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  Empress (Pullmantur Cruises)

Empress | Pullmantur Cruises
Pullmantur Empress, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Photograph by Tony Hisgett. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Empress | Pullmantur Cruises
Formerly known as Nordic Empress and then Empress of the Seas. Nordic Empress is shown here anchored off the Cayman Islands in March 2004.
Photograph by WikiEK. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)


Sailing the routes in Germany, the Baltic Seas, the Canary Islands, and the Atlantic, the MS Empress proves that you can be old but still beautiful. In 2008, the Royal Caribbean International thought the vessel was bound for retirement, but the recent Pullmantur purchase proved them wrong. It’s been more than two years and now the Empress is once again ruling the seas. This is a classic, luxury cruise ship made in 1984. Its current form makes it attractive to travellers who would like to relax and sit back in between stops to exotic destinations. This is a Spanish-speaking ship and it would do you good if you brush up on important phrases.

Pullmantur cruises include the Baltic Capitals, Copenhagen to Bilbao, Canary Islands, and the Atlantic countries.

The MS Empress has a very long history. It was built in 1989 by Chantiers de l’Antartique in the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire, France. It was ordered by Admiral Cruise Lines and was supposed to be called the Future Seas. However, in 1987, Admiral merged with the Royal Caribbean International. Soon, the Admiral fleet was dissolved and incorporated into the bigger company’s fleet. It was then christened Nordic Empress, and was renamed “Empress of the Seas” to fit its sister vessels by the same company in 2004. In March of 2008, the RCI announced the Empress’ transfer to its subsidiary, the Pullmantur Cruises. From 2008 till now, the Empress of the Seas has been called the M/S Empress. The ship was refitted for months after its transfer to the Pullmantur Cruises, and it’s not operating like new again.

There are three restaurants in the MS Empress. Two of them are buffet/casual dining, and one of them with waiter service. The Panorama Buffet Restaurant is the biggest dining area onboard. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and could accommodate 392 guests. The Wu Fusion is an exotic, Far East restaurant with a self-service or buffet set up. It can only accommodate 20 people at a time, though, and may require reservations. The only restaurant onboard the MS Empress which offers waiter service is the Miramar. This serves international and Spanish dishes and could seat 330 guests. Onboard the Empress, there are also three bars open from late afternoon to late evening. One of them is an outdoor bar (Bar Marina) while the Salon Rendezvous and the Pier Lounge and Piano Bar provide good music to lounging cruise guests.

For an old lady, the Empress actually has a lot of modern luxury amenities. You won’t be bored with the ship’s Jacuzzis and pools. For the athletic ones, the climbing wall will certainly keep you preoccupied for hours. Get your tan at the solarium, or workout at the gym. There’s also a lounge dedicated to Broadway shows. If you want to socialize and dance the night away, there’s a disco in the ship. The teen’s club and the game room are also perfect places for kids. The Tibu club is the ship’s onboard daycare center. Would you like to try out your luck? There’s also a casino onboard the Empress. For those who would like to enjoy quiet afternoons reading about destinations, there is a library and a designated lounge for reading.

The best cabin in the Empress is the Royal Suite. This has a private terrace , a separate living room, and a bath and shower area. It also has its own private Jacuzzi. The Deluxe Suite with Terrace has a similar floor plan and set of amenities, but its floor area is smaller, and it doesn’t have a living room. If you’re on a budget, you can choose smaller cabins. The Exterior House is slightly bigger than the deluxe cabin, but it doesn’t have a terrace. It only has a picture window. Superior outside cabins come in six different layouts but the same size. The interior cabins of the same grade are just as big, but they don’t have windows. All cabins are air conditioned.

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Ship Summary
Operator:Pullmantur Cruises
Built by:Chantiers de l’Antartique, Saint-Nazaire, France
Date Completed:1989
Gross Tonnage:48563
Length:210.81 m
Width:30.7 m