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Embarked Miami - we spent 2 nights there, one them a full day and night to explore - that was good and I enjoyed Miami for the day / evening and I think this was maybe enough time too. We stayed in the Hotel of South Beach and the food there was good. Overall, very nice. Embarkation was pretty easy and I don't recall any issues at all. I was a little concerned as I’d read a fair number of bad reviews. To some extent I needn’t have worried, but it did also have some negatives as well. So, for those that might be interested I thought I’d just share my own personal opinion. Pros: for me, was that regardless of the size of the ship, the areas I was most interested in (eg the bars / public areas etc) was mainly the same as on a bigger ship, albeit less of them and less busy. There are nice sitting and quiet areas. The waiters and service staff are superb. The main deck has lots of shaded areas which is great if like me you need shade. Overall it’s a good ship with lots going for it. MDR was lovely and I enjoyed the food and service. Shops: Only a couple but some little bargains to be found on the rails if you suddenly realise you forgot your beach cover. Excursions: $85 for a snorkeling trip to Star fish island, Belize - was a great day over all. Cons: There was a few negatives for me. The first was the low temperature of many public areas. I was perishing in the Royal Theatre for example. Many women had wraps and even jumpers on. I’ve been cold a LOT and I’m from UK too so am used to a colder climate yet I found this uncomfortable. My second issue was much of the food in Windjammer was barely warm. Also on Buffet area: The washy washy guy annoyed me and there was no let up - not being able to go into the dining room without being accosted by someone singing washy washy and prancing around eventually gets tiresome - some love it.. but I hated it. Ignoring it made me feel rude... I don't like feeling like that but less in your face might be nice. Theme night entertainment team - terrible. The theme nights 100% orchestrated - eg on the Caribbean night the dancing was ALL follow the leader style dancing in lines copying the staff... not just some of the night, the whole time! Now, the following night was 70’s night in Viking and being a 70’s teen myself looked forward to it. However, this was the same with the young team doing current day line style dancing the entire time. I’d have loved a proper 70’s freestyle / do what you want dance floor. I stayed the entire evening and this concluded with no 70’s music which was mainly rap and suchlike. So, the entertainment team, including the boss, need a few tips of how to ensure the paying customers actually have a nice time - because they sure as heck don't know. Dress code: In addition to the above the formal night was basically none existent which is a personal choice I know. I like them and on the Indy earlier this year (UK/Italy) the ship was strewn with tuxedos and suits. This time I saw not one. This may be usual on Caribbean cruises from Miami so I’m not sure why and it’s only a personal thing but seeing people walking out of the dining room in flip flops and tees was unexpected for me. I think formal should mean that in the dining room at least - here, it didn't. Spa / Hair etc: We went one visit - I was happy... my sister had to come back and rewashed and restyled her hair because they 'finished' it with 'oil' - Now, bear in mind she has straight reasonably thin to medium thickness hair and was having it curly - so how on earth do you finish that with an oil?? She didn't complain - I thought she should... anyway, that was yet another let down... although, it was just one of those things and not necessarily a reflection of the usual service there perhaps. But at $93 it wasn't a cheap experience for nothing, for her! So there are definitely pros and cons but for your average middle age to older couple wanting a smaller ship this might be a good choice. I’ve done it now and I’m glad I did but I wouldn’t return. We originally booked for Cuba and the itinerary changed. All the stops were lovely though. Oh, I remember some have mentioned the sewer smell and it definitely does exist on some decks. Overall a nice cruise as far as the staff and the ship stand. However, it did leave me a little wanting... I think 3 stars is fair.

I won't return, but was okay

Empress of the Seas Cruise Review by Faye G

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom
Embarked Miami - we spent 2 nights there, one them a full day and night to explore - that was good and I enjoyed Miami for the day / evening and I think this was maybe enough time too. We stayed in the Hotel of South Beach and the food there was good. Overall, very nice. Embarkation was pretty easy and I don't recall any issues at all.

I was a little concerned as I’d read a fair number of bad reviews. To some extent I needn’t have worried, but it did also have some negatives as well. So, for those that might be interested I thought I’d just share my own personal opinion.

Pros: for me, was that regardless of the size of the ship, the areas I was most interested in (eg the bars / public areas etc) was mainly the same as on a bigger ship, albeit less of them and less busy. There are nice sitting and quiet areas. The waiters and service staff are superb.

The main deck has lots of shaded areas which is great if like me you need shade. Overall it’s a good ship with lots going for it.

MDR was lovely and I enjoyed the food and service.

Shops: Only a couple but some little bargains to be found on the rails if you suddenly realise you forgot your beach cover.

Excursions: $85 for a snorkeling trip to Star fish island, Belize - was a great day over all.

Cons: There was a few negatives for me.

The first was the low temperature of many public areas. I was perishing in the Royal Theatre for example. Many women had wraps and even jumpers on. I’ve been cold a LOT and I’m from UK too so am used to a colder climate yet I found this uncomfortable.

My second issue was much of the food in Windjammer was barely warm. Also on Buffet area: The washy washy guy annoyed me and there was no let up - not being able to go into the dining room without being accosted by someone singing washy washy and prancing around eventually gets tiresome - some love it.. but I hated it. Ignoring it made me feel rude... I don't like feeling like that but less in your face might be nice.

Theme night entertainment team - terrible. The theme nights 100% orchestrated - eg on the Caribbean night the dancing was ALL follow the leader style dancing in lines copying the staff... not just some of the night, the whole time! Now, the following night was 70’s night in Viking and being a 70’s teen myself looked forward to it. However, this was the same with the young team doing current day line style dancing the entire time. I’d have loved a proper 70’s freestyle / do what you want dance floor. I stayed the entire evening and this concluded with no 70’s music which was mainly rap and suchlike. So, the entertainment team, including the boss, need a few tips of how to ensure the paying customers actually have a nice time - because they sure as heck don't know.

Dress code: In addition to the above the formal night was basically none existent which is a personal choice I know. I like them and on the Indy earlier this year (UK/Italy) the ship was strewn with tuxedos and suits. This time I saw not one. This may be usual on Caribbean cruises from Miami so I’m not sure why and it’s only a personal thing but seeing people walking out of the dining room in flip flops and tees was unexpected for me. I think formal should mean that in the dining room at least - here, it didn't.

Spa / Hair etc: We went one visit - I was happy... my sister had to come back and rewashed and restyled her hair because they 'finished' it with 'oil' - Now, bear in mind she has straight reasonably thin to medium thickness hair and was having it curly - so how on earth do you finish that with an oil?? She didn't complain - I thought she should... anyway, that was yet another let down... although, it was just one of those things and not necessarily a reflection of the usual service there perhaps. But at $93 it wasn't a cheap experience for nothing, for her!

So there are definitely pros and cons but for your average middle age to older couple wanting a smaller ship this might be a good choice. I’ve done it now and I’m glad I did but I wouldn’t return.

We originally booked for Cuba and the itinerary changed. All the stops were lovely though.

Oh, I remember some have mentioned the sewer smell and it definitely does exist on some decks.

Overall a nice cruise as far as the staff and the ship stand. However, it did leave me a little wanting... I think 3 stars is fair.
Faye G’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom
Cabin 4V
Basic, simple and my first time on an inside cabin and it was all a bit too enclosed and cave-like for my liking.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews