We are a fun-loving couple with alot of cruises under our belts and we LOVE cruising. Can't imagine a better way to vacation. Feel free to get in touch with us if you are on one of our cruises or just to chat.
Ports: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Embarkation was fairly fast and easy although the traffic at the port was a nightmare. Booked an accessible cabin (8304), which was NOT accessible to say the least. It was no larger than a standard inside cabin and with the beds together, you had to climb into the bed from the foot, no room to walk along side. Our shower leaked water into the cabin and soaked the carpet. Maintenance came and worked on it twice but it still leaked ALOT. Also this cabin is extremely noisy as the housekeeping closet is next door. This ship needs updated stabilizers as it rocked and rolled alot the entire cruise causing even some of the shows to be altered or cancelled for the safety of the dancers. The Serenity decks were very nice. We enjoyed the ports of call, in Aruba we took Mi Dushi snorkle and sunset tour and loved it. Grand Turk was our favorite with a beautiful free public beach right next to the ship's pier. Debarkation was slow but ok. We will probably not do Carnival again. We prefer Royal Caribbean.
Just let me say this to start with--a cruise is partly what you make of it. Don't set your expectations too high. If you are looking for things to complain about, you will find them. That being said, we really enjoyed the Empress of the Seas. Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship in no time at all, The cabins on this ship are VERY small compared to other ships we have sailed on, but ours was clean and in good repair, and our cabin steward, Kenneth took excellent care of us. The ship is nicely decorated and in great shape, well laid out and easy to navigate. Although this is the smallest RC ship now in service, we liked the intimacy of it as opposed to the larger ships. For those of us in the Senior age group, it was nice to be able to get from one end of the ship to the other without being exhausted! We thought the entertainment was top-notch, including the production shows and the Quest game show was absolutely hilarious! As the cruise director said, "What some people will do for a key chain!" We only ate in the MDR twice but the service and food was terrific. Kudos to Renato/Edzel, our servers. The windjammer buffet seemed to be a bit shy of choices but still most food there was good. I missed having a custom omelet station. We had a couple of rainy days that cancelled out any pool activities or suntanning and would have like to see some more indoor activities added due to this. Disembarkation also went fairly smoothly.
This is a huge ship with many activities and sights and entertainment. We had a central park balcony cabin and enjoyed the view and the quiet especially in the mornings with the birds singing. The shows were fantastic. Only one we were not crazy about was the Headliner and it was not bad. Our favorite place was the Promenade with all the places to sit and eat and people-watch. Several Dreamworks characters appeared there, too. Our least favorite thing was the Windjammer buffet which was almost always crowded. For breakfast, check out the Solarium Bistro instead.
"with good friends"
Embarkation: Port of Tampa was closed due to high winds and we were delayed in the terminal for over 8 hours waiting for the ship to be allowed in. They fed us chips and water all day (ugh). And it was very uncomfortable. Finally boarded the ship about 6:30pm. We were so worn out, we went to the buffett, ate and went to bed.
Stateroom: Was a bit disappointed in the stateroom as it was missing the customary hair dryer and mini=frig we are used to on cruises. There was plenty of space to store things and the bed was comfortable.
Ship: the ship itself is an older one and smaller than the later ones, but seems to have most bases covered. The Serenity area is small but we could usually find a spot.
Dining Room: We were assigned to the Destiny D.R. late seating. Enjoyed our dinners there and especially our waiter, I. Wayan, who ordered escargot for me since I missed it on the first night out!
Entertainment: We did not see any of the production shows. They just did not coordinate with our dinner time. We enjoyed the many Trivia games and Bingo and movies on the last day. Drake who led some of the Trivia and Bingo was terrific and would make an excellent cruise directior. We especially liked him in the Music Trivia game.
Ports: We had been to these ports many times before and we chose not to go ashore in Cozumel because the pier is a very long walk and we have difficulty walking very far. We tendered ashore in Grand Cayman and did a bit of shopping.
Debarkation: Alas, on our return to Tampa, the port was again closed due to heavy fog/rain which went on all day. We watched movies in the theater most of the day and spent extra night on board and debarked without incident the following morning.
"fun fun fun"
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