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


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In the words as sung by Britney Spears...  ? Oops, I Did it Again ?

For those who are wondering what is he talking about?  (or thinking I've enjoyed one too many happy hour drinks)  I just finished 14 nights on this little beauty last week.  You can read about that B2B experience here:


Those cruises were great but they were Western Caribbean and this 8 night cruise is Eastern Caribbean including a stop at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.  Royal hasn't visited the BVI very much in recent years so when I saw the BVI added to the itinerary in the wake of the Cuba cancellations I knew I had to do it.  Icing on my cake comes courtesy of another visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay. 


  • Miami
  • Perfect Day at CocoCay
  • Sea Day
  • San Juan
  • Tortola
  • St Thomas
  • Sea Day
  • Sea Day
  • Miami

Our Perfect Day ends at 2pm so we can make it to San Juan for a 3pm arrival after a day at sea.  We stay until midnight in San Juan so if all goes well I hope to get some evening and night pictures around San Juan.

Sailing in a Junior Suite I have scored one of the most forward deck 9 JS cabins this time.

I love this small ship and her big heart.  It's a good thing I love this ship because this will be my fourth cruise on her.  My Crown and Anchor points haven't been posted yet from my last cruise on her so with the "paint still wet", I'm heading back to the love of my life, or at least the love of my life right now. 

Because I'm flying I don't like taking just one cruise so with a night off the water in between, I'm doing a side-to-side over to Majesty right after this cruise.  A few years ago I started dreaming about a tour of the small ships and this marks another step towards completing that goal.  

I think I set a record this time having packed my suitcase a full two days before the cruise.  Basically I took my cruise clothes from the dryer and put them right back into my suitcase.  

      " You see my problem is this
       I'm dreaming away
       Wishing that heroes, they truly exist
       I cry, watching the days
       Can't you see I'm a fool in so many ways
       But to lose all my senses
       That is just so typically me
       Oh baby, oh "

Okay that doesn't make total sense but it's the only part of the lyrics that somewhat fit so I'm going with it.  

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Interesting story from the previous 8 night Eastern Caribbean Empress cruise.  

A guest on my Empress B2B last week had been on for a month and she told me this story.  Empress has a 2pm departure from CocoCay in order to make San Juan a day after a sea day.  On the last run of this route, several guests missed the ship in CocoCay.  Apparently they didn't note the 2pm departure.

In one case a couple were enjoying CocoCay.  Oblivious to the ship's whistle the woman went to get something to eat while the man went to a bar for a drink.  When he presented his Empress SeaPass card they informed he was about to miss the ship and whisked him away in a golf cart.  Unsure where the woman had gone he got back on board, she missed the ship and it left (late now) towards San Juan.  

Once she figured out she missed the ship, they put her on Mariner and she was taken to Port Canaveral.  She then had to make her own arrangements to get to San Juan which she did at her expense.  The problem is San Juan had some civil unrest and Empress skipped San Juan as a result.  So she missed the ship again.  This time, since Royal cancelled the call on San Juan they paid for her hotel and airfare to Tortola.  Tortola doesn't have an airport so she flew to a neighboring island and had to take a water taxi over to Tortola where she finally re-joined the cruise. 

From what was explained to me they stated the excursion they booked said it ended at 3pm so they thought they were good until 3pm.  

A total of five guests missed the ship at CocoCay.  Unsure what happened to the rest other than being put on Mariner for the ride over to Port Canaveral.  

Lesson learned.  Even at CocoCay, don't miss the ship!

Side note - when Empress skipped San Juan they had already taken on the San Juan pilot when Miami decided they should skip San Juan.  Because the pilot had already boarded they were on the hook for the ~$10k pilot fee.

Hoping we don't skip San Juan but an overnight in Tortola does sound very tempting.


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Plans for this Cruise

Only one excursion booked so far.  A day trip to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI from Tortola.

My last visit to Jost Van Dyke occurred when I lived on St Thomas.  It's one of the smaller islands of the Virgin Island chain but she has a beautiful beach and is home to the Soggy Dollar Bar right on the beach.  Boats anchor off the beach and visitors swim to land hence they have soggy dollars. 

The hurricanes that impacted San Juan and the US Virgin Islands did a number on Jost Van Dyke but I understand they've rebuilt.  Time to contribute to the local economy again.  

I brought my snorkel gear this time and hope to snorkel at CocoCay if the weather is good.  Then I'll jump in Oasis Lagoon to enjoy the fresh water and swim up pool bar.  No CocoCay excursions purchased (so far).  Lunch at the Snack Shack for another Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich.   Yum.

With our late arrival in San Juan the plan is to wander around and take pictures during golden hour assuming there is no more civil unrest.

St Thomas will be a boring work day for me.  

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On the plane now, live from 37,000' and 586 mph.  

Landing around 6pm in Ft Lauderdale.  I have lots of time tonight so I might do the Tri-Rail thing again to get down to my Miami hotel.  

South Florida rush hour traffic in a $50 ride-share or $3.75 on Tri-Rail?  I think I'll save the $45 and use it to pay for drinks on CocoCay.

Here is a bit on my last Tri-Rail experience:



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2 minutes ago, Fairlynew said:

I wonder what would have happened to the people left behind on CoCo Cay if there had not been another ship in port?

I imagine that's harder to do unless you hide in the woods.  Any CocoCay staff who see a guest at or after all aboard time are going to rush you to the ship.  Bars are closed, water park is closed, restaurants are closed.  You would kind of stand out being the only guest sitting on a lounger by the pool.

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Just now, twangster said:

I imagine that's harder to do unless you hide in the woods.  Any CocoCay staff who see a guest at or after all aboard time are going to rush you to the ship.  Bars are closed, water park is closed, restaurants are closed.  You would kind of stand out being the only guest sitting on a lounger by the pool.

DUH-silly me.  That makes sense!

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2 minutes ago, hayley_bopp said:

Wow! Is this a pretty standard fee or does it vary from port to port?

Have another great cruise @twangster

It's the first time I've heard a pilot's fee being mentioned but consider this is one guest telling another guest what she heard.  

Pilots do all sorts of ships of various sizes.  Cargo, tankers, cruise ships, etc.  I imagine that fees vary by some factors like length, registered tonnage, draft, width and who knows what else.  Piloting a 100' cargo ship versus a 1,100 foot tanker ship has got to involve different fees but that is purely speculation on my part.  

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