Wonderful Cruise to Cuba

Empress of the Seas Cruise Review to Cuba

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 54

Overall rating:

4.5 out of 5
Empress of the Seas

8 Night Best Of Cuba (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 09, 2018

Ship: Empress of the Seas

Cabin type: Inside

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

We really enjoyed our Cuba cruise. The crew on the Empress of the Seas was wonderful, the ports of call were excellent. We would go back in a heartbeat. We highly recommend.


5 out of 5
We got there very early and were on the ship by 11:00. Very fast (considering how early we were) and easy process.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The main dining room was excellent. Everything ordered was wonderful as was the staff. The buffet was about average. The way the buffet is set up does not allow it to flow well, but it was never too busy, so not a problem. We did not dine in a specialty restaurant. All in all, no complaints.

Windjammer Café

3 out of 5

The Windjammer was average. The food was mostly good except for a few things that were cold. The set up was not very good. The buffet line did not flow well and so was quite slow. The drink machines were in the way. The aisles were very small. The tables were set up in a way that was difficult to get to - like a maze - because of rails that went around them. But, all in all, most of these things really didn't cause any issues.

Main Dining Room

5 out of 5

The food was delicious and the wait staff was excellent. Our tablemate's food requests were handled with ease and with a smile. We were told multiple times to let them know if we needed anything or if the food wasn't quite right. We were very happy with it all.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Empress of the Seas is a small ship, so there weren't an abundance of activities, but that works just fine for us. We had no problem finding a place to hang out and read or finding an activity that suited us.

Guest Services

5 out of 5

We went to guest services about 3 times and each time they were very competent and friendly. Our issue/questions were resolved quickly and easily.


4 out of 5
Entertainment is what you would expect for a Royal Caribbean cruise. We aren't that into the shows, so tend to go to about 1/2 of them. The ones we saw were very good. The usual mix, some singers, comedians, a musician, and some production shows.


5 out of 5

Large, quiet space, with seating in front of giant windows. There were plenty of books to borrow. A lovely, quiet space.

Card Room

5 out of 5

How nice to have a card room! It was always in use by quite a few people having fun and playing games. There were games that could be borrowed, as well.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
I thought the service and staff on the Empress was the best I've experienced on the 7 cruises I've taken. Everyone was very competent and wanted to make sure my cruise was enjoyable. I was really impressed.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Empress of the Seas is the smallest Royal Caribbean ship, which is just the size we like. The layout was great as everything was fairly close. You don't have to walk miles to get somewhere! The common areas were quite nice and there was a lot of window seating and a lot of full length windows, which is unique based on the other ships we've been on. The ship was very clean and well maintained.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
The cabin was small, which I was expecting from reading reviews. But the ship is older and small, so no surprise there. But it is very small.....I mean quite small! No problem since we don't spend our cruise in the cabin! It was perfect for sleeping and showering. The closet is smaller than normal, too, but we made due just fine. It was very clean. No complaints.

Ship tip

If you want a quiet spot, the seating by the big windows is wonderful. There is also a nice library area as well as a game room.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

5 out of 5
We only boarded the ship at this port, which was a smooth, fast process.


5 out of 5
Loved Havana! We took with Cuba Outings that included a walking tour, lunch, and a classic car tour. It was wonderful - Ida was our tour guide. We walked all over old Havana and saw the brightly colored buildings, crumbling buildings, and buildings that are being restored. We had a delicious lunch and then got into a bright pink convertible 1950 something Ford Fairlane. We really enjoyed Cuba and would definitely go back.


4 out of 5
We took a ship tour to Juegas fortress. Our tour guide had a very thick accent, so it was hard to understand her. The tour felt rushed at times and it wasn't quite what I was expecting. Lunch was rather a nightmare and we had to wait over an hour before going in to eat. I also did not feel well, so that did not help. It wasn't the best tour, but, if I had felt better, I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

George Town, Grand Cayman

5 out of 5
We've been to Grand Cayman before, so we just walked around. The shopping district is right off the ship, so very convenient. You can find anything! We had a wonderful and unique lunch at a place called Bread & Chocolate, which is 100% vegan (a first for us). We had french toast stuffed with chocolate, bananas, and strawberries - delicious! And the freshest apple juice in the world. It was pricey, but worth it. Otherwise, we enjoyed shopping and walking around.

Labadee (Cruise Line Private Island)

5 out of 5
This was our second time in Labadee and we loved it both times. Just a very nice place with multiple beaches and walking paths. It's beautiful and relaxing. It's Royal Caribbean's private island, so, except for the vendors, everything is paid for with your sea pass card. They serve a Royal Caribbean buffet, which is free (just like the on board buffet). Watch out for the vendors - they really want you to buy something! But, we realized, this is how they make their living, so we found a few things to buy. But we absolutely love Labadee. It's a wonderful, relaxing beach day.


5 out of 5
Very smooth and fast.
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