed for 3-4 day cruises not 8 days. Bobby the cruise director tried his best to keep things lively. The entertainment on board was top notch. The entire entertainment staff needs to be commended. All of them top-shelf acts. Actually the entire crew needs to be recognized. Efficient and competent, they made a real effort to know your name, and I enjoyed talking to them. The food is so-so. Windjammer buffet is ok. Formal dining was above average. Nothing really memorable except for our waiter and waitress who's service made the dining experience notable. I was taken aback when the Maitre d' told us we had to make reservations. This is our first cruise with RCI, 11th cruise overall. I've never had to make a reservation for anytime dining. The ports of call was spectacular. Havana was something else. The Cuban people are fiercely proud of their culture. I booked independent excursions with Shago Tours and they did not disappoint. The food was oh so delicious and inexpensive. Go to the Tropicana, but be aware it's a very touristy destination. Because of the RCI screw up, we missed our Cienfuegos tour and had to do it on the fly. Thankfully, the Cuban people were easy to deal with and we managed to make it to the beautiful waterfalls of Nicho. Make Nicho your destination and do a drive by of Cienfuegos. You will not be disappointed. I traveled with my children age 21 and 17. Because of the lack of space, the "Teen Club" doesn't have a physical space and is actually where ever a space was available. I'm really glad my 17yr old managed to find a gang to hang out with, BUT RCI has a 1am curfew and strictly enforces it, which is baffling. My children have never been hassled by security on other cruises if they were just hanging out quietly. Bobby, the CD, says they've had too many issues with juvenile delinquents running around knock on doors. Bobby also mentioned there were more than 260 children on board. I was quite surprised. So in summary, RCI shore side customer service was abominable. Ship was ok as long as you keep and open mind and realize it's size limitation. The crew was superior. Entertainment was very good. Food was average. Teen activities so-so. Cuba is a must see destination. I will probably not sail with RCI again unless they have one of their mega ship Oasis class departing from Galveston (my home port). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We choose this cruise because we try to do something new every time we cruise. We had never done Cuba so it seemed perfect. I did my research so I knew that we were dealing with an older smaller ship, but figured it would be fine. We ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we try to do something new every time we cruise. We had never done Cuba so it seemed perfect. I did my research so I knew that we were dealing with an older smaller ship, but figured it would be fine. We we're wrong. It all started with the itinerary changes. They changed the itinerary three times. The first time we were replacing Labadee with Coco Cay. We had done Cay before so we were a bit disappointed, but got over it when we planned a great excursion for Coco Cay. Then they got rid of Santiago De Cuba and replaced it with Havana. Not there fault it was construction at the port that caused the problem. The third change was the one that really killed us. Only three days before the cruise we got an email saying that Royal had messed up. They had listed the wrong departure time from Havana. They listed it as 5pm when it should have been 5am. They sold excursions and everything. Some how no one figured this out until the week before we were supposed to leave. So there solution was to cut out Coco Cay all together and give us the full day in Havana after the overnight. We were bitterly disappointed. We wound up having only 3 1/2 port days on an 8 day cruise. Had that been the original itinerary we would not have booked this cruise. I do have to say that Havana was very nice as was Cienfuegos Cuba. Grand Cayman was to die for. So we did make the best of a poor situation. Royal did give us $100 onboard credit to try to resolve the situation, but that did not make much of a difference to me. In terms of the ship itself it was old and dated. The service was only ok and the entertainment was lacking. The worst part for me was the food. The main dining room was good, but not great. The problem was the buffet. The food was horrible. I am a healthy person and honestly the food was so poor it gave me stomach problems every time I ate at the buffet. It is also they only option for lunch most days. We wound up spending the money to have lunch at chops buy the end of the cruise because the buffet was making me sick. Overall we made the best of this cruise and had a good time, but I must say it is my only cruise vacation so far that I would not go back and book again. We have tried Royal twice now, and been disappointed both times. We are going to try again in Summer 2020 with Freedom of the Seas, but we keep being reminded why we are loyal to Norwegian for the most part. I must say the reason we were willing to try an older smaller ship was because we had such a fantastic time on Norwegian Spirit, which is NCL'S oldest smallest ship. Could not have been a morw different experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked this cruise because it had Cuban Itinerary. If I had know that the ship was one of the oldest and rundown fleet of Royal Caribbean, I would not have booked the cruise. I have cruised many times with other cruise lines as well ... Read More
We booked this cruise because it had Cuban Itinerary. If I had know that the ship was one of the oldest and rundown fleet of Royal Caribbean, I would not have booked the cruise. I have cruised many times with other cruise lines as well as Royal Caribbean and this was by far the smallest and oldest ship we ever sailed on. There were very few activities during the sea days to occupy our time so most of the time was spent in our cabins. The shows/entertainment were so-so compared to other cruise lines shows/entertainment. In addition, since our cabins were towards the back of the ship, we really felt the rough seas and the people we were sailing with got sick and vomited for a couple of days due to sea sickness We were originally suppose to have two stops in Cuba (Havana and Cienfuegos) and one stop in the Cayman Islands. Within hours on day of cruise departure, we were notified that we would not be visiting Cayman Islands and instead spending more time in Havana because of bad weather that was going to be in Havana when we were suppose to originally visit towards end of the cruise. Then, on day 2 or 3 of the cruise after visiting Havana, we were told that we would not be visiting Cienfuegos, and instead be going to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, due to the weather conditions in Cienfuegos and the fact that we had to tender in Cienfuegos. They only gave a 6 hours to spend in Ocho Rios, which obviously was little time to have an enjoyable visit and do things. The one good thing that came out of this changed itinerary was that the Empress was able to rescue two fishermen that were stranded at sea for 30 days. If we had stuck to our original itinerary these fishermen would have never been found and who knows what would have happened to them. The only good thing about this cruise ship was that the food and customer service were amazing! To accommodate not visiting all the ports in Cuba, Royal Caribbean was able to refund our Cuba Visa fee which was admirable from the customer service aspect. If you do end up taking this cruise and are eating at the main dining room, try to recommend getting the table that is served by Randoll and Shiv! I went with my family and friends that had multiple vegetarians. Randoll and Shiv were able to accommodate the vegetarians by requesting to the chef to serve Indian vegetarian meals. They went above and beyond to accommodate this request. Now to talk about the rooms! Don't even get me started. These rooms were tiny. By far the smallest rooms of any cruise I have been on. If I had known the inside rooms were that small, I would have splurged a little more to get an oceanview room, which was also small, but had more space/room to maneuver around. With the inside cabin, my wife and I were barely able to unpack our luggage and fit both of us in the room at the same time. The bathroom was tiny and the shower we even smaller (I don't see how an obese person could comfortable take a shower because of how small it was). Even after we unpacked there was little room to walk around and store our luggage. In addition, the close space was small and the in-room safe was also small, so big things could not be safely secured (laptops, ipad, etc). My overall experience from this trip was below average. I will definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again, but will never book a small boat with them again because of the experience on the Empress. I also learned that, never get a room towards the back of the boat because you will fell every time the boat shakes or wobbles! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to go to Cuba and were well aware that this was Royal's oldest and smallest ship. The age and size of the ship were no surprise. The biggest negative to me was the lack of hot water. There was no hot water prior to 7 a.m. ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and were well aware that this was Royal's oldest and smallest ship. The age and size of the ship were no surprise. The biggest negative to me was the lack of hot water. There was no hot water prior to 7 a.m. From 7 a.m. on it was hit and miss to get a tepid (and I do mean tepid) shower with no really hot water at any time, day or night. Embarkation and disembarkation were fantastic even though it was during the government shutdown and there were almost no immigration officers. We had several itinerary changes on this cruise due to weather, I can't complain about that, they had our safety uppermost in mind. The captain went off course one evening to save two fishermen's lives--how cool is that? There were many positives on this ship, the top one was the food and service in the dining room, for which I'd give 5 stars. Pebri and Ryan were great waiters and we loved almost every dish we were served. Those that we didn't like were quickly replaced if we asked. The layout of the ship was super easy to navigate and there were numerous quiet places to hang out any time of the day or night. The entertainment was a notch above most other cruises we've taken. Doug Cameron and his electric violin were a highpoint. Most other acts were comedians of some sort (musician-comedian, juggler-comedian) which were all entertaining. Just a note--because of the numerous itinerary changes, we got the opportunity to go to the Tropicana which I would give zero stars to. Super overpriced and so boring I probably consulted my watch fifty times in two hours. I would strongly recommend you save your $200 per ticket and spend it on...any possible other thing in the world. 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
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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