I had never been on a cruise before and a friend of mine higher recommended the Empress of the Sea. I was going to a wedding in Miami so decided to make a trip out of it and go on a 5 day cruise beforehand. The Empress of the Sea is a ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before and a friend of mine higher recommended the Empress of the Sea. I was going to a wedding in Miami so decided to make a trip out of it and go on a 5 day cruise beforehand. The Empress of the Sea is a small cruise ship so if you hit bad weather - prepare to rock/roll and be sea sick! We had bad weather for ALL 5 days. The boat rocked so much it was impossible to sleep and everyone was sea sick - even the staff! I attempted to get a massage to relieve my massive headache due to the rocking and the masseuse had to leave in the middle of my treatment to throw up. Everyone was throwing up. Crew were hosing down the decks due to all of the vomit. Staff was down due to being sea sick so room service was 30 minutes late. I had to get room service 2 days because I was too sick to leave my cabin. All people I spoke with said it was the WORST cruise they had ever been on. I met a couple when I was well enough to venture out and they mentioned it was their 30th cruise. They said it was so bad it made them never want to cruise again! The one good day was our stop on Cozumel. It was sunny and most importantly we had land. I had a great time in Cozumel and the people were lovely. I was dreading getting back on board and sure enough it started to rock and roll again leading everyone to be miserable and sea sick. Our only hope was we were going to Costa Maya the next day. Around 6 AM the Captain came on saying we would NOT be going to Costa Maya due to the waves and instead of going to another port we would spend 48 hours at sea. Everyone was so upset that we were not going to another nearby port or going back to Miami early. Everyone said they would rather get back to Miami one day earlier vs. spending 48 hours at sea being sick on a rocking boat. There was also nothing to do. The pool was drained due to the waves, rock climbing wall was down and no one in our group wanted to drink because we felt so sick. We are in our 30's so enjoy adventure/fun. The only activities were Bingo, Trivia the casino and Karaoke. It was beyond awful. It was supposed to be a fun trip with my husband, sister and brother in law. It was our first cruise for all of us and Royal Caribbean did nothing to make up for the bad experience. I would never go on "vacation" on this boat again. Read Less
Chose to travel on Royal Caribbean for the first time having heard how much better they were compared to Carnival which is the line we have used for many years. The plus side for them was on the following areas, embarkation, debarkation, ... Read More
Chose to travel on Royal Caribbean for the first time having heard how much better they were compared to Carnival which is the line we have used for many years. The plus side for them was on the following areas, embarkation, debarkation, buffet, shows.
Getting in and out of the ship was the fastest we have ever experience, even with the VIP treatment at Carnival. They had real Broadway type shows with excellent performers two nights and a funny comedian on another. For the past few years Carnival shows have been amateur at best and done by the passengers the rest of the time.
As soon as you board the ship you can tell the quality of construction and amenities all throughout. As usual as soon as we boarded we headed to the Lido deck to check their buffet area, of course since there were not too many passengers yet, there were plenty of empty areas to choose from to sit and enjoy lunch. Here we saw a big difference between them and Carnival, there were no one or two long food areas but several smaller "islands" for food service, with this system we never had to stand in line during the entire trip.Quite different with Carnival's loooong lines most of the time.
The first night we chose to try the main restaurant, earlier we had talked with the maitre'd and requested a table for two or three couples since we enjoy talking to other passengers during dinning, he had a hard time matching the computer table numbers with the actual numbers on the tables nearby, he finally gave us a number for that evening. When we arrived that night we were escorted to the back of the restaurant to a table for 10. On top of that the other 8 people were an entire family, so needless to say, we hardly had a word with them since they were having a grand time.
Service took forever, the food was not great and we left before dessert came.
The other three nights we enjoyed the Windjammer with no problems. The major problems there were they had just a couple of tables for two so even if we had no trouble getting to the food, we had trouble getting a spot with no one on it.
Carnival's pizza is not the best but ran circles around the one they were serving there, they also had ONE soft ice cream machine but on the plus side they provided many different toppings to put on it.
We had an inside cabin which was clean and with sufficient storage for two people's "stuff" The bathroom did not have an outlet and as like Carnival's,they provided one bar of soap (gone are the days of a welcome basket there) Their mattresses NEED to be replaced, just like Canival's, you can tell there has been many overweight passengers sleeping on them.
On the plus side, they DID have a refrigerator which was welcomed. Our steward (never knew his name) was hardly seen and never said a word or introduced himself unlike all the other stewards we ever had. On the Carnival ships there are always workers on the isles who always say something to you when you pass them by, on this ship you hardly passed any of them and when you did, they never said a word (actually one said "good morning" once) They were obviously recruited from a different part of the world.
One BIG disappointment were their whirlpools/hot tubs, they had THREE small ones for 3 people each for a thousand passenger ship. Never got to use our bathing suits.
Their "swimming" pools were no better
We did enjoyed their small movie theater on deck 6 where they showed new releases.
Their treadmills had no monitors so there was nothing to watch on them and the rest of the gym was unimpressive.
All in all, it was a good voyage which we enjoyed, but will stick with Carnival. Read Less