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Debbie

Age: 53

Occupation:Librarian

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Nordic Empress

Sailing Date: NOT FOUND

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Sailing Date: December 21st, 2002

My husband and I just returned from the Christmas week cruise on the Nordic Empress and we had a wonderful time! The ship, while older, is in immaculate condition. Embarkation was fast and easy; we arrived around noon and were sitting having lunch in the Windjammer Cafe by 1pm. Our luggage arrived soon afterwards, so we were unpacked by the time the ship left Tampa.

Security was tight and we had to show our ID's about 3 times before we walked up the gangplank. Parking our car was easy and cost $10/day in the ramp garage across the street (you pay the day you arrive). My husband dropped me and the luggage off at the pier and he went to park the car; there are plenty of porters to take your luggage.

Dinner was 8:30pm at table 21....Edwin and Steve were wonderful and I hope you are fortunate enough to have them as your waiter and asst. waiter! Food was very good and the menus were terrific...better than Carnival and on par with Norwegian.

What really set RCCL apart from the other cruises we have enjoyed was the impeccable service at every turn. We bought the wine package (7 bottles for $125 and found the choices to be excellent). Also bought the drink card and found that to be very worthwhile (can't comment on the soft drink package you can also buy).

Inside cabin was small, but we were prepared for that. Cabin steward was Sterling and he was also terrific! Casino was extremely good to both my husband and me during the week :-) We did the stingray city swim and snorkel and enjoyed it a lot. Shopping is always good in Grand Cayman, too. Belize was pretty quiet because it was Christmas Day, but many people took excursions. Cozumel was very crowded with 11 cruise ships in port that day! Way too many people (about 20,000)walking around. We did the Playa Sol Beach Club, but it was very crowded and I wouldn't recommend it. The days at sea were very relaxing, but there were many things to do on board. Overall, an excellent cruise and one we would highly recommend. We prefer the smaller ships and were not at all disappointed with the Nordic Empress.

De-embarkation was also very smooth and didn't take much time at all. We were off the ship and in our car by 10:30am and on our way to Orlando for 4 days. This was our 7th cruise in the past 9 years and our 1st RCCL and would recommend it without any hesitation. Enjoy!

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