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Empress and Majesty are leaving the fleet


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Sad news. Got a C&A newsletter email today with the following:

As a valued Crown & Anchor Society member, I’m reaching out to make sure you 
were the first to know the latest news about our beloved Empress of the Seas and 
Majesty of the Seas. After more than 30 years with Royal Caribbean, having launched 
in 1990 and 1992 respectively, Empress and Majesty will be leaving our fleet. 

We know this news is bittersweet as many of you have sailed on these ships, and they 
hold a special place in your hearts thanks to the countless memories you’ve made 
with your families and friends while on board. The news hits close to home for me as 
well as I was part of the crew on Nordic Empress (as Empress was formerly called) and 
Majesty of the Seas when we introduced her to the world. 

Both ships made an indelible mark on the cruise industry, helping us to continually raise 
the bar on the cruise experience and leaving a lasting mark on our brand. 

Empress was the first ship specifically designed for short, 3- and ‌4-night‌ itineraries, 
with her first cruises visiting The Bahamas from Miami. This was an important milestone 
in our brands history as we were able to attract new and younger cruise guests to the 
industry by introducing quick getaways. Empress also made history as the first cruise 
ship to sail out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, when we opened our terminal 
in 2004. Even just three years ago, in 2017, Empress took center stage once again when 
she set sail on Royal Caribbean’s inaugural cruise to Cuba. It’s been an incredible 
journey and one that’s influenced our brand tremendously. 

Majesty also played a crucial role in our commitment to continuously redefine the 
cruise industry. As the third ship to round out the impressive Sovereign class ships, 
Majesty was more than twice the size of the average cruise ship at the time — and was 
the biggest ship in our fleet when she debuted. She started her adventures with ‌7-night‌ 
western Caribbean cruises from Miami and quickly blossomed into one of our guests’ 
favorite ships. 

Empress and Majesty’s departures are a major moment in Royal Caribbean history. 
No doubt, they will be dearly missed — they may be small, but their lasting impact 
is mighty. 

Decisions like these are difficult, but they are part of our necessary evolution to 
continue introducing new ships and bring you, our guests, the most innovative ships in 
the industry. 

I know many of you may wonder about the crew members you may fondly remember 
from your time onboard Empress and Majesty. There is no need to worry. They are still 
part of the Royal Caribbean family and will be reassigned to other ships once we are 
back to sailing again. 

We know this marks a new chapter in our history, and we are excited about what the 
future holds, but we cannot forget our past and what made us who we are today. I 
encourage all of you to share your memories of sailing on Empress and Majesty on my 
Facebook page; I’d love to see the amazing experiences you had while sailing with these 
two ships. 

As I’ve said before, we miss sailing with every one of you. But calmer seas are ahead, 
and we can’t wait for that day. Thank you for being a loyal member of our family. 
Please continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Until next time! 

All my best, 
Michael Bayley
Michael Bayley 
President and CEO 
Royal Caribbean International
“Loyal to Royal”

Serious bummer, I had wanted to sail Empress on one of her 7-night Bermuda or the CA/NE sailing that goes all the way down to Montreal before she got retired from the fleet.

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Not unexpected, and it makes economic sense, but it saddens me. Been on Majesty for 3 cruises out of FL, and always enjoyed the (now) smaller scale. I would walk around that ship for days and could decide to go anywhere at any time because nothing was that far away from anywhere else on the ship. Also, I could use the stairs for almost all inter-deck traversing, because most things were between deck 4 and deck 11. 

Thanks, Majesty, for my introduction to cruising. You will be missed and appreciated.


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29 minutes ago, twangster said:

Grandeur is next.  

Just googled and saw that, with these two gone, Grandeur is now the oldest ship (being built in 1996) and the smallest (being about 60 tons smaller than it's sister ship Rhapsody) so yeah....it's most likely that Grandeur  is next in line for the chopping block.

That said, I don't know that they would have a reason outside of money to get rid of her. Empress and Majesty lost a HUGE portion of their purpose with the loss of Cuba so between that and the pandemic, it was just the right time to let those classics go.

I've never been on either ship and only saw one in person once on my last cruise, but I  too am sad to see them go, especially with the fact that one of the original ships was scrapped this year, too.

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I have been fairly quiet here just shifting and lifting while maintaining my bubble.  Our last two sailings were on Majesty (9-19) and Empress (1-20).  We found a new appreciation for the smaller ship experience.  Sorry to see them leave the fleet but happy to have had a chance to sail them. 

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Holidays!! 

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40 minutes ago, USFFrank said:

I get it I guess, nothing personal, only business. But for Royals sake I sure hope Cuba doesn't come into play anytime soon. Those were the only 2 ships that could fit into that pier.

Scarlet Lady was scheduled to go there.  Longer than Majesty but 6' shorter than some Vision class.  

The problem with Havana is the prevailing wind and potential missed calls increase as ship size increases.  Royal used small ships for Cuba because they were right sized for the destination.  If Cuba comes back as an option Royal can reevaluate the options in the fleet at that future point in time.  It may be possible more ships can go there but the potential for missed calls will need to be factored into the decision making process.  

Virgin Voyages was willing to gamble it so maybe there are options beyond NE/MJ.

If Cuba does reopen the 3rd party that was going to upgrade the facilities will need to review the business model and make a decision.  If they reignite plans to upgrade the Havana port that could also provide a path forward at little bit down the road.

Honestly that may be a good approach.  Leave Havana for the small ships of Azamara and SilverSea while the port is upgraded and more importantly Havana proves itself to be a stable long term destination.  Cruise lines got burned badly in the travel ban.  The wise approach may be to play Cuba with a slow hand should the restrictions be lifted until it's clear they won't get burned again.

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32 minutes ago, Allen2 said:

Will miss Grand Ladies, the Empress and the Majesty.  Many great memories.  Glad we did not miss Cuba when the Empress was "called back" in service!

I did Cuba on Empress as well and I had a blast!! Alas, my fair Maiden, parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.

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4 minutes ago, PurdueFlyer said:

the Majesty was my first ever cruise back in 1997.  disappointing.  Never got to sail on Empress though.

I wonder what will replace MJ out of New Orleans?

NOLA was a recent reintroduction for Royal so there is no sure thing, but there are rumors that Grandeur might possibly go there. 

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

The problem with Havana is the prevailing wind and potential missed calls increase as ship size increases.  Royal used small ships for Cuba because they were right sized for the destination.  If Cuba comes back as an option Royal can reevaluate the options in the fleet at that future point in time.  It may be possible more ships can go there but the potential for missed calls will need to be factored into the decision making process.  

 One could almost compare the Havana situation with the original Coco Cay and maybe to a lesser extent Grand Cayman, however it would have nothing to do with ship size. Instead if the ships used tenders to get guests to certain ports they wouldn't be able to if the weather was bad and guests were stuck with an additional day at sea or maybe they visited another port instead. Due to bad weather our ship was not able to dock in Aruba on my 2018 cruise on Navigator of the Seas. The captain even put out a video on the in room TV's to explain why which was very nice. FWIW they did decide to go to Nassau instead in order to give us another port to visit.

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