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Empress B2B - 14 Nights on the Biggest Little Ship


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Another great show in the theater tonight.  The Royal Caribbean production Bailamos featuring the Empress singers and dancers plus live music from the Empress Orchestra.

 

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Rock the Room game show in the Centrum.

 

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Stepping out from the Centrum onto deck 6 outside I discovered a sunset.  I've been pretty fortunate with sunsets and sunrises on these two cruises.

 

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The Celebrity Equinox sailing away into the sunset.

 

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A Celebrity silhouette of Equinox.

 

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Cheers!

 

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Did I mention Empress offers great views of the sea?

 

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The bartenders rotate bars every two weeks.  Nicholae took great care of me at the Schooner Bar last week, now he's posted to the pool bar.  

 

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Chill mode enabled.

 

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The guests on this cruise have been pretty quick to find the late night Windjammer spread.  At 10:30pm when it opened there was a line not unlike a lunch time crowd.  With the doors open the line stretches from the food past the hand washing stations and into the elevator lobby.


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It's pretty busy in here.  Hopefully Royal can see the demand here on Empress and expand beyond the basic Burgers and Hot Dogs offered on some ships.  The more complete Windjammer selections here on Empress have been pretty popular.

 

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The late night pool parties continue on this cruise. 

 

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Thank you for all the photos and observations, hope you keep them coming. This is the kind of on-board atmosphere I had in mind when I started researching cruising, after I go on Rhapsody next April I hope Empress will be an option. Good to see it suits you and others too. 

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22 hours ago, twangster said:

Miami Sail Away

 

The Crown and Anchor Loyalty Ambassador hosts a Diamond and up sail away behind Boleros on deck 6 outside.  Since Empress doesn't have a Diamond Lounge this event is offered.

Louis our LA is there to greet us.

 

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It's a great covered location to take in the sail away from.

Several officers drop by to greet guests.  This included the Hotel Director, Revenue Manager, Marketing Manager and a few others I forget to note their positions.

How long does the D and above sail away party last? 

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15 minutes ago, TwizzlersAddict said:

How long does the D and above sail away party last? 

 

4pm to 5pm

 

Diamond happy hours starts at 5pm to 8:30pm.

 

So far I've used a maximum of 2 drink coupons each night of this sailing but have had more drinks than that.  Tipping works wonders.

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18 minutes ago, twangster said:

 

4pm to 5pm

 

Diamond happy hours starts at 5pm to 8:30pm.

 

So far I've used a maximum of 2 drink coupons each night of this sailing but have had more drinks than that.  Tipping works wonders.

 Thanks,  the second half of my B2B will move me to Diamond. 

Edited by TwizzlersAddict
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13 hours ago, John&LaLa said:

 

Not everyone dresses up. You'll be fine.

You might ask Louis if they have any jackets you could borrow. MJ used to keep some at Guest Services office.

 

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Food was good

 

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Wine was good

 

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Soup was a little different 

 

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Guest Services Manager was very personable,  and Julie is a riot.

 

Dessert

 

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One thing was odd, we didnt get to keep the menus, they were running low on covers. So make sure you get a picture of it. 

 

It seems to me that I've seen these people someplace before 

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Loving this review since I am sailing Empress in just over a month after a nice time on Symphony in May. There are not many reviews on Empress, let alone so detailed and your photos are GORGEOUS. 

 

While I liked Symphony just fine, I do enjoy being on the smaller ships and feeling like I am out at sea rather than in a city.  I thought I read that Empress does not have a formal night but I see you referenced formal night.  I know not everyone dresses for it but there is a formal night (my sailing is an 8 night)?

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2 hours ago, Christinampl said:

I thought I read that Empress does not have a formal night but I see you referenced formal night.  I know not everyone dresses for it but there is a formal night (my sailing is an 8 night)?

 

Yes on formal nights.  Listed in the Cruise Compass as formal night but the photographers and invite to the Top Tier event use the "Dress to Impress" slogan.

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On 7/27/2019 at 11:19 AM, twangster said:

Gotta say it...  that feeling you get when you do a back to back.

 

Suckers...

 

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LOL! That gray suitcase is mine. I was in this sailing on JS 9626. 

 

Truly loved the Empress. I hope she sticks around because I want to sail on her again. I adored the small ship feeling and the fact that it never felt crowded. Lots of open spaces and stunning views.

 

Lucky you for doing a back to back on her! 

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Day 9 - Sea Day

 

Another beautiful sunrise but enough sun pictures.  Flat seas.

 

I bought Voom this morning saving $40 from day 1.

 

Voom has been sporadic today.

 

Pretty good at first 

 

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Then it completely went out for a few minutes.  Then it came back but slower.

 

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It's like we switched to a different satellite or something.  

 

Our position this morning.

 

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All day Voom has been hit and miss.  Normal at times, then gone.  It wasn't like this on the last cruise in the same position.

 

Basic texting has worked okay and at times I was able to sneak a phone call in here and there then at times those failed miserably.

 

Can't wait until we reach land tomorrow for some super fast Mexican internet.  If this keeps up I'll be tethering my laptop to my phone while in port.

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2 minutes ago, twangster said:

All day Voom has been hit and miss.  Normal at times, then gone.  It wasn't like this on the last cruise in the same position.

This is why it's really hard to give an objective answer when the invariable question of "how's internet on x ship" comes up.

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2 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

This is why it's really hard to give an objective answer when the invariable question of "how's internet on x ship" comes up.

 

For sure.  This is a little different though.  Sometimes Voom is just slow.  Right now it's completely going out for 30 to 45 seconds, then coming back strong for 5 or 8 minutes, then completely failing again.

 

Normally when it's not as good as other times it's like that for a while, even days.  This is more good, gone, good, gone several times an hour.

 

Time to reboot something.

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1 minute ago, Biker19 said:

When asked about VOOM, most would just describe that as" Internet sucks on Empress" and leave it at that.

 

Oh no sir, it's the fastest internet at sea.  It says so right here on the brochure in my cabin.

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Just now, runtzmom said:

Do you know if the coffee cards are good for multiple sailings?  Doing a B2B, so wanted to use on both cruises.

 

 

The crew claims they are, but I would confirm onboard prior to purchase.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

 

For sure.  This is a little different though.  Sometimes Voom is just slow.  Right now it's completely going out for 30 to 45 seconds, then coming back strong for 5 or 8 minutes, then completely failing again.

 

Normally when it's not as good as other times it's like that for a while, even days.  This is more good, gone, good, gone several times an hour.

 

Time to reboot something.

 

The dead times is what prevented me from doing a sail along thread. Speeds looked adequate, but then nothing would happen and it timed out

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1 hour ago, runtzmom said:

Do you know if the coffee cards are good for multiple sailings?  Doing a B2B, so wanted to use on both cruises.

 

 

I asked in Boleros at the Cafe.  First he said yes but then said let me check.  He went to check with someone and confirmed it can be used across a B2B.  However like all things that could change as management changes over time.  It was $31 on board. 

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Stray observation...

 

I noted one of my Crown and Anchor wines had a corkage sticker applied to it.  This would be to indicate that this bottle would not have the corkage fee applied should I bring it to the dining room.  The same wine from last cruise did not have this sticker.

 

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Crown and Anchor Top Tier Event in Boleros at 5pm.

 

The Empress orchestra played while we waited for the event to begin followed by some dancing by the championship Ballroom couple Annamaria and Alessio.

 

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The Captain spoke and among other things informed us there were 501 Crown and Anchor members on this sailing.

 

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The management team was presented and each did a brief introduction.

 

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Crown and Anchor breakdown:

 

330 Gold, 76 Platinum, 23 Emerald, 53 Diamond, 17 Diamond Plus, 2 Pinnacle.

 

With a total guest count of 1,799 this sailing that means there are 1,298 new to Royal cruisers on board.

 

Finally one of the main theater cast sang while members of the orchestra played.

 

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Returning from the last cruise was the comedian and hypnotist John Moyer in the main theater.  More guests briefly lost their belly buttons.

 

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Tonight was formal night and the Captain's address took place in the Centrum.

 

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Earlier I mentioned an invitation to the Hotel Director's Table for dinner.  With only two Pinnacles on board I managed to make the cut.

 

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We met the Hotel Director Julie and Guest Services Manager Jorge where we enjoyed a beverage in the lounge by the Schooner Bar.  Shortly after we were led to the Captain's Table in the main dining room.

 

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Our menu for tonight:

 

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The meal was excellent and the conversation with fellow guests, Julie and Jorge was wonderful and engaging.  So much so that I forgot to take any more pictures.

 

Julie and Jorge have a lot of experience and time with Royal Caribbean and it was very interesting to hear their stories from over the years.

 

Jorge is the voice over the PA for many announcements such as "The ship has been cleared by local authorities and you are welcome to go ashore on deck....".  I also caught an announcement back on the day 1 of the 2nd leg that at the time made me go "hmmm".  Jorge will address the crew over the PA before general boarding starts but since I was a consecutive cruiser I caught the announcement.  Since Julie is from the UK Jorge specifically called out the number of UK guests coming on board and made another humorous related comment.  Tonight Jorge explained he does these little off the wall comments to make sure the crew is paying attention and engaged.  It's a long running thing he does every week and the crew will pay attention each week to what little quirky thing he'll throw in this time.  It's all in good fun and a great way to keep the crew happy and engaged. 

 

Julie is the third female Hotel Director in the fleet and she has done an amazing job here on Empress.  Sitting next to her at dinner I asked about her rise to Hotel Director and being in this role as a female.  She is very proud of her accomplishment and clearly has earned it.   It's great to see Royal Caribbean advancing more women into senior positions.

 

After an incredible dessert we were presented with a memento of the occasion. 

 

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Julie and Jorge are both nearing the end of the current contracts with just two more sailings to go, but they'll be coming back.

 

The future of Empress was discussed and there will be an announcement very soon with some new and different itineraries for Empress.  She isn't going anywhere just yet and they are taking advantage of her small size to return to some more interesting destinations that larger ships can't visit.  Out of respect I won't say more but I'll be keeping an eye out for them very soon and I know I'll be booking more cruises on Empress.

 

Wow!  What an amazing evening!  Loyalty does have it's rewards.

 

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6 minutes ago, twangster said:

 

 

The future of Empress was discussed and there will be an announcement very soon with some new and different itineraries for Empress.  She isn't going anywhere just yet and they are taking advantage of her small size to return to some more interesting destinations that larger ships can't visit.  Out of respect I won't say more but I'll be keeping an eye out for them very soon and I know I'll be booking more cruises on Empress.

The new itineraries are already posted on the site. Bermuda and Canada starting in May of 2020 out of Bayonne. Also a 12 night Repo when she returns home to Miami leaving from Quebec. 

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