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I would be interested in hearing people's opinion of Empress of the Seas.  We are looking at the 7 Night Best of Bermuda cruise in an aft junior suite.  I know the ship is older and smaller but are we going to be really disappointed or will the itinerary make up for it?  We love Grandeur (and other ships in the fleet) so hoping it is somewhat similar to Grandeur.  All we really care about is a casino, seeing some comedians, having good food and having a nice balcony.  We have been enjoying twangster's blog and the ship seems nice and uncrowded (yeah) but would appreciate other's thoughts.    Also, regarding aft Jr suites, are all of the balconies on Deck 7 the same size - the pictures make the middle ones seem bigger?

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I had the mentality "the bigger the better" for ships.  Our last 3 cruises have been on Oasis class ships.  We were offered a free cruise from the casino on Empress.  We had low expectations after reading reviews.  We were pleased to come to our own opinion that she is a great ship.  She felt a lot bigger than expected and the staff were top notch.  We enjoyed every minute of our sailing.  We usually travel with our teenage boys but this trip was just us.  Our boys may have been bored without all the bells and whistle the bigger ships have.  We had a great time and would not hesitant to sail Empress again!

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I have concerns as well about my two teens 13 and 15 being bored.  I see they don't have a designated teen area but from looking at cruise compasses they seem to do a lot of teen activities.  Im currently booked on the June 29th sailing and i'm going back and forth on if I should cancel.

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@twangster noted in his live blog that they have a small arcade along with the rock wall, so there is some stuff for teens to potentially do. Still, I feel that Empress has to be viewed most for her ability to go to ports the other ships can't reach. A port-intensive itinerary like the 11-night Canada / New England sailing from Cape Liberty to Montreal is amazing, with ports I've never seen offered. Teens can "get by" on the intermittent sea days with a trip like that, or the Best of Bermuda where it's just one sea day at the start and one at the end. Royal was very smart making sure to give her sailings with relatively few sea days and lots of ports to explore and enjoy. From what he's shown in his blog, the ship should be very enjoyable and relaxing on the sea days, giving a chance to recharge before the next port.

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2 hours ago, bmatrose said:

I have concerns as well about my two teens 13 and 15 being bored.  I see they don't have a designated teen area but from looking at cruise compasses they seem to do a lot of teen activities.  Im currently booked on the June 29th sailing and i'm going back and forth on if I should cancel.

There are a number of teens on this Empress cruise.  They tend to hang out together in the VCL around 4-6pm.  Also see them in groups in other areas.  The Teen Cruise Compass appears like most other ships but I have no knowledge or exposure to the Teens programming on board.

You know your kids best.  When I sailed a smaller ship with a teen a few years back we presented as "It's a smaller ship.  You can stay and we'll find a sitter/family/etc and go by ourselves or you can come but if you come don't complain it's a small ship".  Mine said okay, she wanted to come.  Of course that is the answer I expected but since she made the choice it paved the way for it to be okay, not like she was being forced to come on the cruise.

Adventure Ocean and Teens Cruise Compass for the first leg of the Empress B2B attached.

 

AO and Teens CC Jul 27, 2020.pdf

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13 hours ago, twangster said:

There are a number of teens on this Empress cruise.  They tend to hang out together in the VCL around 4-6pm.  Also see them in groups in other areas.  The Teen Cruise Compass appears like most other ships but I have no knowledge or exposure to the Teens programming on board.

You know your kids best.  When I sailed a smaller ship with a teen a few years back we presented as "It's a smaller ship.  You can stay and we'll find a sitter/family/etc and go by ourselves or you can come but if you come don't complain it's a small ship".  Mine said okay, she wanted to come.  Of course that is the answer I expected but since she made the choice it paved the way for it to be okay, not like she was being forced to come on the cruise.

Adventure Ocean and Teens Cruise Compass for the first leg of the Empress B2B attached.

 

AO and Teens CC Jul 27, 2020.pdf 875 kB · 1 download

This was great, thank you!!!   We have taken the kids on some of the smaller ships(Enchantment and Majesty) already and they have been fine.  I was just a little concerned they didnt have their own space like on the other ships but from the teen cruise compass it looks like they take over part of Boleros Lounge for them to hang out in.

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We went on the Empress in may and LOVED the ship.  The crew was fantastic and everything was clean and well maintained.  It's small, but there was always something to do.  5 Night voyage went by really fast.   We'd sail her again, and might just do a Canada trip ourselves :-)

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So we did our honeymoon on Empress. It was my wife's first cruise and my 2nd. The ship was beautiful and everything was wonderful. 

To be honest about your teens, when I was a young kid and went on a cruise with my parents (our one and only, they get SO seasick), all I remember is finding other kids my age and getting to roam around and hangout with them. The freedom of being able to go get a slice of pizza or go to the pool or get a soda whenever I wanted was so much more fun than going up a rock wall a couple times. So honestly I think they'd like it! 🙂 

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My teen loved the Empress and they had tons of activities.  Usually they had some tables outside the Windjammer where they started their activities from.  Our little one loved the Adventure Ocean for her age also.  The casino is smaller and completely smoke free.  Comedy was really funny even though we had seen the same comedian on the Navigator in December.  We thought the food was good and service was great.  Cabins are supposed to be smaller than other ships but I had lots of room in our OV with one teen and a little.  Hubby and adult child were in another OV.  We usually do junior suites but they were sold out.  We did notice more motion on her because of her size.  I would book her again even though the main reason we booked her was for Cuba which was amazing.

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If I can find a way to fit Empress in among my other sailings, i'm going to do it. Mr Speednoodles really wants to sail on her (actually, I do, too).  i love the charming, smaller, ships.  Everyone cross their fingers for the promotion that I need to get more time off from work!!!!!

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