Empress of the Seas - 26 Sept to 01 Oct 2016

Empress of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 33

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Verified Review
Empress of the Seas

5 Night Key West & Cozumel (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 26, 2016

Ship: Empress of the Seas

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: 9664

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

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. 


Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Better than on many Celebrity ships.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
Nice selection of activities.


5 out of 5
Wide variety of entertainment, but no large stage productions as this is a smaller ship.

Children's Programs

Children were fairly few in number due to the fact that school was back in session, but activities seemed to be what you would expect.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
All crew members were friendly and professional.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Small ship with comfortable fee.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
The F1 grade is a great deal. Extra large in comparison with other oceanview cabins. Ninth deck is best for sweeping view from your two large windows. There are only two F1 cabins per deck and they book quickly.

Ship tip

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.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

5 out of 5
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.

Key West, Florida

5 out of 5
Funky little town. Free shuttles available for ships that dock at the US Navy pier.

Cozumel, Mexico

5 out of 5
Lots of activities. Shopping available at a mall just off the dock. No need to take a taxi into town for shopping.
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