This is my first review sailing on a RCI ship. Overall we had a fantastic cruise! I am not new to cruising have done 3 Carnival cruises prior to the Nordic Empress. We checked in and were on board by 2:00PM. My first impressions of the ship was that it is smaller than what I was used to, but knew the ships stats ahead of time. I was pleasantly surprised to find the ship was in excellent condition, clean and well kept! I found it easy to get the layout down within the first day aboard no need for deck maps, etc. Once you did a walk around you knew what deck all the venues were located on.
Sailed out of NYC on a beautiful sunny and warm afternoon. Once aboard we proceeded directly to our stateroom 8106 on the Commodore Deck. Cabins are much smaller than Carnival ships, but knew this too. It was a fine ocean view cabin, clean and ready for us. We dropped our carry on bags and then headed to the Windjammer Cafe (not negative, but the Windjammer was your typical buffet, but I am not fond of buffets anyway) for a late afternoon lunch. After our muster drill we returned the life jackets back to the cabin and then went up on the Sun Deck-10 to watch the New York skyline pass by us. I was glad that when we approached the location of the former World Trade Center that an announcement was made for everyone to stand for a moment of silence as the Nordic BLASTED her horn in one long sound in honor of the 9/11 tragedy...it was a brief, but moving moment!
Shortly after we passed the Statue of Liberty it was now time for our first real event on board a 5:00 cocktail party in the Viking Crown hosted by our travel company. Bags arrived at our cabin timely so you could change for dinner if you chose. Dinners in the Carmen dining room were excellent each evening, always several selections to choose from, food was always prepared as ordered, salads and vegetables fresh and crisp, and desserts to 'die for' at the end of each meal! Our dining room team made our nightly dinners special and something to look forward to...service was superb! Bermuda is a beautiful island so clean and friendly! Other than the rough seas we encountered late Monday evening into Tuesday with 12 ft. seas and 50 mph winds the cruise went smooth.
Thankfully the bad weather cleared out by Wednesday morning and the next 2 days were perfect Bermudian weather in the upper 80's and very sunny & warm! We took a 3 hour island tour, spent an afternoon at Horseshoe Bay, and shopped on Front St. in Hamilton...what more can you ask for while in Bermuda? I would rate the Nordic Empress a 8 on a scale from 1-10. Service was primo, carpets and public areas spotless, and always noticed crew members polishing the brass and/or doing other routine maintenance. Entertainment was good for a cruise ship showroom, casino was fairly large and had fun, also the deck activities enjoyable. I would sail on the Nordic again and have no problem giving a positive review to anyone considering sailing on her. Yes she is smaller than the mega liners out there today, but I got a feeling of a more 'homey' atmosphere while on board, and feel that is why the service was more attentive than some of the larger ships I have sailed on. Although the Centrum was not as grand as some of the atriums I have seen on the Carnival Pride for example it still had the features of a grand hotels open atrium with the glass elevators and a white baby grand piano in the lobby.
I LOVED the cruise, the ship and all the staff that treated us so special for 8 days! IMO two thumbs UP for the Nordic Empress and Bermuda! I may decide to go again in 2003!