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Wondering if anyone has pictures or info to share of what was recently updated on the Empress.  First sailing left yesterday.  

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8 hours ago, puggylicious said:

Wondering if anyone has pictures or info to share of what was recently updated on the Empress.  First sailing left yesterday.  

 

I'm wondering the same.

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Me too!

 

My 17 year old DD and I will be on her on the August 24 sailing from Miami to Cuba, Costa Maya, Belize City, Cozumel and Coco Cay.

 

I posted a Roll Call but no takers yet 🙂

 

Cheers.

 

Victoria

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I wouldn't expect much. Empress drydock in 2016 was over budget and delayed to get her back into shape after Pullmantur neglected her galleys. Doesn't seem Royal is doing anything meaningful with their remaining Vision class ships at drydocks either. Sad for those of us who prefer the older and smaller ships.

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I'm curious too. I'll leave on her on the 17th.

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I'll be on her on the 25th, its actually our first Atlantic RCCL cruise. We normally cruise Carnival and have only cruised with RCCL to Alaska some years ago. We prefer the smaller ships and really are not expecting much from this older ship. We just needed to get away and spend some relaxing time to spend together.

 

If no one posts anything i'll post some pics after our trip.

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3 hours ago, Tigeress297 said:

I'll be on her on the 25th, its actually our first Atlantic RCCL cruise. We normally cruise Carnival and have only cruised with RCCL to Alaska some years ago. We prefer the smaller ships and really are not expecting much from this older ship. We just needed to get away and spend some relaxing time to spend together.

 

If no one posts anything i'll post some pics after our trip.

Thanks that would be great!  We did a 12 day Baltic on the Vision 2 years ago and loved it. As a child, my family used to spend the summer months on our small cabin cruiser poking around the coast of Nova Scotia, so small ships make me happy :) 

 

 

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We're aboard Empress now.  I don't know what, specifically, was updated, but it's still a work in progress! 

The interior of the ship seems to be in good shape, but the exterior is really showing her age. The entire upper deck forward was closed for a couple of days for cleaning and repainting, so everyone had to crowd around the pool deck. They did add some hammocks up on the top deck, which are nice. 

Most of Deck 7 was without working toilets for over 12 hours one night. I can live without having to flush for a few hours, but the noise of them trying to fix it (snaking out the lines, etc) made sleep impossible. They gave up at 2AM and started again at 7AM.  They finally got them working again by around 10AM.  

There seems to be a lot of new furniture throughout the ship, but I had trouble finding any that was very comfortable. They seem to have focused on  the low, sleek modern look instead of comfort. Most of the carpeting seems new. We saw rolls and rolls of the old carpeting stacked up on deck waiting to be disposed of. 

The absolute worst part?  THE ICE CREAM MACHINE WASN'T WORKING FOR THE FIRST 3 DAYS!   

She is still a nice ship, the food is pretty good, and the staff and crew couldn't be more friendly.  But - she is getting old..... We talked to more than one couple who said this was their first RCCL cruise and it would be their last.  They have a point given the limited options available onboard Empress compared to the newer, bigger ships and it's sad that it's reflecting badly against the entire fleet.  

 All in all... Empress is all about the itinerary, not the amenities.  She's a good ship. She's just small, and old, and due for retirement!  

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Posted (edited)

I love the older ships myself. Think Royal would be better off spinning off their older ships such as Empress and the remaining Vision class into a unique brand. Like Celebrity having the newest features and Chandris with older ships without the bells and whistles in the 90’s. 

 

Royal’s advertising only highlights features of their newer ships. I can understand why first time cruisers to Royal might be disappointed as their commercials give the appearance that the Royal’s fleet has uniform amenities.

Edited by coaster

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I'm on Empress now as well (we just docked in Havana) and concur with everything smc99 said. I talked to the hotel manager last night who told me that they lifted the entire top deck off and rebuilt it, but he did say that much of the work was done down in the crew area and wasn't obvious to the passengers.

 

He also said that he thought that Empress was rushed out to sea too early after drydock, but also said that's what happened during the previous refurb as well, so there are a lot of loose ends left from that one as well. He lamented the fact that after all this time, RCL can't seem to get their drydock procedures together. Said the same happened to other ships recently, such as Navigator.

 

That said, things are slowly but surely getting better each day as the crews make progress. I'm having a good time regardless of how it goes.

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The whole reason for Empress is Cuba.  You can't put big ships into Cuba.

 

If you want to cruise to Cuba you need to be in a less than 2000 person ship.

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36 minutes ago, LB_NJ said:

The whole reason for Empress is Cuba.  You can't put big ships into Cuba.

 

If you want to cruise to Cuba you need to be in a less than 2000 person ship.

Virgin and I believe other lines use ships with more than 2K passengers for Cuba port calls.

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22 hours ago, smc99 said:

We talked to more than one couple who said this was their first RCCL cruise and it would be their last.

 

Pretty extreme.  Like having a bad night at the Texarkana Holiday Inn and saying I'll never stay at the Intercontinental Tahiti.  Same parent company, totally different experiences/purposes.

 

Not good news about problems with the toilets, etc. though.  We went on Empress last year and had possibly our most relaxing cruise we've ever had.  Definitely a different experience on such a small ship.

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2 hours ago, Biker19 said:

Virgin and I believe other lines use ships with more than 2K passengers for Cuba port calls.

 

 

I'd like to know which ships and what itineraries.

 

Cuba just subcontracted with a foreign company to fix their ports however at this time:

 

Cienfuegos has a Quonset hut for customs.  Can't get that many people through at one time and 2 tenders at a time, might be able to go to three.

 

Havana has maybe 2 working ports that were built in the 1950s when ships were smaller.  Not sure big ships would even fit.

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15 minutes ago, LB_NJ said:

 

I'd like to know which ships and what itineraries.

Scarlet Lady (2,750 passengers) will call Havana almost every week next year. 

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52 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

Scarlet Lady (2,750 passengers) will call Havana almost every week next year. 

 

 

It looks like the ship might just fit in Havana

 

Per Global Ports Holding:

Maximum Ship
Dimensions For Berth
Length: B1 275m - B2 220m
Width: B1 no limit - B2 35m
Draught: B1 9m - B2 7m

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I was on the 3/3 sailing while we had no problems with our cabin there some issues with scheduling tours due to port change (no Key West due to damaged dock) that the tour office( nor could landside answer the questions before we boarded) wasn't able to answer, they had to get back to us. NONE of the folks on the roll call never received invites to the meet and mingle which they didn't reschedule.    The crew that deals with the passengers the first day should have either been on board a day before we boarded or have been updated before they boarded.

 

Over all a great cruise...we booked for the ports knowing the ship was old and small.  As mentioned she needs a good exterior paint job.  The hot tubs were out of service the entire cruise and we had no pool until the 2nd day, seem it leaked into cabins on deck 9!!!   The food was good and the entertainment was better then some on NCLlast fall!!!  Love that they had a LIVE orchestra for all the shows as apposed  NCL using canned music!!  

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