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shelbyleigh73

Empress of the Seas? Advice.

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Hi! I just booked my first Royal Caribbean Cruise on Mar. 29 , 2020 for my daughter (will be 9), and myself. (single mom, 46). I have cruised 3 times on Carnival (between 1995 and 2004....all three were adult, no kids, girls trips!). My daughter has been on two cruises in the past three years: Disney Magic (4 nights) and Disney Dream (3 nights). We love cruises. My daughter said they were the best vacations EVER!  Disney is the best ever, and I didn't mind one penny I spent. However, I'm not a Disney snob...because I LOVE cruises and vacation in general. So! 

 

I decided to go Royal or Caribbean this time to give my wallet a break and to enjoy a few extra days. This will be a 6 night to KW (my HAPPY PLACE!), Cozumel, and Perfect Day at Coco Cay. I chose it because of the itinerary and price. Every single cruise I have gone on is Bahamas, and I do not want to go to Nassau again! I also love private islands! LOL (Castaway Cay has spoiled me. I really like private islands.)  I also chose inside stateroom because I honestly just need a place to sleep. It's a 3rd deck, mid ship room. 

 

With that said...now I'm freaking out because of some of the reviews I've read. I don't want to be on a stinky boat! I don't mind small. I really don't think I would like one of those monster 4,000 people ships. On the last two Disney trips, I didn't even get in the pool on the boat. (maybe stuck my feet in). All I need is a mai tai or mimosa, my book, and a deck chair while my daughter plays in the pool or is in the kids club. I'll enjoy my pool/beach days on our stops at KW, Cozumel, and Coco Cay. My daughter does like the pool and smaller slides. So while I hate there isn't a smaller slide or aqua duck she can ride with me, those monster slides wouldn't be up her alley anyways! I just enjoy relaxing. I LOVE eating though I only eat at the places included...main dining room, buffet.  I'm not a shopper. I would like to take advantage of a spa service (couldn't do that on Disney. All my money went to the cruise! haha) 

 

So, I guess my main questions are:

1. Is it really stinky?

2. Is it TOO small of a boat? (Again. I think a skating rink on a cruise ship is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard of! LMFAO! But to each their own.) 

2. Is this a good boat for a 9 year old? (she likes to sleep in, watch a movie or two,  isn't a big eater so could care less about the food as long as she gets ice cream daily, has a good kids club and has a pool to get in some)?

3. How is the 9-11 kids club on the Empress?

4. Should I change boats? (the bad reviews are freaking me out!) If so, what would you suggest?

 

Thanks so much! Sorry if I'm rambling! Shelby 

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Would it be possible to post some links to the bad Empress reviews?

 

Also, Empress does not have an ice rink.

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10 minutes ago, shelbyleigh73 said:

. Is this a good boat for a 9 year old?

A little late to be asking this, but you could have done better. I assume that’s a spring break week so she will have other kids to play with. 

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13 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

Would it be possible to post some links to the bad Empress reviews?

 

Also, Empress does not have an ice rink.

Oh, I know it doesn't. I was making fun of the ones that do because I personally think it is silly. 🙂

 

I just googled Empress of the Seas. Some popped up on cruise critic and some other places. I mean there are good reviews too, but when I see a few different people say it's stinky...I worry. 

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15 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

A little late to be asking this, but you could have done better. I assume that’s a spring break week so she will have other kids to play with. 

 

Well, I know it's too late to be asking all the questions seeing as I have booked. But then I can also change it if need be, so it's really not too late. But I have never gone wrong with any cruise I've been on, so I was excited to get a good price. Ahhh to be back in the days before the internet and have people post that a cruise is stinky! 

Edited by shelbyleigh73

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3 minutes ago, shelbyleigh73 said:

But then I can also change it if need be.

Unless you booked a refundable rate, that’ll cost you $200. If you did book refundable I would look for a newer/bigger ship. For yourself Empress would be fine, for a 9 year old a bit less so. 

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9 minutes ago, shelbyleigh73 said:

Oh, I know it doesn't. I was making fun of the ones that do because I personally think it is silly. 🙂...

 

I think you might change your mind if you attended one of their ice shows.

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9 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

 

I think you might change your mind if you attended one of their ice shows.

Ahhhh!!! Now if it's a show, yes, you are right!!!! I just assumed it was ice skating for the cruisers.  We love shows! 🙂

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17 minutes ago, shelbyleigh73 said:

Ahhhh!!! Now if it's a show, yes, you are right!!!! I just assumed it was ice skating for the cruisers.  We love shows! 🙂

 

They do have a few guest skating periods.

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8 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

 

They do have a few guest skating periods.

I'm sure we will have a good time! We'll miss the mouse....LOL...but I'm looking forward to going to a few places where we can splurge on some excursions...like swimming with dolphins or ziplining. I just hope she enjoys the kids club and the boat doesn't stink! haha

 

Edited by shelbyleigh73

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I can't give you specific advice about this particular ship, but we have only been on smaller ships (Brilliance, Radiance, Majesty) with our 10 year old son.  He just loved being on the ship.  He didn't really like the kids' clubs, but he usually found a few new friends to play with in the pool and if we were hanging out at the beach on port days.  He's an only child (i'm assuming yours is too), so he is used to being around adults and just enjoyed hanging out with us.  We played pool, darts, trivia, shows, etc.  We have done many "fancier" land trips to Disney, Hawaii, many Caribbean islands with all the bells and whistles, but he is just happy to be on vacation.  If your daughter is similar to this, she will be just fine.  Enjoy your vacation!

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5 minutes ago, Kelli0927 said:

I can't give you specific advice about this particular ship, but we have only been on smaller ships (Brilliance, Radiance, Majesty) with our 10 year old son.  He just loved being on the ship.  He didn't really like the kids' clubs, but he usually found a few new friends to play with in the pool and if we were hanging out at the beach on port days.  He's an only child (i'm assuming yours is too), so he is used to being around adults and just enjoyed hanging out with us.  We played pool, darts, trivia, shows, etc.  We have done many "fancier" land trips to Disney, Hawaii, many Caribbean islands with all the bells and whistles, but he is just happy to be on vacation.  If your daughter is similar to this, she will be just fine.  Enjoy your vacation!

Yep! She's a pretty good little travel buddy. She doesn't need me to entertain her in the pool and knows good and well mama is going to watch and wave from the pool chair! LOL This girl will play Uno for two hours straight if I would, so we'll be good if she gets "bored" now and then on a sea day (which I highly doubt). We always carry a pack!

 

I'm excited! Cruises are just relaxing vacations to me (probably another reason I don't care about being on the mega ships with eight million things to do!  I'm too lazy for that nonsense! haha)

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Here is a recent Empress Adventure Ocean handout for their kids program.

 

Empress AO 08-10-19 8 Nt Eastern .PDF

 

Stinky?  Not in my experience.

 

Empress offers a classic cruise experience absent of the bells and whistle that the turn of the century brought to cruising.  I actually quite enjoy Empress and have done four cruises on her, three recently.

 

Inside cabins are tiny because that's how ships were made in that era of cruising.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2681739-empress-b2b-14-nights-on-the-biggest-little-ship/

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2686747-empress-8-night-eastern-caribbean-🎵-oops-i-booked-it-again-🎵/

 

She has all the core essentials for a good cruise.  

 

 

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9 minutes ago, twangster said:

Here is a recent Empress Adventure Ocean handout for their kids program.

 

Empress AO 08-10-19 8 Nt Eastern .PDF 395.63 kB · 0 downloads

 

Stinky?  Not in my experience.

 

 

 

 

Good to know!!! (I think I was worried about that more than anything!) 

 

Thank you for posting that hand out. I'm sure she will love it! (especially when she sees that they have GAGA Ball!)

 

 

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I was on the Empress in August.  I booked deck 7 because I heard of the smells and assumed they were from the bottom of the ship and then found out the reports were from MY deck.  Well, I walked up and down that deck MANY times over the days I was on board and never a trace of a smell.  Not a lot of bells and whistles but it sounds like it should fall well in line with your needs with just one caviat, the rooms are small so don't pack a lot of extra stuff.  (OK, I re-read, single mom so not as tight for 2 as it would be for 3).

 

Nice, easy ship to get around and a fantastic crew (if there are no other kids your daughter will have about 400 aunts and uncles) and I think the itinerary will be a great fit for you two.

 

In a fit of enthusiasm while onboard I booked Empress again for Bermuda next summer, but then I had second thoughts.  Yup, I changed it to a B2B with a second week to New England and Canada.

 

Roy

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I like disney too. But I also go on variety of cruise lines ans ships.

I am booked on Empress for May 2020 to New England. I am looking forward to being on the older classic ship. And this trip will be 2 weeks after returning from large Symphony of the Seas.

I think it is best to try various ships. Try Oasis class next.

 

But go on to You Tube and there are Lots of videos.

And remember the highlight of the trip will be the new Coco Cay waterpark.

 

Keep your trip as Key West is nice too.

 

 

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I have smelled the sulfur like odor from time to time on ships, but never in a cabin.   It comes and goes and is part of life on ship with a sensitive vacuum waste system.  I wouldn't worry about it on Empress. I booked her for 3 in a row.

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11 minutes ago, Oceansaway17 said:

 

And remember the highlight of the trip will be the new Coco Cay waterpark.

 

Keep your trip as Key West is nice too.

 

 

Oh, Key West is better than nice! LOL It's my Happy Place. I actually have been going down there since 1996. There's probably only 3 years I haven't made it down. Sometimes twice a year, and one summer, I actually lived down there with a friend! LOOOOVE it! Was just there a week in July. 

 

Yeah, I really didn't want to give up that Coco Cay day, so I'm sticking to it. (and all of the responses have made me feel better about that!)  

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The bottom line is any cruise is what you make it.  Some people need (or think they need) massive distractions and things to occupy them every minute.  Some people are quite comfortable just enjoying the ocean and not cleaning or cooking.  

 

My kids loved DCL for the access to characters that was so much better on ship compared to their theme parks.  Disney World was a let down after debarking Wonder.  Having said that quality time with parents, or just time between you and your daughter exceeds what all the animated characters in the world can provide.  

 

In my experience kids reflect our own moods and feelings at any given moment.  If you are enjoying the moment, chances are she will as well.  If you are happy, she will be happy.  Okay, unless she didn't sleep then you will both be cranky :).  

 

There is fun and good times to be had on all cruise lines, all ships for those that are open and willing to find it.  

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We have only done Disney cruises but sail away this weekend on the Empress.  For every bad review I have read, I have also read a good review.  While it will be 6 adults this time, no kids, I think the ship will have many things to offer.  I have read the food and Boleros are some of the best for Royal ships.  I can give you more feedback in a few weeks time.  Key West is a favorite spot of ours also and we are looking forward to it.  For the money, I think the cruise will be a fantastic way to see the Caribbean.  

 

And Twangster has an amazing trip report if you haven't read it yet.  The pictures and details made me so excited to try out this ship!

Edited by scmo44
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We will be on the same cruise! I am excited for this and honestly, I am not really worried about the size. I am actually excited about it. I want to have a nice relaxing vacation and not have to worry about what am I going to do next.

 

My girls will be in the 6-8 year old club and I am certain they will enjoy it, even with the smaller ship.

 

As for the "bad" reviews I found, it seems it's generally due to the size.  I have an inside GTY cabin but for my $150 pp for my family of 4, I cannot see any negatives. We don't spend time in the room anyways.

 

This booking is also over spring break. I know being the smallest ship it will have less kids my girl's age, but there has to be a few others that they can make friends with.

 

I also did not see a "meet and mingle" for this booking. Maybe we could get one setup? I am not the best organizer but it was fun the last cruise we did.

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7 hours ago, TheChefslc said:

I also did not see a "meet and mingle" for this booking. Maybe we could get one setup? I am not the best organizer but it was fun the last cruise we did.

Is this a 6-day cruise?  Royal only does them for 7 days or more.   On my cruise we organized our own on the roll call.  We found 10AM the first sea day in the Viking Crown Lounge worked well and even had a slot pull right after the M&M.

 

Roy

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9 hours ago, bilyclub said:

I have smelled the sulfur like odor from time to time on ships, but never in a cabin.   It comes and goes and is part of life on ship with a sensitive vacuum waste system.  I wouldn't worry about it on Empress. I booked her for 3 in a row.

 

Our cabin on deck 8 was fine, but I occasionally smelled food. It wasn't unpleasant,  just different.  We were near aft elevators. 

 

I did notice sewer smell walking through Schooner Bar on starboard side, but not all the time. 

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I stayed in a really old hotel once.  It was 176 years old.  It received a ton of reviews that the hotel smelled, and that the floors creeked and that the rooms were "dated" and the bathrooms were "dated".  So I booked it and we loved it. 

 

The Empress is an old ship and many think it is a ship of the bygone error.  But I had no issues on it.  Every cruise, and class of ship, and destination is different.  Each trip is vacation.  Don't get on a small ship, and complain that it is a small ship.  Just like I have read complaints that they serve Asian food on Asian cruises.  Why would you expect different?  Just like food, why would you expect the ship to grow in size?  So go with the open mind that you selected a relaxing vacation on a classic ship, and you will love it.

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4 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Is this a 6-day cruise?  Royal only does them for 7 days or more.   On my cruise we organized our own on the roll call.  We found 10AM the first sea day in the Viking Crown Lounge worked well and even had a slot pull right after the M&M.

 

Roy

Good to know. Thank you for the information. 

 

2 hours ago, Joseph2017China said:

So go with the open mind that you selected a relaxing vacation on a classic ship, and you will love it.

This is what my wife and I are doing. After looking at some pictures and really thinking about it, we figured it will be fun to just have some relaxing time on the ship and then enjoy our ports. We really are looking forward to Key West. We have only been there once but I loved it and cannot wait to go again.

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