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44 Cuba Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

We booked the cruise because of the 2 days in Havana and we enjoyed the full cruise as well. We had sailed on the Poesia a couple of years ago and we liked the Armonia cruise more. The food was definitely better on the Armonia. The ... Read More
We booked the cruise because of the 2 days in Havana and we enjoyed the full cruise as well. We had sailed on the Poesia a couple of years ago and we liked the Armonia cruise more. The food was definitely better on the Armonia. The Hotel Director on the Armonia went above and beyond and most of the Senior Staff were very friendly and outgoing. Our cabin steward did a good job and we liked our cabin. A major problem I had was with the layout of the ship. I have a small mobility scooter and between different areas of the ship there are a lot of raised bars on the ground. Each time I drive over one it jolts my body and I ended up with a really painful back and really sore spasms. I had to take pain pills and muscle relaxants the whole time. I tried going on the outside deck to get from one end of the ship to the other but it was often blocked off for some reason. The doors are not automatic either and I often had to wait for someone to come along so I could go to the buffet or to get to an elevator. When I told the Hotel Director he was sympathetic and was aware of the problem. He did send me a nice souvenir to cheer me up. Can't beat the value of MSC. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The ship is not giant which I liked, not brand new but clean and in good repair Cabin was good size with king bed and unobstructed window-lots of storage space. In room fridge with beverages to buy-we didn’t but there. We had a ... Read More
The ship is not giant which I liked, not brand new but clean and in good repair Cabin was good size with king bed and unobstructed window-lots of storage space. In room fridge with beverages to buy-we didn’t but there. We had a really comfortable bed/pillows/pleasant room-service on the room was great. Shower that many have made comments on- we did not have a problem-small but just watch the curtain The spa lash pad. Servers were attentive and there were no long waits for bar service, and servers were generally very pleasant. Food- pizza very good, grill hamburgers and hot dogs, fries also very good, buffet I will give a good but leave off the very mostly because I don’t care for buffet food and the hustle around serving yourself. Seated dinner, was well served, good food not gourmet. But considering the price.... you can upgrade but we didn’t Pool area- two pools with deeper areas and section for shallow kiddie splashing-very clean. There is also a great little splash area for little ones fun. Several nice bar areas some with musicians- we liked the rum bar and Carib music. Casino plenty large and some times with lower minimum for betting3-5 dollar blackjack. Casino staff were all pleasant. We went to two evening shows and choose not to spend additional time at them. They were okay not my thing. Activities were available during the day for those who did not go to the shore. We did not partake of any spa service so I cannot comment on them. Going ashore- like many cruise ships precedence is given to those who booked through the cruise line so expect that. In Cuba we got in line an hour ahead of time with plans for a private tour and were shuffled in with those who had a msc excursion so that was nice. I am an American so used to when you stand in line you take turns..with a large group of people with different cultural backgrounds you see the differences here. People cutting in or pushing ahead. MSc staff tried to control bu there are just some who think they should take priority over everyone else and these tended to be non-Americans, sorry but that is my observation. I enjoyed the different cultures all the time except when waiting in line. We met some very nice people. In Mexico be aware people will ask for and expect tips. Ports-costa maya private beach day booked outside of cruise, very quite, very secure, small private resort- included transportation paid ahead of time and bonus no one trying to sell you stuff. This was really a great day. I spoke with someone else who did not have the same experience at another beach resort with the taxi driver demanding a $100 Tip to take them back to port at the end of the day, so play close attention when booking Cozumel-private excursion, discover dive, rum tasting, lunch and Jeep tour-nice dive,, lunch okay, tequila tasting fun but high prices. We bought but probably paid more than it was worth. The guide told us the weather was bad on the other side of the island and kept hinting that the tour would be shorter due to weather. We insisted on the tour anyway and surprise there was no rain or wet roads when we got there. So we ended up a little suspicious about a desire to cute the event short. There is beautiful ocean views and very nice to get away from the tourist area. It was so nice that we are pretty sure that my husbands iPhone decided to stay on the beach there or in the Jeep. It was time to upgrade anyway. Cuba- the reason we booked this cruise. Havana was very interesting and again we booked privately, having the same guide for two days. Don’t miss the classic cars, jazz club, local restaurants. Souvenirs seem to have pretty much set prices. We came away with Panama hats and rum. You will take a hit when exchanging American dollars for CuC. Every one treated us pleasantly and Cuba was a great experience. I would recommend this cruise to others and hope my comments help others.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first non mega ship cruise. We usually go on the new ships the smallest was the Disney Dream .Having sailed around Cuba so many times and seeing the lights in the distance. This was our chance to visit. To compare is not ... Read More
This was our first non mega ship cruise. We usually go on the new ships the smallest was the Disney Dream .Having sailed around Cuba so many times and seeing the lights in the distance. This was our chance to visit. To compare is not easy. I think it’s where you are in life and what your looking for. If you want a nice peaceful cruise with a crew who really is happy to take care of you.If you like tea in the afternoon and cocktails before dinner they have it. Cocktails and a vey good piano player with fellow cruisers is quite nice. They had a show one night and it was really good. They sang and danced their hearts out. The costumes were also notable. The Cabins... We had a balcony room and it was the usual. The bathroom was fine and we are not small people and the shower was not an issue. They are all small, on this ship they are very clean.. When they do you room the bathroom gets sanitized when they do your room AM and PM. I liked that and there were no issues.The rooms have quite bit of storage built ins and a closet. Food. We never ate sit down. We liked the Buffet and liked sitting in the back outside.They still have great service and white table cloths The food was good and lots of choices.Everything is nicely displayed.and they have servers to help you. Once again everything is about keeping things clean and you happy. I hate people who Double dip ect this was not happening. You could have as much as you wanted with your clean plate. ..Poolside eating.. They have a nice menu of the usual plus salad, nachos ect . You order they bring it to you.It’s very good and very nice to be taken care of. They also have Steak ect at night and the tables are all done up. Room Service. Added treat Everything is so good and great portions. They have both Gelato and ice cream machines and non sugared is a plus.The ship is quiet and attracts the older cruiser who appreciates good service, and good food. The crew loves them and the feeling is mutual Some people we spoke to had been on more than 5 cruises. It was nice to relax and just enjoy ourselves To be taken care of in the style that seems to be forgotten Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 10th cruise, our 4th cruise line, and our first time with MSC! By the end of the week I felt a part of the MSC family. The captain gave a great welcoming speech and another talk the final night of the cruise. MSC cares that ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise, our 4th cruise line, and our first time with MSC! By the end of the week I felt a part of the MSC family. The captain gave a great welcoming speech and another talk the final night of the cruise. MSC cares that we have a great experience. It was interesting to experience the European way of doing things, especially their food. We ate in the formal dining room, the buffet, and the pizza/burger station. There were American favorites on the menu and new items for us to try. Their hamburgers are the best I have had ANYWHERE! The only thing we missed was peanut butter and guacamole. We met passengers from all over the world: Canada, Wales, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Turkey, Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Argentina. We attended the shows in the theatre every night except two. We particularly like the Adams Family and the Abyss. Our favorite entertainment was the piano music in the Cafe San Marco. We listened to Fernando, the pianist, every night. Our main reason for choosing this cruise was to go to Havana. We did two excursions thru the ship and some walking around on our own. The ship provides the Visa---you just have to fill it out. Getting through Customs and Security in the terminal was a breeze. The two tours we did were well organized and very educational. Two of the most impressive things about the whole cruise were embarkation and disembarkation. . . . very smooth, no waiting in lines. My husband used the wheelchair service........the crew member who was our escort, Christian, was excellent. I don't have any gripes. My philosophy is this: every cruise line is different, every ship is different, every vacation is different, every location in the world is different. Enjoy your travels! Look for the good! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First, my morning and evening steward were friendly and helpful. Stirup Cay was cancelled due to high waves and strong winds. I had a larger std scooter from scootaround. I was able to get off with it in Havana. However there ... Read More
First, my morning and evening steward were friendly and helpful. Stirup Cay was cancelled due to high waves and strong winds. I had a larger std scooter from scootaround. I was able to get off with it in Havana. However there really is not many places you can go. Across the street is the Plaza de San Francisco and it has cobblestones. Bad for scooters. A fountain to the left has mable paths leading from it. Nice for the scooters. Can use them to get the the sidewalk on that side of the street however that sidewalk had potholes. Bad for scooters. If you can't use pool ladders, the Sky pool has stairs. However you have to crawl over a sitting wall that surrounds the pool Cagney's steakhouse usually has excellent steaks. This ribeye was very good but stringy. Tried a new york strip steak in one of the main dining room. Very good but didn't like the sauce they put on it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Cuba was one of the few places we had not visited in the Caribbean. That was rectified January 2019 on a five night cruise aboard the Paradise which proved to be an excellent overall experience. This ship was easy to navigate and not ... Read More
Cuba was one of the few places we had not visited in the Caribbean. That was rectified January 2019 on a five night cruise aboard the Paradise which proved to be an excellent overall experience. This ship was easy to navigate and not crowded like larger ships tend to be. Recently refurbished the public spaces and our suite were clean and bright. We had G3, one of two Grand Suites and the views and serenity was fabulous from Deck 14. Only complaint was the back cushion on sofa bed was easily toppled over and still would have loved a coffee maker like Carnival used to have in higher end suites. The food in the main dinning room was above average and offered wide choices. Staff throughout were friendly and helpful. Major drawback was lack of information regarding Cuban Visa procedure pre-cruise in a timely fashion, not detailed to week before and while the $75.00 fee per person was typical, it should have been clearly stated that the charge would be put on your room account. Both embarkation and debarkation were easy and painless. TIPS: Exchange US dollars for Canadian dollars or Euros pre cruise and receive a much better exchange rate at Havana Terminal Exchange. Also much better and personalized old car tours of Havana can be arranged via the internet (highly recommend Old Cars Havana) prior to the ship and was literally 1/3 longer and 1/2 the cost of Carnival offered excursion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise to go to different islands.This trip was a big disappointment.Being disabled i travel with a scooter. Asked for a handicapped room. Was told where were none available. They asked for the measurements of my scooter which ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to different islands.This trip was a big disappointment.Being disabled i travel with a scooter. Asked for a handicapped room. Was told where were none available. They asked for the measurements of my scooter which i supplied. Then i was told that the scooter could fit in all door on the ship. Which i found out was not true when i arrived on board the ship. Went to costumber service where i was told that where was nothing they could do about it. But they would rent me a walker so i could get around the room with my one leg. Or i could get off the ship. The bathroom was so small i had to use the shower chair to hop to the shower,then seat on it. the entertainment was not good. Had another trip on Norwegian for next but i canceled it. I have done 10 other cruises with different cruise lines and have ever been this disappointed before Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Beds are comfortable and the room was very clean. Elias who was our cabin steward was very friendly and helpuful. Too bad the rest of the cruise crew had a terrible attitude, they were all super rude. The food at the buffet was ok, but ... Read More
Beds are comfortable and the room was very clean. Elias who was our cabin steward was very friendly and helpuful. Too bad the rest of the cruise crew had a terrible attitude, they were all super rude. The food at the buffet was ok, but they don’t serve a lot of options. The restaurant food was terrible, bland and small servings. The staff at the restaurant was super rude, and had a terrible artitude, up to the point we avoided asking for things. If you have a food intolerance forget about this cruise, they don’t take questions about what they are serving. We traveled with 3 adults on wheelchairs and they had a lot of trouble moving with them around the ship because cleaning carts blocked the hallways and we got yelled at when we tried to move them. One of the elevators did not work for almost 2 days and that one was the one we could reach. We asked for assistance and they completetly ignored us and they told us “we didn’t need the service” I wouln’t recommend this cruise if you have trouble moving arround. The entertainment was poor, and we could hear the music in our cabin until 1 am. Overall I think this cruise was way too expensive for the service and quality of meals. I wouldn’t recommend this ship to anyone unless you want to pay to get yelled at. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I booked this cruise to see Cuba. The ship spends time in Havana and Cienfuegos. Travelers should be aware that they are required get a visa and to take a US required travel information tour in order to explore the Island. ... Read More
I booked this cruise to see Cuba. The ship spends time in Havana and Cienfuegos. Travelers should be aware that they are required get a visa and to take a US required travel information tour in order to explore the Island. Holland America assists with acquiring the visa and the "People to People" tour. The Venndam is a small ship holding around 1800 passengers. I found the size of the ship comfortably pleasant. It was my first time in a "laini" room, and I liked the access to the main walking deck from my room. While older, the ship is very well maintained. As with other Holland America ships, the food is excellent the service is always a good experience. The staff is exceptionally pleasant and accommodating. They go out of the way to please guests. Holland America entertainment consists of quality music programs, the Food Kitchen, BBC films and some traditional activities. They know how to please the older generation. I've been on a number of Holland America ships and I sometimes wish for some additional lively entertainment. Sea days on longer journey's could use some additional upbeat activities. This cruise went a;s far south as Belize and stopped at a number of ports. I' disabled and use a scooter. Some tender ports (including Belize) would not accommodate my small, very light scooter. I was disappointed to miss seeing this island. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise for the Cuba itinerary. I have taken over 100 cruises with all the premium and ultra-deluxe cruise lines and I have never encountered significant problems. First, I would like to address what I consider ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the Cuba itinerary. I have taken over 100 cruises with all the premium and ultra-deluxe cruise lines and I have never encountered significant problems. First, I would like to address what I consider "significant problems" and then mention "irritations" for which I think there is room for improvement and additional training. Significant Problem> When I got to the cruise terminal I could not pass security because I was not on the manifest. A supervisor allowed me to go upstairs where there was a Viking check-in desk. They could not find my name. Ambra (I think that is her name) was called. I explained to her I had people waiting in a car outside in case I could not board and explained my BP was extremely high and I was ill. She told me to "wait right here" while she went back to the ship, After about ten minutes I was lightheaded and dizzy and asked if I could sit and have a drink of water. Any elderly (I am age 75) person, let alone ill, should be offered a seat. Finally, I was boarded. There is no dedicated guest services staff.One calls the Explorer Desk. Four times I was unable to get an answer. When I asked the guest services representative why the phone is not answered he stated they are busy with other customers. There is no recording to indicate that and no option for a callback. The table on patio very dirty with standing water. Housekeeping did come and clean it when I called. I could not connect to the internet. Went to guest services for the third time. They could not help. A third person came to my cabin(after two others tried and I waited in the cabin for two hours) who had IT expertise and fixed it. Guest services called me three times to have me bring my passport. I had to go to the desk and give my passport for the third time. No remote for the TV in the cabin. I called housekeeping and they brought one but could not get it to work.Another person came and explained the safety video had to run first before the TV would work. Surprised to find the main dining room is not open for lunch, I was tired of buffets and wanted to sit down and be served. There are no trays so each course had to be carried to the table with no one to help. My spouse uses a walker so if anyone is traveling with a disabled person the other person has to make multiple trips to the buffet to get food for two people. The buffet (World Cafe) is extremely busy since it is the only place to eat for lunch and the wait staff is unable to provide adequate service. The cruise was advertised as "airfare included." I live in the Ft. Lauderdale area so air was not necessary but no credit is given for local travelers. Other cruise lines I have sailed deduct $300 per person from the fare. Solo travelers seem to be overlooked. I was seated behind a pillar in the Chef's table specialty restaurant and forgotten. This was a wine pairing dinner. The waiter forgot the initial wine so later brought two glasses of different wines, Voice mail service was intermittent. I could not retrieve my messages for a whole day There was a lot of complaining about Viking on the ship. I addressed my concerns with the hotel manager but he stated he is not empowered to do anything about my concerns. He stated that all concerns must be forwarded to corporate. The ship is beautiful. The spa is spectacular and the food is on par with other premium cruise lines but service is inferior to most mainline cruise lines and grossly lacking compared to the other "ultra deluxe" cruise lines such as Seabourn, Crystal and Regent.. I do think there is much more training needed; particularly in guest services and the wait staff in serving solo passengers. My cabin attendant was excellent and housekeeping could not do enough to address my concerns. Thesupervisor of housekeeping came to my cabin several times to make sure everything was OK. And when I asked about some snacks for an "election night party" the offerings exceeded my expectations One final comment. The itinerary was for three days in Cienfuegos and three hours in Santiago. It should be reversed. Everything of interest can be seen in three hours in Cienfuegos but Santiago is a large citywith many more points of interest. I did not do the Havanna tour dueto the 31/2 hour bus ride and the fact that I can take a five daycruise which overnights in Havanna for about half the price of the tour by Viking. In summary, Viking Ocean has beautiful ships but I hope the level of onboard services will be significantly improved. There seems to inadequatestaff; particularly since there are no exclusively guest services representatives. I paid $1100 a day for my cruise but I have had far superior experiences for cruises less than half that amount. Furthermore, if you are a solo traveler, over 65 or have a disability this cruise is not for you. Viking Ocean Cruises marketing targets younger, able bodied affluent travelers who enjoy such things as the "snow room" on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a ... Read More
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a wheelchair full time. We are 4 star Holland America members and have cruised for the last 30 years. We had five ports on this cruise: Cozumel, Belize, Cuba (2 ports) and the private island. We were denied access in Belize and Cienfuegos in Cuba because there were stairs to the tender and the CAPTAIN (yes - the CAPTAIN - not a staff member) refused to allow personnel to assist me in getting my wife down the 16 steps to the tender. NEVER have we had ship personnel not help us. Note: They helped the 91 year old lady down the steps but because my wife can not lift her feet they wouldn't help us. Note: We have been the China, South America, Europe, etc. so having to use steps is not a new experience for us. It just takes awhile. We need someone to move her feet to each step. Its really not that hard. Our daughter normally does it but she was at school. When we went to book shore excursions in Cuba we were initially told that there were no ADA tours available. So Holland sold a cruise with an ADA room and you have no ADA tours????? After much discussions (hours) with the Hotel Manager and the Shore Excursion supervisor we were able to get a tour in Havana for a reasonable price. I asked Holland America for a refund based on only having 2 ports out of 5. Initial response was NO! My response was that was not satisfactory and after more time and effort (cause that is what you always want to do on a cruise) we got 350 dollars and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill one night. I will give credit to the Hotel Director and the Shore Excursion Supervisor for getting us a tour in Havana but I had to make it happen. If I had been passive we would of gotten nothing. These 2 ladies were the only ones that were helpful and without them we would of not been able to see Cuba. Note: As a USA citizen we had to take a tour not explore on our own. So in summary - Don't expect Holland America to help you. Don't expect Holland America to try to make you whole if you have problems (I don't consider the compensation received to be even close to fair for the money, time and effort spent on what was suppose to be a vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My family chose this cruise to go to Belize, but most of all, going to Cuba. Overall, cruise was great, employees very helpful and polite. Wheelchair friendly, but NOT on most excursions. Both islands owned by NCL are wheelchair friendly, ... Read More
My family chose this cruise to go to Belize, but most of all, going to Cuba. Overall, cruise was great, employees very helpful and polite. Wheelchair friendly, but NOT on most excursions. Both islands owned by NCL are wheelchair friendly, and in fact, have free beach wheelchairs that one can use as well. It's a big tough going over the large door thresholds of the ship, but otherwise, no problems until you disembark back in Miami (1 small elevator for everyone to go down to customs, so takes forever). Grand Stirrup Caye has nice beaches (the further away from Main beach, the better) but most places seemed under construction, so if one does not like beaches, not much else to do. Now the Belize island is MUCH better! Take time to enjoy it all as there's tons to do and very wheelchair accessible.Tourist souveniers are extremely expensive since you're captive on their island (if you don't pay the high ferry cost into town). Cuba was the crown jewel of the cruise, of course. Terminal very well organized and plenty of exchange windows to change the currency both coming & returning, but does close earlier in the evening than the ship leaves, so plan carefully since it cannot be used anywhere else in the world but Cuba. Also, do NOT bring anything to donate or bring to people there. Customs will not even allow stuff OFF the ship, let alone, in to Cuba. I had suitcases full of pre-arranged items to donate to the Boys & Girls club and couldn't leave the ship with anything...all contrary to what I read on line. One family had family there & brought birthday, wedding presents etc and they weren't allowed to leave either. So don't believe the websites that say you can bring donations into Cuba (via cruise ship, anyway). Cuba was clean, polite and safe. We were amazed compared to countries like Costa Rica. Roads are in good shape, and the people are slowly getting used to the new tourism thing. Imagine thousands of tourists invading your town at once! The buildings are incredible and to learn about them, hire a tour to show you around. Absolutely fantastic!! So much to see & do, we could have stayed for days. Did not even bother bringing my wheelchair on excursions..turned out to be a good choice. These countries are not exactly ADA friendly: Cuba has cobblestones, for example. ADA dogs are allowed on the ship but not OFF the ship. Free style eating is the only way to go - alcohol is very expensive, as is the casino and photos. Make sure you understand all the 'hidden' charges before you decide whether to cruise or not...it more than doubles the low-advertised rates. However, I would do this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I was asked by a friend to re-visit Cuba and decided on this cruise because I wanted to visit Key West rather than go to the Bahamas. I have limited mobility and take my own scooter along but was extremely dismayed to find that the ship ... Read More
I was asked by a friend to re-visit Cuba and decided on this cruise because I wanted to visit Key West rather than go to the Bahamas. I have limited mobility and take my own scooter along but was extremely dismayed to find that the ship (even though it was recently refurbished) was not at all inviting for a scooter. It was difficult to board because of the steep incline and 4" threshold over the outside doors. Even with the provided ramps on some of the doors it was extremely to go outside onto the deck because you had to physically open and hold open the doors to take a scooter out. Public restrooms were difficult to navigate for the same reason and many of the main areas had large doors that were not propped open for easy travel in the hallways. We opted to take the Classic Car tour in Cuba because I had already gone on the Old Havana bus tour. Imagine my surprise when we visited the same sites except for the castle on the hill. Same cemetery (which I still do not understand), same basic trip and sites to see as with the bus. The other excursion I booked when I made my reservation was the show at the National Hotel. Again, imagine my surprise when I showed up in shorts and a shirt and was told that I was not dressed appropriately as we were finally told we could not wear shorts, T-shirts or men could not wear sandals. Lots of people were turned away from that excursion because we did not know until we were on the ship ready to leave. If there is a dress code, then it needs to be clear before I leave home so I can plan my dress. I did get my money back but it would have been much simpler to just say what the appropriate dress is beforehand. I have been on 6 other cruises with Norwegian prior to this one, however, this was probably the worst talent for the shows I have seen on any cruise. The choreography was really good but it did not make up for the poor singing. I couldn't make myself attend the last show with the same production cast. Overall, the entertainment was on par with all Norwegian ships making it easy to have things to do. It just didn't live up to my expectations of ADA compliant or shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I am experiencing an unexpected life change. I have to make some serious and early decisions. I needed a few days to be alone. I found this 4-Days Cuba Cruise with NCL. ( My first experience with NCL was very BAD). It fitted my ... Read More
I am experiencing an unexpected life change. I have to make some serious and early decisions. I needed a few days to be alone. I found this 4-Days Cuba Cruise with NCL. ( My first experience with NCL was very BAD). It fitted my schedule, but there was no open booking. Fortunately, with Expedia, I was able to book on a "Sailaway". I was apprehensive about my "inside stateroom" as I like to see the outside world and was overjoyed to find me in a cabin with a larger porthole than I expected. That set me for my journey. Because of my very late booking and going to Cuba, the Shore Excursion choices were difficult for my disability and curiosity. I was fortunate to consult with Willem from the Shore Excursion Desk and he guided me with such patience and understanding, even when I had to make changes. I now have renewed faith in Norwegian Cruise Lines. Looking forward to our October 2 TA Copenhagen to NY Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My husband and I took this cruise to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. He is permanently in a wheelchair. We brought his manual chair and booked the handicapped cabin 8018. I read many reviews on this site and people complain the ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. He is permanently in a wheelchair. We brought his manual chair and booked the handicapped cabin 8018. I read many reviews on this site and people complain the soap is not elegant enough to poor variety on the buffet. We found this to be an enjoyable cruise, clean ship, and courteous staff. We enjoyed the food and thought it was good. We ate at three speciality restaurants and the main dining room. Just didn’t find any problems and there was no problem with the service. The boat is handicapped accessible. There are a couple of doors on the 12th deck to the resturants where a raised door footing would catch the wheelchair tip bars, but there was always someone to help out. We didn’t swim but attended the shows. All accessible. We enjoyed the open bar and they served top shelf liquor. We did not take a Norwegian excursion in Cuba and has read about the market that was in walking distance. We found Cuba is not handicapped accessible. Unless you make it over to the walk along the ocean, what sidewalks are available are in horrible disrepair. The roads across from the pier are cobblestone that will destroy your back if in a wheelchair. Very poor infrastructure in Cuba. We did make it down the street toward the market and came upon an area where Cubans will take you for a tour in the vintage cars. We met Pedro and his assistant and both were extremely accommodating. My husband transferred to the front seat, I sat in the back, and he put the wheelchair in the trunk and away we went for 2 hours. He spoke good English and knew his city and the history of his country. He charged $50.00 per hour and the car was a convertible. Well worth the money. The market had burned prior to our arrival and was not open. We made two stops one where Pedro graciously helped my husband in and out of the car. My husband purchased cigars. He has the only orange convertible that I saw and he will pick you up in front of the pier. We hired him later that night to take my husband and I to the Tropicana and return us to the pier. The Tropicana is handicapped accessible and a good show with fabulous costumes. Can’t say enough about Pedro’s accommodating service that made it possible for my husband and I experience Cuba. Everyone should experience Cuba and see what communism has done to that beautiful country and disservice to their people. When you return home you will have a greater appreciation of a free democracy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
+I had never been on a cruise before let alone out of the United States of America. I chose this exciting cruise because of a combined decision among family members. The ship is not even the biggest ship offered, yet is still really large! ... Read More
+I had never been on a cruise before let alone out of the United States of America. I chose this exciting cruise because of a combined decision among family members. The ship is not even the biggest ship offered, yet is still really large! The state rooms were very clean and the staff members were lovely. Most of my meals were held at the Marketplace. The food had many options- some the same every day but definitely enough variety for me to enjoy the experience and not feel like I am eating the same thing every day. -There were two fires while I was on this ship. One was at 3am. This consisted of staff members and the captain over the loud speaker at 3 o clock in the morning. The way the staff handled the situation was great, however a fire in the incinerator at 3am is not always the best wake up call. The second fire had to do with the A/C units. I don't know how far the A/C outage occurred, but me and my floor did not have air conditioning for a night & half the next day. The last negative I have is that the bathroom toilet in my state room randomly did not have water flowing in it and would refuse to flush. This is gross and not acceptable for obvious reasons. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My husband and I took all 15 members of our family on this cruise as a Christmas present! First it was originally supposed to be 2 days and one night in Cuba with somehow became 30 hours there . Had to pay full price for everyone including ... Read More
My husband and I took all 15 members of our family on this cruise as a Christmas present! First it was originally supposed to be 2 days and one night in Cuba with somehow became 30 hours there . Had to pay full price for everyone including a 1 and 3 year old. There were no discounts for 3rd or 4th person in cabin. Pre booked tours in Cuba because I trusted this cruise line, only later to find I was totally ripped off. I expect an upcharge of sorts but $100 more per person for the Tropicana show and did not get as much as the others that booked directly. When I complained hot strawberries in my room, big deal! The tour guide ,again through the boat also took us to a place for cigars that charged double of other places!!! Rooms were so small, but that is not my biggest complaint. Six out of 15 also got sick from the ship!Oh and also the embarkation was delayed over an hour and 1/2 and everyone was left standing who accompanied handicap guest!!! The disembarkation was worse my husbands wheel chair NEVER showed up and he had to painfully walk all the way of, ( yes it was confirmed prior to sailing) Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Cuba. The Empress of the Seas did not disappoint. We absolutely loved the ship. It was by far the cleanest, happiest, friendliest ship we have ever been on in some 20 plus ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Cuba. The Empress of the Seas did not disappoint. We absolutely loved the ship. It was by far the cleanest, happiest, friendliest ship we have ever been on in some 20 plus years of cruising between us. The cruise director, Hugo, was the best cruise director we have ever met with a larger-than-life personality. I had to give him a hug after one of the shows! Oh, the entertainment was fantastic. The small group of musicians, singers and dancers was top-notch, and the shows were professional and incredibly entertaining. We loved them. We loved the fact that we were on the 4th mid-deck so it was very easy to get to the elevators and go up to the dining room and theatre. Everything was so convenient. We've been on the huge ships, but this was really nice and very relaxing and the ship is laid out very well. Everything is easily accessible. We chose that cabin for that reason. The food and service on this ship was OUTSTANDING! We ate in the main dining room for 3 nights and at Chops Grille for 2 nights. Chops Grille was definitely worth the premium. I had the most fantastic filet mignon there, and the jumbo shrimp cocktail was to die for. The food in the main dining room was excellent as well. All of the food in the Windjammer was fresh and varied - no end of choices. Good food is very important to me, and I was so pleased with everything. The ship was so clean! We had an inside stateroom, as we like how quiet they normally are and it was more than adequate. We've had balcony rooms, porthole rooms, and we've learned that for us, the inside stateroom is fine as we are rarely in the room, and we like the darkness and quiet of an inside room for sleeping. Our stateroom attendant was terrific. We loved all the bars and bartenders. No complaints here. Everyone was super friendly and generous. Our captain got us into Cuba a night EARLY! This was fantastic as the forecast was for rain the next day. This allowed us to change our vintage convertible tour we had scheduled to that night, and we did a tour of Havana in a hot pink vintage convertible for 3 1/2 hours. It was amazing and the weather was perfect. The next day in Cuba, since we had seen the major sites in Havana, we spent an afternoon downtown, and in a Cafe' talking to the locals, listening to local music, and drinking mojitos. Havana is lovely, and the people are friendly just as all of the other reviews have stated here. If I had only one minor issue on this 5-day cruise, it would be that unfortunately, this ship only has one pool, and the music was unbearably loud, and the pool crowded. Of course, we knew this would be the case, so we didn't spend any time there. We aren't big pool people either; however, I do like the ships that have the solarium pool, which is a separate pool with jacuzzi for adults only. This ship does not have that, but like I said, I knew this, and for an only 5-night cruise, it was fine. I did try one time to go down in the shade near the pool to read, but the loud (as in blasting loud) reggae music from the speakers drove me to the walking deck for some quiet. The walking deck was lovely and hardly anyone was there. In summary, for a short 5-night cruise, this is the ship that has it all, personality, cleanliness, great food, and service with a smile. I would do it again tomorrow. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I will review by category: Service: I think the best part about this company and being on a small ship is the personalized service. By the end of the trip, I knew all of my room attendant staff, the entertainers, cruise directors and ... Read More
I will review by category: Service: I think the best part about this company and being on a small ship is the personalized service. By the end of the trip, I knew all of my room attendant staff, the entertainers, cruise directors and various other staff by name, and they knew mine! and never failed to greet me each time we passed. I especially appreciated this personability that you definitely won't get on big cruises. The main ship director even personally visited my cabin to ask if I was enjoying my room and made extra efforts regarding my accommodations, which I truly appreciated (I was sharing a room with my parents, and I think he felt bad for me ;) The rooms were great, well stocked by attentive and sweet staff, and all had a private balcony. The room service was great! On that note: I have to mention that I was the youngest guest on the ship (I'm 28). I see that there are some pretty negative reviews about the average ages being around 60-75 from past voyages, and don't get me wrong, I definitely wouldn't have minded meeting a cute guy my age ;) however; the age of my fellow passengers didn't bother me at all! In fact, I saw this one of the highlights of my trip. I was able to meet and talk to many of these people and truly enjoyed our conversation, their wisdom and stories, and by the end of our journey; I felt I had made meaningful connections with many of them. Entertainment/Recreation: The ONLY reason I took a few points of for these areas is that A. There was no pool on board (this was a bummer for me) and B. I think they could add a few more Entertainment options on board such as comedy shows or even just increasing the trivia and bingo events. Now for the high points: The band on board was great!! They were very personable and provided nightly themed mini shows, as well as played through cocktail hours. There were also interesting lectures and mini-seminars about our next port cities before we would arrive at each. Again this is an EDUCATIONAL tour, so if all you are interested in is on board dolphin shows, giant movie theatres and all you can eat buffets, this may not be the experience/cruise line for you. If you like to work out, they have a small workout area on one of the decks. *A plus for me was the quiet, comfortable library on Deck 4 (there is a smaller, less known about one on deck 5 as well), as I am in grad school and this provided me with a perfect place to work on homework. They also have 3 computers (1 in the small library) that have access to wifi and printers if you did not bring your own laptop etc. Now for the Cuba Experience! Excursions: I think everyone I talked to had a different favorite port/excursion/experience so it really depends what you are interested in seeing the most! Positives for ME: I really enjoyed meeting and talking to the Cuban people. I opted out of the Havana tour on the last day and instead explored the city on my own (and YES, you can do this!). I was hesitant at first but was reassured by staff, seasoned Cuban travelers, foreigners (mostly European travelers), and Cubans themselves that there is very little crime (especially towards tourists, which is virtually unheard of) and this was probably the highlight of my trip. The guided tours in the other port cities were overall great, the one downside being that we were extremely rushed on a couple and some tour guides and staff were less relaxed than others, making those excursions quite stressful for guests at times. If we could do it again, we would have spent some of the less interesting excursions exploring the cities going to places we wanted to see on our own, relaxed time frame. Otherwise, we went to some AMAZING places, especially in Santiago and other mountainous ports, where we were able to zip line and visit beautiful and historical churches and other incredible architecture, and dine at private restaurants in peoples homes (One in Santigo with a view of the entire city and acousitic band playing cuban music just for us). We also were given a private classical concert right on a beach, which were both beyond beautiful! * This biggest downside for me was not being able to go to a beach, as the weather was beyond beautiful but a little too hot at times (no at all humid though!). It is actually the US government preventing Americans from being able to go to beaches in Cuba, as it is considered a "tourism" activity so I hope this changes soon because I will DEFINITELY be back!! Overall, the Pearl Mist, staff, and tour of Cuba were AMAZING and I highly recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We wanted to go to Cuba, and chose the Cuba Intensive sailing. For us, 2-days in Havana would have been ideal. Cienfuegos was nice enough but not much to see; Santiago was horrible. The Cubans we saw tended to swarm us looking for ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba, and chose the Cuba Intensive sailing. For us, 2-days in Havana would have been ideal. Cienfuegos was nice enough but not much to see; Santiago was horrible. The Cubans we saw tended to swarm us looking for money, and we found it quite unpleasant. We were scammed by several taxi drivers. Air quality is poor and the poverty is ever present. Not Azamara’s failure by any means but I question why ships are going to Santiago at all, or why they’d spend more than a day or two in Havana. We found Cuba very overrated. The Quest seemed like an older ship and we saw ongoing maintenance like painting railings and other areas. We received a note that they planned to paint our state room during the trip and we’d have to store all personal belongings. This was not ok for such a small cabin and such a pricy vacation so we called to ‘opt out’. Is this common? If so, customers should be offered something in return for the inconvenience. We found the food options plentiful and good; we didn’t feel the need to try the 2 upscale restaurants. The staff was unfailingly nice. We never felt crowded, even on sailing days. There are plentiful common areas in which to relax. We enjoyed 4-5 nights of the onboard entertainment which was just right. Overall, this tone of the ship compared favorably to the other 2 cruises I’ve done on Regent and Royal Carribean: it was low key, fun, and our fellow passengers were generally friendly. My only complaint about Azamara is that it’s not all-inclusive - they have several packages they try to up sell, and it was annoying. I prefer Regent in that respect, which includes everything and isn’t constantly trying to sell you upgrades. Regent also includes excursions which Azamara does not - and they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We are a retired couple in our early 70's. Both of us have mobility issues. We traveled with our adult daughter and her boyfriend. This is our 10th cruise, 1st on Azamara. We selected it because of the itinerary. I can't say ... Read More
We are a retired couple in our early 70's. Both of us have mobility issues. We traveled with our adult daughter and her boyfriend. This is our 10th cruise, 1st on Azamara. We selected it because of the itinerary. I can't say I've always wanted to visit Cuba, but the opportunity presented itself and we thought, Let's go while we are able and permitted. We really liked the smaller ship experience. Our cabin was near the aft elevator, easy to get to the main dining room, Mosaic coffee bar, and the buffet/Patio. I liked that you didn't have to walk so far to the front of the ship also. The cabin was a Club Verandah class. Space was adequate for 2. The shower was the tiniest I've ever seen. We didn't use our verandah much because of the air pollution in Cuba. One thing I didn't like--the gray wallpaper made the cabin gloomy and depressing. I hope they change to a more cheery color scheme when they next refurbish. Food ranged from typical cruise fare (buffet) to outstanding in the main restaurant. I only ordered from the "always available" options twice, for French Onion soup and Crème Brulee. Easter Monday brunch in the dining room was beautiful They really went all out with the ice carvings, decorations, and baked goods. Beverage service was spotty in all venues--sometimes someone would take your order before you even sat down and other times you had to wait, and wait, and wait. This was especially true of coffee at dinner. We prefer our coffee with dessert, but it seems the waiters usually bring it after dessert. Asking didn't help. The only entertainment we attended was the Azamazing Evening. It was truly spectacular. The destinations speaker, Dr. Ellen, was very interesting. She covered topics from Cuban history to present day/future Cuba. Since it was Passover, there was a Rabbi on board, who led two casual discussion groups. Although we are Catholic, we attended the first but had a conflict with the second. There was also a priest who said Mass for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, plus on the sea days. We found the fitness center was one of the best maintained of any cruise ships we've sailed. The machines all worked, and they had enough treadmills, exercycles, etc. so you never had to wait. The crew was fantastic. Everyone we encountered was very cheerful, relaxed, and eager to please. Ports and shore excursions: This cruise was not a good fit for us. We visited 4 ports, Key West, Florida, Havana (3 days), Cienfuegos, and an overnight in Santiago de Cuba for the Azamazing Evening. As I mentioned at the beginning, both of us have mobility issues. My husband has had both hips replaced and I am recovering from knee replacement surgery last summer, In both Cienfuegos and Santiago, there were NO mild shore excursions offered. In Havana, only 2, Easy Panoramic Havana and Classic Cars, which could easily replicate each other. Which left us with Moderate Excursions, most of which were more strenuous than the tour booklet description. Key West: Hop On/Hop Off Trolley and Butterfly Conservancy We would normally do a hop on/hop off tour on our own, but actually saved money with the included Butterfly Conservancy. We enjoyed the stop to see the butterflies and the tour of the city which followed. Havana Day 1: Best of Havana A very disappointing tour, more strenuous than described, mediocre tour guide. Hemingway's home was closed due to a holiday (not sure what). Since it was Good Friday, we had the vegetarian option for lunch--rice and salad. Fusterlandia was fascinating and Revolution Square was a good place to see all the classic cars. The bus made a stop back at the ship for those who didn't want to see the flea market. Our daughter said they had a better selection of souvenirs at the terminal. Havana Day 2: Easy Panoramic Havana Bus tour with photo stops. I enjoyed Fusterlandia more this time around. Revolution Square seems to be obligatory. We also visited the old forts on the other side of the Bay and saw relics of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Great tour guide. Havana Day 3: We stayed on the ship Cienfuegos: Colonial Trinidad Should have been marked strenous. Even those with greater mobility had trouble with the cobblestones. Lunch at Ma Dolores restaurant was very good. Visit to the potters' workshop was a highlight. Santiago de Cuba: El Cobre Rated moderate and it actually was. The Church of Our Lady of Charity was beautiful. The steel drum band was very good, but we bought their CD/DVD and haven't been able to get it to work. BEWARE. Lunch at the Tropicana was great. San Juan Hill was the hardest part of the trip. All in all, we met the worst and the best of Cuban society. Lots of beggars/panhandlers in the streets and squares. But the tour guides and others involved in the tourist industry were very pleasant and eager to show off their charming county. Would we go again? Not to Cuba, it's a once in a lifetime experience. But we would happily sail Azamara again if the itinerary appealed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was a very strange experience. I will divide this review into two sections: the cruise & ship itself; and our visit to Cuba. Regarding the cruise, state rooms are extremely large and comfortable. The ship is immaculate. The ... Read More
This was a very strange experience. I will divide this review into two sections: the cruise & ship itself; and our visit to Cuba. Regarding the cruise, state rooms are extremely large and comfortable. The ship is immaculate. The cabin stewards, waitstaff, and crew members are delightful and appeared genuinely interested in each passenger's comfort. The entertainers, including a married couple, make a major contribution to the overall experience. The lecturers, especially Richard, is extremely knowledgeable, humorous, and prepares you to your visit to each city. The cruise directors were always available and helpful. You spend an inordinate amount of time at sea. It took 2 1/2 days to reach the first port. There is virtually nothing to do on board. Exercise equipment is on an open deck and were covered with canvas and tied up. No doubt this was because of the heavy seas and high winds. Beware: The ship does not handle waves very well despite the claim that there are stabilizers. There was no pool and the only activity other than lectures and evening entertainment is eating. The food can best be described as bland. There appears to be little if any salt or pepper used to prepare the dishes. There are few dished made with sauces. Meal preparation seems to be aimed at the elderly population that inhabits the ship. It's surprising that they did not offer to purée the food! Choices on the menu are relatively boring and repetitive and the ship takes on no new food supplies once it leaves Fort Lauderdale. The fish seems ro get fishier as the days pass. I recommend that when possible, take two meals while the ship is docked off shore. Some excursions include lunch and, by and large, the offerings were mediocre. On the positive side, wine and liquor is readily available and if you drink enough, you may be unable to focus on what surrounds you. The cruise line fails to let passengers know that this is a trip favored by the elderly. I would guess the average age of passengers is well over 82. One man was celebrating his wedding: He was age 91 and his bride was significantly younger. For many, the men are on their second, third, and fourth wives. What a surprise! They appear to be decades younger than their husbands. There is enough Botox in passengers' faces to actually float the ship. Facelifts abound. If all the skin was removed and sewn together, there would be enough to create an entire Cuban baseball team! It is clear that this is not a trip for anyone under the age of 75. As for Cuba, as Columbus described it, it is a paradise unto itself. This is a "people to people" cruise, the legal justification to allow US citizens to visit this country. The excursions were phenomenal. They included a trip to the Tropicana nightclub, a woodcarvers studio, an area in Havana consisting of artistic tiles placed almost everywhere, a concert and a vocal performance. The people of Cuba are warm, friendly, open and are as puzzled as the passengers are as to the almost 6 decade old embargo imposed against this country. Tour guides we're openly critical of their government and the economic problems this country faces. Hopefully, the US passengers will pressure their governmental representatives to lift the embargo immediately. This is a very expensive trip. Although the accommodations were consistent with the price, meals were often mediocre. The ship offers little to do for anyone under the age of 75, a group that appears to be a minority on board. Yet, being able to visit for Cuban cities and meet citizens in every port is a memorable, meaningful experience. Again, if you're under the age of 75, I would consider whether you want to be on this floating senior care facility. Hopefully, we will all be much older and then, this would be an appropriate trip. For ow -- I's find another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I have wanted to see Cuba since I was in 7th grade. Seeing the opportunity that taking a cruise there would mean we jumped at the chance. To see the places and meet the people I could only dream about. Boarding the Empress was like a dream ... Read More
I have wanted to see Cuba since I was in 7th grade. Seeing the opportunity that taking a cruise there would mean we jumped at the chance. To see the places and meet the people I could only dream about. Boarding the Empress was like a dream come true. A ship from another time. Embarkation was quick and speedy as was disembarkation We were pleasantly surprised how beautiful she was, the crew was the greatest ever, all eager to please us. The staff in the main dining room and the Windjammer went out of their way to see that every wish was granted. We were reminded how small the Empress was and having been on the huge ships she was a welcome change. We never had to wait for an elevator, the lines that are usual in the Windjammer didn't appear. And always we found deck chairs for three, even while dining there was always a table available by the window, Oour cabin attendant Manuel was always around to take care of anything we might need, And the staff of the Photography Studio were a blast, taking pose after pose saving all our memories to paper to save forever. My husband and daughter especially enjoyed the comedian they had, and again plenty of seats available for every show. We will always look back upon our journey to Cuba with a fond memory of The Empress! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Empress is stuck in the 1990's and does not handle anything but nearly calm seas well at all. She is in dire need of refurbishment. Her crew, however, was top notch. Costa Maya is not Mexico, there I said it. As a person who has ... Read More
Empress is stuck in the 1990's and does not handle anything but nearly calm seas well at all. She is in dire need of refurbishment. Her crew, however, was top notch. Costa Maya is not Mexico, there I said it. As a person who has travelled extensively throughout Mexico (and not all of them tourist spots) I can conclusively say that this port is horrible. You might as not even get off the ship. I had some pesos left from a recent business trip and a local vendor barely knew what to do with them. Skip this port and head to "Mexico" at Epcot. Havana was the reason for this trip. Having never been we didn't quite know what to expect. Our tour guide definitely was on a government approved script and while I believe that we saw some of the real Cuba, most was the approved version. That said, I would love to go back and spend more time in this country. The port arrival in Miami was horrendous. We docked at Terminal J and everything was pretty smooth until we walked out of customs/immigration. Our car was parked on the other side of the port. After asking around I was told of a "courtesy" bus to get us where are cars were parked. My paraplegic father (think wheelchair) couldn't get on the bus... so I went to fetch the car. The driver dropped us off at the westernmost garage. Half of the bus occupants were parked nearly a mile away and the driver refused to get us closer. Did I mention that it was raining? I was left to walk, in the rain, and play a real life game of Frogger with crazy Miami drivers. To say I was upset would be an understatement. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Wanted to experience Cuba Cabin attendants were excellent. Being handicapped and using a wheelchair or walker I used room service frequently. Precious was an apt name for my attendant. In every way she was precious. I appreciate ... Read More
Wanted to experience Cuba Cabin attendants were excellent. Being handicapped and using a wheelchair or walker I used room service frequently. Precious was an apt name for my attendant. In every way she was precious. I appreciate the wide variety of television selections.I chose not to go on the land tour of Cuba. I was delighted finding on the television the biography of Albert Einstein. I enjoyed an entertaining and enlightening day in the cabin. I appreciated a cabin large enough for my chair and walker. Having a balcony made it a pleasure to enjoy the view whether of the waves of the sea or the other ocean ships passing by. Also it was nice to be able to open the door for fresh ocean air. The choice of which gourmet restaurants shall I try was difficult. The menus were all tempting. Each offered entrees I couldn't resist. Service was always excellent, I think I tried every one. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017

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