Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Empress of the Seas
Sailing Date: June 20th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Hi Gang, being that this was my first cruise, this is my first review, so be kind.
We were a extended family group of 22 people ranging in age from 18 to 82.
We sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale.
Sunday the 19th, 19 of our group flew out of Detroit Metro Airport, security went well and boarding was quick and easy, Northwest flight 242 was sold out and crowded. Only complaint, our group was not seated together, don't know if it was my TA fault or the airlines fault. Oh, well. Stayed at the Comfort Inn on Sterling Rd. Not the Ritz, but it was clean and the complementary breakfast was good and filling and tided us over until the feeding frenzy on the ship.
Arrived at the dock via the shuttle bus provided by the Hotel. Arrived at 11:15am for a 5:00pm sailing. Embarking could not have gone smoother, They started at 11:30am and we were on the boat by 11:50am. (First drink was a Pina Colada) We were in our rooms by 1pm. On the way to Key West, the Captain stopped the ship to investigate a capsized boat they observed. We stopped for about 45 minutes but could find no one in the water, Captain radioed the Coast Guard and got permission to continue.
Day 3, Key West
Arrived at 7am, we left the ship at about 9:30am and took the Conch Train tour. Found out more about Key West than I really wanted to know. Did some souvenir shopping and returned to the ship by noon for a 2pm departure. That evening, the weather started getting rough and the tiny ship was tossed, if the not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minn... oh wait... it was not the bad.
Day 4, Cozumel
Arrived at 1pm, did the Dolphin Encounter, very nice, be sure to wear your wet socks or something to protect your feet, you'll be standing on metal grating. Wandered about the park for a bit and went back the docks and did some more shopping, it was hotter that hell, and getting back to the air conditioning was a priority. We departed at 10pm
Day 5 Costa Maya
Arrived 7am, did the 4x4 Jungle jeep adventure, which terminated at a very nice beach hacienda, we had a bar-b-que lunch at the beach and returned to the boat docks. About an hour worth of driving each way, the jeeps were stick shift and in good working order, being from Michigan and doing some serious 4 wheeling before, the route was tame.
Day 6 at sea
spent some time at the casino (lost) and by the pool (got toasted)
Day 7 Ft. Lauderdale
Arrived 7am, disembarkation was well organized and quick, we were on the bus (supplied by Royal Caribbean) by 9:30pm. Flight back was uneventful (Northwest Flight 243), baggage at Detroit Metro could have been better.
The Ship seemed huge to me (First cruise, remember), it was clean and well maintained. The food was fantastic, both the Carmen Dining room and the Windjammer Lounge were both memorable. Cyril, out waiter, was fantastic, almost reading our minds. Marvin, our room steward, was most attentive and made our cruise very pleasurable. Our room (9158) was a Junior Suite, it was clean and bug free. The shower drain clogged Wednesday night, one call to maintenance got it fixed pronto. The balcony was great for room service breakfast.
All in all, it was a most pleasant vacation. We will cruise again (minus the group).
We packed too many clothes and not enough money (damn casino). TV did not have an option to review your Seapass account.
One big downside, The satellite link was very sporadic during the NBA finals (Pistons lost, so not that big a deal).