Ordered by Admiral Cruise Lines and intended to be called the Future Seas the ship was built in Chantiers de L’Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France. When Royal Caribbean merged with Admiral in 1987, the Admiral brand was dissolved and the newbuild (which was still under construction) was incorporated into the Royal Caribbean fleet. The design of the ship was slightly altered to include some of the Royal Caribbean signature brand elements, including the Viking Crown and Windjammer Cafe.
Originally launched as Nordic Empress in June 1990 she was the final Royal Caribbean ship whose name did not end with “of the Seas”. Thus following an extensive rebuilding in 2004 the name was changed to match the rest of the fleet and the ship became known as Empress of the Seas.
In 2007 Royal Caribbean decided that Empress of the Seas would be transferred to her subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises. In March 2008 she sailed her maiden voyage as Empress for Pullmantur Cruises. Earlier this year it was announced that Pullmantur would be transferring Empress of the Seas back to Royal Caribbean.
With the news that Empress of the Seas was returning to the Royal Caribbean fleet, rumours started to grow that she would be offering cruises to Cuba. As of today we know this will not be the case.
“We’re excited to welcome Empress of the Seas back to the family, and back to the Caribbean,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Empress’s short Caribbean getaways will give adventure-seekers the opportunity to party, chill and repeat. They will feel like it’s the weekend every day on Empress.”
Indeed Royal Caribbean will bring short Caribbean getaways to a whole new level when the newly-enhanced Empress of the Seas returns to the fleet in March 2016. Guests will enjoy daily ‘Sunday’ brunches served with a complimentary mimosa or Bloody Mary, enjoy the flexible “My Time Dining” with no formal nights, take in the new Las Vegas-style “Sequins & Feathers” show and then party all night long in the newly reimagined Boleros Latin Lounge. Empress of the Seas will also offer fast pier-to-ship boarding with earlier boarding times of 11:00 a.m.
As Miami’s newest hometown ship, Empress of the Seas will offer short 4- and 5-night getaways from Miami to Nassau, The Bahamas; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Grand Cayman and Key West, Florida.
Spanning 11 decks and with a double occupancy capacity of 1,602 guests Empress of the Seas will offer a rock-climbing wall; new pools and whirlpools, including an adults-only Solarium; a spa with an extensive treatment menu; and a complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program. She will also offer a variety of dining options, including the casual atmosphere of the Windjammer Café and fine dining at the brand’s signature steakhouse Chops Grille. In addition, the ship will offer Voom, the fastest internet at sea.