When I jumped on board the plans my sisters had already made for Empress of the Seas I thought the experience would suffer. I was sacrificing the cruise ship experience for the family experience.
That ended out not being true at all as I was surprised to really enjoy this little ship despite the size and COVID-19 anxiety.
After my last cruise on an older Royal Caribbean ship I vowed only to sail Explorer class and newer. Of course, that was broken and I’m glad. Empress of the Seas took me back to my early days of cruising (starting in 1998) with it’s layout and elegance.
The things I really disliked on the Jewel of the Seas weren’t issues. The layout of the Windjammer was much better and seemed to have greater variety of food and less crowding. Plus we had more bar options with less space.
What was missing were additional specialty dining options but that didn’t matter as we enjoyed the main dining room experience all but one evening. I didn’t even miss the solarium as the main pool always had seating for those that wanted it.
What I didn’t like was the cabin size.
The inside cabin was fine for just me but I can’t imagine having two people in it. We did find that the inside cabins for three were slightly larger (another two-three feet in length). If I sailed Empress again, it’d be in a minimum of an ocean view unless I was solo. I’d also not pick a cabin directly below the showroom. 🙄
Obviously the ship was too small (and old) to have the theater type shows present on the many Royal ships. But I really enjoyed the entertainment options both in the main show room, Bolero’s and the Schooner Bar. The entertainment staff had so many activities that at times it was a hard choice about which ones to see.
The cruise director and his team were very engaging and all over the ship. I enjoyed Steve from Canada and the rest!
As I mentioned in the individual posts, the service was great!
I consistently had good service in the dining venues, cabins, front desk and bars.
None of the ports were new to me, but I was thrilled to revisit Costa Maya as it’s been a number of years. My husband and I have a cruise booked to visit there next Spring and I hope we get to go (depends on vaccine status).
Another port I really enjoyed anew was Roatan. Getting out to see other things on the island and trying a new beach made it seem like a brand new place. What I didn’t enjoy as much was Nachi Cocum in Cozumel. I’m ready to try other places on that Mexican island.
I think our entire family group enjoyed the cruise (well maybe not the sick one) and are glad we got a great vacation in before the quarantine. Now begins the wait for my next vacation.