Amber Nolan
Cruise Critic Contributor
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Cabins on Empress are simple, traditional (with the exception of suites) and smaller than staterooms on other cruise lines. In particular, rooms with pulldown bunk beds can feel especially cramped.

The ship's 2016 revitalization saw brand-new carpeting, fresh bedding and modern lighting fixtures in all cabins, but the majority of staterooms have the same furniture as before the dry dock. In general, room decor in all cabins is very basic, and consists of white walls and a small ocean/beach painting.

A whopping 91 percent of the staterooms are interior or ocean view, so those interested in an open-air balcony should book early since options are limited. The same is true about wheelchair-accessible cabins: there are only four.

Another item worth noting is that Empress of the Seas utilizes the Centrum (main atrium) as a music venue. Although hosting the DJ booth there is a creative idea, those staying in staterooms next to the Centrum will be subject to loud music echoing throughout the hall.

All cabins include hair dryers, flat-screen televisions, reading lamps, clotheslines (in the shower), safes and alarm clocks (on the phones). For storage there are closets with plenty of hangers, vanities and nightstands with drawers. Each cabin has two U.S.-style 110-volt and two European-style 220-volt outlets in the cabin, as well as one U.S.-style outlet in the bathroom that can be switched between 110 or 220 volts.

Interior: These cabins range from 109 to 131 square feet with a simple layout of two twin beds that can be converted to a queen, and typically face the entrance (although layouts may differ). Some cabins have pulldown beds to accommodate third and fourth guests (making it a very tight squeeze). Private baths have small showers with curtains, and shampoo and bath gel dispensers mounted on shower walls. The bathroom has several glass shelves for storage, along with bar soaps and drinking glasses on the bathroom counter. Besides a few small drawers in the vanity, clothes and luggage will likely be stored in the closet (luggage can also fit under the bed).

Oceanview: These cabins include square-shaped porthole windows about 3-feet wide with adjustable curtains. Ocean-view rooms range from 111 to 126 square feet (small ocean view) or standard ocean view (111 to 206 square feet). Like the interior cabins, layouts vary slightly but many have the options of pulldown bunks for additional passengers. Ocean-view cabins on decks 7 and 8 forward overlook an underutilized deck space, so they're not exactly private. When booking, keep in mind that some ocean-view cabins have obstructed views.

Balcony: There are no standard balcony staterooms on Empress of the Seas.

Junior Suite: In the Junior Suite category, which is where you'll find most of the balconies on Empress, two twin beds convert to a queen and the stateroom size ranges from 112 to 155 square feet (small for a "suite"). Balconies on Empress do not have glass railing walls but instead have vertical, metal rails. The balconies range from 40 to 120 square feet and feature a small table and two reclining chairs. There is small desk, and a sofa bed facing the large vanity with shelves, drawers and ottoman chairs.

In some cabins, there appears to be a track where a curtain or temporary divider between the bed and living area might once have been installed to allow some separation between the two, providing a more "suite like" atmosphere.

There are 63 junior suites in total. Passengers staying in the junior suites receive special perks like an included bottle of Moet Champagne, fruit baskets, evening canapes, bathrobes, Evian water and priority boarding and departure. There is a single-cup coffee maker, hot water heater and teacups, but no mini-fridge.

The baths in junior suites have more counter and mirror space, added shelves and individual bath products consisting of lotion, conditioner, bar soap, shampoo and body wash. Showers are angled but still have basic shower curtains.

Owner's Suite: The layout of the Owner's Suite can vary dramatically depending on its location on the ship. The forward suites have less interior room but larger balconies (184 square feet inside and 288 on the balcony), while the aft suites have smaller balconies but more interior space (238 inside, 140 on the balcony). Owner's Suites have new furnishings like sofa beds, coffee tables, cushioned armchairs, balcony tables with four wicker cushioned chairs, and the same added services that the Junior Suites have, with the addition of complimentary concierge service. Owner's Suites also have separate living areas (separated by a curtain), mini-bars, larger vanities and closets, showers with bathtubs, an ocean-view window in the bedroom and two twins that can be made into a queen. There are five of these staterooms onboard Empress.

Royal Suite: There is one Royal Suite on the ship that offers 587 square feet of space with a 288-square-foot balcony. The master room has a double bed, plus separate living area with a refrigerator and wet bar, and bathroom with whirlpool bathtub. Services are the same as for the Owner's Suites.

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