Review of Empress Of The Seas deck 5 (Lobby)
Royal Theatre (complimentary, capacity 740 seats) is the ship’s main show lounge for grand-style musical and show productions in the evenings. The theater presents 2 stage productions per night (early - at 8 pm, and late - at 10 pm /matching the assigned dining room sittings). They feature singing and dancing acts, West End musicals, acrobatic performances, tribute acts, magician shows, adult comedy acts, popular game shows. The theater has its own bar for refreshments (waiters walk around and offer bar service prior to show). The theater also functions as cinema for DreamWorks 3D movies (on seadays only). During the day, here are held enrichment lectures and bingo sessions. Royal Caribbean’s Snowball Jackpot Bingo offers most generous payouts (final jackpots are in the several thousand dollars). Among the bingo prizes are also free cabin upgrades and even free cruises.
Guest Services is the ship’s Reception Desk for 24-hour assistance, information, bookings/reservations, luggage and cashier services.
Shore Excursions Desk provides information on Royal Caribbean cruise tours and excursions (sponsored ashore), also planning and tour booking services.
Next Cruise office serves the RCI’s onboard cruise booking program and doubles as Loyalty Desk (providing information and assistance regarding the Royal Caribbean loyalty program “Crown & Anchor Society”). By this program there are 6 levels of membership – Gold (3 points), Platinum (30 points), Emerald (55 points), Diamond (80 points), Diamond Plus (175 points) and Pinnacle Club (700 points). Among the corresponding to each level (status) benefits are Onboard Booking Bonus (savings transferred to future OBC /shipboard credit), exclusive services (invitations, trivia, events, lounge access, concierge, privileges), future cruise booking discount rates (vary by itinerary/cabin category), priority services (check-in, reservations, main dining room seating /table location/size requests), Balcony Cabin/Suite booking discounts, early sales access (a day before the general sale), special offers, bonus gifts and amenities.
Schooner Bar (capacity 138 seats) is the RCI’s signature piano bar for classy cocktails, live music and trivia games. Decor is nautically-themed, with dark wood, marble, sails, decorative rope netting. There is a grand piano for live performances and sing-alongs in the evenings. Trivia quizzes and Sudoku contests are also part of the evening entertainment. During the day, here are hosted scavenger hunts, music trivia, Explorer Academy classes and workshops.
Chops Grille is the RCI’s signature premium steakhouse-seafood restaurant (open between 5:30 – 9:30 pm). This is a specialty dinner restaurant (at US$39 surcharge per person) with an open kitchen allowing guests to watch the food preparation. Reservations are recommended. Included in the surcharge are bread with butter (first-served), 2 appetizers, 1 entree and desserts. At extra charge from the menu can be ordered soups, salads, prime meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry) and seafood specialties. Among those are New York strip steak (12 oz), filet mignon (6 oz, 9 oz), veal chop parmesan, short ribs, lamb chops, roasted chicken, crusted tuna, snapper Veracruz, grilled branzino, lobster, shrimp, scallops. Steaks are served with a choice of 3 sauces (bearnaise, peppercorn, bordelaise). Among the upsell dishes are dry-aged steaks (16 oz), porterhouse (20 oz), Maine Lobster. Chops Grille menu also has sides/sharables (mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, truffled creamed corn, roasted mushrooms, grilled vegetables) and desserts (chocolate pie, chocolate lava cake, red velvet cake, cheesecake, warm cookie plate, ice cream, specialty coffees).
Focus (Photo Gallery & Shop) provides photo and video services by the ship’s professional photographers. The Gallery has displayed both guest-made and professional photos (available for purchasing) and a photo kiosk. The Shop sells duty-free photo-video equipment and accessories. Know that cruise ship photographers receive bonuses based on the number of taken (not sold) photos. So don’t be afraid to stand in front of their cameras and have a photo taken.
Picture This is a professional portrait studio for private sessions in an indoor setting. The photo studio has several stations with different backgrounds to choose from. Photo sessions can also include outdoor settings (around the ship or inside onboard venues). Prices are per photo (packages are also available for purchasing).
Centrum is the ship’s 7-decks high Atrium area (mid-ship location, with an open-floor design) serving as a central gathering place. The Centrum features live entertainment throughout the day, cascading waterfalls, sweeping staircases, panoramic glass-walled elevators. On the Atrium’s lobby level are often held Fine Art Auctions.
Casino Royale (capacity 450 seats, on 2 levels) is a Vegas-style gambling casino with all 298 slot machines and 17 gaming tables, a full-service Casino Bar. The Casino staff also provides complimentary gambling lessons. Regularly, here are hosted gambling tournaments. The list of available games includes poker (machines) and table games (Craps, Roulette, Black Jack 21, Caribbean Stud Poker). Slot machines accept real quarters, so getting tokens from the cashier desk is optional. The lounge area is served by the Casino Bar. The lounge area is furnished with tables, plush chairs, sofas. Casino Royale is a smoking-allowed area but also has a small non-smoking section.
Conference Center has large capacity meeting rooms with comfortable seating and modern equipment to facilitate conferences at sea, daily lectures and media presentations.
Main Dining Room (upper level 2 of 2) is an aft-located complimentary restaurant open for Dinner only, with 2 fixed seatings – at 6 pm and 8.30 pm.