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I have been seeing old mixed reviews, and not really any recent reviews regarding Empress of the Seas and it's getting me nervous.

 

We've been on several cruises but chose Empress because it's sailing to Cuba. We know it is THE smallest of RCCL and I thought I was fine. But I keep seeing "old, dirty, stinky.....etc" I mean, we aren't going to cancel because I think if you look for the bad in things, you will find them. I'm just wondering if there are ANY recent reviews and pictures for this ship?

 

 

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We sailed on her last March and I thought it was a really nice ship.

 

Some want more amenities, but I had a blast on the tiny little ship..it was one of the best cruises we’ve taken..

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It is the smallest in the fleet.  Having said that it doesn't feel like it when you are on board.

 

It doesn't have a skating rink, or zip lines, or bumper cars, or a large gym, or multiple pools, or ...  

 

With the right expectations you will have a wonderful cruise on her.

 

Here is a review from July 2018

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Great little ship.  She is one of my favorites in RCL fleet.

 

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I sailed on her last year, just before she went to Cuba for the first time, and I thought that is was a "little ship with a big heart".  And this really was true, not a lot of bells and whistles but an extremely friendly crew, one of the best I have ever seen.  There was an issue with the Casino being a bit too hot but other than that it was really nice, if small ship.  

 

I would not be concerned in the least, but expect a very small cabin.

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Posted (edited)

We did Cuba on her and it was wonderful. The service was very good, food great and it was nice getting from one end of the ship to another in only a few minutes!!!   One thing I noticed they didn't have was a steam room after a workout but that wasn't a deal breaker for me.  You will not be disappointed.    Enjoy.

Edited by Surfguyxxx

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Sailed Empress to Cuba and fell in love with her.  She is small, warm and friendly.  Would sail her again in  a heart beat.

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I think that as long as you're aware of the fact that it's a smaller ship without all the fancy bells and whistles, you'll be fine.  

Some people go on Freedom or Oasis class with a gazillion entertainment and eating options and almost every room has a balcony, then are disappointed when they go on Empress where there aren't all those amenities.  

Since you already know it's small and old-fashioned, you won't be in for a huge culture shock when you get there and find out it doesn't have a Promenade and Central Park and skating rink and zipline, etc.

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I was on Empress before her time with Pullmantur, so I'm not sure how relevant my experience is, but I really enjoyed the experience.  It was the best service I'd ever had on an RCI ship.

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I think you can delete " dirty, stinky" from your views. I have never encountered a dirty (or stinky) RCL ship.

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11 hours ago, bobert said:

There was an issue with the Casino being a bit too hot but other than that it was really nice, if small ship.  

 

 

The casino being hot may actually be good for my wallet, as I will not stay in one place if I cannot stay cool.  I tried to get on the Empress for my June 1st sailing but it was sold out quick, and I think that was helped by the Summer Sizzle offer. I really wanted to see the Empress, but that was the only date I could make work. Oh well. 

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I loved the Empress.  Think of her more of a boutique ship than a mega ship.  The key here is rarely crowds for anything.  With 1/4 the people onboard, its a very friendly ship for the most part with cruisers and crew.  Food is subjective, but service was great.  I think it is the perfect size for a 5 night trip!

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We were on the 8-night Cuba itinerary on Empress in March.  She is showing her age, and there was a lot of maintenance and painting going on just about every day. But "stinky and dirty"?  Absolutely not. 

Yes, the cabins are tiny. (We've been spoiled by the balcony cabins on other ships) But there was certainly NOTHING that would warrant not cruising on her!  The staff and crew were great, the food was good. Even the entertainment was pretty good.  

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Sailed March of this year, not old & stinky, just came out of dry dock. LOTS of new carpet in the main public areas and more was going in. We loved it. Only two complaints,

  My Time Dining was awful. We had reservations and it was a nightmare. Had to wait for tables up against the wall where people were going in & out of the dining room. Second night they asked us to stand against the wall at first we did then said no thank you move us to late seating which they did. Walked downstairs, seated immediately and LOVED the service the rest of the cruise. Food is subjective but gotta say we had some of the best food we have had on a Royal cruise in a while.

  Our cruise embarked at one terminal & disembarked at another. My parents parked and the parking garage where we left is on the other side of Dodge island. Also they refused entry of my carryon do to miscommunication to the Royal staff. I was their early then the staff couldn't keep people from walking through the doors with their carryon. Note my bag that they refused fits under the seat of an airplane.

  Our favorite place to hang was the Schooner. Did you realize the Empress has the larger Schooner in the entire Royal fleet. It made for a nice place to hang out even when we were not doing trivia or any of the other games being played. Normally it would be disruptive but you can sit far enough away it's very nice.

  I would take another Empress cruise in a heartbeat if the cabins themselves weren't so expensive. 😞

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

 

 

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THANK YOU to everyone! I do feel better now :)

 

Question though....did you find it at all odd that the Viking Crown and the gym are basically in the same room? My kids weren't able to experience the Viking Crown Lounge on Oasis because we weren't in a suite and I was hoping to show them this time (we LOVE going there).

 

21 hours ago, CruisinDawn said:

Our favorite place to hang was the Schooner. Did you realize the Empress has the larger Schooner in the entire Royal fleet. It made for a nice place to hang out even when we were not doing trivia or any of the other games being played. Normally it would be disruptive but you can sit far enough away it's very nice.

  

BonVoyage

Dawna

 

Yes, we LOVE the Schooner bar and I am really happy to hear this 😊

 

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I just looked at deck plans and don't see them in the same room (?).

I was on the Empress on the first overnight to Cuba on 2017, but I never even went to the VCL since they did not have a Diamond + happy hour at that time . Not sure if they do now.

 

We had 3 drinks on our card, and used them on the back porch of Bolero's until the smokers took it over. 

 

 I have to say, tho, if you and your kids are going with Oasis comparisons in mind, you will 100% be disappointed. Not my photo, not taking credit, but I think it's a good one.  Oasis v. Empress. 

 

image.png.f4bf1d8dcc2adecbbce523d74c501044.png

 

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54 minutes ago, CruisingLover said:

Question though....did you find it at all odd that the Viking Crown and the gym are basically in the same room? My kids weren't able to experience the Viking Crown Lounge on Oasis because we weren't in a suite and I was hoping to show them this time (we LOVE going there).

 

 

I have to believe that Empress did not originally have a gym and when they did the extensive dry dock they had to find someplace to put some gym equipment for the traveller of today.   We sailed on Empress and enjoyed our cruise, but the gym was not the most enjoyable of it.....staff was terrific and the entertainment team made up for what the ship lacked that her big sisters have.  Would we do it again....sure, if the right circumstance came up.    The other small ship we love is Majesty and at least she has a separate gym, which is nice.

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2 hours ago, EatonDoolittle said:

 

We had 3 drinks on our card, and used them on the back porch of Bolero's until the smokers took it over. 

 

When we sailed on Empress on embarkation evening they had a D, D+ and Pinnacle sailaway get together on the back deck behind Bolero's.....it was great fun....met others cruisers and some of the senior staff that night and it set the tone for the rest of the sailing.....fun and friendly.

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I wouldn't sail on that ship, even if it was free.  

 

But since you have not been on very many cruises you probably won't know much of a difference...

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1 hour ago, matj2000 said:

I wouldn't sail on that ship, even if it was free.  

 

But since you have not been on very many cruises you probably won't know much of a difference...

This is kinda worthless.  Yes we are entitled to our own opinions, but you have not sailed on her so how can you judge.  To the OP, if you go with an open mind, you will have a blast.  You will get to know the crew better, your fellow passengers, no lines for anything, extremely easy to navigate, and great ocean views from most every venue.  Rooms are tiny, the gym is really odd.  But the Boleros is an absolute blast, makes up for the Viking Lounge. 

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On 5/2/2019 at 10:55 AM, twangster said:

It is the smallest in the fleet.  Having said that it doesn't feel like it when you are on board.

 

It doesn't have a skating rink, or zip lines, or bumper cars, or a large gym, or multiple pools, or ...  

 

With the right expectations you will have a wonderful cruise on her.

 

Here is a review from July 2018

Your review was very informative, thank you! I was curious about Empress and opened the thread.  I am so glad I found your review. I was able to learn about Empress and Cuba.

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52 minutes ago, luv2sailAgain said:

Your review was very informative, thank you! I was curious about Empress and opened the thread.  I am so glad I found your review. I was able to learn about Empress and Cuba.

 

Glad it helped.  Looking back brought back a lot of good memories.  Sure Empress is small and doesn't have the whiz bang stuff that new or AMPED ships have but if you understand that you can have a wonderful 'classic' cruise experience. 

 

Cabins are small though but she doesn't currently do long itineraries so that isn't a big deal as long as you know it when booking.  I'd sail her again.  

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25 minutes ago, twangster said:

 

 .........................................

Cabins are small though but she doesn't currently do long itineraries so that isn't a big deal as long as you know it when booking.  I'd sail her again.  

 

We did a TA on Vision in an Inside, deck 3, smaller than that ?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, pspercy said:

We did a TA on Vision in an Inside, deck 3, smaller than that ?

 

Yes.  By around 20-30 sq. ft depending on interior cabin.

 

Some of the smallest cabins in the fleet.

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Posted (edited)

Wow!

The TV was tiny too.

It was however one of our best ever trips 🙂

Edited by pspercy

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