I'm a loyal Royal Caribbean cruiser and have sailed on several of their ships. My expectations were met on this cruise vacation (food, entertainment, stateroom, activities) however I felt the pool deck was extremely small and overcrowded with chairs and furniture which made navigating difficult and use of the pool next to impossible. Because of these I spent a great deal of our time at sea indoors which was a bit disappointing. While I wouldn't sail on Empress again, I feel that it is still a good option.
The ports of call were enjoyable my only regret is not being able to spend more time. Tendering at Cayman was fast and efficient and getting on and off the ship at Key West was a breeze.