I leave tomorrow, May 7, 2017 for a different type of cruise.
I often cruise for the cruise itself, to be on a ship for a few days or weeks. To be waited on, 24/7. To indulge in foods that I won't bother to make at home, and probably can't even find in a local restaurant. To have a beverage when I want, and to not be concerned about traffic or driving. No laundry, no cleaning or cooking. A major decision is whether or not to attend the evening show, or maybe listen to the piano player.
Sometimes I cruise not so much for the cruise itself, but cruise because of where the ship is going. That was definitely the case when I spent four months circumnavigating the world stopping at numerous countries I had never visited before, and now knowing of a few that I don't care if I never visit again.
Tomorrow's cruise is neither of these. I embark on The Empress Of The Seas certainly not for the destination as I have been to Cozumel and Costa Maya numerous times. And I don't have high expectations of this being a very glamorous venture. The Empress is one of the oldest cruise ships still in service. Not from the era of the Titanic, but from an era long before wave riders, ice rinks, robotic bar tenders and sky diving simulators.
Launched in 1989 she was renamed and christened as the Nordic Empress in 1990 under the Royal Caribbean brand. At the time she was one of the grandest ladies on the high seas built specifically for the 3 and 4 night Caribbean market. Since then she has survived a major engine room fire, and has been sold and renamed several times, finally returning to Royal in 2016 to fill the need for a ship small enough to visit Cuban ports. She underwent a major refurbishment last year and in a few weeks will begin service to Cuba from the Port of Tampa.
Many cruisers have fond memories or The Nordic Empress, and I am going to be spending two weeks with her just to remind me what the grand ladies were like 30 years ago. I never was on the Nordic Empress but did sail on several ships of her generation and older in the eighties and nineties. I promise to post pictures when I return home.