Sunday, 16 May 2010
EMPRESS Ship Visit 7th May 2010
EMPRESS – a ship visit on 7th May 2010
Thanks to the Ocean Liner Society’s new Ship Visits Organiser, a group of Society members was able to visit the Pullmantur ship EMPRESS recently and I was very impressed. She was in Dover before the start of a re-positioning voyage to Copenhagen, so the cool but sunny weather boded well for the few passengers on this trip.
She was built in 1990 at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France, at 48,563 tons, for Admiral Cruises, to be named FUTURE SEAS, but Admiral merged with Royal Caribbean before her delivery and she became NORDIC EMPRESS and registered in Monrovia. She sailed regularly from Miami to the Caribbean, and in 2002 was re-flagged to Nassau. In 2004 she became EMPRESS OF THE SEAS, and was transferred to Pullmantur Cruises in 2008 under the new name of EMPRESS.
The Pullmantur brochure told me that the passenger capacity is 1,853, with 795 cabins, and the ship is registered in Malta; her service speed is 16 knots, with a maximum of 19.5 knots; she is 208 metres long, has a beam of 30 metres, and a draft of 7.5 metres; she has 9 passenger decks, a climbing wall, Broadway shows, Starlight Disco, Internet centre, Library, Gym/Fitness Centre, Spa & Beauty Centre, Tibi Club, Solarium, 2 outdoor pools, 3 Jacuzzis, Buffet Panorama, Main Restaurant, Bars, Salon, Games Room, Montecarlo Casino, an extra-charges A La Carte Restaurant, Plaza Café, Piano Bar and duty free shops. With a white hull and superstructure, her red funnel with the Pullmantur logo on each side was an eye-catching sight in the harbour.
Berthed ahead of her was the 1996-built MEIN SCHIFF, originally built as GALAXY.
The usual ISPS regulations and heavy-duty fencing prevented me getting a complete photograph of the ship’s exterior, so I had to be content with one from the brochure. We were made welcome on board in the atrium and taken on a tour of the ship. We enjoyed walking on the teak decks, before being invited to take lunch in the lower level of the double-height main restaurant looking out over the stern of the ship – all very impressive, with attentive service and a good menu to choose from.
As with all Pullmantur cruises, they are all-inclusive! One can order unlimited water, fruit juices, coffee, soft drinks, beer, wine and long drinks in the bars and restaurants, disco and theatre. One can order as many times as one wants, and will always be served with a smile, according to the brochure. Obviously there are extra services that are not included in the cruise price such as premium drinks, the a la carte restaurant, internet access etc. but this all-inclusive price offered by Pullmantur has proved very successful and I can personally vouch for the happiness this creates!