empress of the seas

SEPTEMBER BAHAMAS 2016

Thanks Royal Caribbean for keeping this smaller ship around. At 48,000 tons, she's a real Prince. I like small ship sailing. The climate on board is intimate and it's really simple to get around. She's got quite the resume starting out as "Future Seas" but launched as Nordic Empress in 1990 and most recently, for the second time around, named Empress of the Seas after her stint with Pullmantur, RCI's Spanish partnership. Built at the same yard as Queen Mary 2, her hull number is G29. QM2's is G32. Not much going on between 1990 and 2003 in France at that site.

Not so small is her passenger capacity at 1,840, so public areas can get tight and the cabins are, well, tiny. A room with a bed and not much more. That was the standard back than - get the folks out of the stateroom - spend, spend. Her smaller "suites", if you can call them suites, are outside cabins with balconies tacked onto the superstructure - a common approach to aging tonnage in an effort to enhance ticket sale revenues.

Nonetheless, her public spaces are neat - compact, yet contemporary for an almost thirty-year old ship. Sadly, the second deck of her Crown Lounge is now the fitness center. Deck Six sports some great viewing areas forward and aft and Royal Caribbean's full promenade offers some nice respite when it's busy inside. For a small ship, not much was left out including a beautiful atrium. Bright and airy this ship is and possesses many of Royal Caribbean's hallmark, iconic features found on their latest monster ships which shows that you keep what's good and evolve the rest, or simply replace it.

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JD Schwartz
DESIGNER, PHOTOGRAPHER
AUTHOR

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