when i was on the voy. of the seas last year we would get soot from the smoke stack as you are in the back of the ship also some noise, however the extra large veranda was well worth it as we had a table and 2chairs on ours along with two lounge chairs. room 8690.
I agree with the comment about negative postings. I read a review of the inaugural sail of NCL's Alhoa. As it was the shakedown cruise in more ways than one, the reviewer noted the problems but ended by saying that once the kinks were worked out, it was a great ship. My sister went on that ship about one month later and had a wonderful time.
We've heard people say that their entire vacation was "ruined" because of a change in ports, some weather, or (believe it or not) having to wait a few minutes for an exercise bike! We all need to loosen up a bit and put things in proper perspective. A missed port or bad weather is disappointing, not a disaster. A few minutes wait is a minor inconvenience not a catastrophe.
I am glad to see that there are people out there other than me who thinks that way---a few years ago we sailed out of New York to Bermuda by way of Newport RI. The ships that left with us and went directly to Bermuda encountered a hurricane and were left to bounce and rock. I also heard that there were some injuries and everyone was sick. We were told to go north--Canada-New England. ST. Johns NB, Portland ME and Glouster Mass. Of course everyone had brought bathing suits and shorts and expected warm sunny weather. However, ALL these ports welcomed us with open arms. We recieved flowers, gifts, bands and even a welcome spray by the fireboats in Portland. The weather might have been cool, but we had never been to these places which were closer to home but so far away. We enjoyed the trip very much. Again most of the passengers COMPLAINED loudly. But safety is the issue. If some people didn't have a good time--WHOSE FAULT would that be???
I am so happy to hear from some people who have sailed on the Empress recently. I too was beginning to think I made a mistake in booking on this ship. We are sailing to the Southern Carib. for Christmas. What a dream come true! I can hardly wait. Sounds like my family of five will have a great time. Twelve days of cruising...gives new meaning to the "Twelve Days of Christmas", huh?
If anyone has any pics of the ship they would like to share, my family and I would love to see them. We are counting down the days.
I was a bit concerned about the sea-sickness issue. My husband and I first cruised on what was then Royal Cruise Line's Queen Odyssey (now part of Seabourne), at 200 passengers, it was quite small and I immediately turned green when we left Barbados. ( I won this cruise). Second cruise on the Carnival Destiny with the family. We had a blast and no one even knew the ship was moving.! The Empress seems to be right in the middle of the two. But I will stock up on Bonine and say Bon Voyage!
At first I was disappointed about no laundry facilities until I realized that I would not spend my vacation washing clothes - even though it is the practical thing to do - (I am anything but practical). I plan to rely on some creative packing (I am laughing as I type this).
Here are the answers to your questions -
"I think I read somewhere that there are 3 formal nights on 11 day cruises. Any input on that? "
An 11-night cruise includes two formal nights and three smart casual nights, all other nights are casual.
According to RCCL website: "There are three distinct types of evenings onboard: casual, smart casual and formal. Suggested guidelines for these nights are:
Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women
Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women
Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women "
I am dangerous when it comes to packing (hence the earlier laughing). I tend to follow the Boy Scout motto "Be prepared", so I end up bringing everything. I am trying to not do that this time.
I bought a suit for each of my boys for the formal nights. They will wear the slacks from the suit and a dress shirt and tie on the semi formal nights. Someone on the message board suggested bringing 2 skirts or 2 pairs of pants that can be worn twice, with a different blouse and accessories. That way you don't have to bring 5 different formal/semi formal outfits. Someone also suggested bringing a reversible dress that can be worn twice, but I haven't found one yet. (I am still trying to formulate what I am packing for myself)
"Do you know what time we can board since it sails at 8 pm?"
I don't know how early we can board but according to RCCL website: "You should plan to arrive at the pier at least two hours before the ship is scheduled to depart. Boarding times vary by itinerary. It is your responsibility to arrive on time. In preparation for prompt departure, cruise check-in will close 60 minutes prior to sailing. Guests arriving after this time will not be permitted to board"
I hope this helps. I am excited about this trip but I am not looking forward to packing
Here is info re laundry facilites from the RCCL website
Are laundry services provided?
Self-Service Laundry facilities are not provided onboard any Royal Caribbean International ships; however, full laundry and dry cleaning services are provided :
SHIPBOARD LAUNDRY SERVICE
* All prices are in US. Dollars and are subject to change without notice.
Shirt/T-Shirt: $2.50 Blouse: $3.50
Shirt (dress): $3.00 Dress (wash): $5.00
Underwear: $1.20 Skirt: $3.50
Jeans: $3.00 Nightgown: $3.00
Pajamas: $4.00 Swimsuit: $2.00
Handkerchif: $0.75 Slip: $2.50
Shorts: $2.50 Housecoat: $3.50
Bathrobe: $3.50 Hosiery: $3.50
Pants (wash): $3.50 Slacks: $3.50
So, if you need to have something washed, it can be done, just at a higher price than using a coin operated laundry. I've washed some things out in the cabin bathroom (socks, underwear ane the like) which usually dry by the next day. But if you are traveling as a family, that could get pretty hairy!
You all are so helpful. This site is great for answering all sorts of questions. And it sure whips one into a frenzy while counting down the days.
Those who are sailing on 12/20, did you notice the itinerary change? I guess with Grenada's trouble with Ivan, it has been deleted. Now we have another day at sea, Christmas Day.
Well, I think it will work out, I really wasn't sure how Christmas Day in Barbados would be.
I have another question. We are a non-smoking family. Do I need to worry about the cabin smelling from previous cruisers? (from smoking-haha). The last cruise was on the Destiny and it was a non-issue since it was a non-smoking ship. It never even dawned on me that this could be a problem--most hotels have smoking/non-smoking rooms. But this was never even addressed. I guess I will pack a couple of candles for the 2 rooms and the Oust Air Freshener.