I'm on Empress now as well (we just docked in Havana) and concur with everything smc99 said. I talked to the hotel manager last night who told me that they lifted the entire top deck off and rebuilt it, but he did say that much of the work was done down in the crew area and wasn't obvious to the passengers.
He also said that he thought that Empress was rushed out to sea too early after drydock, but also said that's what happened during the previous refurb as well, so there are a lot of loose ends left from that one as well. He lamented the fact that after all this time, RCL can't seem to get their drydock procedures together. Said the same happened to other ships recently, such as Navigator.
That said, things are slowly but surely getting better each day as the crews make progress. I'm having a good time regardless of how it goes.