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5 Cuba First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

I couldn't ask for a better experience for my first cruise, which traveled from Miami, to Cuba to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and back to Miami. The entertainment as non-stop, the food above expectations and the service ... Read More
I couldn't ask for a better experience for my first cruise, which traveled from Miami, to Cuba to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and back to Miami. The entertainment as non-stop, the food above expectations and the service tremendous. The shows and comedian were enjoyable. I also took in trivia, karaoke, Deal or No Deal and Salsa dancing. We ended each night at Dazzles for drinks and dancing. I took the classic car tour in Havana, and would recommend that as well. I had read about renting cabanas in the Bahamas for $300. I did not rent and in my opinion there is plenty of shade if needed, and you can rent clam shells over two chairs for only $35. I spent a decent amount of time in the water. The multiple pools and hot tubs allowed plenty of space. They never seemed over-crowded. I would definitely choose Norwegian Sky again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our first cruise, so although I have nothing to compare it to, I did expect a bit better. The first problem we encountered was a note in our stateroom saying the excursion we had booked for the following day was cancelled due ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so although I have nothing to compare it to, I did expect a bit better. The first problem we encountered was a note in our stateroom saying the excursion we had booked for the following day was cancelled due to lack of take-up. I had until 23:00 p,m, to book something else. Not very helpful when you don't embark until 23:45 p.m. so to late to re-book. The stateroom (8203) was spacious with a large comfy bed. The bathroom was adequate but the shower curtain was a pain, as it kept sticking to your legs. The maid attended twice a day, making up the room in the morning and preparing the bed in the evening. With fresh towels left on both visits. Our meal time was changed from 20:30 to 21:30 (a bit too late). The restaurant service was very slow. Our waiter seemed to be serving several tables whilst the rest of the waiters swarmed around the Italians seated in the corner. The meals were of average quality, but not very filling. I left the restaurant on the two occasions we used it still feeling hungry. There was quite a variety of food available in the buffet, but most of the "hot" food was barley warm. The hamburger bar and pizzeria were the best places to eat. The crew were all friendly and helpful. This was spoiled by pushy European travellers who thought there needs must be met before anyone else's, I will not let this put me off booking another cruise, but it won't be with MSC next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Pros 1. Staff - I cannot say enough about the staff on the Adonia ship. From the wait staff to the cabin stewards, everyone is there to please - especially the staff at the Conservatory Buffet. They get to know your names and make sure ... Read More
Pros 1. Staff - I cannot say enough about the staff on the Adonia ship. From the wait staff to the cabin stewards, everyone is there to please - especially the staff at the Conservatory Buffet. They get to know your names and make sure they remember what you like. If you have a question, and they don't have an answer, they will find out for you. Loved them! 2. Classes - We really appreciated the classes that taught us about Cuba's history and what to expect at each city. These classes usually fill up quickly, so if you want a good seat, then arrive early or make sure you sign up early for classes with limited seats. Also, take advantage of the cocktail classes taught by Sam. It's a great way to learn the history of rum and how to properly make mojitos, Bahama Mamas and daiquiris. 3. Onshore Excursions - (Please consider that our cruise was delayed, so they cut our trip to Cienfuegos and added half a day to our Havana excursion.) While we were disappointed missing out on Cienfuegos, in the end, we loved having two whole days in Havana. We had plenty of time to do the required onshore excursions, while having enough time to ourselves to spend a night walking through Old Havana and an afternoon to run around to do some shopping and to visit some neighborhoods off the beaten path. Though, our time at Santiago de Cuba felt rushed, even though we had a whole day there, but we still loved learning about its historical places and history. (The Barcadi Rum company was founded in this city in 1862.)The Havanatur guides were knowledgable and bilingual, so communication was not a problem. We were led by Osmin, Jordan, Adriana, and Yosiel in Havana, and had Antonio in Santiago, and they are all excellent guides. We even exchanged contact information with the guides to keep in touch. 4. Onshore Restaurants - We were able to get a taste of state-run restaurants and family-owned restaurants (paladares). We felt the food at the family owned restaurant in Santiago was the best, but they were all good. 5. Cuban People - This was the most memorable part of our trip - our interactions with the residents of Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Many people are already able to speak some English, so having a simple conversation with locals won't be a problem, and many Cubans are willing to tell you their stories. Therefore, make sure you interact! 6. Shopping - Yes, we did not want to leave Cuba without our rum and cigars. You will get plenty of time to shop when participating in the Havantur excursions. The best place to do most of your shopping will be the Crafts Market at the end of your day-long Havana bus tour. This market is also within walking distance of the ship terminal and has an official kiosk that sells rum and cigars. The second place is the pathway to the Santiago de Cuba fortress, which will have plenty of merchants with handmade crafts and jewelry. 7. Laundry - A launderette is located on the 7th deck. There are 6 washers and 6 dryers. Machines are free; you only need to bring you own soap. Make sure you only place half a cup of detergent with each load, as the machines tend to create lots of suds. Cons 1. Communication - We do realize that Fathom is a new brand under Carnival Cruises, but we were expecting to have experienced staff during the booking and check in process. We noticed that each rep gave us different information when calling the Fathom reservation number, so make sure you double check the details they provide you. Also, during the check in process at the terminal, we were told that the affidavits that the booking team told us to complete were not the right ones, so they had us complete new forms. Also, they told us that we needed to sign up for the onshore excursions on the boat, which was completely false (no sign up is required). So, needless to say, more training is needed for the Fathom frontline! 2. Delay - As I mentioned before, we had a mechanical problem delay our cruise, so our trip to Cienfuegos was cut from the itinerary. Now, when something like this happens, travelers expect to receive some kind of compensation or refund for the inconvenience, but Fathom didn't see it that way initially. They thought that extending our time in Havana by half a day would make up for it. It wasn't until travelers complained that they offered everyone a $75 credit and a free drink at dinner. This is something they should have offered shortly after they realized we would be delayed. 3. Days at Sea - Now let me say this - we are not the traditional cruisers, and we primarily booked this cruise as a quick and easy way to get an introduction into Cuba, so we already boarded the boat with a preference to be onshore in Cuba. Because of our delay, we ended up being at sea for over 3 1/2 days, which seemed too long for us. If you like being on a ship, then this may not be a problem. Also, as I mentioned before, there are multiple classes onboard that will keep you occupied during this time at sea. 4. Other Cruisers - Now, please remember that if you decide to take part of the Havanatur excursions onshore that you must then do the entire 4 or 8 hour tours. We had some cruisers in our group that felt it was okay to demand that the guides take them back to the boat or shopping during the middle of the tour. First of all, these cruisers were stressing out the guides, and negatively impacting the experience for the other cruisers. Therefore, if you know that the heat or walking will be too much for you or if you prefer to spend more of your time shopping, then check with the Explorers desk on the ship to see what you can do in lieu of the guided tours. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were pleasantly surprised. Had read a few "not so good reviews" before leaving. Turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. Overall the ship is kept in top condition. Very clean, with really friendly, competent staff ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised. Had read a few "not so good reviews" before leaving. Turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. Overall the ship is kept in top condition. Very clean, with really friendly, competent staff in all areas. Our cabin was excellently maintained by the cleaning crew, and had lots of drawer and hanging space. A nice surprise were the Happy Birthday balloons. The dining rooms presented excellent menu choices, with very good quality food. We liked everything. Entertainment was top notch. Saw every show. Cruise director Danny does a fantastic job. Has so much energy, and speaks many languages fluently, flowing from one to the other without effort. The tours onshore were interesting and informing. The only one I would skip is the Maria La Gorda trip to Cabo de San Antonio. Long bus ride, and not much to see or do. Would rather sit on the beach and relax. My husband wasn't very keen to go on a cruise, this being his first. On our last night aboard he said he was sorry it was over. We will definitely go on a cruise again, and highly recommend Cuba Cruise with Celestyal Crystal to anyone who wants to see more of Cuba than just a resort. It was an excellent holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
In the past, when I saw one star reviews for vacations I asked myself how people can do that for 5 star hotels. Well, here I am writing my one star (or should be 0) for this Cruise. First of all, I have to say that I loved Cuba. I went ... Read More
In the past, when I saw one star reviews for vacations I asked myself how people can do that for 5 star hotels. Well, here I am writing my one star (or should be 0) for this Cruise. First of all, I have to say that I loved Cuba. I went to cuba with very low expectations, I was in a resort in Varadero the week before the cruise and the experience was excellent, including the resort, the people, the service, the room and even the food. My main purpose for the cruise was to visit Cuba after a week in the beach...but I didn't see much of cuba. Excursions were completely disorganized. The Cruise Director is a clown, and a bad one. And when you put a Clown together with a Salsa dancer that only knows how to count to four to organize 120 people in 4 buses, that's what you get. A hour and a half delay. In addition the boat was always delayed. They always blame the weather (even the day that the cruise didn't sail). The only day that we were on time the joker woke us at 7:20am to call everybody take the temperature even if the disembarking was at 9, and they didn't even took our names or cabin numbers. The end of the story is that you lose most of your time in port because they are extremely disorganized, plus Cuba customs. They take you on a 3 hours tour where they want them to take you and you don't have extra time to do anything on your own. One example of what to expect was at Maria la Gorda. Like many other people, I was prepared with hiking gear to go to a natural reserve. Instead, we were 3 hours on a bus that took us to a place that was...nothing. Only and old lighthouse on the other side of the fence. I asked about changing that excursion for diving, it was u$s 165 for only one tank on a choppy day, when regular price for 2 tanks is $49 in Cuba and they will refund you if there's bad weather. About the cruise. This is a refurbished ferry that was burned and crashed an oil tanker (Do your own research on this one). It might be ok as a ferry, but It cannot handle very well the conditions in Cuba, it was a little bit windy but it was sunny all the time, standard weather for Cuba at this time of the year. I can't imagine it with a real storm, even a minor one. So expect it to move, and a lot. First I got an inside cabin, if you can call it a cabin. It was not even half the size of a small cruise cabin. I upgraded (after having to pay, and they are very good at getting your money) to an outside cabin. The carpets were stained and didn't look modern. the washroom had problems most of the time. Also the air conditioning was unpredictable. Food was college cafeteria grade. At the buffet, there were always the same, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food seemed to come from Greece more than a month before, nothing was fresh at all. Fruits were mainly canned. They advertise that they serve Alberta beef, but I only seen overcooked pork and chicken. Also they changed the dinner plan to open seating. First day I was refused to enter one of the restaurants. They said it was booked by a group for the next 5 days, but other people got in. I got in the next day. Both restaurants serve exactly the same. Sometimes you have to wait 45 minutes, or go to the buffet. Entertainment was always the same, not much entertaining. On the positive side. After the shows, the band stayed playing and they were really good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015

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