The warm and friendly crew of the Empress of the Seas is a perfect complement to Royal Caribbean’s small ship experience. The professional and varied entertainment venues completed a great cruise experience.
Day One (Embarkation)
They really hooked us at the Welcome Aboard Show. When ballroom couple Kateryna and Oleksandr (aka Kate and Sacha) performed a dancing duet teaser, Mom leaned over and whispered “They are a 1000 times better than anyone on Dancing With the Stars.” That’s the highest praise from her, and I agreed that they were the best dance couple I had ever seen. They are both very good, but you can’t keep your eyes off of Sacha who is absolute perfection. After their performance, comedian Phil Tag performed a hilarious full length show. We were so impressed that we vowed we would return to hear his late-night adult show later on in the cruise (rare for us to stay up late on cruise nights!)
Day Two (At Sea)
The production show “Bailamos” was performed on the first sea day with the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers and featured Kate and Sacha. This was a lively show with great Latin music and dance numbers. I was pleased that the Empress of the Seas Orchestra was there to provide live music.
Tonight was also the Crown and Anchor Loyalty Party held in the Viking Crown Lounge for cruisers holding Platinum and above status (we’re Emerald.) Master Carl Graucob gave a mercifully short speech before introducing his staff. While he was speaking we could watch people working out on treadmills in the Vitality Fitness Center which overlooks the lounge. Between the free-flowing drinks, the speeches, and watching the workouts, we were well entertained!
Day Three (Cozumel)
Comedian/Magician Leo Ward (Direct from London!) performed his extremely competent magic show. Comedian Phil Tag came back to do his late night adult comedy show at 11:15. There were a few “f” bombs but no lewd comedy. As with all good comedians, the best parts of his show were ad libbed while goofing around with the audience.
Day Four (Costa Maya)
This night’s show was Marcus Terell and his back up singers The Serenades. Marcus was an America’s Got Talent semi-finalist. He is just as cute as a button. I liked his Motown renditions, but not so much the R&B numbers. He puts on a good show, but can I make a minor criticism here? What’s with the trend of starting shows with a 20 minute video clip of the singer’s past accomplishments? When they do this I feel like I’m watching TV.
Day Five (At Sea)
Tonight was the second production show “Three,” whose theme was showgirls. The costumes were fantastic, the dancers and singers highly competent, and we got to watch Kate and Sacha perform again with the dance team. I just didn’t like the music in this show, and felt like so much energy was wasted on a mediocre playlist. So while I appreciated the artistry of the performers, the show was not half as enjoyable as “Bailamos.”
There was a decent Caribbean band, “Natral Vyluz,” that performed poolside daily, and provided the requisite steel drum sound that we all want on a Caribbean cruise. The Latin Band “Mambo Yo” performed nightly in the Boleros Lounge. I didn’t spend much time there as I was lacking a dance partner (frowny face.) The pianist Dante performed at the Loyalty party and also several times in the Schooner Bar. He is a fabulous classical pianist whose gifts are apparently lost on most of the drinkers in the bar. His talent would be better appreciated in the Centrum or in other more subdued areas of the ship. The pianist Billy Pando pounds out popular songs in the Schooner bar as well. His repertory of stuff like Billy Joel seemed repetitive to me, but he was a crowd pleaser.
Empress of the Seas Staff
Even thought we had My Time Dining, we had the same wait team every night. We looked forward to their warm welcome, and congenial service every night in the main dining room. Here they are– Bernadeth and (forgive me, I forgot your name because I didn’t write it down, you excellent assistant waiter!) from the Philippines.
Our room steward Jose was friendly but unobtrusive (important!) I don’t require a towel animal but I’m always pleased when my cabin attendant has time to do one. Here’s the one Jose did on the last sea day. It’s my favorite of all the ones I’ve received!
Cruise Director Staff
I am usually the type of grouchy person that prefers minimal contact with the cruise director’s staff. But I really enjoyed these folks on the Empress of the Seas. Cruise Director Elvis from Chile has a lot of energy and a somewhat sardonic sense of humor. His heavily accented English (a la Ricky Ricardo) adds to the fun. I absolutely loved Flavio on the cruise director’s staff. He was Elvis’ stand-in and I got the biggest kick out of his silly, uber-extroverted antics.
One of the highlights of this cruise was the dance class taught in the Boleros Lounge by the dance couple Kate and Sacha. They taught a great Cha Cha class and I got to dance (briefly) with Sacha!
Empress of the Seas–Great staff and great performers make a great cruise.
My next (and last) post on this cruise will be about the port stops Cozumel and Costa Maya.