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Cindi Quarles

Age: 40


Number of Cruises: 1st

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Empress of the Seas

Sailing Date: September 17th 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

To start off this was our 1st cruise and we felt this ship was perfect for the first time crowd.
Boarding the ship was a breeze. Our travel agent told us to get there around 11am and with that we were on the ship by 11:30. we just sat by the pool and relaxed until we could put our day bags in our room at 1:00.

Then it was lunch at the buffet.

At 5:00 pm sharp the ship pulled away along with two other liners what a sight. My husband and I enjoyed some boat drinks and relished the wind in our hair. For Dinner we had a great table with 6 other sun seeking folks our waiter was the best and we all doubled up on the deserts, We ordered the wine package the ships offer during the 1st day and we were glad we did, each night ordering something new or sticking with a new favorite.

The next day was Key West. We rented bicycles and were told to watch for the Bikers on the road. We did not know that there were 15,000 to 26,000 motorcycles that had a ralley going on. It was great we found Key West perfect for cycling around and great shopping. Now here where it gets crazy by noon Key West had issued a mandatory evacuation of all tourist because of Hurricane Rita we hung out until 3:OOpm and boarded to leave port at 4pm. As we left we could see a rain storm from the east coming our way and boy did it. Our ship tilted side ways due to fierce eastern winds " very exciting" soon all was calm yet we all knew the Keys were in for a lashing.

Dinner again was great and the service wonderful.

Our next day was a full day at sea. full of relaxation and wonderful people. We met several folks who loved the ship and have been on it many times. We only spoke to one couple who didn't care for this ship at all, and to be very honest they just seemed to be able find fault with really anything. This 5 day cruise had low fares due to being peak hurricane season, and I mean Low fares our ocean view room was under $300 per person.

The next day was the Grand Caymens WOW what a beautiful sight. The port had a unexpected ship in port due to being redirected via "Rita" so 3 ships all in a row. The Empress was smaller yet she was so beautiful and we where so glad we chose her for our 1st cruise. The Island was wonderful we stuck it out on the beach enjoying the sun and sea. We spoke with many who enjoyed the stingray excursion.

The captain told us that the water would be getting so called " lumpy" and boy did it. The next morning we woke to clapping rain and lots of roller coaster waters, up and down and side to side "yikes" many didn't feel well I even had to drop the motion sickness pills. Even with our last day at sea being a bit rocky we loved it the entire time.

The positives of this ship. It will not overwhelm the 1st timer. The size of the ship is user friendly. not to small yet not so big you get lost.

The staff seems to be genuinely happy. The food was good to great never bad.

Now the negatives the ships activity director really could have a few more thing going on the itinerary I really tried to find something and the only was bingo and napkin folding. We did relax the first entire day at sea yet even with being a bit sea sick coming back I could have used a few more activities this was stated by many others so I feel that they could improve. Over all if you want a warmer, smaller 1st timer ship that really gives it's all try the Empress of the Seas. I know I have the cruise bug.

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