We chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Cuba. We were disappointed when we learned we would not be able to go to Cuba, but Royal Caribbean really went above and beyond for us. The 50% refund was extremely generous. While I was on this new itinerary, I never once felt that I was missing out on anything. In fact, it was the best vacation I've ever had.
Since I'm a planner, I had done a lot of research on the Empress of the Seas, and I was a little nervous about the ship. That was all for nothing! The ship is amazing! Yes, it is a smaller ship - the smallest in the fleet - but guess how many lines we waited in during this vacation? None. That includes our embarkation. We walked in, went right up to the counter and were on the ship in a matter of minutes.
When we got to our cabin, we noticed that it was small, but we knew it would be. We had plenty of room in our cabin. I did bring magnetic hooks with us and that helped to provide some additional space by hanging things on the walls. Bringing these hooks was probably the best tip that I got from my research.
I've read in a few places that there was a weird odor on deck 5. I smelled it, but it wasn't a big deal.
The dining room was great and I was happy with the food quality and selection. The best part is if you don't like what you ordered, you send it back and get something else. Or, if you like it a lot, you order another! We went to Chops on my birthday and that was fantastic too. It was a step up from the dining room and my 9oz filet was so tender that I could cut it with a butter knife.
First class entertainers on this ship! Loved the shows I went to! The music around the ship was always fun and lively.
I booked some of my shore excursions through the ship and thought those were fantastic. We did the behind the scenes tour of the ship and loved everything we learned. It was great to learn about what goes on behind the scene on this ship!
My daughter found a great group of friends with the teen group. This really provided an opportunity for her to get to know the other teens and she really had a great time.
The pool was usually crowded, but it was still really great. I loved it!
Yes, the cabins are small, but they are very functional. We had two adults and a teenager in our cabin and we managed just fine. We took magnetic hooks to expand our storage to be able to hang some things. The beds were comfortable and had plenty of space for storage under them. The bathroom was also small but I loved that I could use the bathroom, wash my face and shave my legs at the same time! :) It was compact and functional. It provided us with togetherness. And, as they say, you're really only in the room to sleep and shower. We did find that it was easier to get ready in shifts, so my husband would shower and change and then go wait for us in the lobby of the 8th deck. Then I got ready to go and joined him. Last, our daughter got ready and joined us. It wouldn't work to all get ready at the same time.
This was a great way to get a taste of Key West! We were able to hop on and off, as we wanted. It was a nice quick view of the town and we enjoyed it enough that we want to go spend a long weekend there sometime soon.View All 176 Trolley Tour Reviews
Amazing!! Kitzia was our tour guide and she was so much fun! We learned so much on our drive to Chacchoben. We were in a nice, comfortable bus with lots of cold A/C and cold bottles of water. The tour of Chacchoben was very hot but we knew it would be. We bought local pineapple from a vendor at Chacchoben and had them serve it the Mayan way - with chili and salt. Yum!! Afterwards, we went to the Blue Lagoon, which was like paradise. The water was still and blue and so fun to swim in. We had the most delicious lunch buffet with grilled chicken, steak, fish and chorizo, plus lots of veggies and tortillas.View All 418 Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Reviews
This was the absolute highlight of our trip. We took a taxi from the cruise port to the marina where we found our catamaran. There were only 13 of us on this excursion, with everyone being experienced snorkelers except my daughter and me. I was so nervous about it, but the crew made it so easy for me. Once i got in, I was amazed by what I saw. It was beautiful! I've never seen a coral reef and fish swimming around me, as if I was one of them. When we finished snorkeling, we went to a more shallow area (5-9 feet) to swim. We found a huge conch shell and a great big starfish. Then we had a delicious lunch of snapper ceviche, tuna salad and fresh guacamole. They had every type of beverage you can imagine. Whan an amazing experience!View All 485 Snorkeling Reviews