7 Night Bermuda (Philadelphia Roundtrip) Sail Date: August 11, 2007 Ship: Empress of the Seas (RETIRED) 223 Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Family (older children) Reviewed: 10 years ago
I personally liked the smaller ship - it had a retro feel and seemed less crowded than the mega-ships we've been on. My 14 year old son said there were less activities than on other cruises we've taken.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Dinners were excellent, our servers (Armando [who went by "Arnold"] and Daria) were terrific. I was put off by the fact that they charge for after dinner non-alcoholic coffees other than plain coffee. The other cruises we've been on served espresso at no extra charge - this was not an inexpensive cruise! Also we did not like the way breakfast and lunch was served - as groups arrived, they were herded into tables of eight and discouraged from sitting at smaller tables which we prefer.
3 out of 5
The entertainers and shows were good. The rest of the day did not have a whole lot, so if you're looking for relaxing time, you'll get it. If you're looking for a busy schedule onboard, take a different cruise.
3 out of 5
My son said there was a long "hole in the schedule" from about 5 to 8 every day.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Room was done up nicely every day.
3 out of 5
No question this is a small ship by today's standards, but it's clean and well taken care of. The smaller size allowed it to get into smaller ports - we were docked right in Hamilton, Bermuda, instead of the cruise terminal at the west end of the islands. This let us get off and sightsee in the morning, go back to the ship for lunch, then go right back to sightseeing in the afternoon.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The rooms were really tiny. If this ship is going to be used on another line in the future they need to reconfigure so that the rooms are larger, unless it's used in the Mediterranean and spends most of its time in port.
We walked across the island to Ft. St. Catherine, passing Ft. William along the way. Ft. St. Catherine has all the usual tourist stuff, and a 20 minute video which gives a good history of Bermuda's forts. We took a taxi back and went to St. Peter's church, which was quite interesting. A very old graveyard surrounds the church.
Don't Miss: Ft. St. Catherine, St. Peter's church, ginger beer
Hamilton is a small city but very clean and pretty. The city hall has a nice small museum which you can see in less than an hour. Taxis in Bermuda were on the expensive side, but you don't really need one unless you leave Hamilton. Then we took a bus, which was interesting and fun. $12 for a day pass/$6 for kids up to 16 years old lets you travel all day. The residents of Bermuda we talked to were pleasant and funny. We walked to Ft. Hamilton which had a nice trail between the walls of the fort - lots of beautiful tropical plants
We traveled to the Gibbs Hill lighthouse, which has an awesome view of the islands. Then we continued on to Scaur Hill Fort and Park. Let the bus driver know well in advance if you want to go there - the stop does not have a cutout, so you won't see it coming. The grounds are pretty. There is a restroom but no food or drinks whatsoever, so bring water with you.
Most businesses close at 5 o'clock so do your sightseeing early.
Don't Miss: Bermuda Historical Society Museum, Ft. Hamilton, ginger beer
Pros: Smaller ship felt less crowded, easy access to all public areas, excellent service at dinner
Cons: Charges for items that were included on other lines - e.g. espresso after dinner. Breakfast & lunch in dining room felt like an assembly line.
Recommends Empress of the Seas (RETIRED) 223? Yes!
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