MS Empress

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Pullmantur Empress - Helsinki May 2013.JPG
MS Empress, featuring Pullmantur livery, in the Port of Helsinki, Finland. 15 May 2013.
  • Originally ordered as: Future Seas
  • 1990—2004: Nordic Empress
  • 2004—2008: Empress of the Seas
  • 2008-2016: Empress
  • 2016: Empress of the Seas
Owner: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Port of registry:
Builder: Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Saint-Nazaire, France
Yard number: G29[1]
Launched: August 25, 1989[1]
Christened: Gloria Estefan
Acquired: May 31, 1990[1]
Maiden voyage:

June 25, 1990 as Nordic Empress

March 15 2008 as Empress
Identification: IMO number: 8716899[1]
Status: In service
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Type: Empress-class cruise ship[2]
Length: 210.81 m (691.63 ft)
Beam: 30.70 m (100.72 ft)
Draught: 7.10 m (23.29 ft)
Decks: 9 Passenger Decks
Installed power:
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)
Capacity: 1,840
Crew: 668
Notes: Formerly Nordic Empress and Empress of the Seas for Royal Caribbean.

MS Empress is a cruise ship operated by Pullmantur Cruises. She was formerly operated by Royal Caribbean International as Nordic Empress and Empress of the Seas. The ship was ordered by Admiral Cruise Lines and was intended to be called the Future Seas and join the other Admiral ships, the Azure Seas and the Emerald Seas. However, when Royal Caribbean merged with Admiral in 1987, the Admiral brand was dissolved and the newbuild (still under construction) was incorporated into the Royal Caribbean fleet. A few signature Royal Caribbean brand elements were added, including the Viking Crown and Windjammer Cafe.

MS Nordic Empress, featuring her original Royal Caribbean livery, anchored off the Cayman Islands in late March 2004
MS Empress, in her original Pullmantur livery, docked in Tallinn, Estonia on 16 June 2010.

The ship was originally named Nordic Empress and was the final Royal Caribbean ship whose name did not end with "of the Seas". The name was changed to match the rest of the fleet following an extensive rebuilding that ended on 8 May 2004.

Nordic Empress was the first mainstream cruise ship especially designed for the 3 and 4 day cruise market. Her initial itinerary was a short cruise to the Bahamas, which was then combined with 3 and 4 day cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1999, following the sale of the Song of America, the Nordic Empress took over the New York to Bermuda route.

In 2000, Royal Caribbean announced that the Nordic Empress would be undertaking a series of cruises in South America. Shortly after these cruises were put on sale, Royal Caribbean decided to replace the Nordic Empress with the Splendour of the Seas on the South American itineraries, leaving the Nordic Empress in the Caribbean.

In June 2001 "Nordic Empress" suffered engine room fire damage. Although Royal Caribbean reported that the fire was extinguished by the sprinklers, Coast Guard reports indicated a 3 hour firefight. Actress Tina Fey and then recently married husband Jeff Richmond were reportedly on board at the time. The incident was recounted in Fey's autobiography, Bossypants.[3]

On 26 March 2007, it was reported that in March 2008, the Empress of the Seas would be transferred to the fleet of Royal Caribbean's subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises.[4] Her final voyage for Royal Caribbean took place on 7 March 2008. The maiden voyage as Empress for Pullmantur Cruises took place on 15 March 2008.

In November 2012, the Empress was the first of the fleet to receive a brand new logo as well as new hull color scheme, it is not known at the moment when the rest of the fleet will receive the new rebranding.[5]

In October 2015, it was announced that Pullmantur would be transferring Empress of the Seas back to Royal Caribbean.[6]


Pullmantur is refocusing on Europe after concentrating passenger sourcing efforts on Latin and South America after the Spanish market went soft.

MS Empress will return to Royal Caribbean after a dry dock in Spring 2016 and will be renamed Empress of the Seas.

On December 21, 2015, Royal Caribbean started offering cruises for Empress of the Seas, beginning April 4, 2016. The ship will sail from Miami on 4- and 5-night cruises, with the Bahamas, Key West, and Grand Cayman among ports to be visited.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Asklander, Micke. "M/S Nordic Empress (1990)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Tina Fey's Honeymoon Ruined By Cruise Ship Fire? : Cruise Law News". 22 April 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Royal Caribbean International's Empress of the Seas to Join Pullmantur Fleet" (Press release). Royal Caribbean International. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Pullmantur Rebranding". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Pullmantur: Another Change of Strategy; Empress Back to Royal". Retrieved 23 October 2015. 

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