Sail Date: July 2018
Group of 8, some picked due to some parents being from Cuba and they wanted first hand to experience their ancestry background.The plan was to tour part of Havana with the FAMOUS Tropicana show. Miami, check in settling, smooth ... Read More
Group of 8, some picked due to some parents being from Cuba and they wanted first hand to experience their ancestry background.The plan was to tour part of Havana with the FAMOUS Tropicana show. Miami, check in settling, smooth Empress of the seas, small ship by comparison to others, but spotless, beautiful dining, theater facilities, overall does not look like an all vessel. Dining at our table, OUTSTANDING, could not ask for any better. Entertainment and activities, the shows specially the dance shows out of this world, the dancers, the costumes, the orchestra, the master of ceremonies, now that was very impressive not only to see but to feel their desire to share with us and make us feel all as part of their family. Service, outstanding Ports and shore excursions, Cuba hope to never do it again, waste of money. Cozumel, been there 3 times, it gets better every time, Playa Mia, I had a blast. It is worth mentioning the Latin band Clave performing in the Boleros lounge, OUTSTANDING, had me dancing every night. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Ports of Call, reputation. All in All the only negative experience was the Spa when my wife went for a chin waxing and she ended up having to manually tweeze the hairs after leaving the spa. Total waste of $17! The staff in the main ... Read More
Ports of Call, reputation. All in All the only negative experience was the Spa when my wife went for a chin waxing and she ended up having to manually tweeze the hairs after leaving the spa. Total waste of $17! The staff in the main dining hall was excellent. Loved Randoll & Edgar. Up at the Pool Bar, many waitresses would take your order then you wouldn't see them for half an hour. Anton, on the other hand, took our drink orders and returned with them promptly. Additionally, the security guards on the boat were excellent! My wife has a vision problem and boarding and leaving the ship made it challenging for her. I cannot thank the staff for helping us navigate the ins & outs of cruising since this was our first cruise. And I assure you, we will be back to tours some more. just need to request bigger rooms or balcony room. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Our stateroom did not have a functioning ac system from the time we arrived. We reported the issue and maintenance was sent with a pair of pliers and nothing else. The technician smacked the ac unit with the pliers in two different ... Read More
Our stateroom did not have a functioning ac system from the time we arrived. We reported the issue and maintenance was sent with a pair of pliers and nothing else. The technician smacked the ac unit with the pliers in two different locations and said to give it a few hours. Needless to say his technique didn’t work. We lasted two days in the stateroom w/o AC because we were told there were no other available rooms. Two days later, after multiple complaints, a room miracously appeared. Our room keys didnt work to open our room or for our children’s arcade. We had to track down housekeeping to open the room every time because we gave up on guest services after waiting in line on 6 different occasions in regards to our key cards. There several more visits restarting IT issues with the kids arcade and cabin issues. The guest service staff were rude, unempathetic, and just plain poor service. They did and said nothing to assist our situation even though we escalated our issues up the chain of command. The staff was painting the ship as we sailed off, repairs were being done during breakfast with load banging and vibrations, and every window was rusted and/or leaking. Calling this cruise terrible is a compliment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The first night we stayed on the ship, the air conditioning was not working in our room. We had to call multiple times because the technicians were not able to fix it. On the last call to the front desk the representative was extremely ... Read More
The first night we stayed on the ship, the air conditioning was not working in our room. We had to call multiple times because the technicians were not able to fix it. On the last call to the front desk the representative was extremely rude to my wife and basically told us to deal with it because there were no other rooms available and gave us a small desk fan to cool myself, my wife and 2 daughters. Needless to say the first day was a disaster. On the second evening we put in a complaint with the manager because the heat was ridiculous and all of a sudden a room was available with AC. We then had to repack and move to the other room which I was grateful for. The other issues we had, was with our room keys. Our keys would not work to open the room nor would my daughters keys work to play in the arcade which I prepaid for. It seemed like we spent more of our vacation frustrated waiting at guest services than actually enjoying the trip the way it was intended to be enjoyed. It is rough when you do your best to save up all year to take your family on a vacation and it goes this horribly. I have traveled on Carnival, Norwegian, and now Royal Caribbean. I was under the impression that Royal Caribbean was held at a higher standard. Unfortunately, we were extremely disappointed with the condition of the ship, some of the staff and just the entire experience aboard the ship. These are just a few of the issues we experienced and I hope that someone in your organization reads this and takes action so that future travelers do not experience the nightmare we did. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Was talked into this cruise by cousins that were already booked. Absolutely first rate! Clean comfy cabin, great food and thee best staff. Shawn our 4th floor cabin attendant was superb, always attentive, immediately took care of anything ... Read More
Was talked into this cruise by cousins that were already booked. Absolutely first rate! Clean comfy cabin, great food and thee best staff. Shawn our 4th floor cabin attendant was superb, always attentive, immediately took care of anything we needed, always knew our names and even took care of my wheelchair bound mom while I was off the ship. Head waiter Fernando and assistant Sang where impeccable and kept the food coming in unlimited amounts, total professionals with Domminick overseeing everything which was perfect. We did a 2 day private photo/guided tour in Havana with Yosel Vazquez and company, Reniel and Damien, awesome! Must be done with these guys.Yosel Vazquez yoselvazquez@yahoo.com Only one negative item to report, prepaid for the higher streaming speed Voom internet service. It was barely adequate for basic e-mail and couldn't come close with streaming video or audio, however when I complained about it they refunded the entire amount and I still got to use it. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We picked this cruise for its overnight stop in Havana, Cuba and stop in Key West. Key West seemed like a touristy place, although it did have some neat things to do. We walked around on our own and made it to the Little White House ... Read More
We picked this cruise for its overnight stop in Havana, Cuba and stop in Key West. Key West seemed like a touristy place, although it did have some neat things to do. We walked around on our own and made it to the Little White House (Harry Truman's vacation getaway) and did the free exhibit which was nice to read and see. We also did the Maritime museum which was ok. Havana, Cuba was a really neat stop. We enjoyed the architecture and the people were very friendly. The Immigration process was a little lengthly at times, so especially the first time you dock allow plenty of time to get processed. You will also go through security going into and out of the country. It seemed on the two shore excursions in Havana that we went to all government run entities. The first excursion was the Panoramic Night Tour (of Old Havana). Be sure you've got good walking shoes on and you can walk at a good pace! Our tour guide was great and took us to several historical areas of Old Havana and pointed out a lot of unique and interesting things. After walking for maybe 1 1/2 hours we got on a bus and drove around Havana and went to a hotel for a drink! It was a nice excursion and going at night was perfect because Havana can be very hot during the day. The second excursion we did, which was on our second day, was Best of Havana Express with Hemingway House. We were told to meet at 8:30am on the ship, but we didn't leave the ship until 9am. I think that was due to coordinating when the bus and tour guides were ready; however, it was a little annoying to have to wait that long to leave early in the morning. Once we got started, our tour guide again was great! Drove around Havana a little, Revolution square where there were also some old cars, then headed out to Fusterlandia, then lunch at a restaurant, next to Ernest Hemmingway's house, and last to Morrow's castle. The best part of this excursion was really just the experience of driving around, getting to see further from the city, and the vantage points from Hemmingway's house & Morrow's castle. We didn't get back to almost 4pm (we were on 'Cuba time' as the tour guide mentioned), so I wouldn't necessarily call this an 'express' tour. Souvenirs are repetitive and almost hard to come by in a sense. I highly recommend the Havana Club 7 rum (yum, very smooth) and getting handmade leather keychains and turning them into ornaments. There are also handmade earrings, puzzle boxes (our kids loved those), magnets, etc. There are not many XXL or larger shirts on the Island, so you may have to buy those on the ship. The Empress of the Seas is a small ship for us, we are used to traveling more on Royal Carribean's Freedom or Voyager class ships. Here are some pros and cons of this ship. The pro's include: friendly staff, decent size casino, nice decor, very good food in the dining room (best we've ever had!). The con's include: size and open deck space on the ship was limited, especially considering the lack of balconies; windjammer lunches were repetitive; room & bathroom was a little hard to navigate. We are very glad we took this cruise. It was busy enough and short enough I was able to push past the smallness of the ship. My next cruises will be on larger ships though. The city of Havana was well worth the effort and will provide memories for a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise for Cuba. The full 2 nights in Cuba is what we were looking for. Up front: we are Diamond Plus members and have also cruised on Carnival, NCL, Disney, Holland America and Celebrity. No kids, 55+ and I am not a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for Cuba. The full 2 nights in Cuba is what we were looking for. Up front: we are Diamond Plus members and have also cruised on Carnival, NCL, Disney, Holland America and Celebrity. No kids, 55+ and I am not a stockholder in, or an employee of RCCL. 1. Embarkation. Smooth as silk. There was a slight delay. We were in the Diamond lounge and twice, not once, but twice an RCCL employee came in to explain the delay and give us updates. Thanks RCCL! 2. The ship. Excellent condition. Not much else needs to be said. We were on the Maasdam recently and someone remarked 'look at the rust'. Ah, yeah, steel and salt water-- get over it. For the age of the ship it was in excellent condition. Thanks RCCL! 3. Our cabin. Deck 7, obstructed ocean view. It was in great condition. We found some socks in one of the drawers (woo hoo! free socks! ;-). An outlet didn't work. We called guest services and someone knocked on the door in 5 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly, 5 minutes. Fixed. Thanks RCCL! 4. Dining. Wow! Our waiter Victor and assitant waiter Tingfang were the BEST ever. Period. They really cared about the quality of service they provided. Each and every night, let me repeat that, each and every night the head waiter came to the table and asked if everything was good. That's service. Thanks RCCL! 5. Entertainment. We only went on two nights. One was the 4th of July. America's independence day. Wow! First, Hugo the best Cruise director ever. Period. The captain carried the American Flag. They had cake in the shape of our flag. Thanks RCCL. No exclamation point as the event was moving more than fun. You really pulled it off when a member of the crew (sorry, I don't remember his name) gave a short speech and asked that we honor (by standing) our military, first responders, and teachers-- my wife stood. Thanks again RCCL. Really. Thanks. 6. Service. Service was great. The crew, all the crew, really seemed to care. I don't really know what I can say to express how well they did their jobs. We've been on other ships where some staff just 'phoned it in.' Not on Empress. Thanks RCCL! 7. Ports. Wow! Key west. Go to Sloppy Joe's and have a Papa Dobles. Cuba. Holy cow. If you are an American and ever feel like our country or government isn't 'the best in the world' just spend 3 minutes in Cuba. My wife and spent the two days taking donations (no, wait, we have to call them 'gifts') to an animal shelter, an art center and an orphanage. Thanks for the opportunity to do some good RCCL. 8. Overall. Our BEST cruise ever and it was on the smallest cruise ship in the fleet. Thanks RCCL for a cruise vacation that really meant something to us. Sincerely, Beth and Steve Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise over other cruise lines that were more heavily advertising Cuba especially because of the 2 full days in Cuba. I was warned by our travel agent that the Empress of the Seas is an older ship with smaller rooms. It ... Read More
We chose this cruise over other cruise lines that were more heavily advertising Cuba especially because of the 2 full days in Cuba. I was warned by our travel agent that the Empress of the Seas is an older ship with smaller rooms. It is but again we picked this trip for the destination. RC remains one of my top 3 cruise lines (along with Disney & Princess) We took our first cruise on our honeymoon in 2000 with RC. Over the years perks have declined but we remain satisfied. We really don’t care for Anytime dining - but it’s near impossible to get early seating. We’ve been pretty successful to get reservations at an early time and book for the whole week the first day. My only frustration there was on day 1 when reservations opened at 3:30pm (or 4:30?) I rang down and got no answer after trying twice I walked down to find only 1 person taking reservations and she apologized for not answering but said she was not allowed when she had a line of people. There ought to be 2 people manning the station on day 1 if that’s the case. Aside from that and twice the price of wine being $1 more than the menu stated, our dining experience was spectacular. We dined at table 522 each night. Our head waiter was Domingos and his assistant was Shiv. Our head waiter was Dominick. All 3 of our waitstaff were very personable and each of them really catered to our son. Dominick would help cut the salad for our son. Our son is learning French so Shiv would speak to him in French which was really cute. Domingos was very accommodating to our special food requests. Excellent service. All three of them were very friendly and it was completely genuine. They all showed the utmost concern to make the best dining experience for us. We also happened to see Dominick and Shiv the last day at the windjammer breakfast and they went out of their way to make our breakfast perfect, too. We have taken 14+ cruises and Domingos, Shiv and Dominick are among our very favorite staff from other cruises. There was another waiter who we passed each night on the way in and out who made a bird chirp and high 5’s to my son (who loved it) who also provided a welcoming atmosphere, but I did not catch his name. I love the service to pick kids up for kids club in the dining room tho we only did that once this cruise. Our son enjoyed the kids club. We cruised on RC in February and he was in the 3-5 group ... this time he’s about to turn 6 and favored playing with the older kids and I appreciate the staff being flexible. My only comparison is our Feb cruise which seemed to do cuter things like a parade around the ship and pirate / dress up night / face paint etc. but the staff was great and my son enjoyed so that’s the important part. One of the staff even seemed touched to see our son go when we picked him up the last night. I like the movies by the pool but wished the 7pm movie was family friendly. We utilized kids club but I just wanted to mention that. Our room attendant Ida did an excellent job. Everything was always clean and stocked and the bed well made. Ida always took care of special requests like an additional bed rail for my son very quickly. My pedicure with Alisa (unsure of spelling) was among the best pedicures I’ve had. She did an excellent job. She’s very professional and really knows a lot about skin care. The security staff did a nice job getting us on and off quickly and thru customs for our stops. The pre cruise checkin was painfully long this time - I suppose due to Cuba. I thought it was nice to supply our own photos to speed up your checkin process but my husband thought there should have been a special faster/expedites line for those who did their pre work at home (eg forms filed and photos pre provided). Disembarking is a bit slow - I prefer Disney way of walking off whenever you want. This pool deck is not as slippery when wet as the newer ship decks - I about fell 3 times on our February cruise but this deck was great - and also well serviced to sign wet areas and mop it up. I liked the touch of the sinks at the entrance of windjammer- much better than hand sanitizer! Loved the fresh juice smoothies at windjammer breakfast. Liked the main dining room brunch buffet over midnight buffets of the past. It was a little stressful waiting for final bill and not getting it until 7:45 am but I understand the system had gone down. I’m relatively certain we entered my mother in laws credit card with her name but instead it went to to my credit card. Overall great cruise and great staff!! Helpful crew at excursion desk, too! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The ship is old and dated. The bathrooms are small, the showers are gross. We had a jr. suite. The tv was hanging on an angle near the balcony door. We had to duck to get outside. Public areas are semi clean. Some of the carpeting was ... Read More
The ship is old and dated. The bathrooms are small, the showers are gross. We had a jr. suite. The tv was hanging on an angle near the balcony door. We had to duck to get outside. Public areas are semi clean. Some of the carpeting was extremely stained. The staff is very friendly and because the ship is small everyone remembers you. When a problem occurs the staff try’s to remedy the situation. The food is bland and many items are not prepared onboard. Crab cake at Chops was frozen then heated in the kitchen. It had no crab, all fillers. The casino is great. Very friendly and fun. Excursions were terrific. Havana is amazing. Overlook the surroundings and take this ship to experience Cuba. Spend the the big bucks and go see the Tropicana Show. You won’t be disappointed. Buy rum, buy cigars and come home with some incredible memories. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This boat is very small. Only One pool on the entire ship. The fitness room is very small and there were broken machines. Also the “gym” is shared by the one night club that is onboard. I feel some of the shows and events/games ... Read More
This boat is very small. Only One pool on the entire ship. The fitness room is very small and there were broken machines. Also the “gym” is shared by the one night club that is onboard. I feel some of the shows and events/games arent coordinate well with time. A lot of things you would like to see or go to, seem to be happening all at the same time or really close to one another. Also crowd participation games/activities seemed to be crammed into the last 2 days or the vacation. Ports of call ; key west and Cuba were pretty good for the most part. So if you’re thinking about going to Cuba Just remember, you’re going for Cuba and not Empress of the seas. If you’re looking for a really nice ship I would recommend anything from the Oasis class of ships, Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas. They have lots and lots to do and see. Tons of fun and the food is a step up from smaller boats like Empress of the seas ! Read Less
Empress of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.6
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 2.5 3.4
Family 2.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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