Empress of the Seas Cruise Review by pokeynomore
- Sail Date: December 2018
- Destination: Cuba
- Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom
The embarkation process in Miami went very smoothly. We were there quite early and they got us inside in an organized line. There was some waiting, but only because we were so early. We were on the ship about 11:00. The Windjammer opened at 11:30. Our room was ready at 1:00 and luggage arrived before dinner. It was a very smooth process.
While the Empress of Seas is an older ship and small, it has a lot going for it. It is very clean and the crew was extremely friendly and motivated to make the cruise a great experience. There are a lot of floor to ceiling windows and a lot of window seating throughout the ship. There are many quiet places to hide away while reading a book or napping. We enjoy smaller ships so this one was just our size.
We had an inside cabin and it was quite small, but we expected this. Although it was small, it sufficed. Ours was on the 4th floor fairly close to the diningroom and very quiet. It was perfect for sleeping and we didn't need it for much more since we didn't spend much time there. The closets are smaller than on other ships (even the smaller ships) and there was no refrigerator. Just things that are helpful to know. Our cabin attendant was Dilcia and she did a great job keeping our cabin clean.
The main diningroom staff was fantastic as was the food. Our waitress, Houibo, was friendly, competent, and a great dancer ;) They have Cuban food choices on the menu every night. The Windjammer buffet was about what we have experienced on other ships. The way the buffet is set up doesn't allow for a smooth flow of the line of people and there are rails that make getting to the tables a maze. But it was about as expected otherwise. They serve afternoon snack, late night snack, and late night dinner, which is nice. There aren't any other "included" restaurants and we did not go to Chops. All in all, it was as expected.
Entertainment and Activities were as expected, as well. Being a smaller ship, there are not a ton of activities, so, if you need to have something going on constantly, this may not be the ship for you. We don't need a lot of activities as we like to lounge by the pool with a book, so perfect for us. We went to about half of the shows and they were good and about normal for what we would expect. We aren't super into the shows, either.
Service was excellent. I think every crew member we encountered was friendly and wanted to make sure we were having a great cruise experience. I was very impressed by that.
Our itinerary was changed, which was a bit disappointing. But, after we got over it, we definitely enjoyed all of the ports. Havana is wonderful with the classic cars and literally being stuck in the 50's. We took an independent tour from Cuba Outings that included a walking tour and classic car tour. It was excellent. In Cienfuegos, we had a ship tour that went to Juegos fortress and included city highlights. The tour was ok, but not outstanding. We had been to Grand Cayman before, so we just walked around and shopped. We had also been to Labadee and really, really love it there. It's such a nice, lazy beach kinda place and that's just what we do!
I would go on this cruise again, but probably won't only because there are so many places I want to go that I haven't been. But I definitely recommend it.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
CienfuegosTook a ship tour to Juegas fortress. It was an average tour. Nothing outstanding, but ok.View All 109 Cienfuegos Cruise Port Reviews
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Grand Cayman (Georgetown)Walked around and shopped. All of the shops are right there off the ship. Very nice to just walk around.View All 3,387 Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Review
City TourExcellent tour. First part was a walking tour, then lunch, followed by a classic car tour. Ida was our tour guide. Highly recommended.View All 212 City Tour Reviews
LabadeeLove Labadee!!! Went to Columbus beach and enjoyed a lazy beach day.View All 1,795 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Labadee Cruise Port Review