This is the next in a string of posts for the various Royal Caribbean Ship classes which We have cruised on. This post will focus on the "Nordic Empress" Class. .
The Empress of the Seas, the only ship in the "Nordic Empress" Class, was launched in 1990, and was originally ordered by Admiral Cruises, as "Future Seas" When Royal Caribbean merged with, and disbanded Admiral cruises in 1987, RCI took over construction, and added Royal Caribbean staples The Windjammer Buffet, and Viking Crown Lounge, renaming her "Nordic Empress - The final ship to not be named "of the Seas" until 2004, when the name was changed to Empress of the Seas.
Empress of the Seas was transferred to Pullmantur Cruises in 2008, and renamed Empress. in 2016 Empress was returned to the RCI fleet, and the Empress of the Seas name restored.
At 48,563 Gross tons, Empress of the Seas is the smallest vessel currently in the Royal Caribbean Fleet, with Majesty of the seas(2nd Smallest) tipping the scales at nearly double the weight.
Originally sailing in June, 1990, Empress of the Seas was Renovated upon her return to RCI 2016, and does not appear to currently be scheduled for Royal Caribbean Amplification
- Empress is currently Home-ported in Miami and will be until the end of March 2021. In April 2021, Empress will begin sailing from various ports, including San Juan, PR, Cape Liberty, NJ, and Montreal, Quebec.
- There are no regular Balcony rooms onboard Empress. If you desire a balcony, you must book a Junior Suite, or Higher.
- Pool bar, and Towel stations close around 10pm. Hot Tubs remain open to approx 12am.
- You cannot check your stateroom balance on your in-room TV system.
- Windjammer buffet is closed from 3pm-5pm. Dining options are limited due to the design and age of the vessel
- Some bars are closed at odd times for staff breaks, and cleaning. Your Daily Cruise Compass will show these times!
- As most RCI Ships, Empress offers an All-access tour. If you have the opportunity, take it. It gives a whole new perspective to the inner workings of what makes your cruise happen!
- The only Specialty "fine" dining onboard Majesty is Chops Grille, which is located on Deck 5.
- Empress is one of few Royal Caribbean ships with stops in Key West
- On this Particular Ship, being prepared with enough Dramamine or other Sea-Sickness remedy to cover everyone in your sailing party for the length of your voyage is a good idea. I found myself spending a day sea sick, and requiring Inter-venous hydration at the medical center after over indulging in Jagerbombs the previous night. We didnt realize how much the ship actually moved, until walking on the pier at Costa Maya, and watching the Transom nameplate on the rear of the ship rising and falling 5+ feet in 1-3ft seas.
- The Windjammer buffet on Empress by far has the best cuisine of all of the RCI ships we have cruised on this far.
In conclusion, While Empress doesnt have all of the "Bells, Whistles and Do-dads" of the newer ships, the experience is still First rate. We experienced the best food quality and flavor of all of our cruises so far. Even with getting sick onboard, we would 100% sail again!
Next update will be in December, on the "Voyager" Class!