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6 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami

6 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami

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Empress of the Seas
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Miami
  • Day 2
    Key West
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Costa Maya
  • Day 5
    Cozumel
  • Day 6
    Cruising
  • Day 7
    Miami

Empress of the Seas

Empress of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

Small, uncrowded ship with plenty of window-lined seating and personalized service

Cons

Ship's age is evident in plumbing issues; lack of activities for teens might be a problem

Bottom Line

Empress has charm and offers a well-rounded cruise experience at a bargain price


Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for just the wife and I. We have both been on about 12 RC cruises over the past 13 years or so. Our daughter is in school this time of year so she stayed back home and got grandma time. Couldn't beat the price ... Read More
We chose this cruise for just the wife and I. We have both been on about 12 RC cruises over the past 13 years or so. Our daughter is in school this time of year so she stayed back home and got grandma time. Couldn't beat the price for this cruise, we booked not long after the Cuba cancellations. The ship is small and you can notice a few areas where it has some age but overall its in excellent condition. We noticed right away that there were very little if no crowds or waiting in line, this continued throughout the cruise. The first afternoon is always a little busy on any ship but I compare it to a sponge, by late evening and the next morning everyone kind of gets "absorbed" into the ship. Going through the Windjammer for breakfast or any other time that would usually mean waiting in lines like on other ships was non existent here. Same with the elevators. Never had to wait at any bar and the bar staff quickly learned and remembered my order. We didn't use the pool but watched some of the activities around it like the belly flop contest and sexiest man contest and was easily able to get close to see. The single pool was small but never appeared to be too crowded. One thing I found unusual was the lack of a second level along the sides of the pool deck. This kind of limits some shady area there but not a big deal. There are several big hammocks and comfortable large lounge type chairs at the ends of the pool area deck on the second level. The layout of the ship is easy to learn and you can be anywhere you want within minutes of walking. There are lots of large windows throughout the interior decks to see outside and great views of the ocean and couches to sit on nearby, it feels very open and airy. We tried an interior guaranteed cabin (they pick the room) because we aren't picky and were trying to make this affordable as possible. Ended up with 3109 which was your standard interior room for two. We were notified of the room selected about a week before the cruise. We were offered an ocean view or junior suite as a "Royal Up" but declined. The cabin was small but we had no problems. We asked the cabin steward if he would separate our bed which made him give us a confused look since we are married but it was a smart move as it opened up a lot more floor space and made getting in and out of the beds much easier with an aisle in the center. The shower is definitely the smallest I've encountered but then again it was sufficient. Overall the cabin was in excellent shape, clean, and there was a surprising amount of room in the closet compared to the rest of the small cabin. We don't spend much time in our cabin on a cruise anyway so it was plenty sufficient. We always bring some magnetic hooks and a hang over door organizer to better manage space....it helps! We did notice a slight sewage odor from time to time from our sink and toilet but it never lasted long and there was also an odd smell occasionally on deck 6 which is where the open deck area is below the life boats. The port side of the ship is the smoking area on this deck which seemed opposite to most RC ships I've been on. The food and food selection was good, your typical Royal Caribbean dinner menu in the main dining room and standard things you'd expect in the windjammer. There are sinks right at the entrance to windjammer to wash your hands. However you still see people who don't bother and walk on by and I always seem to end up near a person licking their fingers and then handling the serving utensils at the buffet which makes me instantly lose my appetite but thats not the fault of the staff. The staff in both areas were great and we never had any trouble finding a seat right away in the windjammer even at the busiest times....that seemed very refreshing to me. We ate breakfast in the main dining room once. We usually do that on larger ships to avoid the hassle and chaos in the windjammer but found it not necessary on this cruise. My wife misses the "savory bites" that used to come in the bread basket for dinner in the dining room so we asked and our waitress had them at our table every evening for dinner after that....very nice! The casino is split into a main level and half a level down which is interesting and is all non smoking. There are a small amount of table games but as with everything else it never seemed overly full and there was always room to play whenever we wanted to. The fitness center/gym is above the back of the viking crown lounge....quite small but they have a good selection of equipment. There always seemed to be various activities going on during sea days like trivia and similar things that are typical of RC. The staff did a wonderful job at this and were engaging and friendly. There were some kids onboard but I would think it would be difficult to keep them entertained during sea days as there a limited amount of things geared towards them. We had two sea days on this cruise. The ship was very stable and we barely noticed any wave and swell movement. The evening shows were good. Love and Marriage, the Quest, good comedian show, etc., all the things you'd expect on an RC cruise. So....yes, we would definitely book this ship again for just us two or even a group. We are right around 40 and found enough to do and really enjoyed the lack of crowds and lines, super easy to get around. Its a great and clean small ship and like I said the personal level that you get to know the staff and interact with them was great. Embarkation and disembarking were both done very quickly and efficiently. We carried off our own bags since all we had were carry on size luggage and were off the ship just before 8:00am. We stopped at Key West, we usually get the hop on/hop off trolley. I got a cuban sandwich at Caroline's and the necessary visit to Kermit's for frozen key lime pie covered in chocolate. Went to the rum distillery and got a few free samples that were good and spent the rest of the day just exploring. This was our first time back to Coco Cay since the Perfect Day renovations. We didn't want to pay for the thrill side so we just hung out on the chill side. The huge new pool is amazing the swim up bar is fun. I'm glad they kept the one side non molested the way it used to be with the beaches and tons of chairs and scenery. We were the only ship there that day so it was great and not crowded. Plenty of empty space and beach chairs to choose from. I can imagine it gets pretty busy with a few ships there at once. It is nice to not have to tender in anymore and risk missing the port if the winds are up and the tender boats can't run. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My friend has never been to Key west and I wanted to see the new Coco Cay. So we were fine with itinerary but a lot of people on the cruise were still disappointed about not going to Cuba. The entertainment was great. Keve was the ... Read More
My friend has never been to Key west and I wanted to see the new Coco Cay. So we were fine with itinerary but a lot of people on the cruise were still disappointed about not going to Cuba. The entertainment was great. Keve was the comedian very funny. They had the Diva of the Seas come on board she does a tribute to Whitney Houston. Wow, what a singer and great entertainer. Loved it. Cruise director and staff really worked hard. Loved how they got the 70's party rockin and a rollin, so fun. Food was good for the most part. There was always hits and misses, but could always find something to please the pallet. Room steward James was really good. Yes there are plumbing problems. Could smell sewage periodically on deck 5 and on deck 2. Also one not brown water came out of the tap ewww gross. Also black gunk bubbled up through our toilet last night. Other than that ship was nice. Little ship with some problems but staff really are very friendly and made the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this originally when we were supposed to go to Havana. When that got cancelled, we should have taken our money back when offered instead of taking the half price cruise. Big mistake. With the hurricane coming, they ended up ... Read More
We booked this originally when we were supposed to go to Havana. When that got cancelled, we should have taken our money back when offered instead of taking the half price cruise. Big mistake. With the hurricane coming, they ended up changing out itinerary again. Despite this, they wouldn't let us cancel. We were stuck going to the Bahamas, the very same place getting devastated by the hurricane... The ship itself is the oldest in the fleet. We were willing to take it to Havana, but it is unsuitable for any other journey in my opinion. The amenities are few and far between. The one tiny pool was full on the one day we were "cruising" (I will get to this later) despite the ship being half full. The food was not up to the standards I've come to expect from Royal in both the windjammer and the fancy dinners. Now onto the worst experience part: Day 1: We get on the ship easily enough, get some drinks, go to the windjammer. Here is where the fun begins. We were accosted 2 times to buy their steak house dinner in a matter of 10 mins while trying to enjoy our lunch. I don't know about you, but I like to be left alone when eating my meals. Moving along to later that afternoon. We are in our tiny cabin resting and we finally get our find our bags which were delivered to the wrong room. My wife goes to take a shower and the bathroom floods. I go to the front desk to ask for help and to possibly move to another cabin (since the cruise was half full). They call maintence which responds quickly enough, but we were told that they were still waiting on passengers. "We don't know if we will have any open rooms". The cruise was half full, they knew it was going to be half full. We didn't ask for an upgrade, just a lateral move. They never followed up. At dinner, the food was underwhelming and we were accosted a third time that day to reserve their steakhouse dinner. We still hadn't left port that night because we were loading supplies for the Bahamas. Fine with us. We were happy they were making an effort to provide aide. If we only knew what that meant for the passengers. That night in the AM the ship was rocking and rolling on the waves as they went full speed to the Bahamas. I don't get seasick, but that is difficult to sleep through. Day 2: We are anchored outside the Grand Bahama Island the whole day offloading supplies. This is causing the whole ship to shake as they gun the engines to keep us straight. So we were really "cruising" at all. It was blazing hot and the pool was packed full. No wind to enjoy from a moving ship. The other passengers were all malcontent as well from being forced on this ship causing a very tense atmosphere. Thank god their spa was run by a third party because it was the only enjoyable hour of the cruise. At lunch, for the fourth time we are accosted by the steakhouse. My wife polietly said, thanks, but we already know about this, we are not interested. The guy starts to walk away and then turns around to give us another pitch! I with my mouth full of food, put my hand up to stop him. He decided this was a very rude action and made a snide comment about waving at him. That just the icing on the cake. It confirmed to us that not even the crew wanted any part of this cruise. Dinner was okay (besides the shaking mentioned earlier) but they were missing ingredients for my wife's entree and they didn't seem to know about it or care to inform her before she ordered it. The show was good, but since everyone was malcontent, the crowd was very lifeless. Day 3: Port of Nassau We were not interested in getting any excursions due to the hurricane so we got off the ship briefly to call home. This is the only time the pool was empty, so we were able to enjoy a relaxing swim. Dinner was actually good for once. We didn't really take offense to anything that day because we grew used to the standards of this non-vacation. We did order an excursion in Miami that would take up part of the day and drop us right at the terminal to fly away. Of course this was cancelled, leaving us 8 hrs of nothing to do in Miami. Once again, we were just used to the awfulness. Customer Service: We logged our complaints with their customer service line. They didn't care. Just told us, nothing we can do. Well there is something we can do, and that is not book a cruise with Royal again who don't care about their customers or their experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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