Royal Caribbean's Nordic Empress Gets Overhaul & New Identity

February 3, 2004
Royal Caribbean's Nordic Empress, which at 14 years (young) is one of the line's most venerable vessels (only Sovereign of the Seas is older), will get a Monarch of the Seas-style overhaul. The renovation of the ship, launched in 1990, will include the addition of Portofino, a new alternative restaurant, a Latte-tudes coffee bar, and an upgraded main dining room and Windjammer Cafe. Other improvements include an expanded ShipShape spa/workout facility and refurbishment of staterooms (some, like the royal suite and "superior" oceanview staterooms will get all new furnishings while others will get more modest upgrades).
In an effort to bring the 48,563-ton, 1,600-passenger Nordic Empress more in line with the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet, the overhaul will include the addition of some now-traditional favorites. The Latin-themed Bolero's will replace High Society and the Schooner Bar will take over from the Carousel Bar.
Also in keeping with Royal Caribbean-consistency: Nordic Empress will get a new name. Beginning in May, when the ship re-launches, it will be known as "Empress of the Seas."
In what amounts to a lot of firsts for the ship this year, Empress of the Seas gets a new twist on its usual summer itinerary assignment. The ship, which will still offer Bermuda voyages, will sail out of the New York area -- specifically Royal Caribbean's new Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. -- offering six- and eight-night itineraries.