Donna & Lew
Age: NOT FOUND
Number of Cruises: NOT FOUND
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Nordic Empress
Sailing Date: September 9th, 2001
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Donna & Lew
This was an interesting cruise to say the least! My girlfriend has been on 5 cruises but this was my first. We arrived at NYC to embark, embarkation was not too bad. First impression of our inner stateroom, SMALL! Too small, claustrophobic for my girlfriend. The outside rooms are bigger, so pay the diff and get one if you cruise on this ship. We sailed out of NY harbor under sunny skies, passing the World Trade Center and getting what would be final pictures of ourselves with them as the backdrop. Calm seas the first night, nice dinner, walking around the ship and getting used to it. Drink prices seemed high, and the lack of fountain sodas bugged me, canned soda was 1.50 each, too much! Royal should be ashamed for not having more free drink selection, water and unsweet tea is not enough, and the lines could be long near the pool service station to fill the too small plasic cups. Hurricane Erin was steaming towards Bermuda but we did not have rough seas until the next day and night, when the swells reached 10 feet. Most everybody was sick Tuesday, even crew members. I missed the dinner because I had to lie down, but our excellent waiter Benjamin Tuazon from the Phillipines brought it up to my room! Talk about quality service, Benjamin was/is the pinnacle of a wonderful waiter, and kept me happy by bringing 2 or 3 different entrees for me every night, I was a happy glutton. The food was good, not great, forget the steaks, tough, but the lamb, chicken, and seafood was appetizing. Best dessert I had on the ship was Royal Chocolate Cake in the Windjammer Café, best cake of my life. The ship was nice, showing its age, but cozy and in decent upkeep. The shows were good, saw comedian John Wing who was funny, and some song and dance routines that were decent.
We were relieved to find out we would be able to go to Bermuda after being told we might divert to Bahamas (yuck) because of Erin, which passed east of Bermuda with no damage done. Of course by this time we all had seen the World Trade Center attacks, and the whole ship was stunned. A level of tension existed the entire cruise because of this unreal tragedy. We ended up having to return to Philadelphia harbor instead of NY, and we left Bermuda early on Friday instead of staying half the day. Royal had busses available for the all passengers to get to various destinations. I was worried about getting flights home but by next Sunday planes were actually ahead of schedule because no one was flying. The whole WTC incident put a damper on the cruise, it was the news everywhere and you couldn’t put it out of your mind.
We did have a nice time in spite of the bad news though. Bermuda was great, expensive but extremely clean and pretty. The people are well mannered and helpful. We went mountain biking and took the champagne catamaran trip for excursions, the cat cruise was real nice. We went to Elbow Beach, which is a little more private than Horseshoe Bay. Awesome water and sand, just great. I would say this ship is nice, but a little small, and not well suited for the Atlantic. They should have a bigger ship for the Bermuda trek, this ship would be better in the Caribbean for shorter trips, 7 days on board wore me out and got cramped. Also the walls are paper thin, I could hear people snoring and fighting with spouses! Other than small inconveniences aboard, and the WTC tragedy which was no fault of Royals, I was happy with the cruise. We paid 650.00 per person and did our own air travel. Over all not bad, but if you don’t get the bigger stateroom and have calm weather you will suffer a little!