Last updated: 01:18 PM ET, Thu May 26 2016

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas Sails to Miami, Cuba Likely Next

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Royal Caribbean International | Jason Leppert | May 26, 2016

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas Sails to Miami, Cuba Likely Next

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

After refurbishment delays, the Empress of the Seas has officially returned to the Royal Caribbean International fleet, homeporting from Miami, Florida beginning on May 28. The revitalized ship will likely be the first for the cruise brand to head to Cuba in the near future as well.

After a stint with Pullmantur Cruises, the revitalized Empress has rejoined the Royal Caribbean fleet with a number of modifications just made during its recent $50 million dry-dock. Onboard features include a rock-climbing wall, new pools and whirlpools, a spa and the free-of-charge Adventure Ocean kids program. Dining offerings range from the Windjammer Cafe buffet to the Chops Grille steakhouse. Plus, the ship will boast the line’s signature Voom high-speed internet connection.

READ MORE: Empress of the Seas’ Return to Royal Caribbean International Delayed

To start on Saturday, the ship will sail to Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay private island and Nassau in the Bahamas. Then it will embark on 4- and 5-night itineraries to Nassau, The Bahamas; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and Grand Cayman and Key West, Florida; with extended hours planned in each port as well as select overnights in Cozumel.

Its next stop might be Cuba, as USA Today is reporting that Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, has indicated that the ship will likely be the one deployed to the Caribbean island nation, once granted approval. Like Carnival Corporation and its Fathom brand before it, Royal Caribbean is just waiting on Cuban government permission before sailing there.

READ MORE: Fathom Arrives in Cuba

Bayley is quoted as saying, “We wouldn't be going (to Cuba) until the end of July (or) early August, assuming we get the correct permission from the Cuban government.” As to when that might come, he added, “Tomorrow would be good. Hopefully it will be soon."


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