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Empress Live Blog - Day 5 - Sea Day

Today is a sea day, and the last day of our Empress of the Seas cruise to Cuba, and we’ve got the “last day blues” in a big way.  Being at sea was a welcome change, as somehow the days felt short this week and I didn't get to enjoy the ship as much as I’d have liked.  This summary will be a short one though, as we worked hard to do very little but relax – a vacation within a vacation, but we did get to explore the ship some... read more

Empress of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Cozumel, Mexico

Day 4 on our Empress of the Seas Cuba cruise had us in Cozumel Mexico.  We’ve been to Cozumel many times before and it feels a little bit like home whenever we visit.  Visiting a fun and familiar destination today softened the blow of leaving Cuba yesterday, which was of course a major highlight of our journey.  We’ll take a look at our arrival, where we went, and look ahead to our next day on board... read more

Empress of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Havana, Cuba

Day 3 of our Empress of the Seas cruise took us to Havana Cuba, the highlight of the cruise for most guests, I’m sure.  I’ve lived in South Florida my entire life, been lucky enough to travel much of the world, some of my closest friends were born in Cuba, and yet I was hopeful but never sure that I’d get to visit the island nation just a short distance away from my home.  Summing up this trip and walking away would sell it short... read more

Empress of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Key West, FL

Today was our first full day on Empress of the Seas, and we spent it in Key West.  The timing of our arrival was a bit odd, and we broke away from what we usually do in this port.  Let's review the day and look ahead to tomorrow, which is sort of the "main event" in Cuba...  read more

Empress of the Seas Live Blog - Embaration Day

With every embarkation day there is a feeling of "vacation is finally here", despite the fact it isn't really a full day after checking in, muster, etc.  Today however was all the sweeter after a rather eventful arrival in Tampa, which you can read about over on CruiseHabit.com.  Adding to the excitement was the fact hat to us, Empress is a new ship, Tampa is a new port, and Cuba is a new destination... read more

Always use a checklist when preparing for your cruise - don't be like Billy.

We all make mistakes, but some come with a bigger serving of irony than others - yesterday I made one of those mistakes.  It cost me time and sleep, and contributed a lot of stress, but it could have been worse.  What was my mistake?  Well, despite writing, ranting, and preaching cruise tips ad nauseam, I failed to take my own advice and forgot something when preparing for our Cuba cruise... read more

Empress of the Seas Live Blog Preamble - ¡Vamos a Cuba! (We're going to Cuba!)

This Saturday we're setting sail on Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas, and while we're excited to sail on Royal's smallest ship in the fleet, we're even more exited about our itinerary which takes us to Havana, Cuba!  We'll also be visiting Key West and Cozumel, places we really enjoy, so this should be a treat.  During our five night sailing we'll be blogging at EmpressOfTheSeas.live, for RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com.  Be sure to follow along on the site, and stay tuned in on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and of course Periscope.  Oh, and make sure to catch Michael Poole's live blog from Oasis of the Seas going on at the same time as mine.  Mine is sure to be superior in every way, though if you dig photos of anything that happens before 9:00am you'll want to check with Michael's posts.  Now, let's start of by looking at our itinerary, the ship, and why we picked this particular sailing... read more

Just like Airlines, Cruise Lines Overbook – and It’s Nothing New.

You’ve no doubt heard stories of airlines overbooking flights and having to convince passengers to make alternative arrangements. What many people don’t realize is that cruise lines overbook as well.  Let’s look at why this happens, why it seems to be happening more in the past months, and how to help ensure that you can stay on your cruise – even if overbooked... read more

We're packing it up to sail to Cuba so we're giving away Amazon Basics packing cubes and cruise swag!

It's been a while since we had a giveaway, and we figured that since we're packing up to sail to Cuba soon, why not give away some Amazon Basics packing cubes?  We explained in the past when we showed how we pack for cruises that they make our lives easier, so we're giving you a shot to try them out.  We're also throwing in some vintage, limited edition Cunard World Cruise luggage tags, as well as CruiseHabit.com lanyards with pouches which you can use to carry your cruise keycard, ID, etc.  Click through to enter!  read more