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Ken Abshier

Age: 50


Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Nordic Empress

Sailing Date: NOT FOUND

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sailing Date: January 18th, 2003

This was our 8th cruise, 4th on Royal Caribbean. We have also sailed with Princess, Holland America, Celebrity and NCL.

This was only our 2nd 7 day cruise, all other have been between 11 and 16 days.

Overall this was a very good cruise, however, if you don't' want to sail with children, avoid holiday weeks. There were way too many kids for our liking. This has no reflection on the cruise line or ship though.

This was the most well organized cruise we have been on, from embarkation to tours to disembarkation. I guess if you do the same cruise every week you should be able to get it right.

We left Tampa a little late, some cabins on deck 4 were flooded. RCCL offered to send people to Miami to board one of the Voyager class ships and also receive a free cruise for future use. This is what we heard, if true, I think that was a very fair offer. You could also just get your money back and go home.

First day was at sea, not the best weather, but again, no fault of the cruise line. Our second day was in Grand Cayman. We had to tender to a secondary area, Spotts Bay, due to weather conditions. Over half of the tours were cancelled since this "Port" was basically a dirt path and there were two other ships there also trying to tender to a one tender pier. We spent the day on 7 mile beach, mostly cloudy until the afternoon. We then went into town for a short time. This was our 3rd time there, nothing new to report.
We then had one of the most beautiful days at sea. Hot sun, calm waters and cocktails.

We then went to the exciting port of Belize City where you have to tender in from about 30 minutes away. We took the shark ray alley and sightseeing. It was OK, but I would suggest you take the river sightseeing tour, I heard it was great. We ended up in San Pablo, 37 miles from the ship for lunch and "shopping". I don't think so. I can't give a fair review of Belize City itself since we didn't see it.

We then went to Cozumel. There were 6 other ship in that day, very busy. We did the Passion Island Escape tour. Took us to a beautiful beach, not anywhere as nice as Trunk Bay, but still very nice. All the beer and Margaritas were include as well as a very nice lunch and some of the best guacamole we have ever had.

That night, Thursday, we ran into a cold front and 12 - 15 foot waves. Made for a very bumpy ride until about noon on Friday. We at sea all day Friday hoping to improve on our tans, however cloudy skies and about 50 degree weather didn't allow that.

Returned to Tampa on Saturday where disembarkation went very well. We had stayed at the Marriott Waterside the night before and after the cruise, a 15 minute walk to the ship. Worked out very well.

Entertainment was very good, we have been disappointed on some of our cruises, but this was very good. Two different comedians, one did a late night adult only show, it was OK, his regular routine was better. A singer that was very good. A juggler, is a juggler is a juggler. A violinist that we missed, the bar beckoned, but we heard was outstanding, And their production shows were also very well done.

Food was also very good, we had a great waiter, Ravi and his assistant was Andi, both did a great job.

Cabin, this was the smallest cabin I have ever seen, we had a Category F, deck 7, 7018, about 7 from the front. I am about 5'10" and 180 lbs., anyone bigger would have a tough time in that shower. I would suggest you grab your bar of soap and use the shower by the pool.

We are going to be on the Constellation (Celebrity) in April for a 14 day Transatlantic and back on RCCL in October to obtain our Platinum level. Just a 4 day over to the Bahamas.

Overall, kids and all, this was a very good cruise for the money and we will probably do it again next year, but probably in February or early March.

Feel free to email if you have any questions.

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