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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We were pleasantly surprised. Had read a few "not so good reviews" before leaving. Turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. Overall the ship is kept in top condition. Very clean, with really friendly, competent staff ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised. Had read a few "not so good reviews" before leaving. Turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. Overall the ship is kept in top condition. Very clean, with really friendly, competent staff in all areas. Our cabin was excellently maintained by the cleaning crew, and had lots of drawer and hanging space. A nice surprise were the Happy Birthday balloons. The dining rooms presented excellent menu choices, with very good quality food. We liked everything. Entertainment was top notch. Saw every show. Cruise director Danny does a fantastic job. Has so much energy, and speaks many languages fluently, flowing from one to the other without effort. The tours onshore were interesting and informing. The only one I would skip is the Maria La Gorda trip to Cabo de San Antonio. Long bus ride, and not much to see or do. Would rather sit on the beach and relax. My husband wasn't very keen to go on a cruise, this being his first. On our last night aboard he said he was sorry it was over. We will definitely go on a cruise again, and highly recommend Cuba Cruise with Celestyal Crystal to anyone who wants to see more of Cuba than just a resort. It was an excellent holiday. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We are first time cruisers so read with appropriate caution. I thought this was a great way to see Cuba. We sailed on January 1st. from Montego Bay with a "People to People" educational program. The ship and food were deemed ... Read More
We are first time cruisers so read with appropriate caution. I thought this was a great way to see Cuba. We sailed on January 1st. from Montego Bay with a "People to People" educational program. The ship and food were deemed "below expectations" by the experienced cruise passengers we sailed with but both were perfectly adequate in our opinion. You take this cruise for the destination, not the ship. The crew was above all earnest, but overworked. I'm not sure the ship is staffed well enough when the vessel is full. There were concerns with elevators that frequently did not work and, "ahem" the toilets of questionable quality. The ship is on the smaller side so meeting people was quite easy, especially given that most on board were there for their first Cuba experience. I thought that the entertainment on board was great. It was not "polished" but the entertainers were clearly energetic and invested in putting on a good show. As others have mentioned the cruise director "Danny" was great and made sure that everyone was having a good time! What I most loved about this cruise was the port of calls and the educational sessions offered by the two University of Havana professors who were on board with us. They gave a fascinating overview of the history, politics, culture, and flora/fauna of this great land. I felt sorry for the cruise guests who were not "required" to attend these sessions as they were quite informative. You ideally go on this cruise to learn and there were many opportunities to do so. Shore Excursions: Santiago de Cuba - our first shore excursion offered a decidedly pro-Castro view of Cuban history, an exposure to Santeria dancing, and unfortunately not lunch. Eat a good breakfast before this one! There is, however, a stop for coffee and beer at a local gallery that had exquisite ceramics for sale at very reasonable prices in the gift shop. Havana - the reason that most of us took this cruise. Havana is amazing but the quality of the shore excursions was, at best, uneven. I might skip them entirely. The ship docks in Old Havana and there are great squares and historical buildings that can likely be experienced better with a good guidebook. Your ship will stay here for one full and one partial day. I would spend the first day exploring Old Havana and having dinner in one of the many Paladares, or private restaurants. Hemingway had many talents, but the bars he frequented has only one - ripping off tourists with substandard Mojitos. Skip these. For the second day take a taxi to the National Museum of Fine Arts for their spectacular modern collection. Have lunch at "Habana 61" and still have time for the Museum of the Revolution and a leisurely walk back to the ship. The formal excursion would make you choose between these two museums but this is not at all necessary. Maria la Gorda - We almost skipped this excursion as those who boarded the ship before us proclaimed the nature preserve as a total bust and because we are not beach/hot weather people. This stop turned out to be one of the most fun. First of all, tenders run between the cruise ship and the beach continually so you can spend as much time or as little as you would like. I would suggest the first non-tour tender. Once you exit on the pier move as far to the right as you can as this is where there are beach umbrellas and a Cuban BBQ sponsored by your ship. You may purchase drink/food coupons in advance but these are not required. For a short queue you can simply sign purchases to your cabin account. This made for a most relaxing day and a great counterpoint to the urban Havana. Cienfuegos - the most beautiful port and excursion of them all. Known as the "Pearl of the South" from colonial era the architecture was well preserved and the most common tourist sections were closed to vehicular traffic. Your first stop will be in the main square to see the Teatro Tomas Terry theater and the gorgeous Palacio Ferrer. Save your money from the street vendors in this area because for us the next two stops were at artist collectives where there was an abundant amount of original art for sale and the opportunity to meet the artists. Definitely a highlight of the trip! This excursion ends at Punta Gorda, where the wealthy of the area once congregated, and Palicio de Valle, a former Batista casino, turned into a restaurant with beautiful views of the bay. I'm not sure we would take a cruise with this company again for a non-Cuban destination. Having said that, our costs were considerably less than competitive offerings and we had a great time overall. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
In the past, when I saw one star reviews for vacations I asked myself how people can do that for 5 star hotels. Well, here I am writing my one star (or should be 0) for this Cruise. First of all, I have to say that I loved Cuba. I went ... Read More
In the past, when I saw one star reviews for vacations I asked myself how people can do that for 5 star hotels. Well, here I am writing my one star (or should be 0) for this Cruise. First of all, I have to say that I loved Cuba. I went to cuba with very low expectations, I was in a resort in Varadero the week before the cruise and the experience was excellent, including the resort, the people, the service, the room and even the food. My main purpose for the cruise was to visit Cuba after a week in the beach...but I didn't see much of cuba. Excursions were completely disorganized. The Cruise Director is a clown, and a bad one. And when you put a Clown together with a Salsa dancer that only knows how to count to four to organize 120 people in 4 buses, that's what you get. A hour and a half delay. In addition the boat was always delayed. They always blame the weather (even the day that the cruise didn't sail). The only day that we were on time the joker woke us at 7:20am to call everybody take the temperature even if the disembarking was at 9, and they didn't even took our names or cabin numbers. The end of the story is that you lose most of your time in port because they are extremely disorganized, plus Cuba customs. They take you on a 3 hours tour where they want them to take you and you don't have extra time to do anything on your own. One example of what to expect was at Maria la Gorda. Like many other people, I was prepared with hiking gear to go to a natural reserve. Instead, we were 3 hours on a bus that took us to a place that was...nothing. Only and old lighthouse on the other side of the fence. I asked about changing that excursion for diving, it was u$s 165 for only one tank on a choppy day, when regular price for 2 tanks is $49 in Cuba and they will refund you if there's bad weather. About the cruise. This is a refurbished ferry that was burned and crashed an oil tanker (Do your own research on this one). It might be ok as a ferry, but It cannot handle very well the conditions in Cuba, it was a little bit windy but it was sunny all the time, standard weather for Cuba at this time of the year. I can't imagine it with a real storm, even a minor one. So expect it to move, and a lot. First I got an inside cabin, if you can call it a cabin. It was not even half the size of a small cruise cabin. I upgraded (after having to pay, and they are very good at getting your money) to an outside cabin. The carpets were stained and didn't look modern. the washroom had problems most of the time. Also the air conditioning was unpredictable. Food was college cafeteria grade. At the buffet, there were always the same, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food seemed to come from Greece more than a month before, nothing was fresh at all. Fruits were mainly canned. They advertise that they serve Alberta beef, but I only seen overcooked pork and chicken. Also they changed the dinner plan to open seating. First day I was refused to enter one of the restaurants. They said it was booked by a group for the next 5 days, but other people got in. I got in the next day. Both restaurants serve exactly the same. Sometimes you have to wait 45 minutes, or go to the buffet. Entertainment was always the same, not much entertaining. On the positive side. After the shows, the band stayed playing and they were really good. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I took a 3 night cruise to the Greek islands and Turkey on the Celestyal Olympia. It was such a fantastic cruise! The cruise is very port heavy but the time on the ship was fabulous. The crew was amazing and so friendly and helpful. I ... Read More
I took a 3 night cruise to the Greek islands and Turkey on the Celestyal Olympia. It was such a fantastic cruise! The cruise is very port heavy but the time on the ship was fabulous. The crew was amazing and so friendly and helpful. I spent most of my time by the pool and in the sunbathing deck. It got pretty crowded but it was still enjoyable. They had music and dance lessons by the pool and the buffet was great offering hamburgers, gyros, sandwiches and desserts. The Aegean restaurant had wonderful dinners and the staff was superb! The entertainment at night in the lounge was great and a perfect way to end the evening. Everything ran smoothly and the staff was very efficient at the ports getting everyone on and off the ship. I would love to cruise with Celestyal again and I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking to enjoy the Greek islands! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I have just returned from our vacation in Greece. While we were pleased with most of the trip, the cruise fell short of what we were expecting. Some problems were not serious - the food was hit or miss, and the "pool" ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from our vacation in Greece. While we were pleased with most of the trip, the cruise fell short of what we were expecting. Some problems were not serious - the food was hit or miss, and the "pool" was more like a kiddie pool. Our big issue, however, was with our cabin. The cabin was supplied with two twin beds, rather than one larger bed, which was not what we had hoped for our honeymoon, nor was the stale smell on the blankets and the torn carpet. The worst part was the bathroom. The toilet did not work when we arrived. It was fixed quickly, but had to be dealt with the second and the third day as well. The shower did not drain properly, flooding the bathroom floor when we showered. Above all, the smell in the bathroom was that of a backed up sewer, and would drift into the cabin if the door was left open for more than a second. The outside of the room also smelled strongly of diesel. After returning home and researching this cruise line, we learned that this was formerly a car deck. While not everything about the cruise was negative (the entertainment was good, the all-inclusive drink special was worth the price, some of the meals were tasty, and the overall itinerary was fun), the cabin left a sour taste on this trip. If we had known what the cabin would be like we would have preferred to stay on the mainland for a few extra days. We would not use this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We arrived in Havana around 1 pm, the funny thing was, since we purchased the air/flight packages, pretty much everyone on our flight from Toronto was going on the Cuba Cruise! Once we arrived, there were representatives with Cuba Cruise ... Read More
We arrived in Havana around 1 pm, the funny thing was, since we purchased the air/flight packages, pretty much everyone on our flight from Toronto was going on the Cuba Cruise! Once we arrived, there were representatives with Cuba Cruise signs, showing us where to go to catch the bus to the terminal. Don’t feel pressured to exchange your money at the airport, there is a currency exchange at the cruise terminal, before you get on the ship. The bus was an air-conditioned coach, and the guide explained what we were seeing during the ride to the cruise terminal (about 45 minutes). When we arrived, we had to leave all of our luggage on the dock, including our carry-ons (so don’t assume you can put a change of clothes in your carry on). We went to get our Cruise cards, go through the ship’s customs, and got to our cabin, all in under half hour. Our luggage showed up very quickly (less than an hour). We then went out to explore Havana. Since we hadn’t arrived early enough to do the Cruise excursion, I had arranged ahead of time to have a 55 Chevy with driver and tour guide pick us up at the terminal (OldCar Tours). This was well worth the 40CUC per hour. They drove us around the city and the guide was very informative. We boarded the ship once again in time for dinner, which was a buffet on the first night. We weren’t impressed with the food that night, but we were pleasantly surprised that it did get better (more on this later). We met our cabin steward (Yasnay) and she was so friendly and fantastic the whole week. They clean the rooms twice a day, replacing the towels if you want, and even making up the bed twice. I was a bit concerned about the fact you can’t flush toilet paper, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal, there’s a can with a lid and they changed it twice a day. If you forget out of habit, nothing happens! It still flushed! The one thing we noticed almost immediately is that the majority of the people were seniors. We are in our 40s and felt like we were the youngest couple there. Eventually we did see a few younger couples with kids but we felt sorry for the kids because there really wasn’t much for them to do. I would NOT recommend bringing kids on this cruise, my kids would have been bored most of the time. The evening shows were fantastic! We really enjoyed the “cirque” type performances, and they had a team of fantastic dancers. The Havana Moon band played nightly and were very talented. One of the musicians played the flute, sax, clarinet, and something else! The main singers, Freddie and Hector were great! Freddie should have his own record contract, he’s that good. They also had other entertainment in the various lounges throughout the evening if you didn’t want to go to the main show. The service on board was impeccable. The waiters and drink servers were always there when you wanted them. All of the staff on board were friendly, and you got to know some of them by name. Excursions: We did an excursion every day, but if we were to do it again, we would probably do some exploring on our own. When you get to Holguin, I would definitely recommend the swimming with the dolphins. We all agreed it was the highlight of our trip. At this port (it wasn’t even a port, we had to use the ship’s tenders to get to shore) there was really only a tiny town with nothing to do, so definitely take an excursion here (Antilla). In Santiago de Cuba, we did a city tour, but they spent too much time (in my opinion) at a cemetery and not enough time at the beautiful fort (we only had 20 minutes at the fort, not even enough time to take the steps down to the beach). We also made a stop at the former Bacardi Rum factory and were thrilled to buy bottles of rum for 7CUC, but later on, we saw it even cheaper at the Duty Free shop at the Havana airport!!! I recommend that you do this city on your own, research on Trip advisor what you’d like to do and do it. In Montego Bay, we took an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls, but wish we had just rented a taxi on our own after we saw that several others did so. The excursion was overpriced and the tour bus was way less comfortable than the busses in Cuba (no leg room at all). Anyway, the falls were fantastic and I’d highly recommend a visit. In Cienfeugos, we did the El Nicho waterfall excursion. I would NOT recommend this excursion to ANYONE! First of all, you ride on the back of an old Russian army truck, open to the wind and sun, very uncomfortable, for 2 hours to the waterfalls! Then we ate a meager lunch and only had an hour to do the trail and waterfall. Then a 2 hour ride back. Definitely NOT worth 4 hours of driving. Also, it was the “dry” season so the falls were a trickle and some of the river areas were dried up. At Punta Frances we thoroughly enjoyed the beach day. We found many seashells and just enjoyed the warm waters and hot sun. Cabins: Our cabin was 3029, at the very back of the ship. The engine rumble and vibrations were VERY loud and I would NOT recommend being anywhere near the back of the ship, especially at the lower levels. Thankfully we brought earplugs and we got used to the vibrations. It was nice to have a window, and we took the two single beds and pushed them together so we could sleep together. The room was small, but we didn’t spend much time in there anyway so it didn’t matter. The shower sucked, it would not give any hot water, ever. I had so many lukewarm showers and even a couple of cold ones! There was plenty of space to unpack your suitcases, several drawers, many hangers in the closet, etc. We didn’t use the safe, but just kept our wallets on us. We left electronics (iPhones, laptop, cameras) in the room but had no issues. Disembarking: Pretty painless, you had to leave your room at 8 am, but could then go eat breakfast. We then had to wait until about 9:30-10 to actually get off the ship. Once off, you went to find your luggage (they gave you tags the night before, take note of the colour of the tag, and the letter on it) and boarded the tour bus to the airport. Wifi: The wifi was very unreliable, I wouldn’t recommend paying the $12/hour. We only ended up using 20 minutes the whole week because it usually didn’t work. We had hoped to use it to book our seats on our return flight but we weren’t able to get online. The good news was, that our entire flight was on this ship, so no one booked their seats early! First come, first served at the airport. Don’t forget your 25CUC/person to pay at the airport. Dining: We usually did the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the sit-down restaurant for dinner. The one thing that bugged us about the sit-down meals is that they constantly put us at tables with people who didn’t speak English. We would even request a table with English speakers, and they still couldn’t manage to get it right. This is why we just did the buffet at breakfast and lunch. We eventually met a couple we liked and arranged to meet them for dinner each evening. I’m sure the Maitre D’ could figure out a way to seat people in a way that wasn’t awkward for everyone at the table. The meals at the restaurant were great! We are foodies, and didn’t have any complaints. The buffet meals are “ok”, but nothing special. Overall, we really enjoyed our time on the Louis Cristal and would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to really see different areas of Cuba, rather than stay in one place at a resort.   Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A N/A

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