1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Celestyal Cruises
  4. Celestyal Cruises Cruise Reviews

28 Celestyal Cruises Cuba Cruise Reviews

We selected this cruise because we wanted to travel to Cuba and was told this cruise line offered an amazing experience. We embarked in Montego Bay, Jamaica and thoroughly enjoyed this 7 day cruise. Participating in the Cuba Cruise ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we wanted to travel to Cuba and was told this cruise line offered an amazing experience. We embarked in Montego Bay, Jamaica and thoroughly enjoyed this 7 day cruise. Participating in the Cuba Cruise People to People program was great. The history and cultural information that was presented was factual and comprehensive as well as entertaining. Each Port of Call offered something different yet, provided more of the Cuban culture. . The program did an excellent job addressing the Afro-Cuban influence and culture which is an important part of Cuba's history. . Dr. Arocha, the Destination Expert was very knowledgeable of the Cuban history and culture, and was a great teacher/presenter in all of his presentations. Each of the tours were well planned, and our tour guides were great, too. The daily shows performed by " Cirque Fantastic Concept" were all very well done and quite entertaining, and Danny the Cruise Director, was The Best!!! I must also compliment the chefs, dining staff, bar staff, cabin stewards and of course, musicians. All of them were excellent. Overall, this was an awesome experience and I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My family of 6 just returned yesterday from our 1 week cruise. We started our cruise in Montego Bay. The boarding process was simple and the terminal was not crowded, which we were very happy to see. By the time we got a drink in hand ... Read More
My family of 6 just returned yesterday from our 1 week cruise. We started our cruise in Montego Bay. The boarding process was simple and the terminal was not crowded, which we were very happy to see. By the time we got a drink in hand to start our vacation, our luggage had already made it to our rooms. The rooms were fine for us. Nothing fancy, but the bed was comfortable, the shower had hot water, and there was plenty of space for clothes. We didn't plan on spending much time in the rooms except to sleep, so we decided to save our money and not get an upgrade. We did look into it once we boarded. I believe the cost was around $350 to upgrade to a outside cabin with a window, and $450 for a balcony. Entertainment on the boat was exceptional. We went to every show in the evening at 9:00. They mainly consisted of dancers and singers, all of which are from Cuba. The dancers were especially talented. We frequented the Eros Lounge often where there was music every night. The piano and violinist were wonderful. We would also spend time there during the day to participate in the various games/entertainment. There were many games of Bingo, trivia, towel folding lessons, etc. Staff on the Crystal was second to none. We were able to spend a lot of time talking to them and getting to know their stories. Vladimir was absolutely hysterical. He hosted trivia often and would always come by to talk to us and make us laugh. Maherlys(sp?) was also wonderful. She hosted Karaoke every night and was able to get every person in my family to sing, which is quite an accomplishment! Alina was part of the wait staff in the lounges/bars. She was our favorite, although all the others were great as well. Our wait staff in the restaurant was led by Wayan. I would recommend asking for his section. Although there is no assigned seating, after the 2nd night on board, he would come over to the Eros Lounge to let us know that he had a table waiting for us. Lastly, I have to say that the excursions into Cuba were very well done. Havana was definitely my favorite location. It was nice that we had a lot of free time there to explore the city on our own. We did not do the Tropicana tour, but instead ate at a privately owned restaurant in the Old Havana district. It was a wonderful meal, and I would recommend that to anyone trying to get away from more touristy type places for a night. Paladar Los Mercaderes was the name of it, and it was only a 5 minute walk from the cruise terminal. Overall we had an amazing trip. I hope to be back on this boat when it sails in Greece! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
If you are hesitant to book a trip to Cuba or to book with a cruise ship that you are unfamiliar with, this trip will impress you. The People to People program for Americans going to Cuba is very educational and well done. We were on ... Read More
If you are hesitant to book a trip to Cuba or to book with a cruise ship that you are unfamiliar with, this trip will impress you. The People to People program for Americans going to Cuba is very educational and well done. We were on guided tours conducted by Cubans to get their real perspectives. On sea days, we had Cuban cooking demonstrations, Latin dance classes and truly exceptional lectures by a professor from Havana who was passionate about the topics. The meals and service were always good. The activity director and performers were better than what I've seen on larger ships. Everything was included in the price paid which made the cruise a good value. This ship is smaller and felt more peresonalized in the service provided. We boarded in Montego Bay which gave us more time in Havana. Our visas were taken care of as part of the program. When you exchange money in Cuba, be sure to get some small bills for tips and have some coins available for bathrooms. That was my only problem on the first tour day. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I chose this cruise for its itinerary which started from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and circumnavigated Cuba, stopping at Santiago de Cuba, Havana, and Cienfuegos. The ship was quite nice, well maintained. The staff was very friendly and ... Read More
I chose this cruise for its itinerary which started from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and circumnavigated Cuba, stopping at Santiago de Cuba, Havana, and Cienfuegos. The ship was quite nice, well maintained. The staff was very friendly and helpful,the food was excellent, and the entertainment was outstanding. The included tours of the three cities, and the drinks package were good deals. The only extra expense was the $149 each cost for the Tropicana Club evening. That was actually worth it! The person-to-person enrichment lectures by a U of Havana historian were very informative. There were also documentary movies about Cuban history and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Americans received a certificate at the end of the cruise, which could be used to satisfy a current US Treasury requirement that travel to Cuba be for educational/humanitarian reasons. The ship was way below its capacity of 1200 passengers. While that is great for the passengers who are onboard, the company deserves more business, considering what a great time we had. I am happy to recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose this cruise because I wanted to visit multiple places in Cuba. My parents took this cruise in March, and loved it. It was my first cruise, so between that and the newness of the Cuba experience, I was not sure what to expect. It ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to visit multiple places in Cuba. My parents took this cruise in March, and loved it. It was my first cruise, so between that and the newness of the Cuba experience, I was not sure what to expect. It was amazing. Let me start out addressing critiques I've seen elsewhere -- yes, it's an older ship and it's small. If you're looking for a Quantum of the Seas type experience, this is not the place to look for it. The whole point of this cruise (at least for American travelers) is the educational experience -- the people to people itinerary for seeing Cuba. This was my first cruise, and I found the size of the ship perfect. It's easy to find your way around, and there are lovely back decks to hang out on as well as a sun deck on the top floor. It is IMPECCABLY clean -- cleaning staff are at work all the time, and the cabin crew serviced my cabin at least twice a day. I had problems with my toilet at checkin and it was fixed within a very short time. We only had about 200-odd people on our cruise between Montego Bay and Havana -- I would guess that went up to 300 or so when people embarked in Havana. (By the way, don't embark in Havana. You'll miss one of the two days the ship docks in Havana, plus, I don't think Montego Bay is all that great. Embark in Montego Bay, and be sure to book Club Mobay for your trip home. After all, you're booking a Cuba cruise, get the whole Cuba experience!) I think the low numbers were partly due to time of year but we were also told that numbers of travelers on this trip was lower this year -- due to the election? Due to terrorism? Whatever the reason, it's a good/bad situation. Good because those of us on the cruise got so much personal attention!!!! I felt bad for the many staff who were just standing around waiting to be helpful -- I am sure it was not fun for them. But they were unfailingly gracious and attentive. It felt like we had our own private cruise! (Shout out to Alina, Zdanek, and Zander!) Lots of space, lots of comfort. A lot of people I talked to at home were surprised Cuba travel is still allowed -- it is! This trip is totally legal, and I wish more Americans would take it. The professor (Dr. Jorge Arocha) who does the lectures is an energetic, smart speaker. I am a college professor, and I really admired his pedagogy and how he framed Cuban history and culture. He emphasized that the questions we ask are more important than the answers -- so true! The food is pretty good: not great, but pretty good and there is always a LOT of it. I mostly ate at the buffet which has a nice outside deck. The sit-down restaurant is also quite nice. There are lots of activities if you want, but also time to just chill (no one is required to attend the lectures or Cuba activities on board, but I highly recommend you do). The at sea days are perfectly times between the three stops: Santiago de Cuba, Havana, and Cienfuegos. If you are American, don't worry about changing money to Euros or Canadian-- you can very easily change USD at every port right off the ship. Even though there is a 10% levy (87 cents to one CUC) I think by the time you exchange your money into Canadian/Euros and pay fees etc there it's not worth it. The excursions were great -- excellent guides and destinations. The first night in Havana, I purchased the extra excursion to the Tropicana from the ship. I think it was a little overpriced, but it was really fun. My point is: don't be afraid to find an excursion of your own for that first night in Havana if there is something that interests you differently. You also will have several hours to yourself in Havana the second day, which is great! Kids will not find this cruise very exciting: there were no kids on my ship (which makes it nice for adults) and I suspect they would not find the historical stuff interesting unless their interests really tended that way and they were teenagers. Age range of passengers: 40+; lots of retirees. I am 50 and made friends with some lovely people my age on the ship. Also: I am not a cruise entertainment kind of person: but the entertainment here completely won me over. The evening shows are utterly charming and so well done by the company! What else...had a facial that was great (yay Rose!) and not really too badly priced for the setting. There is a small but nice fitness center and steam/sauna. I had to pay an 80% upcharge because I was traveling alone. Even so, I think this cruise was an incredible value. And for people sharing a cabin, even more so. I would do this trip again in a minute. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I selected this cruise because it was offered by Apple Vacations as an authorized People-to-People tour for Americans and it was a smaller ship (since I had never been on a cruise before, the idea of being on a boat with 1000's of ... Read More
I selected this cruise because it was offered by Apple Vacations as an authorized People-to-People tour for Americans and it was a smaller ship (since I had never been on a cruise before, the idea of being on a boat with 1000's of other travelers was not my idea of vacation.) There is a more luxurious (MORE expensive) cruise line that also cruises around Cuba but I'm not one who needs be waited on hand-and-foot so I didn't want to pay for it! For those now worried about too many Americans "ruining" the experience, the guest ratio on our trip was about one-third. Most guests were probably 50+ on our sailing (but there were a few 20 and 30-somethings). No young children on our trip. Our sailing was below the 900ish guest capacity. Maybe only 1/3 full so the staff was not overwhelmed/busy so we took the opportunity to try to have conversations with many of them. We learned where they were from (Bali, Cuba, Philippines, Mauritius and others) and life on a cruise ship for 10 month contract. From the Cuban staff, we learned about growing up and living on the island. There was one full service restaurant not open during our trip (not sure if that was because of low guest count or refurbishment?) but that was OK. We never had a problem getting a seating for dinner. We chose to eat at the buffet for breakfasts and lunches while on-board. Menu changed nightly in full service restaurant. Breakfast buffet was the same every day. Lunch buffet varied slightly day-to-day, including a poolside cook-out one day. Only attended two of the nightly "big show" (Cirque and Caberet) and in my opinion they were surprisingly good considering the ship size. There was an instrumental band that played other times on pool deck and before/after shows which was good. There was also entertainment in the Euros lounge but we didn't participate. Tours for US citizens are included (except Tropicana in Havana). The dancing presentation at the "culture stop" in Santiago was too long in my opinion. Liked having free time to eat/shop/explore between tours in Havana on both bays. Tropicana cost $149 (included transportation, champagne welcome drink, rum and cola)... worth it! Costumes are amazing! Weather was perfect to sit on the back-of-the-ship patio bar anytime of day. That was our favorite spot for great sunsets, cigar smoking, great conversations with other guests and staff! We learned staff is assigned to a specific bar for a week so Emerson, Eka and Jodanys were our bartenders and they took great care of us. All were incredibly kind and friendly (so it was sad for me to leave). The waiters were Sandra, Ilena, Isabella and Alejandro that week and we enjoyed talking with them also. Emerson would get a few hours break from the patio bar and then return to the disco bar for the end of the night festivities (karaoke then dancing). Again, he took great care of us! For breakfast and lunch, we sat on the pool deck where Konool and Pratiksha often took great care of us. Edwin was often the bartender there... and he has a great voice too which we learned at karaoke one night ... and then asked him to join us for a song (or two) other nights. I'm hoping (because it was slow), it was ok for him to leave his post to be part of a guest's duet (GREAT SERVICE!!!) Our housekeepers did a great job too! Sorry I didn't catch there names but I saw them occasionally in the halls in mornings and evenings where they would politely greet me (and I even got a compliment on my outfit one night). Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
For our first cruise, we wanted a smaller ship and were very interested in visiting multiple locations in Cuba. We were not disappointed! Excursions in Santiago de Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos were excellent with knowledgeable & fun ... Read More
For our first cruise, we wanted a smaller ship and were very interested in visiting multiple locations in Cuba. We were not disappointed! Excursions in Santiago de Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos were excellent with knowledgeable & fun tour guides. Our week was a 'slow' one on board with only 110-210 passengers. Perfect for getting to know people and superb service everywhere. Chef Jesus in the Leda buffet (and leader of two cooking demos we attended) was the reason why we ate in the buffet for every single meal (except for our night out in Havana when we went to Cafe Taberna). The food was amazing, Jesus shared cooking tips and was always so pleasant. Gaspar, Ritesh, Nadia, Isabelle and Zunami in the Thalassa bar went above and beyond, not only serving drinks but sharing information about themselves and asking questions about where we live in Canada. I don't think they've ever seen anyone drink as many Americano coffees as my husband did on this cruise! We highly recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We liked this cruise because it was a totally Cuban cruise, in spite of the fact that it spent one day in Montego Bay to refuel and load supplies. Most of the other cruises we saw were Caribbean cruised that only spent one day visiting ... Read More
We liked this cruise because it was a totally Cuban cruise, in spite of the fact that it spent one day in Montego Bay to refuel and load supplies. Most of the other cruises we saw were Caribbean cruised that only spent one day visiting Havana. In addition, Crystal is a smaller ship which is great for embarking and disembarking. Our cabin was small but clean and our attendants kept the cabin very clean and were great offering to change our towels various times during the day.The food was good and the entertainment fantastic, among the best compared with Seabourn, Silverseas and Windstar. But what we mainly liked was the great service we received on board from the crew and especially from the Cuban members of the crew and entertainment staff that put on fabulous shows and also gave us great tips for onshore visits. The excursions were good and informative about the Cuban people, their music and arts but nothing exciting. Overall i would rate the ship and the service almost on a par with Seabourn, Silverseas and Windstar but for the cost-value it was definitely a 5 star. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Cabin 6204. We chose this cruse because we wanted to see different cities of Cuba without the hassle of travel and hotel changes. We wanted an all inclusive trip and this was perfect! And the People to People program was of interest to us ... Read More
Cabin 6204. We chose this cruse because we wanted to see different cities of Cuba without the hassle of travel and hotel changes. We wanted an all inclusive trip and this was perfect! And the People to People program was of interest to us and I must say the instructors on the ship were excellent and we enjoyed all of the classes. It made the trip much more interesting. Kudos to Jerry and Jorge for their excellent teaching and information, we now have a much better understanding of the country and it's history thanks to them. We had a junior balcony suite and it was very comfortable. The only thing I would say is bring a 3 way adapter for the one and only 120v electrical outlet to charge multiple devices. If you have European gear and plugs no worries. Not a lot of closet space for long items but you don't need a lot of clothes for the trip anyway. Bath and shower a little tight but it's not a big boat! I would like to say Thank you to all the crew of the Crystal. They went above and beyond in all areas to make this a trip to remember. Thanks to Raphaella for keeping us up to date on tours and tickets, she has a great big smile and was always watching out for us. Raphaella my hair is blond remember! Thanks to Martha for teaching me how to 1,2,3 and boom! I can't dance any better but I look good! Thanks to Mahley my Karaoke Queen from her King! And Vladimir (Stop the bus), thanks for the fun and games. To the cast of the theater and the band all I can say is WOW! You amazed night after night show after show. Your talent is amazing. Thanks to Big Willie and all the dining crew that made every meal an event! To Rubia; Thank you for your beautiful smile and always watching out for us and taking care of us. You were a pleasure to be around everyday. Special thanks to Danny for his never ending energy and flow of information. He was a pleasure to be around anytime of the day or night. He is like the Energizer Bunny, keeps going and going and going! And to the medical crew a special thanks also for their treatment of my minor sunburn, you were wonderful! This was absolutely one of the most enjoyable cruses that we have been on. I would recommend to everyone that if you are considering a cruse to Cuba, based on our experience this is absolutely the one to take to see the country and have a wonderful time. Thanks again to the wonderful team on the Celestyal Crystal, you were wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We just came back from cruising around the island OF CUBA on the Celestial Crystal and had a blast. The ship may be older, but it is in great condition and spotless!!The staff on this ship is what made this cruise so exceptional. The ... Read More
We just came back from cruising around the island OF CUBA on the Celestial Crystal and had a blast. The ship may be older, but it is in great condition and spotless!!The staff on this ship is what made this cruise so exceptional. The waiters are so attentive, the cabin stewarts eager to please and the entertainment staff are full of energy with lots of activities. Danny, the head of the entertainment is full of energy. Martha is another ball of fire and gets people motivated and interested in participating in the ships activities. We found the food very tasty with lots of selections, and the afternoon tea, well lets say we all came home more than a few pounds heavier! The excursions were informative and well run with excellent tour guides. I loved the Cuban culture and people. You also can't miss the evenings entertainment performances. The Cirque dance group are totally professional and could very well be in Vegas! I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I chose this Cuba cruise because my husband wanted to go to Cuba and I wanted to go on a cruise. First time for both of us. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. The ship is an older, smaller ship but very clean and well ... Read More
I chose this Cuba cruise because my husband wanted to go to Cuba and I wanted to go on a cruise. First time for both of us. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. The ship is an older, smaller ship but very clean and well staffed. The pool and hot tub were tiny (only 1). But I didn't really go on this trip for swimming. The crew were amazing!! The waiters/bar staff were excellent. This trip included tips but the service was so good that they deserved extra tips! The food in the buffet and the a la cart (Almathia restaurant) was very delicious and plentiful. The bar menu covered many drinks; liquers, wines & beer (can), Spanish coffees, etc, I really enjoyed the rose wine with dinner, my husband preferred the red wine. The excursions were all very good, just remember to bring a water bottle from the ship before leaving. Every excursion did include an alcoholic drink which was nice. Daquiri at Flordita bar in Havana, rum punch in Jamaica, Cuba Libra in Cienfuegos and Rum in Santiago. The entertainment team put on amazing shows in the evening! Danny the entertainment director was so charming and informative. He is from Romania and speaks many languages. He has been with Celestyal Cruises since 2006 I believe. Martha was another standout person on the ship. Very outgoing and enthusiastic! I would recommend this cruise to anyone who would like to see Cuba with everything all included in the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted a convenient way to see multiple cities in Cuba, not have to worry about accommodations and satisfy to OFAC requirements since we are US citizens. We were not disappointed. First off, to address ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a convenient way to see multiple cities in Cuba, not have to worry about accommodations and satisfy to OFAC requirements since we are US citizens. We were not disappointed. First off, to address the ship. It is a relatively older ship. It does not have a rock climbing wall, it does not have a water slide, and yes the cabins are on the small side. But that is not why we went on this cruise. We went to see Cuba. And that we did. Three cities in 7 days, with an overnight in Havana. We wished we could have had more free time in Santo Domingo de Cuba and Cienfuegos, but I think the tour operators were trying to make sure that they were compliant with the people to people requirements. The Afro Cuban dance demonstration went on a little long. People in Cuba were very friendly, and there was no anti-American sentiment that we saw. Or maybe we were mistaken for Canadians :-) Prices for souvenirs are reasonable, except for cigars, which we were warned to buy only in certified stores because there are a lot of counterfeit ones on the streets apparently made of banana leaves. We did not have any of the boarding issues in Havana that other people have commented on. Apparently there is now room for two ships to dock at the same time in Havana. Now, back to the ship. The week we sailed, there were only 150-180 passengers, depending on where they embarked. Partially because of this, service was outstanding and the restaurant manager told us to consider this our private yacht for the week. Although it was open seating, we chose to sit with our same waiter, Manuel, and our wine steward, Monika, every night. Hats off to both of them and we promise we didn't steal any silverware! Menu choices were pretty standard, though some of the dining options weren't open due to the limited number of passengers. We would have hoped for a bit more light options at lunch as well as some healthier options at dinner. We had a Junior Executive Balcony Suite, Room 611. It was small, but the balcony was more than adequate for two people to sit out and read at night. It was on the starboard side, I would suggest trying to get one on the port side if you want to get more land views at sea, since the island is circled counter clockwise. On board lectures were excellent, thank you Dr. Jorge, and don't worry about missing any of them. Nobody takes attendance except for the muster drill, which is conveniently combined with a Cuban history lecture. Others have commented on the entertainment. The ships Havana-based band rocks. I am now a new fan of Afro-Cuban music. I could listen to those guys every night (and did). The shows were also surprisingly sophisticated for a ship that size. Would we do it again? Yes, but not in June. Its hot. One can only drink so much Crystal and Bucanero to stay hydrated. Tips: 1. Port side cabin 2. Although some US citizens embarked in Havana, it seemed to make more sense to get on in Montego Bay. Since we weren't on a beach excursion kind of trip, we used Montego Bay as our travel day, allowing us more time in Havana. Those that got on in Havana missed the walking tour of the city. 3. Remember, you're going for the destinations, not the ship Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We found a cruise on Celestyal Cruises advertised for a low price, so we decided to go to Cuba. Because of the price we did not expect much, but we were very pleasantly surprised. I’ve cruised all the mid-range cruise lines and a few ... Read More
We found a cruise on Celestyal Cruises advertised for a low price, so we decided to go to Cuba. Because of the price we did not expect much, but we were very pleasantly surprised. I’ve cruised all the mid-range cruise lines and a few of the higher end cruise lines; Celestyal Cruises ranks among the best of the mid-ranged cruise lines. The staff was beyond wonderful. There were plenty of things to do during the days at sea, including craft classes, cooking classes, video game competitions, trivia contests, dance classes, and bartending classes. The ship was very clean and well maintained. The rooms were typical of all cruise ships, and very clean. The food at the dining room was great. There were five to six entrees offered each night (including a vegetarian option) and the options changed each night. We all gained weight during the trip. The evening entertainment was the best that I’ve seen on any ship. Probably because of our destination, there weren’t many people under 21 on the ship. Again, because of our destination the people on the ship are from all over the world. This ship was smaller than most I’ve been on and because of this there isn’t the fanfare that you see on a cruise line like Carnival. Because the ship is smaller there is more personal attention. My only complaint was with the People 2 People tour portion of the trip. I expected propaganda and I wasn’t disappointed. I was surprised to see that capitalism is alive and well and living in Cuba. We attended the orientation meeting on the ship and we were told that the best cigars and rum were to be found in Santiago de Cuba (translation- the biggest kickback was paid to the tour guides in Santiago de Cuba). They ended up taking us to a dive bar and tried to convince us that this was a government run cigar store. All of the shops that we were taken to by the tour guides were overpriced and with a limited selection of goods. The “experts” hired by People 2 People were very long winded and boring. People were actually getting up and walking out of a lecture and this was during a rum tasting lecture where they were giving away free samples. If we were in a port for 6 hours, People 2 People managed to use up all of our time. The tours would start at 9:00 and end at 2:30 and they wouldn’t even stop for lunch or a snack. The same trip through a private tour company is more expensive, but seemed to be worth it. These people were shown better places while at port, were allowed time to shop, and were actually fed lunch. Luckily, we learned to ignore Dr. Jorge and the other People 2 People employees and we found that the best place to buy souvenirs was at San Jose market, a 15 minute walk from the pier in Havana, and the best place to buy cigars was at Calle Mercaderes, no. 102, about 2 blocks from the pier in Havana. Stop for churros on the way to buying cigars. There’s a man making them on the street corner. He’s hard to miss- look for the 20 people standing in line. The best churros I’ve ever had. You can buy rum anywhere; the prices aren’t that different. You just need to decide how far and for how long you want to carry the rum around with you. I finally bought it on the ship. It was $1 more per bottle, but I didn’t have to carry three bottles of rum through Havana. It seemed worth the extra cost. The most interesting places we saw in Cuba we found on our own. We paid 5 cuc for a day pass on the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. This took us to the tourist areas, but also through neighborhoods. You can catch the bus right outside the pier in Havana. All in all, this was an awesome trip. So glad that I went. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This objective-chronological perspective of Cuba is provided by Dr.Jorge Gonzalez Arocha, PhD , Havana University. Professor Arocha covered all important ports of call providing historical, cultural and architectural information in a ... Read More
This objective-chronological perspective of Cuba is provided by Dr.Jorge Gonzalez Arocha, PhD , Havana University. Professor Arocha covered all important ports of call providing historical, cultural and architectural information in a colloquial manner . Each and every one of the towns visited was a vivid picture that solidified the historical, architectural and cultural presentations made on board. All shore excursions were perfectly geared to the presentation on-board, providing a platform for us to interact with the people, the music, the culture itself. This jelling experience is The Authentic Cuban Experience. As for the ship experience itself, I was pleasantly surprised. Dining Room Exp: Food was delicious and authentic. I really enjoyed my lunch and dinners, when time permitted, at The Almanthia. Jose Luis, "Rest. Captain" has a welcoming smile and handshake for everyone which makes you feel "at home". Monica and Luis are excellent members of the wait staff but they also have the quality of making you laugh, which is medicine for the soul. That's an A+ in my book. I must mention Edel and Ricardo, "Rest Capt." from LEDA Deck Rest. Also gracious hosts with a sunny disposition. Our Cabin was impeccable every day, with special towel art presented by Vivianne and Ernesto. (5th Deck) All special requests were acted on immediately. They both were so attentive, always providing service with a smile. Entertainment on board were spectacular, thematic shows, provided by a team of polifacetic artistic acrobatic-singers, MC'd by Danny-from Romania, Cruise Director. Based on this experience, I'm already planning my next Cruise with Celestyal - Crystal...Thanks for the opportunity to share, Kudos to these people who make cruising fun as well as a learning experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I'm a little late adding my review, but better late than never. My sister and I chose this cruise as a break in between land tours of Mexico and Cuba. It gave us the opportunity to travel and see more places whilst still getting to ... Read More
I'm a little late adding my review, but better late than never. My sister and I chose this cruise as a break in between land tours of Mexico and Cuba. It gave us the opportunity to travel and see more places whilst still getting to sleep in the same bed every night, so it was a great break from the land tours where we were packing and unpacking and moving every couple of days. We sailed Havana to Havana, which gave us the opportunity to spend more time in Havana before and after the cruise (and it was also the starting place of a land tour we did). We loved the ship. Neither of us are fans of huge cruise ships, so this was the perfect size. The staff were all friendly and helpful. Breakfasts, lunch and afternoon tea were all served in the buffet and there was always plenty of choice. There were 2 restaurants open for dinner. We preferred the smaller one on deck 5, but they both served the same menu. The food was very good. I think there was only one meal that wasn't great, and that was the shrimp on the last night. Alcoholic drinks were included in the cruise price and I did my best to get through the cocktail menu, but didn't quite make it! The drinks weren't very strong (which was probably just well!) but they were good. The shows each night were not to be missed. The theatre is quite small and has some columns which block your view if you don't get there early enough to get a good seat. The performers were all very talented and put on a great show each night. We used the laundry service which was fine, but the drycleaning service wasn't very good. The shore excursions were also included in the price. They were all pretty good. They were well organised too, make sure you're on time in the mornings because there is no delay in getting you off the ship and away on the excursion. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We had planned this cruise for 10 months prior as a Christmas trip with 6 of our good friends and stayed two days in Montego Bay, Jamaica before embarking at the Port there. I had never been on a cruise before and I have to say my ... Read More
We had planned this cruise for 10 months prior as a Christmas trip with 6 of our good friends and stayed two days in Montego Bay, Jamaica before embarking at the Port there. I had never been on a cruise before and I have to say my expectations were greatly exceeded as I had the most amazing time . My husband and I had a balcony cabin, which was spacious enough for the two of us , and we were lucky enough to get adjoining balconies to our friends . The cabin was spotless, well maintained and very comfortable . Our house keepers Angela and Adrian were so lovely and couldn't have been more helpful and welcoming. It was a treat to come back to the cabin at nights with a turned down bed and the folded towels and chocolates !! I felt very spoilt ! The entertainment staff Martha, Danny and most of all our lad Vladimir were on the ball and so full of life and lots of fun, it was hard keeping up with them ! They truly made the "Team" Mohammad in the main restaurant was so lovely and friendly , and became part of the family as did Vladimir in Entertainment ! All the staff we came upon from front desk, to duty free, to bar tenders, to crew members, to the wonderful chefs , each and everyone of them did an AMAZING job during our time onboard and we felt very sad to leave as we had, had a truly fantastic time and felt they had become our friends ! The food was yummy, both in the Restaurant and buffet area with an array of different dishes. We never went hungry. We did the all inclusive drinks package which was well worth it , hopefully we didn't drink the ship dry !! The shows in The Muses Lounge area in the evening were fabulous and the dancers and singers are so very talented, we made sure we were there every night to join in the fun. Cuba was beautiful and our excursions were well worth the money, which were included. The tour guides were fabulous also . Overall the whole cruise was well worth the money and so glad we chose this Christmas vacation. Everyone in our group had a truly fabulous time. We would definatly return to Cuba but most of all we would definatly return on The Celeystal Crystal. Thank you for such a memorable trip . Your Bermuda Friends Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I choose this particular cruise to see some of Cuba, which was a most fascinating, educational, and interesting country. I would certainly return to see more. But - and I have to mention this way - the absolute unexpected delight of my ... Read More
I choose this particular cruise to see some of Cuba, which was a most fascinating, educational, and interesting country. I would certainly return to see more. But - and I have to mention this way - the absolute unexpected delight of my holiday was an unforgettable experience aboard the Celestyal Crystal. All of the crew and support staff were simply amazing! Their constant energy and enthusiasm bowled me over. They worked very hard and diligently to provide (me with) a great experience. And always in such a genuine manner. They love their work! This is a smaller ship, and I got to know the staff personally. They always seemed to take time out to 'engage' me and others in my group. Nightly stage show always full of energy, and often continued straight into dancing which involved the guests. Cabin was very comfortable. Housekeeping services were provided twice a day - over the top! General ship areas extremely clean and polished. Limited dining areas (2 closed - perhaps under renovation?) but always copious amounts of food. Shore excursions were of good content and extremely well organized. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We didn't fancy traveling over land to reach Cienfuegos & Santiago, cruising seemed to be the best way to travel. We didn't expect or want luxury so we weren't disappointed by this cruise. It was well organised with ... Read More
We didn't fancy traveling over land to reach Cienfuegos & Santiago, cruising seemed to be the best way to travel. We didn't expect or want luxury so we weren't disappointed by this cruise. It was well organised with friendly crew across all areas & lively entertainment. We arrived in Cuba on day 3 of Castro's mourning period but fortunately for us, music, dancing & alcohol were allowed on board, however, when ashore Cuba wasn't its usual vibrant self. We followed the cruise with a 3 night stay in Havana, fortunately this coincided with the end of the mourning period, so Havana came to life again during these 3 days, but still not as lively as expected. Given that our cruise coincided with such an historic period in Cuban history, this was a very enjoyable cruise and one we would recommend if you want to experience a flavour of Cuba. EMBARKATION After a 10hr flight from the UK, arriving at a chaotic Havana airport, it was a relief to arrive at the Cruise Port, although first impressions of the building in the dark weren’t very encouraging. We needn’t have worried though, the embarkation process was very efficient & calm, however, what this would have been like during the busy daytime period I cannot comment. There is a money exchange facility in the Port, although this was closed by the time we had checked in. A letter awaited us when we checked in to our cabin informing us that the cruise had a changed itinerary on days 2 & 3 – see Downsides below. CABIN Our cabin on deck 5 was bigger than expected & looked out across the promenade deck, which wasn't a problem as this part of the deck wasn't always accessible to passengers. When it was accessible passengers couldn’t see through the cabin window as the glass was one way view outwards. The cabin was cleaned every morning with a turn down service every night. FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT Food was as expected for a ship with multinational guests. We ate in the buffet most of the time so we could sit as a couple. Both restaurants were busy in the morning as everyone needed to be ready for excursions but during 'at sea' days, breakfast was more leisurely. There was food served pool side at breakfast & lunch which was a nice option and afternoon tea was available in the buffet restaurant. All the waiting & bar staff were very attentive and efficient throughout the ship. The all inclusive package made life on board very easy, we didn't incur any extra charges other than for the two optional excursions in Cienfuegos & Jamaica. The Thalasia bar on Deck 5 is a nice quiet spot to have an afternoon or early evening drink. We generally had pre dinner drinks in the Eros lounge listening to a very talented violinist. The after dinner entertainment in the Muses lounge was of a Cuban/Latin theme with a bit of acrobatics thrown in, which most of the audience seemed to enjoy. We ate later than most so only watched the last half hour from the back of the lounge, sometimes the audience participation afterwards with Danny was just as entertaining. After dinner we enjoyed listening to the Latin vibes in the Eros and watching the audience put to use their newly acquired Salsa skills. Guest nationalities were mainly Spanish, German & American with a handful of Jamaicans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders & only a few guests from the UK. EXCURSIONS Havana - Day 2 (our first day in Cuba) Old Havana tour (included in the cruise) A great guide and some lively conversations, but excursion cut short due to reduced time in port (see downsides below). Helped to orientate us for our 3 night stay at the end of the cruise. Cienfuegos - would have liked to have taken the City tour & Botanical gardens but not enough English speaking guests had booked to make this viable for us, so we just did the City tour. Because of Castro's passing, the City was very quiet with mainly tourist groups around. Easy walking distance into town from the cruise dock if you’re not a fan of excursions. Montego Bay, Jamaica - had a very amusing guide for the morning Greenwood Great House excursion, which also made a very quick stop in Falmouth on the way and a drive by Usain Bolt's old school! As Jamaica was a full day stopover being an embarkation port, it was a shame there weren't any afternoon excursions or more full day ones. Nevertheless we made use of the on board facilities during the afternoon and watched a lovely sunset over Montego Bay from the Thalasia Bar before departure. Santiago - highlight of the cruise for us - although this inclusive excursion was cut short due to Castro's ashes arriving later the same day, this meant we had more free time. We took advantage of the free guides (in yellow t-shirts) waiting at the port to take us around the town on this historic day. Our guide was very knowledgeable and didn't mind telling us about her life in Cuba and her hopes for Cuba's future. Needless to say we gave her a tip for a very informative walking tour of the town. DISEMBARKATION Suitcases had to be left outside the cabin by 12 midnight the night before and we had to be out of our cabin by 8am the next morning. At 7.30am we watched the ship come into the port of Havana then went back to the cabin at 8am to collect our hand luggage, but our key cards wouldn't open the door, fortunately George our housekeeper was nearby and let us in, he said security disable the card at 8am. We collected our hand luggage and headed to the buffet for breakfast. The disembarkation call came at about 9.30am. We had been told the day before that the Cuban authorities wouldn’t be in a hurry to clear the ship for disembarkation, so we were surprised by the early call. DOWNSIDES We knew our inbound flight timing meant day 1 was going to be a non-event for us so we were banking on a full day in Havana on day 2. However, a letter in to our cabin after checking in informed us that the cruise had a changed itinerary on days 2 & 3:- Day 2 – the cruise had to depart Havana early due to port congestion (only space for 2 ships at the port), so the included excursion had to be back at the ship by 12 noon with no free time afterwards to explore on our own. I don’t know if this happens every week or if it was just unfortunate that the Port authorities had overbooked the Port during our stay. Day 3 - Punta Frances port of call cancelled therefore day 3 would be a day at sea – reason given was ‘reviewing environmental impact of cruises’. If Punta Frances remains a no go zone for cruises, it will be interesting to see if Celestyal make changes to their published itinerary for the remaining 2016/17 season, or perhaps this too was just a one off for our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this ship for the ports that it offered and the programs with it, and loved every minute of it. But if you are expecting a luxury cruise line, this is not for you. We were on the second floor . The room was vey small but quiet. ... Read More
We chose this ship for the ports that it offered and the programs with it, and loved every minute of it. But if you are expecting a luxury cruise line, this is not for you. We were on the second floor . The room was vey small but quiet. The food I would call average, some very good, some fair, but all meals had something for everyone. All of our staff were fantastic! And the activities were very good. I was afraid I was going to get bored with all the educational presentations, but Jorge made them very interesting. The music was great, especially "Latin Souls" and "Duo Jaleo." The dance lessons were good but would have been more fun with some male staff helping! I thought the shows each night were good, considering the small staff they have to work with. Our ports were interesting. I would have liked to have gone into the city of Santiago, but the excursion was interesting. I loved Havana. We took a side trip from Cienfuegos to Trinidad. It was a beautiful bus ride and a really nice trip. But those who stayed in Cienfuegos said it was really nice too. Unfortunately, we didn't got to go to Punta Frances. Not the ship's fault. Cuban authorities decided we couldn't. So we had an extra day at sea...the ship staff filled in well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My wife and I have been on more than 70 cruises and have lived/worked in or visited 108 countries around the world. We are Elite and Diamond Plus Members with several major ocean cruise lines. We have been on several river cruises and ... Read More
My wife and I have been on more than 70 cruises and have lived/worked in or visited 108 countries around the world. We are Elite and Diamond Plus Members with several major ocean cruise lines. We have been on several river cruises and land tours. Our recent voyage on the Celestyal Crystal was surprisingly pleasant. We were traveling with two other couples, and all agreed that the experience on the cruise ship was much better than expected. We thank the staff for their commitment and service. Cabin Accommodations: We had an deluxe outside cabin near mid-ship. Our cabin steward did an excellent job in cleaning the cabin. We experienced a problem with our air conditioning unit on arrival. The problem was addressed immediately. However, the resolution was not as we expected, and the engineers returned to make more adjustments, and the room was much more comfortable. While the cabin was a bit smaller, it was adequate to accommodate the eight-day cruise. The closet space was adequate, but the desk and bathroom were a bit small. Food / Service: The food served onboard was very nice. I prefer VERY spicy dishes that were not available, but there was always a selection that was acceptable. The selections were limited, but there was something that our small group of six found appealing and acceptable. We received EXCELLENT service at our dinner table from I Deket and at our morning buffet from Vinen. They were exceptional in managing our dining table and the buffet bar. Bar / Service: We had an unusual bar package that was arranged by our tour operator (Legendary Journeys). For a single fee, pre-paid before boarding, we were able to have unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (including coffee drinks) throughout the cruise. This option was a fantastic bargain for our small group of six: we had cappuccino and espresso in the morning, a beer in the afternoon and a few glasses of wine in the evening - a great bargain. All service personnel were excellent. However, two bar service personnel were outstanding: Alberto (Cuba) in the dining room was very responsive, and Maya (Ukraine) in the bar was especially friendly and efficient. If you meet them on board, I recommend you reach out to them for services. Internet: Both my wife and I signed up for 3-hours o internet connectivity at a price of $24 each. That was a great bargain for the 8-day cruise. I actually left 30 minutes unused on disembarkation. The speed was excellent, and I had little problem connecting to all my sources. The reception was very helpful in sharing instructions on how to sign-up for the service, log in and logout of the internet service. While I have 110Mb down at my home, the speed of the internet onboard was quite acceptable. Reception: I do not often comment on my interaction with the Reception / Purser Desk, but I have to say that Oana Rosu (Ukraine) was the most valuable staff member I met onboard the Celestyal Crystal. She was ALWAYS responsive to my inquires and accurate in guiding my actions. Oana’s commitment was quite obvious. It was her help that I will be most thankful and remember the Crystal Cruise Line. I think you will all the Reception Desk staff to be helpful, but Oana has a special commitment to helping passengers. Entertainment: There were many opportunities to stay for shows in the evening, and we did stay for several. Most often, we do not find the shows to be very interesting. However, the ship performers were committed to demonstrating some of the Cuban dance and song. They did a very fine job, and we enjoyed the shows we attended. Tours / Briefings: Our tours were arranged through the People-To-People Program. In most cases, we were very pleased with all tours and tour guides. It was the first opportunity to revisit some of the history from our young adult life. The tour guides in Santiago de Cuba, and Havana did a fantastic job reflecting on the history of the events of each location. The briefings we received from Jorge, a university professor were especially interesting and insightful. He was candid in speaking about the past and frank about the challenges of the future of the Cuban people. We truly enjoyed his presentations. Summary: Evaluate your expectation. If you want to see a Cuba that is emerging from the impact of a socialist economy - hurry, it is changing. If you want to see a Cuba of transition, wait another five years to arrange a visit. If you expect to see a fully restored relationship with America, wait ten years to visit Cuba after restoration is well underway. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I just returned from a very educational cruise to Cuba. I had read previous reviews and was a little hesitant about Celestyal Crystal. I was pleasantly surprised. The ship is very clean and the staff are extremely friendly! The ... Read More
I just returned from a very educational cruise to Cuba. I had read previous reviews and was a little hesitant about Celestyal Crystal. I was pleasantly surprised. The ship is very clean and the staff are extremely friendly! The food was good, not gourmet, but very substantial. Our room (7222) was very nice with plenty of storage. Our room stewards were excellent. The "People to People" program was very good and we had some very interesting excursions. The Cuban people are very friendly and welcomed us Americans. I had read previously to take Canadian money, as it was the easiest to exchange. This was not true! Canadian money has a poor exchange rate in Cuba. Many places in Cuba gladly took American money. There is a surcharge to exchange US money for Cuban pesos, but it is worth it. However, US credit and debit cards cannot be used there. I would highly recommend this cruise. If you want to learn about the history of Cuba, this is the best way! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
First time to Cuba. I strongly recommend this cruise to everyone! Very nice experience. The ports of call (check yourcubacruise.com) were outstanding. Weather was fantastic. Best music and entertainment on the ship and in Havana. ... Read More
First time to Cuba. I strongly recommend this cruise to everyone! Very nice experience. The ports of call (check yourcubacruise.com) were outstanding. Weather was fantastic. Best music and entertainment on the ship and in Havana. We went to a night club, Buena Vista Social Club, the best experience, ever! Martha (the entertainment manager) and the cruise director, Danny, were terrific. The entertaining crew were everywhere, engaging people. I hope I find them both there when we go back in March 2017. It was so good, we plan to go again in March next year! We embarked in Montego Bay. We stayed 3 days in Montego Bay before the cruise, we used Clive transport for transportation and trip to Mayfield Falls, which was unforgettable. We plan to embark in Havana next time, and spend few days there. The only bad feeling I have for the next cruise is that the cruise line eliminated the Maria la Gorda stop. That place was very, very nice for the beach and snorkeling excursion. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Eight retirees including our travel agent who arranged the entire expedition took this cruise as part of the "Authentic Cuban Experience Program" in hopes of taking advantage of recently relaxed guidelines for such things. We ... Read More
Eight retirees including our travel agent who arranged the entire expedition took this cruise as part of the "Authentic Cuban Experience Program" in hopes of taking advantage of recently relaxed guidelines for such things. We also wanted to get to Cuba now in the event that the possibility might close in the near future. I don't have anything to compare our trip to as this was our first cruise. I really didi not know what to expect but I need not have worried. I would be hard pressed to find any real complaints about the ship, the food and beverage, or the tours we participated in. The whole trip was a good introduction both to cruising and to Cuba. I'm sure we just skimmed the top layer in both regards. Our inside cabin amidships was perfectly adequate to our needs with good storage, good lighting and excellent care from the cabin steward. Even the necessarily smallish washroom was adequate for my tall, somewhat wide person. There was an sign on the commode that led one to believe that NO paper of ANY kind should be flushed. I'm pretty sure they meant that no trash paper or packaging should be flushed but it was unclear. We flushed TP which I hope was OK. Our cabin steward put out whimsically styled pool towels in the form of swans, snakes and starfish nightly. Very fun. He was in the room at least twice per day with cleanup and turndown activities. Very personable. Meal choices were plentiful and generally very good. We mostly used the Leda Buffet for breakfast and lunch and used the Almathia Restaurant for those evening meals we ate aboard. The chef and his staff graciously organized a special anniversary surprise for one of our couples. We were delighted that it could be accommodated. We enjoyed having the magnetic swipe card for drinks and the like although each of us mislaid theirs a one time or another. The cashless nature of ship board purchases was welcome. The evening entertainment in the Muses Lounge each night except dark Monday were varied and well performed by the resident performers. Each night was a different theme and they all managed to work in some very fine aerial work by several of the performers. Some of the storylines were thin, but the performances were enthusiastic and enjoyable. The ACE Program was led by Cuban national Jorge Gonzalez Arocha, PhD, from the University of Havana and Lecturer of Cuban History and Culture. His multiple presentations over a variety of topics was well-ordered and most informative. He went out of his way to inform his audience. He also accompanied a couple of our tours and was available for Q&A during them. We enjoyed meeting him. We also had several other tour guides on our busses who had varying levels of skill but were informative nonetheless. Our shore excursions were kind of a mixed bag. Much time was spent on very nice tour busses but often we would ride for a long time to only have a short time at the specific attraction. It felt a bit rushed. Disappointing that in Santiago de Cuba we could not gain access to the central plaza due to New Years Eve preparations. We were glad that once we got to Havana, we did have some spare time to just wander on our own for several hours over two days. We were able to get to a couple of local restaurants and bars, toured Castillo de La Real Fuerza and several other locations. Unfortunately we were unaware that most museums are normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and so we were shut out of a couple we would have liked to see. Much was closed for New Years celebrations as well. We enjoyed our first taste of cruising and will definitely consider doing another in the near future Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My wife and I traveled with another couple on several occasions in the past. Over dinner we discussed possible destinations. Cuba was the winner, we all wished to visit Cuba before it became too “Americanized.” After researching the ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with another couple on several occasions in the past. Over dinner we discussed possible destinations. Cuba was the winner, we all wished to visit Cuba before it became too “Americanized.” After researching the possibilities, we decided to cruise with a 2 day pre-cruise stay in Montego Bay. The Celestyal Crystal was the only act in town. We read all the Cruise Critic reviews, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. We were prepared for anything, it would be an adventure. The Celestyal Crystal was certainly very different from the other ships we had been on. It was a delight, the staff was attentive and our every need was met with a smile. We were part of a People to People Program that included talks about Cuban culture by a young professor from Havana University and his associate. We had the opportunity to meet with members of the cruise staff that were Cuban nationals. We were able to talk with them one-to-one and develop empathy for the Cuban citizens. In addition to the P-2-P programs, there were shows every evening. The entertainment crew was energetic and talented. The shows were colorful and active. We enjoyed each one. The food was good but not outstanding. There were omelet stations and a specialty lunch bar each day on the pool deck. The excursions were another opportunity to experience the culture of Cuba. We had a 2 night stay in Havana with excursions on both days. Other ports were Santiago de Cuba, Maria la Gorda and Cienfuego with excursions at each. Each excursion was lead by a knowledge local guide. The excursions provided the opportunity interact with the Cuban people and to see loads of "Classic" cars and trucks. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth and without problems. All in all, a cruise to remember and I can recommend the Celestyal Crystal without reservation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We've read quite a few poor reviews of the cruise ship. Most previous guests reported that they loved the itinerary and really disliked the ship. We went in with lowered expectations and were therefore pleasantly surprised. We ... Read More
We've read quite a few poor reviews of the cruise ship. Most previous guests reported that they loved the itinerary and really disliked the ship. We went in with lowered expectations and were therefore pleasantly surprised. We booked back to back cruises on this ship, so had the advantage of taking the tours on the first trip and doing our own itineraries on the second trip. Issues: The ship does rock and roll more than we're used to. There are stabilizers but they are apparently not being used. The ship is well maintained and clean. The cabins are pretty small, but also impeccably clean and there's enough storage for a large suitcase and 2 backpacks. They really don't want guests to place used toilet paper into the toilet and we found this to be the case in every public toilet that we had to use at our ports. There are no specialty restaurants and the food service hours are limited. The food is pretty basic but we gained 10 lbs. each so there's that. Bad news: a small casino that's hard to find and only 1 or 2 bingo games the whole time. Shocking! There are people embarking and disembarking from Havana as well as Montego Bay and Cienfuegos, so there is the disruption to the crew 3 times a week with new guests and lifeboat drills. Good points: Our package included unlimited drinks for a very reasonable price of $59/person/per week. That included Havana Club 7 year rum, Bombay gin, Jameson whiskey, bottled water, beer, wine, sparkling water, mixed drinks like pina colada's, daqueries, margaritas,mimosa's, cappucino's, lattes, etc. We've never seen a drinks package like that and believe me when I say that they lost some money on us! The staff and crew are very friendly and helpful and there really is a no tipping policy. The cruise director made a point of saying that no one expected a tip and of course, we tipped more than we expected to. A production show every night with aerial acrobatics and a fabulous band. That dance crew did not get a night off! I thought the shows were really good and was surprised that there wasn't the usual comedian or magic act show to give the dancers a night off. The guest lecturers were local professors from the Univ. of Havana and were very interactive with guests, both on and off the ship. They had a rum tasting (no extra charge), a lecture about cigars, a guest speaker who was a retired govt. official. The musicians on board were local Cuban bands and were absolutely awesome. "Latin Soul", in particular, was the band for the production shows and they played dance music and jazz afterwards to a largely empty room. Gifted folks. We were pleasantly surprised by our visits to Havana, where we found lots of shopping and places to eat near the port. There were a few beggars and people trying to sell black market cigars but they did take no for an answer. We didn't feel that Santiago de Cuba was a good place to wander around in on our own due to the harassment of people begging or trying to sell taxi rides, black market cigars or the general seediness of the area. We took the tour on our first visit and ended up regretting going out on our own on the second visit due to the harassment. We don't dive so Maria la Gorda was just a beach visit that required tendering. Cienfuegos is a beautiful city with it's seediness but there are beautiful as well as ugly things to see there and we felt very safe there, not bothered by beggars, etc. You just have to have an open mind about this trip and not expect too much from the ship. It's small and a bit outdated but the folks really seem to be trying hard to please. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click