11 Night Exotic Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip) Sail Date: November 20, 2006 Ship: Empress of the Seas (RETIRED) 223 Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 10 years ago
We cruised on an 11 day cruise on the Empress of the Seas with Royal Carribean. The ship had been refurbished and beds were very comfortable in fact the best I have experienced on a cruise ship so far (I read somewhere they were recently replaced). The staff was very professional and responsive to any concerns or questions. The cruise stopped in 8 places which was great b/c the ship was too small to entertain guests for more than 2 or 3 days at sea. The ship offered many activities in the evening such as entertainment in the stage theater and dance lessons/music in the lounges. The evening games were a lot of fun, however the stage entertainment was sub par. We left some of the shows because they were not very good.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Our wait staff was excellent! I am vegetarian so there was always an option that was made without meat or seafood. SOme of the days the non-meat dishes were excellent, other days, they were just ok. The other travelers eating meat in our group really enjoyed the food, however, so it is likely that the vegetarian dishes were not prepared with as much attention. We were assigned to a dining table - the same table every night which was different than other cruises I have been on which are freestyle. I was concerned how this would work and whether we would like eating with strangers. It turned out to be the best part of the cruise b/c I believe Royal Carribean matches the people at the table based on demographics. Our group was all close in age and we ended up bonding and entertaining each other the whole cruise! Plus it was nice never having to wait in line to be seated for dinner and always having one show time that did not conflict with dining.
1 out of 5
The stage activities were not very good with the exception of the comedy shows. On the last day the entertainment was cancelled b/c of the boat rocking too much which was disappointing. The singing and dancing shows were not as good as what I have seen on other ships, so we skipped some of the shows and left some early.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
All of the staff was very friendly, responsive, and enthusiastic. After one of our excursions, we needed our sneakers cleaned b/c they were extremely muddy. Although this was not a standard cleaning item, the stateroom attend took care of it for us, he even cleaned our glasses we kept from ordering drinks when they were left in our room! The game show activities were a lot of fun b/c many involved group participation
3 out of 5
The rooms and common areas were small as this ship is the oldest and smallest ship still run by Royal Carribean and there was smoking allowed in the common areas which I did not like. The gym was too small so there was waiting for eliiptical and treadmills, but the rock climbing wall was really neat to try. Overall the quality of the service, food, and activities was very good. The boat was small and is suceptible to more movements even in the calm carribean waters than any other ship I have travelled on, so if you have a problem with motion sickness I would suggest a larger ship. The arcade was nice but some of the machines were out of order which was a pain.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The room was small and did not have an iron or a common ironing area which was a disappointment. The rooms needed more shelving area, as there were only a few drawers and mostly space to hang clothes, not fold them. The staterooms were in good condition, we had problems with our toilet the last day and had trouble getting maintenance to fix it, but other than that the rooms were clean and in good condition.
Hiking the volcano was fun and an awesome view, but extremely difficult. Even as an aerobics instructor I found the hike strenuous, so only try this if you are really up for it. This island is not very developed so the shopping and port activities are limited
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