In a move that surprised many when it was announced, the return of Empress of the Seas to the RCI fleet could eventually lead to the opening of the Cuban market for Royal Caribbean.
Empress of the Seas entered service originally as Nordic Empress in 1990. She was renamed Empress of the Seas in 2004 until she was transferred to Spanish subsidiary of RCCL, Pullmantur in 2008, where she sailed as Empress.
The return of the 48,500grt ship to the RCI fleet will see her undertake short 4 or 5 night cruises from Florida, a role she was originally designed for.
Scheduled to enter the RCI fleet at the end of March, Empress of the Seas is undertaking a refurbishment program which will see staterooms be refurbished and new facilities and features such as Chops Grille and Bolero’s Latin Lounge.
With Empress of the Seas undertaking short cruises from Florida, Royal Caribbean are thought to be looking at the Cuban market very closely, should the Cuban Government allow permission for US owned cruise lines to visit.
Several other cruise lines are also monitoring the Cuban situation.
Feature Image: Royal Caribbean International.