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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I was expecting this cruise would not be up to the standard that we had enjoyed on other criuse ships and was not disappointed in my assumption. Meal times were a free for all when people had to queue up for the buffet (even though there ... Read More
I was expecting this cruise would not be up to the standard that we had enjoyed on other criuse ships and was not disappointed in my assumption. Meal times were a free for all when people had to queue up for the buffet (even though there were two buffet zones, only one was opened even for disembarkation breakfast time). If you elected to go to the main restaurant for "open sitting" you were always escorted to a seat at a table set for 8 people so which meant sitting with new people each time. The a la carte menu was really poor with little that could be called high quality food, and meals were often cold, particularly for breakfast. Water, tea or coffee was available only at mealtimes and had to be purchased at any other time of the day. There was no access to free drinking water during the day unless you were prepared to pay for it. Everything on board such as water, tea, coffee, drinks, use of the safety box in the cabin for example all came at a cost. I refused to pay 16.00 Euro's for the use of the safety box and was glad that i didnt lose one of the poor quality pool towels as that would have cost me 12.00 Euros for a replacement. The air conditioning in the cabin did not work well and we were advised that little could be done about it and just put up with it. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
SHIP: My wife and I are experienced cruisers who have sailed throughout the Caribbean, to Alaska, the Mediterranean and also along European rivers on modern cruise ships of various sizes. The Louis Cristal sits firmly in the position of ... Read More
SHIP: My wife and I are experienced cruisers who have sailed throughout the Caribbean, to Alaska, the Mediterranean and also along European rivers on modern cruise ships of various sizes. The Louis Cristal sits firmly in the position of the worst cruise ship we have sailed. This is John Cleese's "Fawlty Towers" at sea! In effect, you don't realize until it's too late that this is a very basic cruise where you pay only for your cabin and meals, and then are nickel'd and dime'd for everything else, from bottled water, soft drinks, a rudimentary internet service, all the way to dining at the only specialty restaurant on board, the Alberta Steak House, which experience I had no desire to test. On the subject of food, the on-board meals are below average for what one expects on a cruise ship these days, being no more than basic cafeteria fare (surprisingly overseen by a French chef!). In addition, several passengers complained about the delays being served in the main restaurant. This is an older ship, although there are a lot of young, inexperienced staff sailing this route for the first time. Our young stewardess who greeted us when we arrived on board placed us in the wrong line for check-in where after a long wait, she was corrected by a supervisor and we had to join another queue. Timings and schedules were not well organized, and very few of the advertised times for events (including sail away times) were adhered to ... I guess the idea was to put everyone on relaxed Caribbean time. There was poor coordination between the ship's tour staff and the tour organizers in Canada in relation to prepaid tours, often leading to frustration on what should be an enjoyable Christmas cruise. This 1,200 passenger ship sailed from Athens over the previous 21 days with only 90 European passengers, and stopped in Montego Bay, Jamaica to pick up 45 mostly Caribbean passengers for the Cuba leg of the cruise. On the first night of dining in the main restaurant, all of the mostly Black Caribbean new cruisers were herded to sit together at the back of the dining room. Regardless of whatever reasons Management would offer for this action, it was insensitive, looked and felt awful, and was reminiscent of sailings from Africa to Cuba across the Atlantic centuries before, in one of the worse atrocities committed by humans against each other. Inherited prejudices die hard. Entertainment on board was generally of a mediocre standard, although the entertainment team that joined the cruise from Havana were quite good, featuring some excellent acrobats. Sassanya Dawson of Jamaica stole the show with her solo performance on Christmas Eve. CUBA On the other hand, the destination was a real eye opener! Any preconceptions a first time visitor has of Cuba are scuttled. On display was a poor Caribbean country that took on all the odds for decades and still excels on the world stage, whether in sports, music or exportation of health care workers to countries in need. There is a mystique about this geographically large country with wide expanses of beautiful countryside, and a high level of discipline amongst its population. Amidst ruins of once beautiful architecture is the national commitment to restoration, the out-pouring of a breathtaking culture of music and dance, and the impression that all citizens could articulate the national strategy for survival. You are drawn to discover and understand this country's history, and to observe its recovery. Visit the famous Tropicana show in its 75th year, and you find it impossible to believe that you are in one of the poorest countries of the world, putting on a world class display to earn tourist dollars to assist with its recovery. As the curator of the Museum in Santiago de Cuba told us: "Cubans have sharp minds, but empty pockets". RECOMMENDATION At the moment this is the only cruise that sails around Cuba and it is in its second season. If you don't mind mediocre quality, service and organisation on board, you can get by with this particular cruise. Or you can prepare yourself by managing expectations. However, this type of cruise ship is an anachronism in today's modern world. Cuba will soon open up to better quality cruise ships offering this type of exploration of the country. In this way, you will be able to see Cuba, a fascinating and historic destination, in the level of comfort for which the modern cruise industry has become known.   Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 2.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.0
Enrichment 3.5 3.8
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates N/A N/A

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