djc4410277
Third Mate

Joined: 04/19/2016
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djc4410277's Past Cruises

Empress of the Seas

September 2016 - Empress of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

This is the smallest ship in the RCCL fleet and is well worth considering for a cruise.   Think of it as a botique-size cruise ship without the bone-crushing crowds found on most mega-size cruise ships of more recent vintage.   The ship never felt crowded.  Elevators were easily accessed without long waits.  The line for seating at the MDR always moved quickly.   No problem if you wanted a table for two.  One could be ready in a couple of minutes.   No problem if you walked into the theater five minutes before the performance.  Lots of seats were available.  Deboarding at Miami was a matter of less than 20 minutes from stateroom to being off the ship.  If you were Diamond status or above there was not the usual afternoon reception but instead each member had three complimentary drink credits added to their sea pass each day, valid between 5pm and 8pm. 

 

Our stateroom was in the F1 category which is the top grade for oceanview accommodations.   These cabins are oversized in comparison with lesser grade oceanview grades and have a little nook off to one side plus a second large window.   Well worth the small additional cost to upgrade.  Veranda cabins are very limited in numbers and cost considerably more.  Overall, F1 is the best deal for the money.  The cabin was always bright and sunny during the day.  The little nook provided a nice area to sit and relax apart from sitting on the bed or at the desk, which is all you get in lesser grade cabins.

 

Buffet food was better than found at the buffets on most Celebrity ships, which is somewhat remarkable since Celebrity is RCCL's more upscale brand.   Also,  the brunch held on sea days in the MDR included one round of complimentary mimosas or bloody Marys with second rounds being a charge.  Very nice. 

 

Deck chairs also were readily available, except in the immediate vicinity of the pool.   If you went up one deck from the pool there were lots of deck chairs for sunning, plus a group of oversized hammocks, suitable for couples.   Again, no crowding in this area. 

 

Overall, a very pleasant and relaxing cruise. 

 

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MSC Divina

April 2016 - MSC Divina to Bermuda

MSC Devina 09-16 April 2016

Overall, a good cruise experience.  Very clean ship; however, the crew did not dispense hand sanitizer at entrances to restaurants and the buffet, as found on other cruise lines.  About half of the self-service hand sanitizer dispensers failed to function correctly.   The ship's library that was available to all passengers was very poorly located inside of a conference room featuring classroom seating and had only a few shelves of English language books.   Worst library found in all of our cruise experiences.   We suspect that the private library available exclusively to Yacht Club passengers had a much better selection of books.

 

 Food and beverage quality and selection was average in comparison with other cruise lines.  One noteworthy item was a beverage coupon book sold for US$84 which contained 18 coupons good for beverage purchases up to $8 each.   That resulted in an average price of $4.67.   The other good thing about this offering is that it is not tied to one passenger's shipboard account.  Just tear off coupons and use them whenever and wherever you want without regard to who is the user.   So a couple can purchase one ticket book rather than both passengers having to purchase separate drink packages, as is true on many other cruise line beverage plans.

 

Another good point was MSC's new program of awarding equivalent status to members of other cruise line member loyalty programs.   We are "elite" status members of Celebrity's Captain's Club.  After submitting the necessary online application, MSC awarded us "Black Card" status in their Voyagers Club, which is their highest level.   Good marketing strategy. 

 

 

 

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djc4410277's Tips

Miami, Florida - Parking at the garage by the dock now cost $20 per 24 hour day. But worth it as you can be in your car and on your way in minutes.
Cozumel, Mexico - Lots of activities. Shopping available at a mall just off the dock. No need to take a taxi into town for shopping.
Empress of the Seas Empress of the Seas - If you are an experienced cruiser, used to being on ships with upwards of 5000 other guests, be prepared for a totally different experience on this ship.
Key West, Florida - Funky little town. Free shuttles available for ships that dock at the US Navy pier.
Miami, Florida - If you are driving to the port, the new tunnel makes a quick connection from I-95, eliminating the trek through Miami downtown traffic.
King's Wharf, Bermuda - Buy a public transit one-day pass on the ship before arriving in Bermuda. Costs US $19 and good for all transit buses and ferry boat rides.

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received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review - Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

shared a quick tip for Empress of the Seas"If you are an experienced cruiser, used to being on ships with upwards of 5000 other guests, be prepared for a totally different experience on this ship. "

added Sep 26, 2016 cruise on Empress of the Seas to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Empress of the Seas and gave it 4 stars!