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I’m a “Diamond Plus" member with RCL. The opportunity came up to visit Cuba, and it has always been on my bucket list. Having recently retired, I added this to the list of future cruises I booked with the cruise line. We were told we could start embarcation at 11:30, but a representative came out and told us that there were going to be delays letting us onboard as the ship "wasn't ready to receive us yet." I found out later that this was the first day it had been our from drydock. Let me start by saying if this had been my first cruise with RCL, it would have been my last. The ship was in such disrepair. The first issue was the pool. The water was green and they covered it with a net so no one could use it for the first two days, and the hot tubs were empty. When we went to use the gym, three of the seven treadmills were out of order and there wasn’t enough equipment to satisfy the demand, so we opted to use the walking deck. This was partially closed off so there was mixed direction because everyone had to turn around and go in a different direction. This resulted in chaos on the deck as joggers tried to dodge the casual walkers going in both directions. We wanted to enjoy a soft-serve cone, but the machine was tagged (just like the treadmills) with a "Out of Order" sign. We had breakfast in the Specialty restaurant CHOPS. When I ordered my eggs benedict, the egg yolks were solid. I ordered an omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers and cilantro, and I received an oil laden omelet with tomatoes, spinach, and onions. While waited for our meal, we observed the paint peeled from the ceiling and beams, as well as missing ceiling tiles. When we went into the Windjammer to get coffee, there were no coffee mugs or soup bowls. We had to hunt them down. In some areas of the the ship, you could smell chemicals, as it was still undergoing renovations such as painting, and carpet removal/replacement. In the hallway where our cabin was located, the halls were extremely hot because the contractors left the doors to the workrooms open and all the heat from there filled the hallways. Certainly not conditions for anyone to be working in, so I understand why they left the doors open to let some of the heat into the hallways. As for our Cabin, it was very tight! You couldn't walk around the bed as the end of the bed was abutted against a small table that held the TV. The location was not desirable, and I'm not sure how we ended up at the front of the ship, when I specifically stated we don't like the front of the ship, we prefer the middle or back. With that being said, we were located directly beneath the theater, so twice nightly we were entertained with the noise of the performers dancing on the floors over our heads. If that wasn't enough to irritate someone, there was the added feature of the anchors going down which rattled our cabin and filled it with noise. Every time we got underway, our room rattled and roared as well. (This wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't get underway at 1:00 a.m. or if it occurred when we weren't in the room) When we ordered drinks from the bar, we asked for a MasterCard (a red and yellow drink) but the bartender used coconut instead of mango when he made it. We had to stand there and watch him the second time to make sure that it didn't have coconut and sure enough, he almost did it again! We booked two tours, but one was cancelled before we even got on the ship. I suppose you could say it was a blessing because the tour that we did book, was a huge disappointment. We were led by a guide about three blocks from the ship to a local restaurant (we walked there), and we sat in a group table. We were served two drinks each (mojito, and cuba libre), and an appetizer (four slices of coldcuts, and cheeses, and shredded carrots and lettuce). There was a band playing in the restaurant - one that Simon Cowl would very quickly shut down - and a couple of dancers. All of this came at the bargain price of over $200/couple. WHAT???? SERIOUSLY!!! This was so bad, that everyone left within an hour. The tour was supposed to start at 9:00 and end at 12:00, but no one was there when we walked past it at 11:00. When we walked out, we went across the courtyard to another restaurant that had a band playing. We ordered two drinks each and an appetizer and the total (including tip) came to $35.00. What a mark-up. If anything, this was an important lesson in NOT BOOKING with the cruiseline for tours in the future. We went for dinner the next night in the same neighborhood and had a lobster dinner and drinks, and the total came to $34.00. (Lobster was $12/plate and drinks were $2.50 ea. (Again, mojitos and cuba libre). Overall a huge disappointment and completely missed all the marks for the amenities that we use while traveling and not what we’ve come to expect from. RCL

ROYAL DISAPPOINTMENT

Empress of the Seas Cruise Review by Diamond At Sea

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom
I’m a “Diamond Plus" member with RCL. The opportunity came up to visit Cuba, and it has always been on my bucket list. Having recently retired, I added this to the list of future cruises I booked with the cruise line.

We were told we could start embarcation at 11:30, but a representative came out and told us that there were going to be delays letting us onboard as the ship "wasn't ready to receive us yet." I found out later that this was the first day it had been our from drydock.

Let me start by saying if this had been my first cruise with RCL, it would have been my last. The ship was in such disrepair. The first issue was the pool. The water was green and they covered it with a net so no one could use it for the first two days, and the hot tubs were empty. When we went to use the gym, three of the seven treadmills were out of order and there wasn’t enough equipment to satisfy the demand, so we opted to use the walking deck. This was partially closed off so there was mixed direction because everyone had to turn around and go in a different direction. This resulted in chaos on the deck as joggers tried to dodge the casual walkers going in both directions.

We wanted to enjoy a soft-serve cone, but the machine was tagged (just like the treadmills) with a "Out of Order" sign.

We had breakfast in the Specialty restaurant CHOPS. When I ordered my eggs benedict, the egg yolks were solid. I ordered an omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers and cilantro, and I received an oil laden omelet with tomatoes, spinach, and onions. While waited for our meal, we observed the paint peeled from the ceiling and beams, as well as missing ceiling tiles.

When we went into the Windjammer to get coffee, there were no coffee mugs or soup bowls. We had to hunt them down.

In some areas of the the ship, you could smell chemicals, as it was still undergoing renovations such as painting, and carpet removal/replacement. In the hallway where our cabin was located, the halls were extremely hot because the contractors left the doors to the workrooms open and all the heat from there filled the hallways. Certainly not conditions for anyone to be working in, so I understand why they left the doors open to let some of the heat into the hallways.

As for our Cabin, it was very tight! You couldn't walk around the bed as the end of the bed was abutted against a small table that held the TV. The location was not desirable, and I'm not sure how we ended up at the front of the ship, when I specifically stated we don't like the front of the ship, we prefer the middle or back. With that being said, we were located directly beneath the theater, so twice nightly we were entertained with the noise of the performers dancing on the floors over our heads. If that wasn't enough to irritate someone, there was the added feature of the anchors going down which rattled our cabin and filled it with noise. Every time we got underway, our room rattled and roared as well. (This wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't get underway at 1:00 a.m. or if it occurred when we weren't in the room)

When we ordered drinks from the bar, we asked for a MasterCard (a red and yellow drink) but the bartender used coconut instead of mango when he made it. We had to stand there and watch him the second time to make sure that it didn't have coconut and sure enough, he almost did it again!

We booked two tours, but one was cancelled before we even got on the ship. I suppose you could say it was a blessing because the tour that we did book, was a huge disappointment. We were led by a guide about three blocks from the ship to a local restaurant (we walked there), and we sat in a group table. We were served two drinks each (mojito, and cuba libre), and an appetizer (four slices of coldcuts, and cheeses, and shredded carrots and lettuce). There was a band playing in the restaurant - one that Simon Cowl would very quickly shut down - and a couple of dancers. All of this came at the bargain price of over $200/couple. WHAT???? SERIOUSLY!!! This was so bad, that everyone left within an hour. The tour was supposed to start at 9:00 and end at 12:00, but no one was there when we walked past it at 11:00. When we walked out, we went across the courtyard to another restaurant that had a band playing. We ordered two drinks each and an appetizer and the total (including tip) came to $35.00. What a mark-up. If anything, this was an important lesson in NOT BOOKING with the cruiseline for tours in the future. We went for dinner the next night in the same neighborhood and had a lobster dinner and drinks, and the total came to $34.00. (Lobster was $12/plate and drinks were $2.50 ea. (Again, mojitos and cuba libre).

Overall a huge disappointment and completely missed all the marks for the amenities that we use while traveling and not what we’ve come to expect from. RCL
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom
Cabin 6V 4593
Small. Barely enough room to get in one side of the bed. Only room for one nightstand. The room was noisy, as described in the previous comments. Our cabin steward was excellent however, as he kept the room clean and made sure we had everything we needed including ice!
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews