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We booked this cruise as part 1 of our honeymoon (then onto Cancun after) as it originally went to Cuba. Although Cuba was then off the cards (and beyond the control of Royal Caribbean) we still went ahead with the cruise. RC we're very good and put 50% of cruise fare into on on-board credit for the cruise. This was our first time cruising and it certainly wont be our last. We had a great experience and I would go with RC again in a heartbeat! Check-in was very smooth, we arrived early and just walked through with no ques/line whatsoever. We knew this was one of the smaller ships but also had read that this was good in terms of not have to wait in lines etc. At Check-in we received our Sea-pass card which is also you drink package card. I would recommend the delux alcohol package even if you want 2-3 alcoholic drinks a day (this combined with the inclusion of soft drinks plus coffees will certainly be good value). Onboard the cabin was small but we knew it would be and to be fair we only used it to sleep and shower as we were up and about for the rest of the cruise. The same can be said for the gym, it is very small but again, there were no lines so no wait for any of the equipment. I also used the running track on deck 5 most morning and there was a great atmosphere/camaraderie on the track every morning as faces became familiar! We had booked excursions through RC (We looked at booking 3rd parts as we both travel a lot) but it wasn't much more expensive booking through RC and your covered if anything goes wrong. We booked Key West Bike Tour, Cozumel Sailing on Catamaran (including snorkeling), Belieze Bus tour and CocoCay 1/2 day pass for the water-park - all excellent tours and I would recommend each and every one of them. Having reviewed Costa Maya online (and confirmed with a 60min walk around) there inst a whole lot there (for us anyway) so we stayed on the ship and enjoyed rock-climbing wall, gym, haircut etc. The at-sea days were excellent and the staff work so well to create a holiday atmosphere. The shows were good in the theater, we're not into dance so on those evening we just watched a movie or enjoyed a late dinner. The food was excellent but I see were some of the comments mean in regard to the Windjammer. Great for breakfast but lunch can be a bit repetitive. No complaints about dinner though as staff were fantastic as was the food (although don't be in any rush, but we were never in a rush and enjoyed the dinner/atmosphere). We didn't smell the odors that people mentioned apart from the last day (where we were checking out - so I guess they now have some system where they clean the septic system on the check-out day. But certainly have no issues throughout the cruise. Some comments (they are more comments that criticism as we had a wonderful cruise): - It would be good to have a better que system for slides in COCOCAY, some of the slides had a line that took 90mins and it seemed like they could let people through the slides slightly faster as well as staff changes at the slides could have been done quicker. - Costa Maya is a waste of time, its a fake tourist trap. terminal was built as a fake village where all prices are highly inflated. We looked at hiring bikes to go to the real village but even this bike rental was extortionate. Also the swim with dolphins is a disgrace in Costa Maya and RC should actually do something about this an request that this is ended at the terminal (there are maybe 8 dolphins in a tiny pool and thats it as there are shops one side and a concrete wall the other and its cruel and horrible to watch). - The wait at the bar for a drink was sometimes a bit long, which was frustrating at times when it was really warm out - Self check-out was the only line we encountered and for no reason apparently, I couldn't not see how it took so long as the line winded around the theater etc. This could be seeded up easily.

Honeymoon

Empress of the Seas Cruise Review by diarmuidhere

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We booked this cruise as part 1 of our honeymoon (then onto Cancun after) as it originally went to Cuba. Although Cuba was then off the cards (and beyond the control of Royal Caribbean) we still went ahead with the cruise. RC we're very good and put 50% of cruise fare into on on-board credit for the cruise. This was our first time cruising and it certainly wont be our last. We had a great experience and I would go with RC again in a heartbeat!

Check-in was very smooth, we arrived early and just walked through with no ques/line whatsoever. We knew this was one of the smaller ships but also had read that this was good in terms of not have to wait in lines etc. At Check-in we received our Sea-pass card which is also you drink package card. I would recommend the delux alcohol package even if you want 2-3 alcoholic drinks a day (this combined with the inclusion of soft drinks plus coffees will certainly be good value).

Onboard the cabin was small but we knew it would be and to be fair we only used it to sleep and shower as we were up and about for the rest of the cruise. The same can be said for the gym, it is very small but again, there were no lines so no wait for any of the equipment. I also used the running track on deck 5 most morning and there was a great atmosphere/camaraderie on the track every morning as faces became familiar!

We had booked excursions through RC (We looked at booking 3rd parts as we both travel a lot) but it wasn't much more expensive booking through RC and your covered if anything goes wrong. We booked Key West Bike Tour, Cozumel Sailing on Catamaran (including snorkeling), Belieze Bus tour and CocoCay 1/2 day pass for the water-park - all excellent tours and I would recommend each and every one of them. Having reviewed Costa Maya online (and confirmed with a 60min walk around) there inst a whole lot there (for us anyway) so we stayed on the ship and enjoyed rock-climbing wall, gym, haircut etc. The at-sea days were excellent and the staff work so well to create a holiday atmosphere. The shows were good in the theater, we're not into dance so on those evening we just watched a movie or enjoyed a late dinner.

The food was excellent but I see were some of the comments mean in regard to the Windjammer. Great for breakfast but lunch can be a bit repetitive. No complaints about dinner though as staff were fantastic as was the food (although don't be in any rush, but we were never in a rush and enjoyed the dinner/atmosphere).

We didn't smell the odors that people mentioned apart from the last day (where we were checking out - so I guess they now have some system where they clean the septic system on the check-out day. But certainly have no issues throughout the cruise.

Some comments (they are more comments that criticism as we had a wonderful cruise):

- It would be good to have a better que system for slides in COCOCAY, some of the slides had a line that took 90mins and it seemed like they could let people through the slides slightly faster as well as staff changes at the slides could have been done quicker.

- Costa Maya is a waste of time, its a fake tourist trap. terminal was built as a fake village where all prices are highly inflated. We looked at hiring bikes to go to the real village but even this bike rental was extortionate. Also the swim with dolphins is a disgrace in Costa Maya and RC should actually do something about this an request that this is ended at the terminal (there are maybe 8 dolphins in a tiny pool and thats it as there are shops one side and a concrete wall the other and its cruel and horrible to watch).

- The wait at the bar for a drink was sometimes a bit long, which was frustrating at times when it was really warm out

- Self check-out was the only line we encountered and for no reason apparently, I couldn't not see how it took so long as the line winded around the theater etc. This could be seeded up easily.
diarmuidhere’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom
Cabin 2V 3207
We knew what to expect with it being a small cabin but used it as a base to sleep, shower and store our clothes etc. I wouldnt let the small cabins put you off cruising on this ship.
Deck 4 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    My wife thought Belieze was the best destination on our tour (I think Cozumel was) great country with fantastically welcoming people.
    View All 81 City Tour Reviews
  • Costa Maya
    Worst port. Total rip off with nothing to do. Stay on the ship if possible. Cruise companies should boycott this port until the swim with dolphin people are removed as its cruel and the tanks the dolphins are kept in are inhumane.
    View All 2,524 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Catamaran tour
    My favorite stop. We went on the catamaran including snorkeling and private beach stop - this was my favorite activity of the entire cruise. The waters are so clear!
    View All 124 Catamaran tour Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    My favorite stop. We went on the catamaran including snorkeling and private beach stop - this was my favorite activity of the entire cruise. The waters are so clear!
    View All 427 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Bicycle Tour
    Great way to tour Key West as its completely flat and so hot that the breeze on the bike was much appreciated!
    View All 25 Bicycle Tour Reviews
  • Aqua Park
    This is a paradise! We spent the morning walking the island, swimming and sunbathing. Then got lunch and went on 1/2 day to the Aqua Park. There could be better que management on the slides but all-in-all great location.
    View All 45 Aqua Park Reviews