Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Imperial Majesty
Ship: Regal Empress
Sailing Date: N/A
My angel and I don't one negative thing to say about our cruising experience on the Regal Empress. Okay, it wouldn't be compared to the Ritz-Carlton but it ain't the Red Roof Inn either. It's like a Holiday Inn. The ship was old but she was clean and full of character. Wood paneling, thick coats of marine paint and well scrubbed wooden decks made for a very comfortable and even romantic setting.
By the way, the smell that other people are concerned about is the same on all ships. It is a mixture of paint, polish and sea spray. It is not unpleasant.
The check in was a breeze. A tip here, if you come by car which we did because we live in Miami park at the Park n Fly by the airport. They both drop you off in front of the doors and pick you up within 10 minutes of your call as well. From the time we got there at about 12:15PM to the time we got to our cabin it was a total of 45 minutes. We actually upgraded our room before we got on at the terminal. Our cost was $159.00 a person (how can you beat that for a two day cruise??) and for $70.00 more we got a room on the Promenade Deck which was three floors higher. The room was cozy but more than adequate as we spent hardly any time there. We went down and checked the $159.00 room (A-32) and it was almost the same size but without a window and the bathroom was a little smaller but we decided that we would have been happy there as well. So don't be afraid of buying in at the promotional price. Now the rooms are gigantic but it's a ship for pete's sake. It is not a resort. The bathroom was clean and the shower worked great.
FOOD - The food was good. It wasn't great but it was good. Sometimes very good. As soon as you get on board there is a buffet poolside and you can eat like crazy. The dinner service was in the main dining room and it was a beautiful setting. Our waiter Ed and busboy Henry were fabulous and they could not have been more cordial. We had the early sitting and it was perfect. We had six people at our table. Two were from California and wo were from England. Very nice people whose company we enjoyed. Breakfast was served either poolside or in the dining room. Poolside it was a buffet and had everything you could want for a hot breakfast. We never made the lunch because we were in Nassau. Dinner consisted of Steak, Roasted Chicken or Tilapia fish the first night and Prime Rib, Chicken Cordon Blu or Salmon the second night. By the way the desserts were outstanding. We never made the midnight buffet we were too busy partying.
BOOZE - Every drink has to be bought on board. You cannot bring booze on the ship. The "boat drinks" (acknowledging here the great Jimmy Buffett) were good and fruity. The first one was $6.95 in a souvenir glass and all others after that were $4.95 if you had your glass. Come on now, this kind of drink for $4.95? That's cheap! You wont find one like that in Miami. You have to carry your glass though to get refills. They even have Martini specials in the Commodore Lounge before Dinner like $4.00. Ask for the Naked Martini from Dorota (the barkeep) with either Vodka or Gin. It's place in a blender, frozen and stays ice cold. Yummy! Beer was also good and cheap and probably could have been a little colder. If you like wine with dinner you can order it as you check in or better yet you can order it at dinner. They do charge for soda and water but so do all the cruise lines.
SHORE EXCURSIONS - We took the limo tour around the island. It cost $35 and was nothing special but it was cool to see the island that way. Many people went to the Blue Laguna tour which is where a boat takes you to an island and you eat lunch, snorkel and sun bath. Bring your 45 sun tan oil because people said it was smoking hot. Everyone I spoke to like this tour a lot. After our limo tour we went shopping on Bay Street and walked to a restaurant named Conch (pronounced Konk)Fritters and had some excellent Bahamian food. We then took a cab to the $1.5 billion dollar Atlantis resort to look at the aquarium. There is a section you can look at for free or you can pay to go see the underground part but I would not and did not pay the $29.95 they wanted to do this. Can you imagine? That's 60% of the price of Disney World. We then went to the casino, had a little luck on the Wheel of Fortune machine and finally made our way via taxi to the ship. It was a really great and unusual day in a very foreign country. Nassau is on an island that is only 21 miles long and there are 160,000 people on it. Total Bahamian population is 360,000. See what you learn on a tour?
SERVICE - The best part. Everyone and I do mean everyone worked their collective butts off to make sure we were happy. Not one person was rude, ignored us and didn't have a smile on their faces. There are people from all over the world on this ship and you can tell that they appreciate having jobs even though they work long hours and for not a lot of money from what we understand. That's why tips are important to these folks.
MISC - The ships casino was not large but it was never packed - black jack, roulette and slt machines. The nightly shows were cabaret and okay fi you like that kind of thing. They take pictures of you on every occasion and you can either purchase them or not. If you buy booze in Nassau they keep it at the front desk till you get off the ship. Karaoke Night was a panic and even kids were in there having a ball. Hey, you're never gonna see these folks again so let that Aero smith song locked up inside of you loose. You'll laugh until you cry the next day about it. The pool is small but again it's a ship not a resort. Bingo was fun but a big drain on money. The last morning the bingo pool is the biggest. It cost $20 for three cards but the person who won took home $900! Not bad. There is an ice machine and water machine with paper cups available at all times for free by the buffet area poolside. They also have a mini-fridge in most rooms with ice for free and sodas for purchase. You can either check your luggage by leaving it outside your room by 3:30AM and collect it at baggage claim before you go through customs at the terminal or you can carry it off yourself and these people leave the ship first. A tip - you can leave your luggage in the room until they clear the ship for departure. Most people carried their luggage around the ship after they left the room by 8:15AM (which they ask you to do) and I don't know why they lugged it except maybe they didn't read the memo - hello?!?.
Lastly, if you let this cruise take you away (and not just physically) it will. Being on the ocean, looking at the gin clear water in the bahamas and drinking fruit drinks in a Karaoke bar on Sunday nights is not something we do everyday and we just loved the whole thing. I hope this helps and Bon Voyage.