Overall this was a nice celebratory cruise with my friends. Strongly recommend not booking a junior suite on this ship. However, if you want a balcony, your cabin selections are limited because it’s a small ship. Crew and staff learn your name immediately because it’s a very personable ship and they do make you feel welcomed and special regardless of your cruise status.
5 out of 5
Very efficient process for boarding
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
No problem with food in main dining room, Windjammer or Chops. Great service in all restaurants.
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
My MDR staff were great and very attentive. The Head Waiter, who happened to be the only female Head Waiter on staff, dropped by the table every night, which is a big plus for wanting to ensure staff provided the highest level of service for dining room guests. On the spot corrections and accommodations, if necessary or required...we had none at my large table but were asked each night. MDR staff and Head Waiter had the “Can do and give me a chance to please” attitude.
The Crown & Anchor Society (CAS) Ambassador organized nice social and educational events for CAS members. So, it pays to be a member of the Crown & Anchor Society regardless of membership level.
4 out of 5
Ship Cleanliness: I would rate the ship’s overall cleanliness as 5-Stars.
Ship Design: I would rate the ship’s design as 2-Stars for the following three reasons:
1. The Viking Crown Lounge is a nice place to have a pre-dinner drink...BUT...the atmosphere is destroyed because the fitness center is above. It’s an open space layout so you hear folks on the treadmill and such. Then, you get some ding bat that will drop weights and then peek through the glass railing to see if he startled or got a rise out of folks enjoying a beverage and conversation below in the Viking Crown Lounge.
2. If you’re a Diamond member or above, there is no special lounge for you. There is no nightly reception as on other ships particularly for you to meet fellow Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members. You are limited to your three drink coupon. However, there was a designated area during the breakfast hours for Diamond and Diamond Plus in the main dining room and Pinnacle in Chops.
3. Lots of prime real estate on this ship not being used efficiently which boggles the mind for special groups such as D+ and Pinnacle members even if only during social reception hours. Overall, this is a nice size ship for getting around and finding places to meet. Great ship size for those with mobility challenges.
Cabin / Stateroom
1 out of 5
My junior suite (JS) was located on deck 9 under the pool deck. JS cabins are not cheap. So, why place expensive cabins under a noisy deck? I’ve been on many cruises and learned to not take a cabin under the pool deck. However, a special friend and her husband booked this cruise to celebrate a cruise milestone and invited me to attend. These were the last two JS available...we now know why and we were not on the same side. Anyway, I tried to compromise by thinking if I slept during the day, I would be up all night to participate in late night festivities. Not a bad proposition—Wrong!
The pool noise was 24/7 not only because of pool activity but also because the 24/7 beverage station is located on deck 10. I reached my breaking point on Day 2 and requested to either be moved to another cabin or disembark at the next port of call. Request denied with an offering of allowing me to sleep elsewhere on the ship. Could not move personal items to the location. Only allowed to sleep there. Turned down that proposition. Dug through my luggage bag and found earplugs and a table mate gave me earplugs as a backup as well.
Although I was given a small compensation (and I mean small) it was no where near an adequate compensation for the cost of that JS and 7-miserable days/night. This is one time Royal Caribbean failed in resolving a problem as far as I am concerned. However, I will admit that the Guest Services Manager did his best but it was not enough. He had no control over the ship’s design and lack of available cabin accommodations...BUT...I’m certain this is not the first time complaints were lodged about the noise for this particular cabin. There’s no way I would sail on this ship again. So, I plan to cancel my October 2020 sailing on this ship, Empress OTS, because it too is a JS cabin on Deck 9.
If you should encounter a problem whether it be a staff person or your cabin, seek out the Guest Services Manager to address and resolve the concern immediately. Do not wait until you disembark and provide comments in a post survey. Staff truly wants to resolve the concern tothe satisfaction of the Guest but that is not always possible. At least staff had an a opportunity to do right by you.
Take the Belize City By Carriage on your own. This excursion costs $65 per person for adults through the ship. However, if you get off the ship and walk towards the “mall” you will encounter lots of locals vying for your attention. We found a tour company (Seasationalbelize.com) inside that offered us the same tour as a Horse & Buggy tour for $25 per person. The tour guide was knowledgeable and a history buff. It was a great tour and we did not have to wait on a group.
Empress OTS had a late port arrival for Miami so disembarkation was late. Because my flight was before noon, I participated in the walk off program. Didn’t want to take chances missing my flight home particularly since it was also Super Bowl Sunday. Glad I did because it was after 8:00 a.m. for walk offs to disembark and there was a wait for taxi cabs. It should be noted that the escalator was not working and there was one elevator. So, a line developed for walk offs to use the elevator.
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