Recently, my husband and I went on a two day, three night cruise to the Bahamas. We sailed on a ship called the Regal Empress. She is part of the Imperial Majesty Cruise Line. My husband was not to eager to start going on cruises, but I convinced him to go.
Having been on two cruises before, I was a bit apprehensive about this cruise, as the last was aboard a lovely almost brand new ship. I had heard that this ship was rather old, however it was a very reliable ship with an excellent safety record. I was still a bit nervous.
We boarded the ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We received the cruise as a gift for doing a timeshare tour, so I was sure we would receive the smallest room on the ship somewhere on the bottom deck. I was pleasantly surprised that the room was one deck below the main deck. We had a queen size bed, and although the room was a bit small, all cruise ship rooms are. The furniture was a bit old, but nothing tacky or unsafe, but you could tell it had been there for a number of years. The bathroom was a tad bit smaller than the other one on the brand new ship, but it was sufficient. As I told my husband, you spend very little time in the room, so all in all the size of the room was more than adequate for the small amount of time we’d be spending in there.
Getting on this ship took quite a bit of time. I don’t remember it taking quite that long before, but then again, the Alert level is raised. But we were boarded in about an hour and a half after arriving at the port terminal.
I was extremely impressed with the food. My last cruise was a seven day cruise aboard an Italian cruise liner, and the food became monotonous. How many Italian dishes can you eat in a week? The food on the Regal Empress was varied. Over the two nights and three days, I did not have one bad meal. The wait staff was even more professional than that staff on my first cruise. True to cruising style, there was food all day long. However, in between meals and snacks, there was nowhere to get anything to eat. Usually a cruise ship will have at least a snack bar open at all times. But I also don’t remember having afternoon snacks on my first cruise. The midnight buffet surpassed what I had in the past. The first night, it was more or less party foods, but excellent nonetheless. The second night it was a Latino theme, with a large variety of foods.
There also seemed to be more to do on this cruise. They had activities for singles as well as couples. On some cruises, they tend to leave singles out. They also had children’s activities, but did not have anything for the teens, as did my last two cruises. Some of the activities included Bingo which was held several times a day, live music two to three times a day near the pool, Karaoke contest a couple of times a day, and live music every evening in both the bar and the lounge. The disco, however, was very small compared with the first ship, but then again, this ship was about half the size.
We only spent one day in the Bahamas, but there was a wide selection of excursions. However, I did not like the way they were sold. The staff stated that you needed to not leave the ship without something to do. For first time cruisers, they might be lead to think it would be dangerous to wander on your own. But being a one time previous cruiser, I know that many people simply get a taxi driver to take them around the island or wherever your cruise ship might be. Every stop also has shops right when you get off the boat that you can browse. I felt this means of selling the excursions was a bit sneaky. But we did end up purchasing one, and it was comparable to the prices for excursions on my first cruise on the Italian ship.
I think one of the nicest thing about this cruise, is we met some wonderful people at our dinner table who I think will be friends for life. They lived in North Dakota and this was their first cruise. They too were impressed with the ship.
Disembarking was much simpler. We were dismissed by floors. Before, it was your color coded luggage tags. We seemed to get off the ship a lot quicker.
All in all, I would recommend the Regal Empress for a brief two night, three day cruise. I was very surprised that it was such a nice cruise. Plus, if you are a paying customer, the price for the cruise is very inexpensive, running from $109 to $209, depending on the room that you choose. Where can you stay in a hotel, and eat six meals for three days for that price? Nowhere but on a cruise ship.