Well, we’ve been back for a few days and are trying to get settled in again. It was good to go and it was good to come home. The 7 day cruise to Bermuda flew by, of course. We knew it would. so we made the most of each day. The short version is we had a great time and Bermuda is lovely! I wrote up the first day in case anyone is interested. I’ll try to write about another cruise day each day for the next week. They won’t all be as long as today’s. I’ll also be posting some photos and cruise compasses. Will let you know about those later in the week.
My husband and I flew from San Antonio, TX on Friday, the day before the cruise. We got a good deal through Priceline.com on a suite at the Sheraton Suites near the Philadelphia airport. Friends came over that evening and brought some Philly cheese steaks. A fun evening.
The taxis drivers were on strike in Phila. though some were still working. The hotel called for one and it came quickly. The 15 minute taxi ride to the port cast $25 with the tip. We arrived at the port at 10:15. The check-in opened at 10:35 and went very smoothly. We were on the ship before 11 a.m. We could get into our rooms until 1 p.m. so walked around the ship taking pictures. We took a 5 minute tour of the spa. If we had booked a treatment for the same day there would have been a $40 discount.
The Empress of the Seas is the smallest Royal Caribbean ship. She will leave the RCI fleet next spring and will be transferred to sister company Pullmantur Cruises in Spain. She’s an easy ship to find one’s way around.
Since this cruise was in Sept. there were few children on board. A week or two earlier there were 500 children on board. This cruise there were 40.
When we entered the Windjammer Cafe I was expecting the hand washing station like they had one our first (and only) cruise last January on the Legend of the Seas. They never had and such stations and I never heard of anyone getting sick, except for a little sea sickness here and there. The Windjammer wasn’t crowded when we arrived but by the time we left it was jammed.
Our whole party arrived by then. There were 8 of us ranging in age from 22 to 75. All were women except my husband. What a good sport he was. We discovered that though we asked our travel agents to link our 3 reservations it didn’t happen. We were assigned to two tables. I went to the dining room to ask to have it changed. We had nice, round tables but were then assigned to a long table for 10 right outside the kitchen door. Another couple ended up joining us and we all got along very well, though people at one end of the table couldn’t talk to someone at the other end.
When we went to your cabins my sister was missing her Gold Crown and Anchor coupon book. I went to the purser’s desk and was told to go to the Loyalty Ambassador’s desk. Since I was there I decided to book a cruise that we’d been looking at – a transatlantic next March. The lady seemed a little surprised that we hadn’t even left the port and I was booking another cruise, but I was ready and so was she.
We got all our luggage by 2:15 so unpacked. We had an oceanview. Yes, the rooms are small. There was no refrigerator. Love seat or sofa, but the storage is adequate for 2. Having double hanging bars in half of the closet helped. My mom, sister and two friends shared a quad oceanview. That was a bit tight but they made do. We met our stateroom attendant, Eyner from Panama, and were off to the muster drill. Soon after was the sail away party at the pool. They had a bar-b-que and hot food buffet. While sailing down the Delaware River it’s nice to be on the pool deck as the ship goes under some bridges with little clearance.
I made some lanyards before the cruise and went to the purser’s desk to have holes punched in our sea passes. That worked well.
Dinner in the Carmen dining room was a bit hectic that first night. Our waiter, Michal from the Philippines, had a table assigned to him after we arrived. He had to get it all set up. Our assistant waiter from India introduced himself to us. A little while later another assistant waiter, Dillon from St. Vincent, introduced himself to us also. He was with us for the rest of the week. Dinner was good. I took photos of the menus most evenings and will post them sometime. I also have copies of all the Cruise Compasses and will scan them.
At 6:30 the captain came on with an announcement. We could tell it was unusual by the looks on the staff’s faces. He announced that we had a medical emergency and would be turning around and returning to port. Earlier in the day there had been an “Alpha, Alpha, Alpha” announcement indicating a medical emergency. So, there in the middle of the shipping lane of the Delaware River the ship made a U turn.
Around 8:30 we went out on deck 6 before the evening show. We saw that we were moving toward a dock. We were in the Wilmington, DE area and didn’t return all the way to Phila. The captain moved the ship right up against the dock sideways and kept it there. There were several fire and medical emergency vehicles and personnel. Once docked the medical personnel boarded the ship and after 10-15 minutes returned with the passenger and his wife to the waiting ambulance. As the ship was smoothly moving away from the dock the people on the ship clapped for the emergency personnel. Two fire trucks blew their loud horns. The ship responded with a deep blast from its horn. It was a very moving moment of people helping each other. You can read about it at the following URL. The times in the article are off but the general article is accurate. Emergency Stop in Wilmington
We went to the Welcome Aboard show. Warren Allen, the cruise director, gave us some stats about who was on the cruise. Then he introduced the comedian, Rick Starr. He was good. Unfortunately for several parts of his show you needed to be able to see him which I couldn’t do since the seating is more like a lounge than an auditorium and we were in the back of a balcony behind a pole. Still, he was funny. If you are going to see a show at the Strike Up the Band Lounge get there early to get a good seat.
After the show several of us went to the Boleros Lounge to watch the karaoke time. Some performers were quite good and some weren’t. After that a few of us went up to the Viking Crown Lounge to dance.
Earlier in the evening I had stopped at Café Latte-tudes and asked for a cookie. On the Legend of the Seas they were free. Here they were only free with a purchase of a drink. To get a cookie we had to go up to the Grab ‘n’ Go Snacks area of the Windjammer, which we did several times that week. I spent some time walking around the ship getting better oriented when it was nice and quiet in the wee hours of the morning. I went to the tiny library and checked out a book for my husband. I also picked up the trivia and Sudoku for the day. When I got back to the cabin I read the Cruise Compass and planned the next day. I went to sleep around 3a.m.