CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Empress Bermuda September 23, 2006

After I reviewed my outstanding experience on HAL, I had hoped that the experience that my wife and I had on RCI would be comparable. It was not!

On day one our air conditioner failed to function. When they came to repair it, I noticed that a filthy filter needed to be cleaned. Once that was done the unit froze us out! Filth spreads disease! Day two our keys failed to work. We had to travel to the desk for assistance. They told us that someone would repair the problem tomorrow. A security person let us into our room. By pure luck, a repairperson was working on a door down the hall from our room. He reprogrammed our keys and the lock so that they would work. This was not a good beginning!

Do not eat on deck 10. The food was tasteless, cold and available at limited meal times. Even Carnival has a late night snack available. Food and service in the dining room were both good with service outshining the food. The filet mignon was sliced pieces of steak and not a complete filet. It was prepared in advance only two ways: medium well or medium rare. I tried the medium well only to find that it was very well done. The replacement medium rare was very rare. My wife trade with me because she prefers rare meat and her portion was medium. I ate this one.

Our cabin attendant, Matthew was superior in every way. He met and exceeded the service level that we expected. Our waiter, Romeo, was excellent too. Only two or three people were arrogant when things were requested from them. This was nothing like the front desk people from HAL who were all excellent on the Statendam sea portion of our Alaska cruise this year.

The professional entertainment was excellent. The EOS dancers and singers worked hard but I prefer theme Broadway production numbers. The two comedians were very good. The puppetry silks show was incredible!

This old ship is going into dry dock at the end of October. They need to remove the chef, serving stations and food from deck 10.

When speaking to the future cruise person, I discovered that she was able to discuss cruises by appointment only and this during specific limited times. This does not seem to be the way to sell a product or service.

I booked several shore excursions on-line in advance. All the tickets were delivered to our balcony stateroom when we arrived on board. We enjoyed the Ultimate Bermuda Triangle boat tour because the captain had a fantastic sense of humor and was very knowledgeable about Bermuda. The evening glass bottomed boat tour was friendly, had great drinks and pleasant people running it. I do not recommend doing this at night because I saw much more in the Bahamas during the daytime viewing there. Go to the Carnival Never Ends excursion. It never stopped for three hours straight and was wonderful. The food was better than any served anywhere on the ship.

Having sailed on Carnival, RCCL, and HAL and with a March cruise planned on Princess to the Panama Canal, I may seek to give RCCL another chance on a Voyager class ship. I know that I plan to travel on HAL in the future and will probably repeat on Princess too.

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