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56 Havana Celestyal Cruises Celestyal Crystal Cruise Reviews

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
We just returned yesterday, having flown in to Havana and out of Havana (from Miami from/to Dallas). Rather than go in to Montego Bay (not a huge fan of Jamaica, and have been there a few times) and get on the ship, I wanted to go the ... Read More
We just returned yesterday, having flown in to Havana and out of Havana (from Miami from/to Dallas). Rather than go in to Montego Bay (not a huge fan of Jamaica, and have been there a few times) and get on the ship, I wanted to go the Havana route. We got in 2 days early to really see Havana and get a feel for the city. We wanted a smaller ship and one that hit more than just Havana for a day. It was definitely worthwhile and we are very happy we did it. Being from the U.S., we were part of the people-to-people program, which meant that we had different tours (don’t know why) and a couple of different presentations on the ship. The ship stays 2 days in Havana, 1 day at sea going counterclockwise around to the central city of Cienfuegos, then down to Jamaica, then back up to Cuba to hit Santiago, then another day at sea to keep on the way to Havana. We had tours that were part of the cost—in Cienfuegos, in Havana, in Santiago. The buses were really nice and the tour guides were perfect—Cubanacan tour company. English was great, they answered our questions, and did not shy away form tough questions about poverty, the government, etc. It was nice having the drinks as part of the package. There really isn't much of a reason to upgrade to the gold package (the standard is the blue package). The wine was fine, not great. The gold package has some better wines, some better scotch (although my husband the scotch-drinker said that he did not think that Glenfiddich was a premium scotch--it is on the gold package). The ship has a buffet eating area, the Leda, as well as the Amalthia formal dining room. There is also the Olympus dining room, which was not open. There was a variety of food possibilities in the buffet, as well as the dining room. The food was good, not exceptionally wonderful. This did not bother my husband and me since we went on this trip to learn about Cuba, not eating all day. Cienfuegos was interesting, although not that much to see. Still……a nice little tour and time to just sit in the square and soak things in. Better was Santiago………the battle of San Juan Hill, the wonderful Spanish fort/castle that guards the bay there, etc. The rooms on the ship were fine, rather similar to ones we have been on with RC, Celebrity, Princess. The turn on/off on the shower took some figuring out. Nice, small balconies. We were on the port side, and so we faced land all of the time..…..great location. Our cabin 7028 was way at the back of the ship, right in the best area to quickly get down to the restaurants, pool, lounges, etc . Cabins 7029 and 7030 would be great also, although 7030 would be the best because its balcony was the biggest (because of the slope on the back of the ship). Amazingly enough, we had entertainment every night, except for the 1st night (lots of people went to the Tropicana cabaret). The band, the singers, and the dancers were all Cuban-----really good, every night a different 1 hour special—Afro-Cuban music/dances, fiesta, a story about the revolution (that one was a bit of a stretch, though), etc. And the musician/singer duo called Duo Jaleo in the Eros Lounge every night was really good. I did all of the dance lessons (salsa, meringue, mambo, bachata, cha cha) as well as Zumba. Martha, the main instructor, was a blast. Charming, funny, good instructor. Her classes with Cuban music were great. My husband even got in on a couple of the dance classes. All sorts of other 1 hour presentations were going on—documentaries about Cuba, everything about Cuban music and instruments, everything about cigars, how to make Cuban dishes, Cuban drink making, etc. Many of them were put together by our resident Havana-born expert, Dr. Jorge Arocha. I did not go to bingo, to making animals with towels, or anything like that. During those times when there was nothing I wanted to go to, I just hung out with my book reading in a lounge or on the deck, or by the pool. The crew was a head above any other cruise line in being nice and welcoming. Absolutely went out of their way to be helpful as well as just talking about their daily activities. Remember that this ship is small, made for around 1000 people only (although there were probably around 250-350 on it during our stay. I like the size of the ship better than the huge ships with 3000 people and up. The pool is small, but fine for me. Of course, there are some pluses on a big ship—more choices of activities at any hour of the day, a multitude of various kinds of bars, and food entities. If you are the kind of person that needs to have 6 different options of entertainment at any given hour, this is not the ship for you. And also realize that it is an older boat, built in the early 90s. And the ages of the passengers varied from mid-twenties up to eighties, most most being in the 50-60 age area. If anyone is concerned about being from the U.S., I can tell you this was a non-issue. Actually, I think that any danger you hear about are hyped to scare people. Our visas were not a problem getting in/out of the country, and when we went through customs in Miami, they could have cared less about the fact we came form Cuba. Not even a question about opening up a suitcase to look inside. A total nothing. We had no crime perpetrated on us, no dangers we faced, no sonic booms, or anything. Just really nice people who like Americans, and other tourists. I'd travel on this ship again, probably more likely in Greece. If I go to Cuba again, it would be a land tour. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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
I wanted a cruise that was basically exclusive to Cuba. The people to people program was very rich although I was disappointed that a cigar factory tour, Castro's grave and a rum factory (not just the store) were included. The ... Read More
I wanted a cruise that was basically exclusive to Cuba. The people to people program was very rich although I was disappointed that a cigar factory tour, Castro's grave and a rum factory (not just the store) were included. The staff on the cruise were exceptional at every level. They made the entire cruise enjoyable. This is an older ship without many amenities but it was worth taking for the port stops. The ship is not kid friendly. They have a few hours for small kids on the sea days and an hour of Wii time for teenagers. That's all. There is a ping pong table and a gym or the very small salt water pool (max 10 people). So my kids - ages 14, 17, 18 didn't have a lot to do on non trip days. The only problem I had was that food was limited and getting drinks was complicated. The ship was 1/2 full so there was only 1 place to eat for each meal, and the time span was short. This was limiting especially when we disembarked for tours. You can only order drinks on their very limited menu. Even if all of the ingredients were available, they would not make a drink not on the menu. If you are ok with limited amenities I would recommend the ship because it was worth all of the time spent off of the cruise to have an authentic experience. Would recommend upgrading to a suite or you will be very, very cramped in the cheap rooms. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The cruise was part of an all inclusive package from TripCentral. Most Canadians go to Cuba for the beach and then maybe fly to Havana. The Celestyal cruise offered an opportunity to see more of Cuba, from Havana to Cienfuego, then ... Read More
The cruise was part of an all inclusive package from TripCentral. Most Canadians go to Cuba for the beach and then maybe fly to Havana. The Celestyal cruise offered an opportunity to see more of Cuba, from Havana to Cienfuego, then Santiago plus a stop in Montego Bay along the way and we were not disappointed. The excursions offered a rich cultural experience. The tour buses were new and air-conditioned. The tour guides spoke very good English. The nightly shows, though not very elaborate, but were fabulous. The entertainment team and singer were all very talented. Each excursion was topped off with a stop at a popular bar and we were given free mojitos or margarita. The food in the ship was not 24/7 which was good because we did not gain much weight after the trip. I love the daily Latin dance lessons. The crew were friendly and very hard working. I would recommend this trip to anyone who would want to experience and see more of the Cuban culture. During the transfer from Havana to Veradero, our taxi broke down and so we were out there on the highway under 36Celsius heat. I was worried that we will have to wait a long time for a replacement taxi to come pick us up but another car came within 10 minutes and we still had plenty of time at the airport to relax and buy some souvernis. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. We joined a Road Scholar group that was on the ship. We also wanted to go to more than one port in Cuba and the big ships are only going to one port. There were about 150 people on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. We joined a Road Scholar group that was on the ship. We also wanted to go to more than one port in Cuba and the big ships are only going to one port. There were about 150 people on board out of the 1200 that it will hold. Maybe because of this there were very few activities other than the mandatory Cuba lectures and activities. For some of the scheduled activities, no one from the cruise showed up. The casino was small and unexciting. The cabins were small and outdated. We had a junior suite and it was tiny. The toilets didn't work right and it was a joke that everyone shared. Everyone went to the common areas to use the toilets. The same group performed every night. They were quite good but it got really repetitive. The gym was good - it was small but given the number of people on the ship it was fine. All that said, the crew was very friendly and nice. The food was excellent. The cabins were clean. 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
U.K. Couple boarded in Havana on Monday 22nd May We arrived in Havana at Jose Marti airport on Monday afternoon and transferred straight to the cruise terminal. The embarkation procedure was easy and straightforward, we dropped our ... Read More
U.K. Couple boarded in Havana on Monday 22nd May We arrived in Havana at Jose Marti airport on Monday afternoon and transferred straight to the cruise terminal. The embarkation procedure was easy and straightforward, we dropped our luggage at the drop-off point downstairs and was advised it would appear outside our cabin within 30 mins, there were no queues and getting through Cuban Customs to board was very quick. Once on board we were guided to our cabin by the staff located by each lift on every floor. We stayed in 6015 which is an XBO cabin with a large window not obstructed by a lifeboat, but does have partial obstruction from the ship's structure. Nonetheless I still managed to get some very good pictures through the window (although it was a bit dirty). The room itself is small and has two single beds with one upper pull down bed, a stool, double chest of drawers, wardrobe and plenty of storage space on one side of the cabin wall. The bathroom is impossibly small and the shower area is too small to even stand in with the curtain around you, as a result the whole floor area got wet and as there was no floor area drain, the water that enevitably ended up outside the small shower area pooled underneath the toilet. This holiday was to celebrate the O.H's 50th birthday, so we decided to ask the question as to whether an upgrade to a larger cabin would be possible in light of such a tremendous occasion. Yes, we were told, no problem, by the man on reception who disappeared into the office behind the reception desk. He came out a few minutes later with a piece of paper in hand, on which was written 350-600 dollars depending on which cabin we wanted. Disappointed, we declined having already spent 2200EUR for the cruise, we felt this was enough. It was even more disappointing when we discovered after a couple a days that there was less than 250 people on board, there must have been so many empty cabins. We then went straight to the bar to try out the local beer before deciding whether to upgrade to the premium drinks package that included Heineken & Bud etc. The draught lager is Greek and in our opinion doesn't taste very nice. The local beer Cristal is a good beer, in small 330ml tins, it's what we call a good slurper, comparable to Fosters, Carlsberg or Carling. Bucanero is the local premium beer at 5.4%, again in 330ml tins and is also a good beer comparable to Kronenberg, Pilsner etc. Also tried a couple of cocktails which were ok, they didn't have very large measures of alcohol, but they were ok. We decided not to upgrade and stuck with the blue drinks package that was included in our cruise package. We attended the safety briefing as soon as we got there in order to get it out of the way. It was quite amusing as everything was very important. Literally every sentence started with very important. They never did an actual lifeboat muster drill. I can't really remember anything from the safety briefing other than very important lol!! The buffet restaurant was never opened due to low numbers on board, the main restuarant on deck 8 was used on a daily basis and as a result lunch and dinner was always a-la-carte. There was an early bird breakfast 6-30-7am on deck 9 with coffee and pastries otherwise breaksfast was also in the main restaurant on deck 8, which was buffet on excursion days and a-la-carte on sea days. The food in general was very good, never had anything we did not like and although the portions were quite small you could always ask for more if you wanted it, not a problem, even the desserts! Didn't do the captain's cocktail party, not really our thing or the late night cake party either, so can't comment on either or those. All of the staff were excellent, in the restaurant quite lieterally falling over themselves to help you. One would seat you, another would put the napkin on your lap, another would hand you a menu, another would fetch water it was quite funny sometimes. This was mainly due to the fact there were such low numbers on board, the staff outnumbered the guests. The cruise itself was fantastic, we had a half day tour included for Havana and Santiago both of which were very good. We were separated from the Americans on the tours as they had separate iterneries and had other things included on their tours that we didn't have. The half day in Havana was very good and covered most of the main tourist attractions, our guide Havier was excellent and shared his very thorough knowledge of the history of Cuba in an informative an engaging manner. The tour lasted just over 5 hours and ended in Floridita with a Hemingway Daquiri cocktail. For the stops in Cienfuegos and Mo-Bay we did our own thing and headed out on our own, Cienfuegos was beautiful and very enjoyable with lots of markets and sourvenirs. Mo-Bay was dreadful, very run down, lots of beggars and dollar shops, people constantly trying to hustle you, insisting they were your luggage handler at the airport or they worked in the kitchen on your cruise ship then asking you for a few dollars to feed their children etc. Couldn't wait to get out of there to be honest. Santiago was great, although our guide was not as a good as Havier, he just walked around pointing at things and telling you key facts and dates, it just wasn't as memorable as he made no effort to engage with you, which is a shame as Santiago has a great story to tell. We visited the Cemetery where Fidel's tombstone is and queued for about half an hour to walk past it, constantly being told to hurry up and move on by the guards, you couldn't even stop for more than a couple of seconds to take a proper photograph. The weather was very hot and humid, not one day was less than 30 degrees or 70% humidity, once on board the ship it was nice and cool and the air conditioning worked very well both inside the cabin and in the bar and restaurant areas. All of the staff were always pleased to see you and nothing was too much trouble for them. This was a first cruise for me, so I had very few expectations, I found the ship to be very pleasant and it was clean and tidy throughout. The pool appeared to be rather small, although we never used it and the jacuzzi was full with 4 people in it. We only attended 1 show and we weren't very impressed, it was rather amateur. Upon arrival we were quite fortunate as the ship was in dock in the harbour and stayed there until it was time to leave at 10pm on Tuesday. This meant you were free to come and go as you pleased. However, upon our return into Havana on the following Monday we were told that we had to be off by 9am as the ship had to withdraw from the port and anchor in the bay to make way for other cruise ships, not returning into the port until 6pm. They did put on a bus shuttle at 11:30am to take those passengers with late departures to lunch at the Grand Theatre, we didn't bother with this as we were booked into a Havana hotel for the rest of our stay. Later on that afternoon we bumped into a couple who we knew from the ship that had boarded in Mo-Bay and they said that they had also been told that the same thing was happening the next day, only this time you had to be off the ship by 06:30 and couldn't get back on till 9pm or you stayed on board. Glad we never experienced this, it definitely would have spoilt things for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We were pleasantly surprised about how good the food was on board, and how lovely the staff were, both in the dining room and the cabin stewards. We went on this cruise because we had never been to Cuba and we both love cruising so ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised about how good the food was on board, and how lovely the staff were, both in the dining room and the cabin stewards. We went on this cruise because we had never been to Cuba and we both love cruising so thought this was a good way to see a few parts of Cuba in one trip. The food far exceeded our expectations and the shore excursions that were included in the price were very good. All alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were included too, which was very nice. We would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone who wanted to see Cuba (not just go to an all-inclusive for a week) although it is not meant for people with children - - the average age was about 50 to 75. It was not deluxe like Crystal Cruises, but also was very good value for the money. There were quite a few activities on board and a hot tub and pool so you certainly don't get bored on the couple of days at sea. The entertainment was absolutely fantastic - - so talented. Obviously we loved this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Cuba is fascinating, and this is the best overall way to experience various cities and themes. Cheaper and easier than hotels or private homes, more variety of cities, with bonus of excellent Cuban lectures, entertainment and staff. ... Read More
Cuba is fascinating, and this is the best overall way to experience various cities and themes. Cheaper and easier than hotels or private homes, more variety of cities, with bonus of excellent Cuban lectures, entertainment and staff. Older ship design, a bit quirky, but once used to it, compares favorably to the dozen or so larger, newer ships on which I've sailed. A small ship has big advantages. Officer passed me as I was headed for door leading outside, turned around, went back and held it open for me! We had 45 knot winds one day, closing the pool and promenade deck, but did not bother me in middle of ship. 18 cabin categories!!! Size and layout vary widely, so do your homework in booking. I tried to attend every lecture and every show. The music/dance was not quite as polished as on megaships, but you felt more a part of the show. All the performers stood at exit of theatre to talk with us after each show. Lectures by Dr. Arocha were hilarious and insightful, and he spent as much time as I wanted with him privately discussing points of Cuban history. Food was very good, drink package a real deal. Am now addicted to double caramel macciados. Excursions on Cuba cruises (I've come on two cruise lines) are unique answers to US regulations, Cuban conditions and cruise ship needs. They are included in price for US citizens, cover a wide range of history, culture, shopping and onshore dining (included in price). Remember you are in the tropics and the streets are hot and humid.. Buses are modern, with a/c and bath. Guides work for the government agencies but are often quite candid about conditions in Cuba. One is free to come and go, especially on the overnight in Havana. There are adequate tourist police on the streets but no heavy-handed guards or guns. You will see much more security in US airports. Only complaint was that a/c varied from room to room and sometimes had trouble keeping up with the tropics. But crew moved our friends to another cabin to accommodate them. I am planning to return soon to Cuba on this same ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
While there were many things I enjoyed about the cruise, there were a number of major problems. The main reason I was going to Cuba was to experience Havana. I was expecting to have 2 days in Havana. When I asked in advance when I could ... Read More
While there were many things I enjoyed about the cruise, there were a number of major problems. The main reason I was going to Cuba was to experience Havana. I was expecting to have 2 days in Havana. When I asked in advance when I could get on the ship, I was told a few times that I would be able to board the ship around 1pm. I arrived early on Monday in Havana, and was then told that we could not get on the ship, and not told why. I was sent to lunch and then had to wait around until we could get on the ship that night because the ship was not allowed to dock at the port. I lost a full day of exploring Havana and enjoying the ship. The second day we had to get up at 6:15am to leave the ship early and be on a bus tour until 8:30pm. I thought there was a typo on the schedule, but, no, we really had to disembark very early. Our ship was bumped off the dock for a larger vessel. These things happen but I was also told that they knew about this problem at least 10 days prior to my arrival. We had to out until 8:30 at night, when we were allowed back on the ship. While we saw a lot of sites, it was not an enjoyable day. I booked this cruise a little over a week in advance, so at the time of my booking the company knew this was an issue. Had I know this was going to happen, I would not have booked this trip, or would have booked at a different time. I arrived on the ship and was told the wifi was not working. I was also then told that they knew the wifi was down a few days before I arrived. Again, had I known in advance that this was a problem, I would have made arrangements for being totally out of communication before arriving on the ship. The food was surprisingly mediocre, the wine very bad, and the bartenders did not know how to make mixed drinks. The Pros: The staff on the ship was wonderful, and the educational program was excellent. The best part of the whole ship experience was Dr.Jorge Gonzalez Arocha, PhD. I attended all his lectures. He was entertaining and very knowledgeable. Quite a treat. I loved Cuba and am eager to go back to that island. These big issues impacted my overall experience on this vacation. I expected that the cruise line would have offered something to make up for all these inconveniences -but nothing was offered. The ship was less than half full but no upgrades were given. I also wrote to the company's customer service but never heard back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We wanted a true Cuban Experience and Celestyal Cruises are the only ones we knew of to provide that as most other cruises simply visit Havana. However, Celestyal take you to Cuban Ports and enhance your experience in the country. ... Read More
We wanted a true Cuban Experience and Celestyal Cruises are the only ones we knew of to provide that as most other cruises simply visit Havana. However, Celestyal take you to Cuban Ports and enhance your experience in the country. Embarkation was probably the simplest we have ever experienced in our 20+ cruises with various lines. We were aware that the ship used to be a Car Ferry but is has been refurbished so well that you just would not realise that fact. Our cabin was very spacious and immaculately clean, and yet again, probably larger than cabins on other cruise lines. We could not fault the food on board other than to say that the breakfast finished far too early and the food could be tepid most of the time. Other than that - you could not get late night snacks anywhere. The quality, even in the Buffet Restaurant, could not be faulted. On Deck, sunbathing was a joy as there were always plenty of sunbeds available. Probably the most memorable thing about our wonderful cruise though was the staff. Despite being on numerous cruises, the staff on this ship were the friendliest, most helpful we have ever experienced. We had 2 tours included in our package and they were absolutely excellent. The guides knew their stuff and made the experience very interesting. We had a Drinks Package and Pre-paid Gratuities which was an absolute bonus as I hate the situation on other ships when the staff are virtually begging for tips. The Drinks Package covered everything and the drinks were of good quality We had reservations about joining this ship due to its history (Car Ferry) plus the fact that we had never even heard of Celestyal before we researched cruises around Cuba but without doubt we would not hesitate to book with them again. Our only criticism apart from the tepid breakfasts was the fact that communication with the passengers could do with improvement as quite often you were left wondering what was going on. If you book this ship, avoid Deck 2 as your accommodation as occasionally there can be a strong smell of diesel. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Wanted to see Cuba without a lot of hassle and long bus trips so chose a 7 day cruise which included 3 Cuban ports. (Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago) Some of the entrance channels are narrow and shallow which will prevent larger ships from ... Read More
Wanted to see Cuba without a lot of hassle and long bus trips so chose a 7 day cruise which included 3 Cuban ports. (Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago) Some of the entrance channels are narrow and shallow which will prevent larger ships from stopping at these ports. In fact leaving Cienfuegos the ship was causing mud and sand in its wake as the water was so shallow and the channel appeared no more than a couple of hundred yar ds wide. I would rate the cruise overall as excellent. The included tours were very good on nearly new high quality air conditioned buses with restrooms. (Chinese). The food was of a wide variety and very good. US citizens on the ship were in a minority with many French, German and Canadians. The crew and service was outstanding. Our cabin was kept in immaculate condition by our Ukrainian and Uzbeckisani cabin attendants. The ship is older and small by todays standards but has recently been refurbished and is in excellent condition. Our tour was advertised as a People to People tour as per US requirements. There were numerous and informative programs to meet these provisions at which attendance was invited and encouraged but never required. Dress was casual and a jacket and tie is not required. The all inclusive drink package was included in our price and it is a very good program. The nightly shows were very good. Highly recommended Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our cruise was part of a package booked through Air Transat. We expected it to be a direct flight from Vancouver to Havana but instead we stopped at Santa Clara, got off the plane, and got back on to fly to Varadero. Then we were bussed ... Read More
Our cruise was part of a package booked through Air Transat. We expected it to be a direct flight from Vancouver to Havana but instead we stopped at Santa Clara, got off the plane, and got back on to fly to Varadero. Then we were bussed for almost three hours to Havana and boarded the ship after travelling for twelve hours. This is the fault of Air Transat, not the Cruise Line so I would recommend you look for a direct flight as you lose the first day of the cruise and miss out on the optional excursions that are offered. I was with a group of friends and this cruise exceeded all of our expectations. The food in the dining room was excellent, as was the wine, breakfast and lunch in the buffet were very good and there were specialties offered on the pool deck every day. The ship has a little age on it and is not as glitzy as the larger lines but we really liked the size of the ship and how easy it was to get around. It was also very clean. There is a lovely theatre where the entertainment every evening was outstanding and lots of fun. There were free excursions included in every port and they were very informative and enjoyable. I celebrated my birthday on the ship along with one of my friends and we were presented with birthday cakes and the singing of happy birthday by our wait staff. The same servers looked after us at the same table every night and we really appreciated that they went the extra mile for us and remembered that at the end of the cruise with a good tip. The pool is tiny with a retractable roof and was hardly used. I tried the hot tub but it wasn't hot enough for me. There was lots of entertainment like cooking classes, dancing lessons and games offered during the day. Please pay attention to the request not to put anything in the toilets, including toilet paper, as you wouldn't want to clog up the system. All in all, I recommend this cruise. It was one of the best cruise experiences I have had. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
The embarkation was 6 hours late, the ship was waiting a few miles from Havana Port because there was no place for the ship in Port. I understood the problem and accepted it wasn't there fault, the think I had a problem with was a ... Read More
The embarkation was 6 hours late, the ship was waiting a few miles from Havana Port because there was no place for the ship in Port. I understood the problem and accepted it wasn't there fault, the think I had a problem with was a lack of information for the waiting passengers to board the ship. I cruised bigger ships and I wanted to experience smaller ship, no regret I really enjoyed it. The age of passengers are mostly retreated peoples. My cabin was very clean ( thank you Diana ) smaller than expected. The balcony nice size Didn't like the fridge in the closet, it took away some storage for our clothes and shoes. We always had our meal in dining room, the food was very good. Supper Even was our waiter, the group was always happy to see him. The two last days the sea was very rough, when you got to the dining room the staff at the door would help everybody who had difficulty with balance walk to their table. I never seen that on any other ships. Special thank you to Maître D' Mohamed, during my trip I have problem with my health and needed special diet for few days and Mohamed made certain that I received the special attention. Thank you again Maître D' I really appreciate it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Great Cruise Office/Animators team! You won't be disappointed if you join Martha, Victor, and/or Mahelys for fun. Dynamite personalities, and they always give you the extra effort and big smiles. Nightly shows were excellent, and ... Read More
Great Cruise Office/Animators team! You won't be disappointed if you join Martha, Victor, and/or Mahelys for fun. Dynamite personalities, and they always give you the extra effort and big smiles. Nightly shows were excellent, and tied into culture/history. People to People (P2P) sessions very informative, and it added to my overall visit to Cuba. If embarking in Havana, which I highly recommend, come 2 two early so you can explore before joining on board P2P program built for Americans. Cruise port is in Old Havana, and that's where you should stay. Casa particulars available, or hotels, of course. I rated embarkation as average, not because of the process itself, but there were issues in the port that day and it was a few hours before a Celestial representative arrived to talk to those of us who were wishing to embark. They don't appear to be responsible for issues at hand, but they should have had reps in the terminal first thing in the morning to assist/answer questions. They should consider hiring a ground operations reprsentative who lives in the area to assist guests before other staff members arrive off of the ship. It would be good as an improvement to guest services. Also marked excursions average, only because yours are pre-selected in the P2P program. Another reason you should fly in a few days early, so you can pick your own fun. Cabin was a good one, smartly decorated, bright considering inside cabin, thanks to design. Buffet had good something for everyone and the restaurant on level 5 had better seating arrangement than on 8, in my opinion. Helios deck on 9 had lots of activity, and I loved the seating/bar area on the back of the boat, deck 5. Check it out, especially if sun is setting in the horizon. Smaller ship, amenities align with that fact, but you get out of your vacation what you put into it. Keep in mind, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba are shorter port days, but they expose you to different areas of the island that you wouldnt see in a week long vacation unless you are okay with driving to both ends on your own. For me, this was a great introduction to Cuba. Happy to have had the opportunity to visit and engage with the team at Celestyal. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My friend and I chose this cruise after hearing glowing reviews from another mutual friend who went last year. He said this cruise was a "MUST!". It sounded interesting from his description so we decided to go for it. I'm ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise after hearing glowing reviews from another mutual friend who went last year. He said this cruise was a "MUST!". It sounded interesting from his description so we decided to go for it. I'm so glad we did! We booked through Air TransAt as a package, and would hesitate to go that route again as we found they wasted HOURS of our limited time in transit from airport to the ship. Because of that, we had way less time in Havana (our embarkation/debarkation point) than what we expected, or could have had. Other than that, embarkation onto the vessel itself was smooth. Celestyal did its part right. The ship had pretty much all the amenities I required, and was kept neat and clean. The cabin was a reasonable size as long as you weren't planning on remaining in there (and who would want to do that anyhow?) It was well appointed to house your clothing with very reasonable hanging and drawer space, with in-cabin bathroom/shower, hair dryer. The extra electrical plug was 110 (bring a power bar for multiple outlets), and the hair dryer was plugged into what appeared to be a 220, so both were available. Room had a stuffed couch and chair, and small round table. No bedside tables, but lights over the beds. Mattresses were a bit hard for me, but bedding was otherwise very satisfactory. Housekeeping did a great job! Cleanliness was emphasized; staff sanitized surfaces daily; guests were encouraged everywhere to use hand gel. The buffet food variety and quality aboard was fabulous, as was the food and service in the white linen restaurants. The activity schedule was distributed to cabins the evening before. Programs were marvelous - lots to choose from - wine/rum/ouzo tasting, paper flower making, folding towels in a fancy way, learning how to cook Cuban cuisine, to learning salsa or cha-cha (or dancing in general in the lounges or disco), playing games, attending interesting lectures, listening to various musical ensembles, and seeing the fabulous shows (Cuban flavour) in the evening. The folks who were hired to engage people in activities, called 'animators', were amazing and really helped to mold our experience. Kudos to Martha, Vladimir, Sonny. I don't know how you can keep up such energy and positivity! There was no way we could be bored with you folks drawing us into activities! Also, entertainment boss Danny was incredible in keeping entertainment together. I don't know how many languages he speaks, but he could rattle off just about anything in at least five or six languages and was a well spoken, radiant and energetic host for the evening shows. Highlight for me was meeting the musicians and having had the opportunity to play with them! Thank you so much for your generous sharing: Juan, Lazaro, Nidia, Julio and Michel. The tours offered during the day were also high quality. All tour guides were very good and knew their history and surroundings well. Our tour guide in Montego Bay, Candy, was incredibly funny and had us all splitting a side. What a great tour! All staff aboard were courteous, helpful and very friendly. They all seemed to take a very genuine interest in your needs. There were only some minor shortfalls. For example, some water taps aboard in shared bathrooms were difficult to get the water flowing. Our in-room one worked fine. Another is that we had absolutely no idea how much money to convert. And while the ship cannot really advise that, what they might suggest is that if you're busy on bus tours, there really aren't too many opportunities to spend - at least, that was my experience. I'd say don't convert much - unless you know you'll be spending a reasonable amount of time in Havana. There is really not enough time in ports after leaving Havana to spend much, unless you maybe choose to tour completely on your own. Also, there are not many places that will take Visa or Mastercard, either, so don't count on your credit card - yet. (But you CAN use Visa, Mastercard, or USD$ easily enough on board by setting up an account with your all-important ship's card that you receive when you board.) Since we had a full day in Montego Bay in Jamaica and about 6 hours of free time, it was actually easier to get out and spend some USD$. I'm not a high roller. I took $100 USD and found that plenty, and converted $150 CDN to CUCs, which was more than enough for my needs - just little gifts and a drink out in a bar in Havana during free time. I'm a young retiree and traveled without children so I can't comment for parents, except that I only saw a couple of kids on board. I'd very highly recommend this cruise to anyone. For me, it was fun filled, educational, vibrantly cultural, and has given me many 'once-in-a-lifetime' memories. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise line because we are Americans wanting to visit Cuba and at the time this was our best choice. Ship is old, windows were dirty, crew not helpful and unfriendly. Most unfriendly crew we have had in a dozen cruises. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because we are Americans wanting to visit Cuba and at the time this was our best choice. Ship is old, windows were dirty, crew not helpful and unfriendly. Most unfriendly crew we have had in a dozen cruises. I want to compliment the house keeping crew, they were extremely friendly and accommodating. Food was good considering only having one restaurant. Our mini suite was comfortable and large but wish we had booked a balcony room instead. Nightly entertainment was very good for size of ship. Cons are the use of plastic bottles every time you wanted water, surely they can have a more environmentally friendly way to serve water. The card swiping system is most irritating and dangerous system since the cards have your cabin number on them. Our cruise destination was modified and we were not able to visit Isla de Juventud. Instead of returning to Havana we were bused to Havana from Cienfuegos. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We choose the cruise because it was essentially the only way we could see Cuba in a family group. That said, we got to see much less of Cuba and much more of the cruise than we hoped. This was through no fault of the cruise however. We ... Read More
We choose the cruise because it was essentially the only way we could see Cuba in a family group. That said, we got to see much less of Cuba and much more of the cruise than we hoped. This was through no fault of the cruise however. We were supposed to spend an afternoon at a snorkle beach (something like Punta Frances) and the Cuban government closed the port so we spent an extra day at sea. We also got into Havana 3 hours later than expected so we did not get to walk around much there either. That said, the cruise did a very nice job attempting to keep us entertained. I cannot say enough about the amazing and sweet percussionist from the Buena Vista Social club named Lazaro. Be sure to visit with him - he will give you lessons! Also loved the band leader Nidia who plays bass and sings like an angel. I got a kick out of the performers who put together some very respectable shows with multiple props and costume changes considering how challenging their acts let alone on a swaying stage. I would also suggest you go to the cooking demonstrations - both Cuban cooks were a delight. The restaurants are way better than the buffet. We loved our waiters - a delightful team from Indonesia - Wayan. They also performed in an incredible crew talent show that they must repeat if possible.I also got a kick out of the dance lessons. Another nice feature were the on board lectures (for example about rum or cigars or music) and films about Cuba they showed. All of the staff was very sweet and our chamber maid was lovely - Dunia also from Cuba. Our kids (ages 6-13) liked the entertainment - the crew was very nice with them playing Wii and teaching them napkin folding, paper flower making, and fruit carving. Mahelys spent time entertaining my daughter and making a souvenir book with her. We liked our excursions to see 2 Cuban cities but again, would have benefited from spending more time on shore and less time on board. Also our toilet was not functioning optimally but the rest of the cabin was fine. Daniel the cruise director was super organized and helpful. Ultimately, it was a very nice family get together with some fantastic music and art on the side. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise last minute because the cruise we had booked to Cuba was cancelled. We originally discounted this cruise line because of the negative reviews, but then I remembered that dissatisfied customers usually post more often ... Read More
We chose this cruise last minute because the cruise we had booked to Cuba was cancelled. We originally discounted this cruise line because of the negative reviews, but then I remembered that dissatisfied customers usually post more often then satisfied customers. Last review before mine had a totally different view on almost all the same things, however we went about our trip differently. The food was definitely not the best I have ever eaten, however if you went into the main dining room for meals, breakfast was the same buffet, but you could also order from your waiter and your omelettes, eggs or even pancakes could be make fresh for you. Lunch was also ordered off the menu unless it was a disembarkation day. The choices were limited, true, but you could always find something good. The appetizers were made as main courses for us throughout the cruise, if that is what we preferred. The soups, both hot and cold, were always delicious, salads fresh. We received our meat at the medium rare temperature we preferred and were served french fries with our hamburgers at request. They could use fresh fish options for sure, but I was not dissatisfied with the food at all and came home 3 lbs extra. The staff was amazing and unlike the prior review, we arrived as late as 7:15 for dinner and they always found us a table for 3. We did upgrade to the gold drink package and the choices were much more plentiful. We were in a balcony suite, so not an inexpensive choice, however the nicest suite I ever had on a ship. Our private bedroom was as big as most balcony suites we have had in the past, with a separate living area, very large triple bathroom. It was fabulous. The tours, the people, the shows on board all A+++++. Loved the ship, the staff, especially our head waiter. Will probably travel again with Celestyal to the Greek Islands! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Embarkation was good but not enough signs directing you to the check-in desk or to the ship (MSC was also docked here and their signs were everywhere which made it a little confusing). Disembarkation was very smooth. The cabin was ... Read More
Embarkation was good but not enough signs directing you to the check-in desk or to the ship (MSC was also docked here and their signs were everywhere which made it a little confusing). Disembarkation was very smooth. The cabin was clean and good size but not enough room to put your luggage. The bed was comfortable. The toiletries were good. The towels were OK, a little coarse. Housekeeping was good and helpful. The public area was clean but the decor and furniture were dated and updates are needed. There was only one pool and was very small. The poolside seating was good but the floor was often wet and slippery. The staff at the bar, the lounge and the dining room was friendly and attentive. The drinks were good and they did not cheap out on the alcohol. Good selection in their drink menu. The food at the buffet was good but the selection was limited. The breakfast choices was the same everyday (pretty boring). The food at the dining room was average and not enough choices to choose from. The desserts were below average. There were 2 restaurants but only one was opened. The gym was very small with a just a few equipment. The running/walking track was narrow and short and part of it usually closed. The entertainment was above average. The director was very energetic and entertaining. The on broad activities were average but the staff was pleasant and fun. The staff at the reception was helpful but unfortunately we had 2 unpleasant incidences with 2 of their staff (one of them got offended when we told him he gave us wrong information. The other one blamed and argued with us on the port entry issue) The ports and shore excursions were good. The local guides were very knowledgeable. Unfortunately the ship was not allowed to stop at one of the ports as per the itinerary (Isle of Youth or Punta Francis). Even though they knew about this in advance, they did not make any plans (e.g. stop at other ports) and we just stayed longer in Havana (got quite disappointed). We were party of 4 with no children. Our overall experience was good. We enjoyed mingling with the staff and some fellow travelers, their all inclusive drinks and shore excursions. We would like to try their Greece cruise. 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
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 2.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.0
Enrichment 3.5 3.8
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates N/A N/A

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