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8 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Miami

8 Night Eastern 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
    Perfect Day at CocoCay
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    San Juan
  • Day 5
    Tortola
  • Day 6
    St. Thomas
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    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

2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2019
We originally booked this cruise with the sole purpose of going to Cuba. Like most other reviews have stated, the laws changed and the itinerary was changed to a 6 day Western Caribbean, which we were fine with. We received 50% of our ... Read More
We originally booked this cruise with the sole purpose of going to Cuba. Like most other reviews have stated, the laws changed and the itinerary was changed to a 6 day Western Caribbean, which we were fine with. We received 50% of our cruise fare back, which was more than generous for still being able to go on the full trip. Flash forward to 2 days before our departure. Hurricane Dorian was on track to hit Florida directly, so Royal Caribbean shortened our trip by 3 days (leaving on the following Wednesday now rather than Sunday.) While we were disappointed, we understood the safety concerns and decided to sail anyway since they stated they would give us a refund for the 3 days we missed, and a future cruise credit. I'll go ahead and get the negatives out of the way (none having to do with the actual ship.) While we were thankful for the refunds, they did not inform the Empress passengers on what that refund would actually look like. On the first day of the trip, the guest services attendant stated we were getting two 50% refunds based on the original cruise fare, basically meaning we got a 100% refund. We were ecstatic. However, on the last night, we learned that Empress passengers got a refund based on the already refunded trip from the Cuba change. So for missing 3 days of our cruise, we received less than $200 back, and our cruise credit was in the same amount. Obviously there isn't any 3 day cruises you can book for under $200. We tried not to be greedy, but we felt that the compensation was misrepresented between different RC staff. We are overall satisfied with the compensation, especially since both circumstances were out of RC's control, but the communication (or lack thereof) made it confusing and frustrating. The ship itself is very well maintained. It is very small, but the layout is different than any other RC I've been on. There is an ocean view in almost every common area, which made it beautiful. The pool is small, and I could see that it would be an issue for a full sailing (we only had 600 on board, so it was perfect for us.) Most of the loungers are in the sun. I wish there were a few in the shade. The pool bar and the attendants walking around were on point. Drinks were much stronger and tasted better than on any other ship. The crew was absolutely phenomenal. I was surprised with how many crew members remembered our names right off the bat, our drink orders, etc. Friendly, talkative, and didn't seem frazzled and overworked like I've seen other crews on other ships. The Chops Grille promoters were pretty pushy, but we ended up booking since we had a cruise credit and finally understood the hype. We had a great experience. The food was amazing, service was very personal, and we didn't have to share a table with strangers. I told my boyfriend that we would have to budget for a night at Chops for every cruise in the future. I'd definitely recommend checking it out. Main dining room and Windjammer were above average compared to other RC ships. The main dining room has a wonderful view with a ton of windows at the back of the ship. If you can, try to go to dinner around sunset. The view is spectacular! We also utilized the spa. There was no sauna or steam room, unfortunately. I booked a massage with seaweed detox, and my boyfriend booked a haircut. My massage was unreal and incredibly relaxing. If you ever find yourself with a large cruise credit, the spa is certainly the place to use it! They do try to sell you some products at the end, which kind of throws off the zen you just spent 100 minutes trying to achieve, but at the end of the day I would absolutely recommend investing in the spa services. They're overpriced, but you're on vacation! :-) Our cabin was decently sized. Small bathroom. Cruise cabins are meant to be tiny, so we weren't bothered. Not a lot of storage space on this ship. Bring an over the door shoe hanger, it saved our sanity on this boat! We booked a forward, ocean view cabin. Since the ship is smaller, we felt MAJOR effects of the hurricane winds. I could feel the waves much more significantly on this boat. If you are prone to sea sickness, it's important to book a mid cabin on this ship since it's so small! Entertainment was fun. They had a solo singer that was great (Lou Gazzarra), a pretty decent comedian, and a great cast for the shows. Trivia was kind of clumsy, but always a good time. The casino was laid out differently than any other ship (split between two decks). What I loved about this ship was that it was a non-smoking casino since it wasn't necessarily contained. We spent a lot more time in there due to that fact alone. Despite its size, I don't feel like we would've been bored if we had the full 6 days (which I was originally worried about) We didn't do any shore excursions since we've been to Nassau more times than we can count. We looked in to it, but they were way overpriced for what you got. We noticed the sewage smell on the lower decks (outside, mostly), but I wouldn't say it was overwhelming. Just normal for a cruise, to us. Overall we had a great experience on the ship and would have loved for it to have been the full 6 days! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
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