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2 Star Clippers Havana Cruise Reviews

This is a very hard one to score. The vessel is a sailing cruise ship (barquentine) which takes a maximum of 170 guests. It is extremely well-appointed and the crew are enthusiastic and attentive. We would particularly comment on the ... Read More
This is a very hard one to score. The vessel is a sailing cruise ship (barquentine) which takes a maximum of 170 guests. It is extremely well-appointed and the crew are enthusiastic and attentive. We would particularly comment on the outstanding food which was served throughout our 7-day cruise. So far, it rates 5 stars. The problem was that it failed to deliver us to several of the destinations advertised. Some while before our holiday, we were informed that the Cuban authorities had revoked cruise ship licences to two of the islands and, instead, we would have to spend an additional night in each of Havana and Cienfuegos. (There was no evidence that the company had tried to substitute some different islands). Neither Havana nor Cienfuegos were appealing to us as we had already built more than enough time in those locations into our itinerary but, by then, it was too late to change our other travel plans. So, before the holiday starts, we have effectively lost two days. We embarked on Saturday afternoon, sailed Monday evening and were due to visit our first stop, Punta Francis, on the Tuesday morning. On arrival at Punta Francis, we were advised that the Port Authorities were unable to clear us in as their car had broken down. The company was unable to resolve this problem so we had now lost the third of our five stops. The company blames the Cuban authorities, but we now understand that this is quite common (we were told by staff that this was the third time in the last four visits to Punta Francis that guests were unable to go ashore) yet we were never warned of this possibility. The company needs to understand that travelling on the Star Flyer is an experience but not the end in itself. And it needs to come clean about the likelihood that they will not be able to deliver what they advertise in their brochure. The whole point for us was to visit some outlying parts of Cuba in addition to the main towns and cities. Instead, we sailed from Havana to Cienfuegos, stopping in one position which allowed us to visit just two different beaches. Overall, a hugely expensive disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Sailed from Cienfuegos, 3 hours south of Havana, there is no such port of embarkation on the list above! Departed on 11 Jan 2015. All very smooth. Lovely weather, ship beautiful, Captain jolly, crew friendly and very efficient. Food ... Read More
Sailed from Cienfuegos, 3 hours south of Havana, there is no such port of embarkation on the list above! Departed on 11 Jan 2015. All very smooth. Lovely weather, ship beautiful, Captain jolly, crew friendly and very efficient. Food excellent. Spent the first day at sea sailing up and down......there is nowhere else to go, and get the impression Cuban officials are very firm about where they go. Each time they anchor to go ashore, or tie along side officials board and there is paperwork to trawl through. It must be very tedious to do every week. The day was Ok as new arrivals found their sea legs, and old timers relaxed after the dirty, noisy frantic city that is Havana. Its a pity SC cannot anchor in the bay, its enormous, and Cienfuegos would be an interesting city to tour. Most people arrived for the cruise and did not get to see the colonial French buildings (falling down, like much of Cuba). Day 2 At anchor off Ancona beach for Trinidad, we had already 'done' Trinidad so just went to the beach. Swimming good, watersports team there, so sail board, canoe, dinghy. Cuban style loungers free and shadefrom thatched umbrellas, a typical Cuban bar, and a loo. We had an hour there for a walk and went back to relax on the Flyer. There is a soviet era looking hotel, we did not venture in. After a week in Cuba we were happy to look but not enter! Days 3 and 4 to the Caymans......Cayman Brac first, an overnight sail, smooth and calm sea. Swimming off gangway good. Also snorkling good off beach in a small lagoon, and a wreck, though sea quite lumpy in the midday breeze. Entering the water from the tender not easy unless you are a competent snorkler, I am not. Island looked very nice, clean and British! Some people took taxis to sandy beaches on the far side. Taxis not cheap. Day 4 we were at Grand Cayman, along side the port, so easy access to the town. They take on food and drink here, there is none in Cuba. We went on the stingray trip plus turtle farm, by coach, it was worth every penny. Interesting guide, tour of Island and swimming with the rays memorable. You leave the Island at 3.30, could do with another day here maybe to see it properly, though some who did not do the tour said the beach was nothing special. We were lucky only 2 huge cruise ships at anchor with us, sometimes they have 5. Day 5 overnight to Cayo Largo, amazing white soft sand beach..bar if needed, and restaurant, also you can swim with dolphins if you like. A fairly long transfer as its shallow, so 40 mins in a tender, there is no other way ashore. Did not move anchorage for last day at Cayo Rico next door. Day 6 Beach BBQ, amazing work for the waiters and cooks, transferring lunch plus BBQ ashore. Tables and benches there and loungers and shade. In super covered bar, but beach only for paddling, some lay on mats in the water! Sea bright blue and amazing clear water. However transfers long....its too shallow even for tenders at the end, so local boats used. It took an hour to get to the beach so some complaints about this, but SC trying hard. Day 7 back to Cienfuegos and time to disembark. Sad to say bye to the ship, crew, staff and fellow passengers, a super cruise again, our 4th. Each time we anchored, or went into port in Cuba, had 4 doctors out to take temps of everyone on board (Ebola) plus loads of people checking papers again and again. All before Ship was cleared...so 6.30 to 7.30am! Paperwork is a career in Cuba. Overall it was lovely, a respite from Cuba which is terribly poor, the food terrible, hygene worse (11 people confined to cabins at first as had bad stomachs after eating Cuban food).the people seem friendly but only as long as tipped frequently, 2 people on our ship had been mugged in Havana in daylight. . We were 111 passengers, the next week there were only 70. Star Clippers are trying hard, but unless the US visitors are allowed I cannot see this continuing as an option. Pleased we did it, but as a cruise you do not sail far, and Cuba fairly limiting as a destination. We preferred the leewards and windwards. And Europe. As a luxury week in the middle of a Cuban holiday though it was ideal. Will not return to Cuba, but will return to Star Clippers! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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