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twangster

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

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Voom is doing okay today.


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Speaking of Voom, "royal-wifi" is no more, at least on ships that are Perfect Day enabled.  Ships now are using a guest wireless network unique to each ship.  This is how two ships can share CocoCay and guests from both ships can use their own ship's wifi account while on CocoCay.  

 

This is from my last visit to CocoCay when Empress and Navigator were there together.  Since I was on Empress I chose "WiFi-Guest-Empress" just like it is on the ship. 

 

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Great pictures! So when you were snorkeling, do you see any lemon sharks as people had been reporting?

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2 minutes ago, Swank Pad G said:

Great pictures! So when you were snorkeling, do you see any lemon sharks as people had been reporting?

 

I didn't see any lemon sharks this time but they tend to be over where the new overwater cabanas are going.  I've never seen them in the snorkel area.  I have seen rays in the snorkel area but not this time.

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17 hours ago, twangster said:

 

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.  

 

We have booked the cabin you are currently in (9600) for a 21-day Back2Back.

 

Thank you for your reviews, photos, and information.

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Was anyone on Empress  left behind at Cococay Sunday? I ask because I was on Mariner at the pool bar around your departure time and crew members were walking around the pool asking if anyone was from the Empress. A crew member was also making announcements that the Empress was leaving soon and her passengers needed to leave immediately.This went on for at least 20 minutes. It was so loud at the pool bar that I’m not sure if most people heard the announcements.

 

BTW, I’m getting on Empress when you get off. Unfortunately we won’t be going to Cococay. 

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33 minutes ago, beachnative said:

 

We have booked the cabin you are currently in (9600) for a 21-day Back2Back.

 

Thank you for your reviews, photos, and information.

 

I've done some more recon.  This is area above cabin 9600.

 

uTCDL2z.jpg

 

The bend in the glass wall in the middle of this photo is the center of my cabin.  The doors to the forward elevator lobby and Windjammer are on the left. 

 

What I'm getting a lot during the day are people sliding chairs in and out especially around lunch time when people are visiting the WJ for a meal.  

 

At night people don't tend to hang out here so it isn't too bad at night but it tends to be a WJ seating area for folks who want to eat outdoors.  Sometimes the bar carts that they roll out onto the pool deck can be heard.  

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33 minutes ago, seabeew said:

Was anyone on Empress  left behind at Cococay Sunday? I ask because I was on Mariner at the pool bar around your departure time and crew members were walking around the pool asking if anyone was from the Empress. A crew member was also making announcements that the Empress was leaving soon and her passengers needed to leave immediately.This went on for at least 20 minutes. It was so loud at the pool bar that I’m not sure if most people heard the announcements.

 

BTW, I’m getting on Empress when you get off. Unfortunately we won’t be going to Cococay. 

 

Ten guests were late but I think we got them all.  I was standing right above the gangway and watched a pier shuttle drop off the last few stragglers just over 25 minutes past all aboard. 

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Day 3 - Midday

 

Pool deck is popular.

 

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Carving demonstration in the Centrum.

 

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Trivia in the Schooner Bar.  That's Brittney our Sports Deck Manager.  Her parents were on for the 2nd leg of my B2B last cruise. 

 

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Beer sale!  

 

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It's views like this I really appreciate on Empress.  The deck 6 Centrum doors to the outdoor deck that wraps around the ship.  The sea feels like it's right there.

 

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33 minutes ago, twangster said:

 

I've done some more recon.  This is area above cabin 9600.

 

uTCDL2z.jpg

 

The bend in the glass wall in the middle of this photo is the center of my cabin.  The doors to the forward elevator lobby and Windjammer are on the left. 

 

What I'm getting a lot during the day are people sliding chairs in and out especially around lunch time when people are visiting the WJ for a meal.  

 

At night people don't tend to hang out here so it isn't too bad at night but it tends to be a WJ seating area for folks who want to eat outdoors.  Sometimes the bar carts that they roll out onto the pool deck can be heard.  

 

Interesting...thanks.  I really do appreciate your input.

 

We just got off an Anthem 9-day cruise in 13188...a cabin below the Solarium.  We had very little noise.

 

If you decide that 9600 is NOT a cabin that you would book again, please let me know.  OR if you come across an area that you think would be better for a cabin below, please let me know.

 

We have had a difficult time deciding on which JS to spend 21 days; a struggle we have never had before.

 

And seriously, YOUR reviews are the reason I decided to agree to do 21 days on the Empress.  My spouse is very appreciative of the role you played in this decision.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, beachnative said:

 

Interesting...thanks.  I really do appreciate your input.

 

We just got off an Anthem 9-day cruise in 13188...a cabin below the Solarium.  We had very little noise.

 

If you decide that 9600 is NOT a cabin that you would book again, please let me know.  OR if you come across an area that you think would be better for a cabin below, please let me know.

 

We have had a difficult time deciding on which JS to spend 21 days; a struggle we have never had before.

 

And seriously, YOUR reviews are the reason I decided to agree to do 21 days on the Empress.  My spouse is very appreciative of the role you played in this decision.

 

 

 

Consider this diagram I did for another thread.

 

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The area shaded is where you will hear the pool party dancing at night.  Stomp, stomp, stomp.

 

I don't get any of that on this cruise but I do get people scraping their chairs during the day.

 

Last year I was in 9144 under the spa and it was quiet with no noises.

 

There are things I like about 9600.  The view from the sofa can't be beat because there is no forward balcony divider.  

 

Noises don't bother me.  I can sleep through a lot.  If you are sensitive to noises under the spa is a safer bet.  

 

 

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Is there an airplane in the water around Cococay that you can snorkel around? I thought I saw that somewhere, thanks. Another great review! 

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11 minutes ago, cruisedude29 said:

Is there an airplane in the water around Cococay that you can snorkel around? I thought I saw that somewhere, thanks. Another great review! 

 

Yes, there is a sunken airplane, but the most recent reports I've seen is that the area is cordoned off.

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13 hours ago, cruisedude29 said:

Is there an airplane in the water around Cococay that you can snorkel around? I thought I saw that somewhere, thanks. Another great review! 

 

13 hours ago, Host Clarea said:

 

Yes, there is a sunken airplane, but the most recent reports I've seen is that the area is cordoned off.

 

I tried to snorkel there but the rope boundaries seemed to restrict where I recall it being.  I asked a lifeguard on a floating lifeguard stand and he acted like I was crazy.  "Airplane?  No.  No airplanes".

 

The kayak rental shack next to the Chill Cabanas have a roped off lane to reach open water.  It separates the Cabana dedicated beach area from the general swim/snorkel area.  It also serves to contain the snorkel area and cut it off from where I recall the airplane being.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, twangster said:

 

I tried to snorkel there but the rope boundaries seemed to restrict where I recall it being.  I asked a lifeguard on a floating lifeguard stand and he acted like I was crazy.  "Airplane?  No.  No airplanes".

  ...

 

 

Very odd.

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On 8/11/2019 at 5:30 PM, twangster said:

 

Empress has a Coffee Shop near the entrance within Boleros.

 

 

I had read somewhere that if you buy a coffee at the coffee shop that there's pastries available as well....it looks like there's a spot to keep them there on the counter. I can't really tell from the photo if there's actually anything in the case. If you get a chance, can you confirm that they've still got the pastries?

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Day 3 continued...

 

Forgot to post the rainbow at sea this morning.

 

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Lots of sargassum at sea.  They don't call this the Sargasso Sea for no reason.  That's the Atlantic for you.  This is the source of that stuff that lands on beaches like Florida and Costa Maya.

 

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Top Tier at 5pm in Boleros.

 

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730 total Crown and Anchor members.  That's up quite a bit from the last sailing.

 

412 Gold 130 Platinum, 49 Emerald, 91 Diamond, 36 Diamond Plus, 12 Pinnacle

 

944 new to Royal this cruise.

 

Main theater show tonight is a new act that wasn't on my previous B2B.  Replacing the hypnotist we have The Dangerous Comedy of Wilde and James.  Juggling three knives on a unicycle. Yep, that just happened.

 

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Captain's address.  Guest cout 1,674.  Top speed for Empress is 19 knots and we are running at that speed today.  The Captain announced we should have an extra hour in San Juan.  With a scheduled arrival at 3pm we should be at the pier and ready to go closer to 2pm.

 

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Saw this as I walked through the smoke free casino.

 

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Posted (edited)

Someone asked me if they ever have a piano player in the MDR during dinner.  

 

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I was fortunate enough to be picked for the Hotel Director's Table once again.  I learned that it's not always just the top elite that get invited based on numbers.  The Captain or Hotel Director has the ability to choose. 

 

Once again Jorge our Guest Services Manager joined us.  This is the last cruise for Julie our Hotel Director and Jorge as well.  While Julie goes home for 2 months Jorge is heading to Majesty for a few months.   

 

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Some of my tablemates tonight were the pier runners at CocoCay.  Long story.  The ship called one of their emergency contacts when they were late.  Another step in the protocol I didn't know about.

 

I asked Julie our about the previous Eastern cruise when guests were left at CocoCay.  She confirmed there were 3 guests involved and they all made their way to San Juan at their expense.  They contacted Mariner first and confirmed they had space before leaving the guests.  When the decision to skip San Juan due to civil unrest was made it was Jorge who contacted the port agent to make arrangements to get the guests over to the BVI at Royal's expense. 

 

I asked about the process when a guest misses the ship.  Multiple security wearing body cameras enter their cabin.  They document everything on camera.  They will open the safe and look for passports, wallet, credit cards and money.  Money is counted very visibly on camera.  They collect it all and put it in a bag.  If they see diapers in a cabin of missing guests they'll grab some of those too.  Everything is put in a bag and readied to be handed off to the local port agent.  

 

She said when a guest does make it at the last second (pier runner) it's very sobering for them to see their stuff in a sealed bag when they realize how close they came to missing the ship.  If a guest does miss the ship they hand the sealed package to the port agent who later gives it to the guest.  In the case of the last cruise and missing CocoCay guests the sealed packages were left with Mariner's security team.

 

Julie is very personable and it was interesting to hear more stories from her lengthy time at sea starting as a revenue manager.  She shared a picture a friend (crew) on Mariner took using a drone showing Empress and Mariner at the pier in CocoCay.  She airdropped the photo to me so I airdropped the Milky Way photo from my Empress Western cruise the week before back to her.  Since the drone photo isn't my picture I'm not going to share it here but it's a pretty cool picture. 

 

Some of my table mates will be on a Navigator B2B I have coming up.  Another will be on a Vision Panama cruise coming up with me.   Last cruise a table mate at the HD Table will be on an Oasis B3B with me later this year.  You meet so many nice people at these events and I greatly appreciate the invitation. 

 

Once again we were presented with a memento of our dinner experience.

 

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Loyalty does pay.

Edited by twangster

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Excellent share. Always wondered about what happens ship side when someone misses the ship. So enjoying my vicarious cruise here. My first cruise was on Sovereign the Seas in 1990. Judging by your photos and what you focus on while cruising, I think I would really enjoy Empress. I appreciate all the work you do to post.

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I chatted with Julie about the lack of a Diamond event.  Internally the Crown and Anchor department carries the financial burden of Diamond Happy Hour in their budget center.  They've looked at different ideas but some of it comes down to staffing.  Empress isn't staffed to host a Diamond event.  At a minimum it takes 3 crew to host and serve a dedicated happy hour event and with fewer crew on Empress that would mean pulling crew from elsewhere causing another area to be understaffed every night.  

 

It's not a decision the Hotel Director can make exclusively since C&A pays for it.  They are always considering ideas and I let her know it is one of the more popular discussion points amongst Diamond and higher cruisers who consider Empress when booking a cruise.  She was curious if I thought cruisers just wanted a meeting place to see other Diamond members or if the happy hour drinks were the issue.  I suggested that the drinks beyond the 3 happy hour 'coupons' were more of a point of contention.  

 

I'm not sure anything will come of it but it's nice to know they are aware of how us cruisers feel and they aren't just standing on policy but are thinking about our concerns. 

 

Next cruise will have 18 Pinnacles.  With 12 Pinnacles on this cruise that is high for Empress (last July to Cuba there were no Pinnacles on board).  Next cruise should be interesting.

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You mentioned in your last review that you work while on your cruises. Do you mind sharing what it is that you do?  If you would prefer not, totally understandable. 

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I suggested to Royal via email - they give Diamonds and above a deal on the coffee card - and the reply was - 'that's a good idea - I'll forward it'.   It would be great if we could at least get the card at a better price to make up for no cappuccino machine or lounge.  Something to make up for no lounge . . .

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