October 22, 2020

Gone for good? Not this Royal Caribbean ship


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635876642098727278-1450644182-RCI-Nordic-Empress-RET 635651049839380920-sbwr-an-0389By Gene Sloan, From USA TODAY

Just when you think it’s gone for good, they pull it back in.

With apologies to The Godfather’s Michael Corleone (yeah, we know the quote isn’t quite right), that’s the story for a beloved ship that will be returning to the line’s fleet this year after an eight-year absence.

The Miami-based line over the holidays confirmed that the 2,020-passenger Empress of the Seas would return to the fold to sail short cruises out of the city starting in April.

Unveiled in 1990, the 48,563-ton vessel left the Royal Caribbean fleet in early 2008 and has been sailing ever since for Spanish line Pullmantur. Pullmantur is owned by Royal Caribbean’s parent company.

The move brings Empress back to its roots. Originally called the , the ship was the first mainstream cruise vessel specifically designed for the three- and four-day cruise market, and it initially sailed short cruises to the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean godfather, er, CEO Michael Bayley said in a statement that the vessel’s return will give adventure-seekers the opportunity to “party, chill and repeat” on quickie getaways that feel like non-stop weekends.

“We’re excited to welcome Empress of the Seas back to the family, and back to the Caribbean,” Bayley said.

The ship will offer four- and five-night trips to Nassau, The Bahamas; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Grand Cayman and , Florida. Some of the stops in Cozumel will be overnight stays.

Empress of the Seas will boast some new features when it returns to the Royal Caribbean fleet that have debuted on the line’s latest ships such as the eight-month-old Anthem of the Seas.

USA TODAY Cruise in April was among a handful of U.S. media outlets to get early access to Anthem of the Seas ahead of its christening in Southampton, . For our ‘first look’ tour of the ship’s pool decks, public areas and swankiest suites, scroll through the carousels at the link below.

For more on this story go to: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2016/01/07/royal-caribbean-empress-cruise-ship/78346774/

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