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Royal Caribbean cancels six Empress of the Seas cruises

Empress of the Seas - will return to white livery and is adding many features during its extended docking (Photo: Royal Caribbean)
Royal Caribbean International canceled the first six sailing dates for Empress of the Seas, which is undergoing a drydock refurbishment following its return from Pullmantur service. The company said more time was needed to 'ensure the ship meets the high standards for quality our guests expect from Royal Caribbean.'

The canceled sailings are March 30, April 4, 7, 11, 16 and 21, from PortMiami, to destinations like Cozumel, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman and Key West.

The renovations include new pools and whirlpools, new-look accommodations and the addition of a Chops Grille steak house, a rock-climbing wall and Voom, Royal Caribbean's super-fast Wi-Fi. The ship is to offer a new show, the Las Vegas-style 'Sequins & Feathers,' and a reimagined Boleros Latin Lounge.

Also, Empress will lose its dark blue Pullmantur livery and go back to sporting a white Royal Caribbean hull.

Passengers on the impacted sailings have been invited to rebook in like accommodations on any other sailing at the prevailing rate and will receive an on-board credit. Those who don't rebook will get a full refund.

Recent news reports have pegged Empress of the Seas as a likely candidate for Cuba service, should the opportunity arise. That's why inventory for the ship hasn't been opened beyond a few months, according to a Travel Weekly report that cited RCI's Vicki Freed, svp sales, trade support and services.

In that story Freed said the ship is the right size for Cuba.

Introduced as Nordic Empress in June 1990, it was built at Chantiers de L’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire. The 48,563gt vessel spans nine decks and has double-occupancy capacity for 1,602 passengers.