5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We are fans of RCCL and after my cruise on the Harmony next month I will be Diamond. But this ship was the WORST experience ever! The smell on the lower decks is awful. The 4th night of the cruise our cabin flooded. Our luggage was ... Read More
We are fans of RCCL and after my cruise on the Harmony next month I will be Diamond. But this ship was the WORST experience ever! The smell on the lower decks is awful. The 4th night of the cruise our cabin flooded. Our luggage was under the bed and it got wet and now smells moldy. We put everything on top of the bed. They put a huge fan in our cabin telling us that by the time we got back from Cozumel the carpet would be dry. No such luck. They gave an inside room so we could take a nap, assuring us the carpet would be dry. Nope. So they told us they would compensate us and change our room. Big deal, there was no way we could have stayed in that cabin with the wet carpet and the smell. They moved us from our outside cabin to the 8th floor in the bow of the ship. There were bunk beds on either side of our bed that were closed but did stick out 3 - 4 inches from the wall. We are in our 70’s and had to bend and duck to get into our bed. We were not happy at all. I feel like the guest services on that ship should have made us a little more comfortable, Having said that, I went to guest services the day we were getting off the ship and told them how unhappy we were. The only thing that did was give us a 30% off coupon on our next cruise which I get in my email at least once a week anyway. By the way we paid for this cruise unlike many on that ship that got it for free. Stay away from the Empress of the Seas! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Do not go the dirtiest ship ever! Upon entry carpets stained in common areas as well as rooms, outside decks filthy, old ship with visible rust, Horrible food, filthy, no one speaks English or knows anything on ship, over 100 sick with ... Read More
Do not go the dirtiest ship ever! Upon entry carpets stained in common areas as well as rooms, outside decks filthy, old ship with visible rust, Horrible food, filthy, no one speaks English or knows anything on ship, over 100 sick with virus that started many cruises before and has gotten worse as time went on, decks 6/7/8 smelled of sewer water for over 3 days. They knowingly had viruses from past cruises and still did not clean nor sanitize ship! This was told to me by medical staff. The worst cruise we have ever taken. They also try to buckle and dine you to death! Cocktails run 15.00 plus!! Most upscale restaurants do not charge that much for mixed drinks. Changed port to Cozumel that was surpassed to be Sante go de Cuba. This was a Cuban cruise which was advertised this way with that port even though they have not been there for over 8 months but knowing continued to advertise as such!! DO NOT GO!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, ... Read More
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, "you can cancel, but you will not get a refund". After taking at least 20 cruises on many different cruise lines, this one ranks as the worst. The food was barely edible. The food on the buffet was generally cold and when I brought it to their attention, they found a legion of middle managers who apologized profusely and then did nothing about it. In Cienfuegos, the crew was totally unprepared to handle the tender disembarking and return.They shuttled passengers back and forth with two small tenders. At least 1500 passengers were left outside in a pouring rain for two hours while they slowly brought people back to the ship. The only shelter from the rain was crowded with the ship staff. The passengers were so upset about conditions on this ship that they were yelling at the MC on the evening show. I would not recommend Royal Caribbean based on this experience. The ship is old but and poorly maintained, but if the ship was managed better, it would have been a much better experience. We have been to Cuba on other cruise ships and had a very enjoyable time. I agree with other customers. Choose another cruise line! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise because the original itinerary included Santiago, Cuba. Last November we were on the Holland America Veendam and sailed to Havana and Cienfuego. Havana is a large city and we decided another trip (plus Santiago) was ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the original itinerary included Santiago, Cuba. Last November we were on the Holland America Veendam and sailed to Havana and Cienfuego. Havana is a large city and we decided another trip (plus Santiago) was of interest to us. As it turned out after 49 cruise with 8 different cruise company this was definitely out worse cruise. Not sure when Santiago, Cuba was cancelled and replaced with the Cayman Islands we could not tender into Santiago. But we did accept that. However, the cruise itself was just short of a disaster and like others we were happy to disembark March 25. To start the cabins are tiny and we ended up with bunk beds over our own. Not much room to move but my wife did bump her head twice. The news channels on the TV were not available until the last three days and even then half the time the picture and sound was frozen. No movies in the cabin to watch and only 2 that were shown up on the top deck. The Windjammer cafe was always jammed with people eating overcook food. The windows all around the ship were dirty which ruins the views of the seas. I finally hit the ceiling when I order a package of 3 wines and after the first bottle was told I had to have of one of each of he three choices. I fought that one out until the Director of Food and Beverages relented and allowed us to have a second bottle of the one we preferred. The food in the dining room was mediocre at best. What a tremendous difference between our Cuban cruise on the Veendam and the just concluded trip on the Empress of the Seas. NEVER AGAIN will we sail with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are retired and have never been to Cuba before. We thought this would be the perfect cruise for us. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our first impression was great disappointment. The pool was netted and the water was green. The ... Read More
We are retired and have never been to Cuba before. We thought this would be the perfect cruise for us. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our first impression was great disappointment. The pool was netted and the water was green. The hot tubs were netted and empty. This was to be the theme of our experience as there so many time things were out of order or closed for maintenance. The soft serve machine was down, three of the seven treadmills were inoperable and the gym was insufficient for the number of guests wanting to use it. We resorted to walking on the walking deck, which was also closed for maintenance in some areas. This ship just came out of dry dock and it was evident. The Windjammer and bars were lacking in supplies that had not been restocked in time for the cruise, but we’re eventually restocked by day five. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired as one was canceled just days before we boarded the ship. Actually after experiencing one of RCL tours with this cruise, we were blessed that it was canceled. We booked a tour for a night in Cuba with RCL and it was so bad, the majoryof people walked out. The music was amateurish at best. We paid $109 per person to walk to a local restaurant and get two drinks and an appetizer that consisted of sliced cold cuts, cheese, grated carrots, and lettuce. We walked across the courtyard to another restaurant had two drinks, an appetizer and tipped our server and the cost of that was about $35 total ( not per person). What a huge mark up for profit, especially when you can get a Lobster dinner in town between $12-15 per person. If anything we’ve reminded ourselves of why de shouldn’t book tours with the cruise line and continue booking thru Airbnb. Our tours in Cienfuegos and Havana that we booked thru them were simply amazing and so much more affordable. We had a three hour walking tour with a small group of five and the cost to us was $45. Our guide even bought us gelato and mojitos as we toured. We had breakfast in Chops and they were slow and didn’t listen to what I requested. I asked for an omelet with mushroom, bell peppers and cilantro and I got an oil covered omelet with tomatoes, onions, and spinach. I ended up not eating it. As we waited we observed ceiling that were missing, paint that was peeled or incomplete. The size of the ship was nice, however, as we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the number of passengers on the ship and there were plenty of areas to go for a quiet retreat if we needed it. With all that being said, I would probably sail again on this ship, but would wait a year so that all the issues could be resolved. I certainly WOULD NOT book another shore excursion thru the cruise line. Airbnb experiences had won my loyalty and business for shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
So we wanted to visit Cuba and thought a cruise would be a stress free way to experience it. While Cuba was great, the cruise part was horrible. The ship had just gotten out of dry dock and was clearly in no way ready to sail with ... Read More
So we wanted to visit Cuba and thought a cruise would be a stress free way to experience it. While Cuba was great, the cruise part was horrible. The ship had just gotten out of dry dock and was clearly in no way ready to sail with passengers. When we first arrived, there were rust stains on our carpet in our state room from the sprinkler, things were dusty, the closet door was off the hinge, our hot water and water pressure didn't work, some drawers didn't open and some did but were old and rickety. There was even an exacto-knife blade left in one of the drawers. Our balcony floor had some sort of grime on it to the point that we didn't even want to step foot out on it. They corrected the stain and water pressure situation. That night however, at about midnight, we began hearing banging and noises that sounded like hammering that went on until 4 in the morning at which time loud moving of table and chairs began. Sure enough, there was a construction crew working in the middle of the night on the pool deck immediately above our cabin. This went on for 3 nights in a row, despite being told it would not happen again. Even when that stopped the 4th night, we would continue to hear the moving of the table and chairs when the cleaning crew began around 4a.m. We go no uninterrupted sleep the entire time! At one point we began to smell very strong sewer stench that went on for two and a half days. There was a maintenance crew working on pipes during that time so clearly there was a problem. We heard from several people that their toilets overflowed and one lady said her hair dryer even caught fire! The entire ship is very dated, with cabinetry in the cabins that don't work, stains on apolstry, musty smells in many areas of the ship, no shade on the pool deck, pool not even filled or working the first two days. The staff did the best they could with a horrible situation and the food was actually quite good. The ship itself was beyond horrible and Royal Caribbean should be ashamed of themselves to send it off in this condition. It absolutely reflects on the quality of this corporation and we will not longer give them our business. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I’m a “Diamond Plus" member with RCL. The opportunity came up to visit Cuba, and it has always been on my bucket list. Having recently retired, I added this to the list of future cruises I booked with the cruise line. We were ... Read More
I’m a “Diamond Plus" member with RCL. The opportunity came up to visit Cuba, and it has always been on my bucket list. Having recently retired, I added this to the list of future cruises I booked with the cruise line. We were told we could start embarcation at 11:30, but a representative came out and told us that there were going to be delays letting us onboard as the ship "wasn't ready to receive us yet." I found out later that this was the first day it had been our from drydock. Let me start by saying if this had been my first cruise with RCL, it would have been my last. The ship was in such disrepair. The first issue was the pool. The water was green and they covered it with a net so no one could use it for the first two days, and the hot tubs were empty. When we went to use the gym, three of the seven treadmills were out of order and there wasn’t enough equipment to satisfy the demand, so we opted to use the walking deck. This was partially closed off so there was mixed direction because everyone had to turn around and go in a different direction. This resulted in chaos on the deck as joggers tried to dodge the casual walkers going in both directions. We wanted to enjoy a soft-serve cone, but the machine was tagged (just like the treadmills) with a "Out of Order" sign. We had breakfast in the Specialty restaurant CHOPS. When I ordered my eggs benedict, the egg yolks were solid. I ordered an omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers and cilantro, and I received an oil laden omelet with tomatoes, spinach, and onions. While waited for our meal, we observed the paint peeled from the ceiling and beams, as well as missing ceiling tiles. When we went into the Windjammer to get coffee, there were no coffee mugs or soup bowls. We had to hunt them down. In some areas of the the ship, you could smell chemicals, as it was still undergoing renovations such as painting, and carpet removal/replacement. In the hallway where our cabin was located, the halls were extremely hot because the contractors left the doors to the workrooms open and all the heat from there filled the hallways. Certainly not conditions for anyone to be working in, so I understand why they left the doors open to let some of the heat into the hallways. As for our Cabin, it was very tight! You couldn't walk around the bed as the end of the bed was abutted against a small table that held the TV. The location was not desirable, and I'm not sure how we ended up at the front of the ship, when I specifically stated we don't like the front of the ship, we prefer the middle or back. With that being said, we were located directly beneath the theater, so twice nightly we were entertained with the noise of the performers dancing on the floors over our heads. If that wasn't enough to irritate someone, there was the added feature of the anchors going down which rattled our cabin and filled it with noise. Every time we got underway, our room rattled and roared as well. (This wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't get underway at 1:00 a.m. or if it occurred when we weren't in the room) When we ordered drinks from the bar, we asked for a MasterCard (a red and yellow drink) but the bartender used coconut instead of mango when he made it. We had to stand there and watch him the second time to make sure that it didn't have coconut and sure enough, he almost did it again! We booked two tours, but one was cancelled before we even got on the ship. I suppose you could say it was a blessing because the tour that we did book, was a huge disappointment. We were led by a guide about three blocks from the ship to a local restaurant (we walked there), and we sat in a group table. We were served two drinks each (mojito, and cuba libre), and an appetizer (four slices of coldcuts, and cheeses, and shredded carrots and lettuce). There was a band playing in the restaurant - one that Simon Cowl would very quickly shut down - and a couple of dancers. All of this came at the bargain price of over $200/couple. WHAT???? SERIOUSLY!!! This was so bad, that everyone left within an hour. The tour was supposed to start at 9:00 and end at 12:00, but no one was there when we walked past it at 11:00. When we walked out, we went across the courtyard to another restaurant that had a band playing. We ordered two drinks each and an appetizer and the total (including tip) came to $35.00. What a mark-up. If anything, this was an important lesson in NOT BOOKING with the cruiseline for tours in the future. We went for dinner the next night in the same neighborhood and had a lobster dinner and drinks, and the total came to $34.00. (Lobster was $12/plate and drinks were $2.50 ea. (Again, mojitos and cuba libre). Overall a huge disappointment and completely missed all the marks for the amenities that we use while traveling and not what we’ve come to expect from. RCL Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
There is a REASON there are very few pictures on RC website of this ship- it is because it is old and stinky has few amenities and is basically the WORST ship I have ever been on RC or otherwise (have been on Celebrity RC Gaugan NCL ... Read More
There is a REASON there are very few pictures on RC website of this ship- it is because it is old and stinky has few amenities and is basically the WORST ship I have ever been on RC or otherwise (have been on Celebrity RC Gaugan NCL Carnival) The ship is very smelly with weird hot smelly pockets The ship is LOUD - I was up until 2 last night with the constant noise The Gym SPA and pool area are a JOKE THE FOOD IS ROUGH - They charge now for ROOM SERVICE so heads up on that (10 with the mandatory tip include for a RS order) The boat is a non-stop attempt to sell you CRAP (and when I say crap I mean crap) The info talk given regarding disembarking in Cuba the ship staff made INAPPROPRIATE comments about the Women working the port in Cuba - it was sexist creepy unnecessary and rude Cienfuego is a waste of time of a stop - there is nothing really there - it smells walking into town and you are BOMBARDED with taxis or shore excursions (typical 3rd World) peddlers they are mildly aggressive - Everything has been broken - ice machine ice cream machine drink machines - this ship is like the WORST car at the USED CAR LOT I would NEVER NEVER NEVER recommend this BOAT to anyone and frankly RC is on my poo list too- I will NOT use RC for any cruise ever again - this is ridiculous I am still on board - it is so bad I felt compelled to write this NOW Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This ship's customer service desk was terrible. Many many times their answer was "I don't know". Never said but let me find out. Just think of deer in the headlights. I had multiple eventful times where they were No ... Read More
This ship's customer service desk was terrible. Many many times their answer was "I don't know". Never said but let me find out. Just think of deer in the headlights. I had multiple eventful times where they were No help at all. The scheduling of events overlapped in the same areas causing great frustration for many passengers. The cruise director was only visible during major events and could not be found when I asked to talk to him. My cabin staff was GREAT, could not have asked for more. Too many times when all food service was not available. Cabins are really really really small. In Grand Cayman we docked many many miles from the city and it cost each passenger 12 dollars just to get back and forth to town. The answer at the customer service desk was too bad. This is my fourth cruise and probably my last cruise on Royal Caribbean Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise for its 2 day ports in Cuba, one day in Havana the other in Cienfuegos, it also had a day in Grand Cayman. On checking in we were told no stop at Grand Cayman, but we would be doing the 2 stops in Cuba. After departing ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its 2 day ports in Cuba, one day in Havana the other in Cienfuegos, it also had a day in Grand Cayman. On checking in we were told no stop at Grand Cayman, but we would be doing the 2 stops in Cuba. After departing Miami, we were told no Cienfuegos, only Havana, which would be an overnight stop, the following day we were told we'd now have a stop from 7am-2pm in Jamaica. So instead of 3 ports we only had 2, with extra days at sea. No compensation, no free wi-fi, no free drinks, nothing offered. This ship only has 2 restaurants on board, unless you chose to pay extra, and twice during the day, and after 11pm there is not food available, unless you pay for room service. There is very little on ship entertainment, the kids club is horribly restrictive with hours of 9-12, then 2-5 and 7-10pm only, Its an additional $7 per hour after 10pm. Have never been in a cabin so small - its ridiculous, with the Pullman bed for our 8 year, the adult on one side could not even sit up in bed without hitting your head, you had to scooch across to the other side of the bed to get out. The shower was a joke, its more of a wet room, as an average size person struggles to show with the curtain closed. And to top it off, our first cabin had a MOUSE in it....yes a MOUSE. Our son saw it first, it came from his top bunk, onto the floor and under the bed, he then saw it again under the bed. Maintenance came, couldn't see anything so put down a trap. Later that evening we cam back to the cabin and the blasted MOUSE was in our luggage eating some snacks we had. At that point we demanded a change of cabin....it took hours, we had to move from up on the 7th deck down to the 4th deck...and they had the gall to offer us a $50 on board credit as compensation for the inconvenience!! Clearly that was unacceptable, and after more time spent with Customer Servces than it shoud have taken,we reached a compromise - but what a cruise, from the port changes, to the lack of entertainment, poor kids club, restrictive meal times, a paddling pool for an excuse of an onboard pool and a MOUSE!!! we doubt we will ever sail with Royal Caribbean again...we have cruised over a dozen times, mostly with Carnival due to their superb kids club for our son..we'll be back with them later in the year. Be warned..this ship is sadly lacking in way too many areas. Choose another that sails to Cuba, which was amazing by the way... Read Less
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
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
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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The excitement of going to Cuba, something I have wanted to do for many years, faded very fast. We booked the cruise on Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas specifically because it had two stops. The first was Santiago de Cuba, an all day ... Read More
The excitement of going to Cuba, something I have wanted to do for many years, faded very fast. We booked the cruise on Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas specifically because it had two stops. The first was Santiago de Cuba, an all day stop, and the second was Havana, which was Afternoon and evening. The cruise was entitled, the Best of Cuba. One week before our cruise, we received notification that the dock in Santiago de Cuba had been damaged and was not yet repaired. We would be going to the Florida Keys instead. When we called customer service to see if there was anything we could do, we were told we could not get a refund or change to another cruise because corporate had the right to change any port at their discretion. It was in the contract we signed. They did not offer any thing to appease their guests Such as an onboard credit for free Wi-Fi. In fact they said that there would be nothing offered because of the change. Planning to make the best of it and knowing we would at least see Havana, we were upbeat and determined to enjoy ourselves despite our disappointment. At this point, I will say that the food, entertainment, and staff were wonderful. The empress of the seas is a very old And, as expected, the rooms were very small. However, the friendliness of the staff and quality of entertainment and food rectified this. Upon arriving in Cuba, we were delayed getting off the ship and going to our tours by customs. We had one hour of daylight on our tour and did not see much of Cuba at all. Our tour guide was wonderful and tried to make the best of it. However, when they bill this cruise as the best of Cuba and you get one hour to see it in daylight, it is very, very disappointing. The guests were very upset and the next day, those who complained received a refund on the tours. The main frustration was that corporate knew about the damaged dock and did not let the guests know in time to make any changes in their schedules. We were told to write a letter to corporate to see if they would compensate us in any way. I have just been notified that corporate had a meeting and decided this was not their fault and the guests will get no compensation for their cruise. They did not even offer a certificate with a discount on an upcoming cruise. In other words, the underlying theme was: We put you on a ship, took you over the ocean, fed you, entertained you and you got a cruise. It did not matter that 100% of the people on that tour booked it because they wanted to go to Cuba And probably would not have gone on this ship if it were not for the stops. Not only did this seem unethical but it was morally wrong. I am very disappointed in the executive staff of Royal Caribbean. I have always enjoyed RCCL but will no longer be cruising with them in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Booked this cruise to see Cuba expecting to see a least 2 ports in Cuba. Santiago d cuba cancelled swapped to Key West. Havana Cuba arrived at 3pm got of ship and through customs by 6.30pm 1.5 hrs spent in Havana in the dark ... Read More
Booked this cruise to see Cuba expecting to see a least 2 ports in Cuba. Santiago d cuba cancelled swapped to Key West. Havana Cuba arrived at 3pm got of ship and through customs by 6.30pm 1.5 hrs spent in Havana in the dark $75 pp visa paid to RCL for the privilege. Food in windjamer luke warm and not kept at correct temperature. Restaurant manager blammed the air con system. Brunch in MDR dry & no difference to windjamer MDR service and food better our waitress was very attentive. Pool bar service great & friendly. Coffee shop staff great & friendly. Housekeeper did a good job. Entertainment outside acts were good. Not much else to say about entertainment usual shows. Band on pool deck good Enjoyed Nassau went to Atlantis. Labadee nice for beach day. Key West ok wouldn't go back. RCL false advertising and selling of this cruise also giving phone numbers out to complain which you say are a free number, they are not in the UK 7 min call £18.00 to be only DISCONNECTED by your operator. How many more people will you rip off. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The highlight was supposed to be Cuba. One of the ports was cancelled. Staying overnight in Havana is a joke. It took 2 hours and 45 minutes to get off the ship which caused me to miss my tour that was booked outside of the cruise line. ... Read More
The highlight was supposed to be Cuba. One of the ports was cancelled. Staying overnight in Havana is a joke. It took 2 hours and 45 minutes to get off the ship which caused me to miss my tour that was booked outside of the cruise line. The ship is terrible and in desperate need of updating. When I think about it the ship is very similar to visiting Cuba. Stepping on the ship took me back to crusisjng 20 years ago. Please do not bring your children as they will be bored out of their minds. How many times can you take them rock climbing? The ship also had a terrible smell the first 4 days of the cruise. This is my first and last time sailing with RC. For me it speak s volume about the company that takes pride to ensure their guest’s have a consistent level of experience no matter which ship they sail. The crew was very nice and did their best but it was obvious they were tired of apologizing for the poor conditions of the vessel. Royal Carribean please take this ship out of service it is an embarrassment to your brand!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This cruise was sold as "Best of Cuba", three days in Cuba. What a joke! Before the cruise started they dropped one of the ports and substituted Key West. We were suppose to start boarding for the cruise at 11 AM but because ... Read More
This cruise was sold as "Best of Cuba", three days in Cuba. What a joke! Before the cruise started they dropped one of the ports and substituted Key West. We were suppose to start boarding for the cruise at 11 AM but because of "technical difficulties" with the ship we were not allowed to start boarding until about 12:15. No problem. We boarded and directly went to the bar, got a drink and set by the pool, still no problem. We figured that by 3 PM our cabin would be ready, and it was, but found a cabin that hadn't been updated since the ship was put into service in 1990! Formica, particle board and cabinets with that golden oak wood edging were everywhere, straight out of the 80's. The cabin and the bathroom with it's flickering florescent lighting reminded me of Grandma's house. In the bathroom there was plastic countertops with cigarette burns and more 80's decor. Towels that had raggedy edges form too many washings like the ones I use to wash the car at home! The food in the Windjammer Restaurant was more like a high school cafeteria. Abundant, yes, delicious, no. Lots of hamburger, hot dogs and pizza with a few other offerings sprinkled in. My son LOVES shrimp. He could literally eat shrimp three meals a day but two bites of the shrimp in Windjammer was all he wanted. If this child won't eat the shrimp you know it's bad! One night they had some small grilled steaks, chicken and pork loin cutlets. If you closed your eyes, your taste buds would not have been able to tell one from the other, bland and tasteless. The main dining room food wasn't much better, pretty bland and never hot, just warm. The selection was better and the service was good but again very bland mass produced food. There is the Chops Grill on board which you have to pay extra to eat at. Luckily we did so we had one good meal while on the ship. The major problem with the cruise was CUBA! We pulled into port at 3:30 PM. My son and I were lucky in that we were one of the first groups to get off the ship at about 4:15 PM. Many on the ship weren't allowed off the ship until after dark. Royal Caribbean tried to blame everything on the Cuban Government but going through customs in Cuba was a breeze .We were scheduled to take a 5 hour tour of Havana in a classic car. We were taken by bus to where the old cars were waiting. The problem was that by now it's 4:30ish and it got dark about 5:30. We literally got to see almost nothing of Cuba except car headlights. Since everything in Cuba is owned by the government, everything closed at 5 PM. The bus stopped at a very over crowded store for just a few minutes so we could buy a bottle of rum and a few cigars, then dropped us back at the dock about 7PM. We had paid for a 5 hour tour and only got 2.5 hours, most of which was in the dark! EVERYONE was complaining but Royal Caribbean still wanted to blame it on the Cuban government. The ship then pulled out of port at 5:30 AM. 14 HOURS IN CUBA AND 12 HOURS OF THAT WAS AT NIGHT IN THE DARK! HOW DO YOU CALL THAT "BEST OF CUBA"? Several days later we pulled in to Nassau, Bahamas. Again we had scheduled a shore excursion through RC. Thirty minutes before we were suppose to meet on the dock for our deep sea fishing excursion, RC called to say the excursion had been cancelled due to "mechanical difficulties". I went straight to the shore excursion desk and was told that the excursion had been cancelled due to lack of interest. (They had trouble keeping their stories straight no matter what the situation.) The manager of the shore excursion desk simply said, "Sorry, you're free to go into town and try and book something on your own". Lucky for us we were able to do just that and about half the price of what RC wanted to charge us. This ship is old and needs to be put out of service! There was lots of rust, elevators had broken buttons. If you needed to go to the 8th deck (for example), you couldn't on that elevator because the 8 button didn't work. You'd have to take a different elevator to get to the eighth deck. The ship had three hot tubs but two of them only worked intermittently. They would run for a few minutes and then shut off for a few minutes. The employees on the ship were friendly but not the level for service that I have found on other ships. The drinks were good but it's kind of hard to screw up rum & Coke! I am a business owner and I understand that things aren't perfect all the time but almost nothing on this cruise was even right, much less perfect! I talked with Marcel Zuniga, the Front Desk Manager on the ship. In his office he showed me three pages of passenger's names with stateroom numbers that had been complaining before me. His only option was to apologize and pass the information on to corporate. I called RC's corporate headquarters in Miami but they really seemed to not care. The Impression given by Rose in the Post Customer Service Executive Department and by Tiffany, Executive Guest Relations Agent was that we've got your money, now go away and leave us alone! If you decide to take a cruise on this ship I wish you the "Best of Luck". Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
If you can't do the cruise right, don't do it at all!! Best of Cuba in a few hours?? Waste of time & money. We signed up for this cruise solely because of of 2 ports in Cuba as we had been to most of the other ports ... Read More
If you can't do the cruise right, don't do it at all!! Best of Cuba in a few hours?? Waste of time & money. We signed up for this cruise solely because of of 2 ports in Cuba as we had been to most of the other ports & they were not that interesting. This seemed to be the case for the majority of the passengers/customers. (We have been on about 10 cruises. About half have been with RCI including Empress of the Seas about 10 years ago.) A few weeks before the cruise departure we were notified by RCI that the port of Santiago, Cuba, was being dropped with no explanation, but some passengers found out about the change only after they were onbaord the ship. (We found out why they dropped the port while onboard & they had good reason.) What was so unethical was that they knew far before they told us that they were dropping the port but they waited until after we passed the refund time! They told us to compensate we would stay in Havana until 5am but we were not scheduled to arrive until 2 in the afternoon; they tried to tell us that this was somehow 2 days in Havana! We arrived in Havana at about 3pm & by the time we were through customs we had only about 2 hours of daylight in Cuba. Oh, after 5 or 6 customs went home & your could freely come & go without a VISA. While waiting for the first Havana excursion, an excursion desk staff said we should not have signed up for our evening excursion as there was not enough time between the day & night time excursions. I pointed out that the online RCI software does not allow for overlapping excursions but they took our nighttime excursion tickets. When we returned from our daytime excursion there was still time before the nighttime excursion! The daytime excursion was not what was in the description, an "Old Havana Heritage Walking Tour". We walked maybe 5 blocks, spent close to an hour in a cigar, rum, & coffee shop (must have been a kick back from someone to delay us at that shop.) Then we went on a bus to a bar with a section only for tourist where they taught us about how to use cigars, rum, & coffee. We received a sample cigar, a taste of rum, & a taste of very bitter coffee. This part was interesting but I had to step outside when it became smokey. After about an hour we back on the bus with TINTED windows being shown highlights of Cuba in the dark, we didn't see much. Didn't see much heritage or history but did see lots of rundown parts of Havana. Everyone who asked received refunds for their Havana excursions. Apparently, ours was not the only bad excursion. We spent a lot of money & time to see very little of Cuba. (Did find out back in Ft. Lauderdale that Southwest flies to Havana.) The public area of Empress looked fine. However, if you looked around you saw lots of rust & chipped paint. Several crew members said they had lots of maintenance issues, especial clogged pipes. I even saw corrosion of a bracket holding an access latter on the side of the ship. I wonder what it was like in the non-public areas? The ship is going into dry dock for a month in February. I think the ship needs a safety inspection. The service was good as usual. Considering the limitations placed on the crew by the itinerary, a small 30 year old ship in disrepair, RCI HQ, & the Cuban government they did very well with a lot of disappointed & angry passengers/customers. Dinning: It is now less all inclusive as now some extras in the Formal Dining room are offered at a large surcharge when they used to be included. There were some issues with getting meals out in a timely fashion & correct. Days at sea were limited to a breakfast buffet in the formal dining room, instead of the formal dining from a menu. One big health & safety improvement for the buffet restaurant (Windjammer) was the addition of hand washing sinks at the entrances The gym area was a joke. It had been reduced in size from when we were on the Empress last time. There was not enough equipment & some of it was in disrepair. The staff were frustrated with the inability to get repairs done on equipment. There are no longer locker rooms, showers, steam rooms or saunas in the fitness area. With so many days at sea a good gym is essential. A spa staff said that there was an used men's locker room. They had the same paid classes but little space & few takers. Not all inclusive. The port called Labadee, Haiti is suppose to be a private "island" but I think it is a private port. You get no real exposure to Haitian culture. It was a pretty area but limited in what you could do. Because it was private & had no competition the only fun things were grossly overpriced. The zip-line was $80+ for about 30 seconds ride. Even a simple water slide was $25 (never saw anyone use it.). The beach chairs were free & they served a simple meal for free at the port. No one snorkeled from the beaches & I saw ahead of time on the reviews that there was nothing to see. There was a sand volleyball court but no planned games. If you like just lying around on the beach it was ok. I don't know why they go to Nassau so often as there is not much there to see. It is basically a shopping stop. However, we were fortunate as we arrive on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (WWI) so there was a large local parade & wreath laying ceremony that had nothing to do with tourist but it was very important to the locals. Because they had to replace the lost port with Key West port of call, we wasted a lot of time wondering back & fourth across the Caribbean Sea. Not very efficient route or environmentally friendly. We asked out travel agent to try & get a partial refund of the cruise as they did not provide what was sold to us. He was not able to get anywhere with RCI HQ in Miami. I talked to RCI customer service twice but got nowhere. I received one call this week from RCI, they said they were in management. She said in order to be fair to all the customers they would offer no refunds only an apology. How is that fair to their customers? Why be in their frequent cruiser program (Crown & Anchor)? In the past I considered RCI one of the best value, good food, good service cruise lines. I am NO longer recommending RCI to my friends & family. This cruise really hurt their reputation. I heard many cruisers, including high level Crown & Anchor members, say they were done with RCI. I think I am through with RCI because of their disrespect of their customers. 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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