Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
twangster

Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵 ​​​​​​​Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵

Recommended Posts

Cabin Tour!

 

As we waited for cabins to become available at 1:30pm I was waiting in the elevator lobby near my cabin.  As the hall door was opened by crew moving luggage, James my new cabin attendant spotted me.  He was servicing the block of cabins right beside my last cabin so he recognized me.  He waved me through telling me my cabin was ready.  Nice touch.

 

Junior Suite 9600 Starboard.

 

idzRAuD.jpg

 

This JS is the reverse layout from my last JS.

 

2MlL7EX.jpg

 

Pretty much identical with the same "efficient" bathroom and shower.

 

8sCODz8.jpg

 

HxvhOq5.jpg

 

Walk in closet.

 

wzHVc4o.jpg

 

I waited until we had left the port to take balcony pictures.  This cabin is the most forward JS on deck 9 so the balcony doesn't have a divider on the forward side.  You do lose a small corner and the elevator lobby can see this balcony but the forward view is better.

 

The better sea views can also be enjoyed when sitting on the sofa inside the cabin.

 

qXCDLh1.jpg

 

n8plBpZ.jpg

 

AHWaLQz.jpg

 

The pool deck above narrows so the overhang is slightly smaller.  The view aft.

 

j4x8uJG.jpg

 

The view down.

 

53mve7e.jpg

 

Something I forgot to mention in my last Empress thread are the USB outlets.  They are found on the bottom of the lights on each side of the bed.  It's a great hidden feature.

 

3Fjxi6t.jpg

 

h6G1K6N.jpg

 

It's really nice having USB outlets on both sides of the bed.

 

MbHuvuz.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, twangster said:

Day 1 Embarkation

 

A first glimpse of Empress at Terminal G from my Uber.

 

rZnNpLb.jpg

 

Terminal G

 

ES4xLkx.jpg

 

fVawRww.jpg

 

The entrance to the building normally has some signage but in this early hour you had to know where to go.

 

FJgERQk.jpg

 

Terminal G check in area.

 

lymoSsM.jpg

 

Suites and Pinnacles have a small waiting lounge.

 

ZIG2rhw.jpg

 

Boarding started at 10:45am.  

 

GTqB1IS.jpg

 

Woohoo!  I am officially on a cruise!

 

lZubKyh.jpg

 

 

 

 

This last round of pictures is not working well on my phone.  Very squeezed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

This last round of pictures is not working well on my phone.  Very squeezed

 

Voom is quite painful at the moment.  It took a long time to craft that post and wait for images to load.  It seems they didn't load right.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another hidden discovery is that Wow! bands can be used to access your cabin.

 

JvOjH3m.jpg

 

Unfortunately when used in this fashion anyone on the ship can use your Wow! band to access your cabin.

 

DJUrGjy.jpg

 

Okay, that's a lame joke but I was enjoying drinks at the Schooner Bar up to this point...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, twangster said:

 

Voom is quite painful at the moment.  It took a long time to craft that post and wait for images to load.  It seems they didn't load right.  

 

I had some on Harmony like that. Sometimes best to just give up and try later 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, twangster said:

Another hidden discovery is that Wow! bands can be used to access your cabin.

 

JvOjH3m.jpg

 

Quote

 

 

Twangster:  please comment about the noise factor above this cabin...we are considering booking it.  Also, do you think  the balcony would be too chilly in a cool climate cruise.

 

Thanks

Edited by beachnative

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crown and Anchor sail away party deck 6 aft, Diamond and higher.

 

mXeGp32.jpg

 

I ran into the IT Manager and asked him if his O3b upgrade came through.  Nope.  The contractors I saw working are doing some routine maintenance replacing some components with a goal to improve reception when one set of antennas is blocked.  That's an issue at CocoCay with other larger ships beside us - they block one set of satellite antennas.  

 

We talked about Voom and I learned a few new things.  Empress shares transponders with a few other ships.  Navigator and Mariner use the same transponder.  Other groups of ships share different transponders.  For this legacy satellite system a different satellite covers the Western Caribbean compared to the Eastern Caribbean.  We'll use the same satellite for the entirety of this cruise.  On the last cruise in the Western Caribbean we switched satellites during the cruise.  

 

In terms of rain fade he pointed out something I should have thought of.  What goes up must come down.  Speedcast and O3b have their primary earth station in Miami.  Our data traffic comes down in Miami as a gateway to reach the internet.  If Miami is encountering bad weather like a line of strong thunderstorms that can impact every ships Voom even if the ships are in sunny skies a thousand miles away.  It was obvious when he said it but I had never thought about it.

 

The bridge has some data feeds that use a different satellite platform but if the Captain wants to stream Netflix in his cabin that uses the same Voom the rest of us use.

 

With the darkening skies over Miami as we pulled out I wonder if some ship somewhere is experiencing a Voom slow down.

 

cIyEwlc.jpg

 

gZBchAs.jpg

 

63ssyf7.jpg

 

Rain moving in.  Time to move to the Schooner Bar.

 

hbVH7O6.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, beachnative said:

 

 

Twangster:  please comment about the noise factor above this cabin...we are considering booking it.  Also, do you think  the balcony would be too chilly in a cool climate cruise.

 

Thanks

 

I'm hearing quite a few carts rolling above me at times.  Not so bad at night but during the day I do hear more traffic above me at times.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dinner at Chops

 

I was offered a window table but they were pretty busy so I chose one row back so someone else can enjoy the windows this time.  Still a great view.

 

rbdj2MN.jpg

 

Bread of course.

 

NW6ihoE.jpg

 

Wedge Salad.

 

I0vzby6.jpg

 

Beef Carpaccio. 

 

djDOtTo.jpg

 

The 16 oz. bone in.  Yum.

 

2LRmny5.jpg

 

The sundae again.

 

Drak8ZU.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

I had some on Harmony like that. Sometimes best to just give up and try later 

 

Yep.  Trying to get through day 1 at least so I don't get too far behind.  Happy hour, good time to take a break for now.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a great meal. Great info on the transponder. I figured that's how they did it but had no idea that several ships share. No wonder it can be so slow. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the regular activities are going on around the ship.

 

kdes5av.jpg

 

Since I covered some of them in my last thread I'm going to skip them this time but don't think that means they aren't happening.  There is a lot going around this little ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ended up at the Schooner Bar where I met some folks from Cruise Critic.  One drink led to another and the bartenders were taking care of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Day 2 - CocoCay

 

I woke and discovered we were already here and tied up to the pier early.

 

KNNrPdy.jpg

 

vQVrjUW.jpg

 

Mariner is with us today.  The NCL Sky was sailing past on her way to anchor at GSC next door.

 

Q4rivmt.jpg

 

jTtmJzl.jpg

 

Live music to greet us this morning.

 

J1z4Cyi.jpg

 

Psgor0H.jpg

 

I think it's going to be a Perfect Day.

 

2ibXClF.jpg

Edited by twangster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

From my last stop I posted a bunch of CocoCay pictures in that thread so I'm not going to repeat those here, but I did pop into the Thrill Water Park to check it out.  If you want to see my other CocoCay pictures check out the thread URL I posted in the first post.

 

WY2FaYv.jpg

 

uqLNZyd.jpg

 

rw3TmIs.jpg

 

Royal has done a really nice job with this area as well as the rest of CocoCay.  Plenty of loungers, picnic tables and space to spread out.

 

38OUpMz.jpg

 

Lots of complimentary lockers are available.

 

bdG5oOI.jpg

 

z2h75nH.jpg

 

Even the restrooms are done up nice.

 

K6elX8N.jpg

 

aCGj8yJ.jpg

 

The wave pool has lots of loungers available

 

ZVfrvmo.jpg

 

K4hddWj.jpg

 

8pa3qHA.jpg

 

fvh1VFH.jpg

 

Thrill Water Park Cabanas are found in a couple of areas.  Here are some on the sides of the wave pool.

 

iwcViuf.jpg

 

Thrill Water Park has its own Snack Shack.

 

BMWveHQ.jpg

 

2YFDCia.jpg

 

GGIqTuM.jpg

 

Some of these require you carry a mat or tube up with you.  The Sling Shot uses a conveyor system to lift the raft to the top for you.

 

eZiGrLP.jpg

 

ax5uUCa.jpg

 

More Cabanas near the slide pool.

 

LLHXQL7.jpg

 

OPxGRRq.jpg

 

Hsxwzxg.jpg

 

The Adventure pool has these floating rope courses.  Based on what I saw they are harder than they look, but fun.

 

iEVRBzY.jpg

 

4TdjqeV.jpg

 

hWs1edM.jpg

 

olVgNKl.jpg

 

Daredevil's Tower is amazing.

 

YcXFaE6.jpg

 

c0Rz6aU.jpg

 

gKAAVQZ.jpg

 

Soet8vu.jpg

 

Ww8plaT.jpg

 

SGHLDwk.jpg

 

xC9el5k.jpg

 

DoloCU5.jpg

 

Just Wow!

 

I can't wait to check these out on my next visit on Navigator in a few weeks.  I've already bought a zip line and Thrill Water Park combo pass.

 

J6YJSSm.jpg

Edited by twangster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I went back to the ship to drop off my camera stuff and grab my snorkel gear.  It's so nice having a pier now at CocoCay.

 

GUy7jdN.jpg

 

They were handing out cards to remind people of our 2:30pm all aboard time.

 

5i0l57b.jpg

 

While going up the stairs to my cabin I found the wireless link that ties the ship network to CocoCay.

 

1WshIio.jpg

 

3foJ2j1.jpg

 

It wasn't hard to find a 2nd row lounger for my stuff while I snorkelled.

 

cfZEgn9.jpg

 

9xMGSWs.jpg

 

hGhGeWZ.jpg

 

lNNAcf1.jpg

 

XHvEBv3.jpg

 

dKcWbXt.jpg

 

c2wsdy5.jpg

 

The Sergeant Majors were pretty friendly today.

 

PB8ugaz.jpg

 

dxqVxWy.jpg

 

HSZ1quf.jpg

 

This part of CocoCay still resembles the CocoCay of old for folks who just want a chill beach day.

 

NfjBcTF.jpg

 

DFC8rFh.jpg

 

Edited by twangster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Snorkelling was fun but it was for some Snack Shack.


zHns8Nm.jpg

 

Juice choices today.

 

cQmmuHi.jpg

 

A Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara sauce and a Funnel Cake for dessert.  Yum.

 

K2pSTb3.jpg

 

Over to Oasis Lagoon for a Margarita.

 

N0tTbxF.jpg

 

ySsWuQv.jpg

 

qe2mbCY.jpg

 

It's so nice having a pool to jump into.

 

dNB1LJ3.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Carolina Girl 99 said:

In what area of Coco Cay did you snorkel?

 

On this map of CocoCay the snorkel beach is in the bottom left area off Chill Island.

 

KRzLMfO.jpg

 

There is a swim/snorkel area with boundaries and lifeguards.  I swam out between the break walls, along the boundary and back along the break walls.


7mLJcBZ.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Royal has a Cabana Guide that illustrates the location of each type of bed, bungalow or Cabana.  I created a separate post for here on Cruise Critic since it goes beyond Empress but here it is:

 

N43V2As.jpg

 

In PDF format:

CocoCay Cabana Guide.pdf

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

All aboard for Empress was 2:30pm so we could make San Juan by 3pm after a sea day. 

 

Around 2:45pm as I wandered up to deck 11 to take in sail away I heard the announcement -   "Would the following guest make their way to guest services...".  Not one, or two or five or eight but ten guests were about to become Mariner passengers.  Then came the ship's whistle several times.

 

Looking down from deck 11 I could see Julie our Hotel Director and Jorge our Guest Services Manager on the pier.

 

ZZgIDhU.jpg

 

Ni39mN4.jpg

 

Pier runners!  At 2:47pm five guests came running up the pier.  

 

zOAqFLZ.jpg

 

At 2:53pm a golf cart delivered the remaining guests.  Finally we could leave.

 

4I4esuH.jpg

 

A last look back at Mariner and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

 

qbb0Nhb.jpg

 

uaCeRTD.jpg

 

I needed to ensure they still had ample Guinness on board so I headed to the Schooner Bar. 

 

30zskwh.jpg

 

They have the Heineken draught beer machine out for this sailing.  It's a self contained countertop beer cooler and dispenser since Empress doesn't have permanent taps.

 

5d3Szwv.jpg

 

Edited by twangster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The end of day 2 finds us at sea on our way towards San Juan.

 

I was sitting in Boleros enjoying some latin music with a glass of wine when I noticed a sunset happening behind us.

 

SeKwvzl.jpg

 

85JMdK0.jpg

 

Our progress so far...

 

AeLpy1W.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 3 - Sea Day

 

Not to be outdone by the sunset last, the sunrise this morning tried to do better.  Good effort.

 

L1frJMb.jpg

 

PdWqksq.jpg

 

gB3q06j.jpg

 

4NiY0N7.jpg

 

23PPH2y.jpg

 

DAhuG1B.jpg

 

39hyJgY.jpg

 

pPFucG4.jpg

 

aJdhDim.jpg

 

And so begins our day at sea.  A Chops Grille breakfast is calling my name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, twangster said:

While going up the stairs to my cabin I found the wireless link that ties the ship network to CocoCay.

 

3foJ2j1.jpg

 

Which does what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Biker19 said:

Which does what?

 

Last year on Empress at CocoCay they used paper tickets for all purchases including the floating bar.  Now, the ship is tied to the island so that cards can be swiped at point of sale terminals.  

 

I believe it is also the link that carries authentication for the ship's Voom network so that guests can use Voom on CocoCay using your ship Voom plan.  On the island it places you into their VLAN so you have access to CocoCay's O3b uplink but it still requires authentication using the same username and PIN that works on the ship. 

 

On Labadee the ships connect to fiber boxes on the pier.  CocoCay it seems does it wirelessly.

Edited by twangster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...