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Empress of the Seas

No, Royal Caribbean still has not sold Empress of the Seas


The rumor mill went into overdrive with speculation that Empress of the Seas has been sold to an unnamed buyer for an undisclosed amount by an unnamed source, but it turns out it is not true.

Empress of the Seas recently sailed to the Greek isles, which began fueling hearsay that she was making a last stop before being sold off, similar to Pullmantur's ships just a few weeks ago.

I reached out to Royal Caribbean on Wednesday afternoon to get more clarification on the rumors and they flatly denied Empress has been sold.

"Empress of the Seas has not been sold," a Royal Caribbean International Public Relations spokesperson told RoyalCaribbeanBlog. "She is on the way to Greece where she will stay for a few months."

"We are constantly looking for the best places to deploy our ships in order to get all the ship services we require for operations."

Empress of the Seas was the subject of the same kind of rumors in late July when the ship began sailing towards Malta, but Royal Caribbean confirmed the ship was still very much in the fleet.

Despite being in the region for a few weeks, rumors began swirling again today when an unnamed source claims Empress was sold. 

There have been no Royal Caribbean International ships sold since the cruise shutdown, but the company is considering ways to further reduce its average monthly cash burn under a further prolonged out-of-service scenario and during re-start of operations.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in mid-July there are no plans to sell ships, but it is a consideration.

No, Royal Caribbean is not selling Empress of the Seas


The online rumor mill was swirling this week with speculation that Empress of the Seas might be the next cruise ship to be sold to the scrap yard, but Royal Caribbean says the reports are not true.

After hearing from many RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers that noticed Empress of the Seas was headed to Malta, the traditional last stop before a cruise ship goes to the scrap yard in Turkey, I reached out to Royal Caribbean to get an answer.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson responded simply, "Empress is not headed to the scrap yard, she’s still a part of the Royal Caribbean fleet."

Where the rumors came from

The source of the rumors are websites that show marine navigational data, indicating Empress was leaving the waters around the UK, and headed to Malta.

Malta is where Monarch and Sovereign stopped to unload valuables before arriving to the scrap yard in Turkey earlier this month.

On top of that, Empress of the Seas is the oldest ship in the fleet and lost her primary purpose when cruises to Cuba became illegal again.

Add to that the fact Carnival Corporation has announced plans to sell 15 cruise ships by the end of the year, and it seemed like a possibility Empress was next.

Empress of the Seas added to Royal Caribbean app


Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Empress of the Seas.

Empress now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean helps deliver first batch of relief supplies to Bahamas


Royal Caribbean announced hours after Hurricane Dorian devastated The Bahamas it would pledge $1 million in aid to the island, and the cruise line is already making good on that promise with the first batch of supplies loaded onto Empress of the Seas.

Guests sailing on Empress of the Seas were informed their ship would deliver much needed food, water, equipment and supplies to the people on Grand Bahama Island. Empress of the Seas was loaded with 10,000 meals, 10,000 bottles of water, as well as medical supplies, generators and other necessities.  The ship will dock off the coast of Grand Bahama Island to make the delivery, before resuming its cruise itinerary.

Thanks to Brad Garfinkel & Skip Bebout for providing this photo

Letters to guests were delivered to their stateroom to explain the extra stop.

Hurricane Dorian alters four more Royal Caribbean ship itineraries


Royal Caribbean announced itinerary changes to three more Royal Caribbean ships, and decided to wait on making a decision for sailings this weekend in order to take advantage of more accurate predictions.

  • The August 26th sailing of Navigator of the Seas had their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Wednesday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 
  • The August 26th sailing of Mariner of the Seas will have their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Thursday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 
  • The August 24th sailing of Empress of the Seas will remain in Cozumel on Friday and then spend a day at sea on Saturday. The extra day in Cozumel replaces a scheduled visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
  • The August 24th sailing of Symphony of the Seas will have their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Friday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 

Royal Caribbean is deferring itinerary changes for the Navigator 8/30/19, Mariner 8/30/19, Harmony 9/1/19, Harmony 8/25/19 & Symphony 8/31/19 by an additional day in order to get more accurate prediction models. 

"Currently, the two main weather models used for prediction (American & European) have the storm going different ways. So, we’re going to wait a bit more to evaluate the new data, which we’ll receive this afternoon. Then, we’ll confirm alternate ports and share your final itinerary changes with you by 3 PM on Thursday, August 29th, or sooner."

Royal Caribbean also stated that the Harmony of the Seas 8/25/19 and Symphony of the Seas 8/31/19 sailings were never sailing to CocoCay, but their itinerary may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian in order to steer clear of any adverse weather.

Royal Caribbean announces new Empress of the Seas sailings from Big Apple and Montreal in 2020


Royal Caribbean will offer cruises on Empress of the Seas from homeports in Cape Liberty, New Jersey and Montreal, Canada.

With Cuba sailings no longer an option, Royal Caribbean has begun offering new itineraries that will take Empress of the Seas to new ports and destinations. Empress will offer guests the opportunity to see "the seaside lights and historic sights" of Canada and New England with more to see from Montreal to Newport. In addition, she will offer longer stays in Bermuda with overnight stays in St. George’s Island and Hamilton. Plus 6, 7 and 8 night Caribbean itineraries from Miami.

Beginning in May 2020, Empress of the Seas will offer sailings out of Cape Liberty, New Jersey to destinations in Bermuda, New England and Canada. 

Later in 2020, Empress moves to Montreal, Canada, where she will offer 10, 11 and 12- night sailings around Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

In October 2020, Empress heads south to Miami, Florida, where she will sail a variety of Caribbean itineraries. These 6, 7 and 8 night sailings will visit destinations in the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and extend through April 2021.

You can view the full list of Empress of the Seas 2020-2021 sailings available for booking. The new sailings are available for booking immediately.

These new sailings are in addition to the recently announced January - April 2020 sailings Royal Caribbean released earlier this month.

Royal Caribbean cancels ship stop in Puerto Rico due to protests


Royal Caribbean canceled a scheduled port stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico for Empress of the Seas over concerns of ongoing protests against Puerto Rico's governor.

Royal Caribbean Corporate Communications manager Owen Torres issued a statement, "In light of current unrest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have canceled today’s call to San Juan. Empress of the Seas has been re-routed to Tortola, and our guests will receive refunds for prepaid shore excursions. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure the safety and security of our guests and crew."

The demonstrations are part of a multi-day protest that are calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló after sexist private chat messages were leaked.

Empress of the Seas is scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday.  

Royal Caribbean releases new itineraries for Empress of the Seas in 2020


Royal Caribbean announced new itineraries for Empress of the Seas in 2020 that include stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Empress of the Seas will continue to depart from Miami, adding Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands as a new destination for the cruise line. Virgin Gorda is well-known for hidden grottos and giant boulders, the idyllic island offers sun-soaked discovery for adventure seekers of all types.

Empress’ 6- to 8-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings will also visit Mexico, Belize and The Bahamas, as well as Perfect Day at CocoCay on select itineraries.

Cruises on Empress departing from January through April 2020 are now available to book. Details for the ship’s 2020-21 deployment will be announced and available to book in the upcoming weeks.   

Royal Caribbean cancels all scheduled visits to Cuba


Royal Caribbean announced today, it will replace all Cuban ports that were scheduled for its ships to visit with alternative ports due to new U.S. government regulations that prohibit travel from the U.S. to Cuba by cruise ship.

The two ships that were offering cruises to Cuba, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, have had alternative ports secured.

In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering the option of guests on affected sailings remaining on the cruise and receiving a 50% refund, or they can cancel their cruise and receive a full refund.

Royal Caribbean issued a statement elaborating on the nature of the changes made, "In response to the U.S. government’s policy change imposing immediate restrictions on cruise ship travel between the U.S. and Cuba, we are informing our guests of revised itineraries for a limited number of sailings with Cuban port calls.

All 2019 sailings on the Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas will have alternative ports in the Caribbean.  Guests will have the option to cancel their current booking for a full refund, or to keep their sailing date with a new itinerary and receive a 50 percent refund.

We are working on alternate itineraries for 2020 sailings and will share those details with guests and travel partners as they become available. We appreciate our guests’ patience and flexibility as we adjust to accommodate the new regulation."

Scheduled 2020 sailings on both Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the seas are still in the process of being worked on to find alternative ports, and Royal Caribbean estimates it will communicate those changes within the next week.

The United States Treasury Department announced yesterday new regulations that will end group travel to Cuba for “people to people” educational purposes and prohibiting visits to the island via cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescues sailors stranded at sea for 20 days


Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas rescued two stranded mariners who had been at sea for 20 days, somewhere between Grand Cayman and Jamaica.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet shared the update, with photos of the rescue at sea being conducted by Empress of the Seas officers and crew.

What makes the rescue even more remarkable is the fact Empress of the Seas was not scheduled to be there.  Due to adverse weather conditions on Empress' original route, the ship's itinerary was altered and ended up "being in the right time, at the right place."