If the pool is important to you, Move on
Empress of the Seas (RETIRED) 223 Cruise Review to Caribbean
Ship: Empress of the Seas (RETIRED) 223
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Large Group
Reviewed: 7 years ago
Review SummaryPlease know, I am an experienced cruiser on several different lines, including having been on Royal Caribbean at least 3 times prior (on different ships). I've probably done about 10 cruises.
I was on the EMPRESS of the Seas for a "re-positioning" cruise leaving San Juan on April 21, 2006. (Being a re-positioning, the cruise ended in Philadelphia, PA) - See comments below about the Philadelphia Port!
The price was right, I knew the ship was small..... Staff was superb... ship is nice and clean... Their Windjammer buffet is pretty standard - do ANY of the cruise lines really have great food on their buffets?! --- Dining room food was VERY good! - their restaurant (Portofino's) that has a $20 surcharge is outstanding and well worth the price!
This was an eight night cruise -- three ports and FOUR at-sea days! I normally enjoy at-sea days. I love to sit around... go in the pool for a while... sit on the deck chairs, etc., etc.
If YOU are a pool person - this is NOT your ship! Their pool is VERY small, but what frustrated me even more - this small pool is ALL the same depth - and the depth was 5'8" --- for the ENTIRE pool!..... So, being 5'7", and not a great swimmer - it was too deep for me!
It has NO other depth.... Normally pools obviously start at around 3 feet, and then get deeper. Not this one! Also, ONE crummy little ladder (with salty, slimey railings)... and NO where inside the pool to hold on --- NO ledge within the pool! I was so desperate to cool off one day, I literally sat in the one foot deep "kiddy" pool!
Rooms are VERY small.... showers are VERY small.... water pressure is not good either. VERY friendly staff! As stated previously, the cruise ended in Philadelphia, PA - and was starting their Bermuda cruises.
We were to arrive in Philadelphia at 7:00 am - admittedly, we ran in to very bad weather the previous day and the captain said he was "hoping" to make up the time..... we arrived at 8:15 a.m. (not too bad... I understand this type of thing happens).
This is a fairly new cruise port - it was a previous ship yard for the military - and in MY opinion - not at all ready to handle the "cruise" industry! The ship cleared customs at about 9:00.... again, not too bad!
The ship apparently offered an "express" departure - at a cost of $25 per person. This allowed these guests to be the first people off the ship --- and they had to CARRY all their own luggage! (?!).... Next in line to get off the ship were the VIPS with Upgraded Crown & Anchor Society status. (Again... I understand this courtesy to their good customers!)
I'm traveling with my 78 year old mother... we were in the next group. We get called to a holding area around 9:30... and were stuck in this hot hallway for about an hour! They were experiencing problems with the walkways (Gang-ways) attached to the ship.
LONG... LONG ramps to get off the ship... walk a bit more.. and then on to a bus?! Keep in mind... we all have our luggage! Of course, everyone takes the seats in the front of the bus, and their luggage is now sitting in the aisles... and we now have to menouver ourselves to the back of the bus. (I am NOT a happy camper here!)
We now drive a short way to the Luggage "TENT".... and they tell us that our luggage has NOT yet arrived... and to wait on the bus! NO signage anywhere in the tent as to the color coding of our luggage! there is ALL sorts of luggage... but the "1st group" of luggage had not yet arrived! (Just who did the logistics on this cruise?!)
We FINALLY get our luggage - it's now almost 11:00.... It's myself and my elderly mother and we have a total of FIVE pieces ..... Not a porter in sight! (I later realized that the 2-3 porters that they did have for several hundred people were "busy") - Terrible... unorganize cab line! Long story short - we missed our 12:00 flight! (Airport is only 5 miles from the port!) - Expecting to arrive at 7:00 am and missing a NOON flight?!
Pros: Great Staff