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We were looking for a smaller ship having cruised on the Allure in September (my husband's first cruise and my 7th of which six have been with RC). We did not love the big ship experience so wanted to try something smaller. I did my research before booking and was aware that this was the smallest ship in the fleet with limited amenities, but the price was right for one of the few 7 night sailings this ship does (November 21 - 28). We left from |Miami and stopped in Nassau, Ocho Rios (we were scheduled for Falmouth but a port change was made due to rough seas) and Grand Cayman with three sea days. On the Allure we had a balcony cabin (the balcony which we never used) so as well as going to the extreme on ship size, we also went to the extreme on cabin and booked an inside cabin #3649. Keith, our room steward from Jamaica was EXCELLENT! Room was small, but we managed well and there was lots of storage. I would definitely book an inside cabin again. We had late seating in the main dining room. Food was very good most nights. We loved that this ship had no formal night, but just one semi-formal night. We travel a lot and like to travel with only carry-on luggage which we did for this trip, so it makes packing much easier when you do not have to pack formal clothes. We prefer eating in the MDR over the Windjammer. The two shows with the Royal Caribbean dancers and singers were fantastic. The Headliner shows of various comedians, etc. were just ok, but occupied our time well before dinner. The casino was small and hot. They had several extra fans to help with the heat issue. However, we loved the fact that the entire casino was no smoking. Kids, kids, kids! This is not a ship for kids; there is just not enough for them to do and as a result the only pool (there is a kiddie pool for toddlers) was always filled with kids! In their defense they were just being kids - splashing, jumping etc. but for the most part did not seem to be under parental supervision. We did not use the pool once because of this. This was a major drawback for us. There were also lots of kids running together throughout the ship at various times of the day and night with no parents in sight. Public restrooms were small and often dirty and had a bad smell. Porthole windows in public areas were badly in need of a clean. The positives outweighed the negatives. We loved the smaller ship experience and felt we had better service overall than on the Allure in September. We would cruise on the Empress again but likely not during school vacation time.

Would cruise on the Empress again.

Empress of the Seas Cruise Review by sunshinelover59

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We were looking for a smaller ship having cruised on the Allure in September (my husband's first cruise and my 7th of which six have been with RC). We did not love the big ship experience so wanted to try something smaller. I did my research before booking and was aware that this was the smallest ship in the fleet with limited amenities, but the price was right for one of the few 7 night sailings this ship does (November 21 - 28). We left from |Miami and stopped in Nassau, Ocho Rios (we were scheduled for Falmouth but a port change was made due to rough seas) and Grand Cayman with three sea days. On the Allure we had a balcony cabin (the balcony which we never used) so as well as going to the extreme on ship size, we also went to the extreme on cabin and booked an inside cabin #3649. Keith, our room steward from Jamaica was EXCELLENT! Room was small, but we managed well and there was lots of storage. I would definitely book an inside cabin again.

We had late seating in the main dining room. Food was very good most nights. We loved that this ship had no formal night, but just one semi-formal night. We travel a lot and like to travel with only carry-on luggage which we did for this trip, so it makes packing much easier when you do not have to pack formal clothes. We prefer eating in the MDR over the Windjammer.

The two shows with the Royal Caribbean dancers and singers were fantastic. The Headliner shows of various comedians, etc. were just ok, but occupied our time well before dinner.

The casino was small and hot. They had several extra fans to help with the heat issue. However, we loved the fact that the entire casino was no smoking.

Kids, kids, kids! This is not a ship for kids; there is just not enough for them to do and as a result the only pool (there is a kiddie pool for toddlers) was always filled with kids! In their defense they were just being kids - splashing, jumping etc. but for the most part did not seem to be under parental supervision. We did not use the pool once because of this. This was a major drawback for us. There were also lots of kids running together throughout the ship at various times of the day and night with no parents in sight.

Public restrooms were small and often dirty and had a bad smell. Porthole windows in public areas were badly in need of a clean.

The positives outweighed the negatives. We loved the smaller ship experience and felt we had better service overall than on the Allure in September. We would cruise on the Empress again but likely not during school vacation time.
sunshinelover59’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    We took the sky explorer chair lift to the top of Mystic Mountain where we had time to look around at the displays, watch the dancing, visit the hummingbird gardens and make use of the pool. It was a rainy day which did not lend itself for enjoying the beautiful pool with an awesome view of the cruise port. On a hot sunny day this would have been the best part of being at the top. We then went to Konoko Falls to climb them with a guide and then we had a guided tour around the gardens and small zoo. We finished up with a jerk chicken and pork lunch which was provided in the excursion price. We were frustrated with the lack of communication from our driver and excursion leader at each venue. They never outlined what we were to expect which has been the norm on other excursions I have been on. We always had to ask. Also, after climbing Konoko falls (which were beautiful) we were not given the opportunity or time to get our towels or cover up clothes from the van before the garden tour, zoo tour and lunch. On a hot sunny day this probably would have been fine, but it was a rainy day and by the end of our time there I was quite cold from being in my wet bathing suit for a period of time. Other than that I highly recommend this tour. An added bonus was that our ship was detoured for docking on Ocho Rios which meant little driving time to the attractions. From Falmouth we would have spent a significant portion of our day driving to and from the attractions which are located right in Ocho Rios.
    View All 48 City Tour Reviews
  • Island Tour
    Our van driver Gary gave us a quick tour to the rum factory, Camana Bay (the new resort town on Grand Cayman), the Governor's mansion and to Hell. He was very knowledgeable and personable. We enjoyed our brief tour which gave us a good overview of the island. It lasted about an hour. He then dropped us off at Tiki Beach for two hours. The water here is not the best for swimming since there is a coral reef just off the shore. There are much better places along seven mile beach for swimming. Nonetheless we enjoyed our time lounging in the water enjoying a couple of beverages which we purchased at the bar. A free small rum punch drink was also included as well as the use of a lounge chair.
    View All 189 Island Tour Reviews