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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We received this cruise as Christmas gift... my brother and me. We was afraid if the weather will be ok, because the previous week was too cold, but in Mediterranean was perfect... It was a luck that the ship embarked from Piraeus, ... Read More
We received this cruise as Christmas gift... my brother and me. We was afraid if the weather will be ok, because the previous week was too cold, but in Mediterranean was perfect... It was a luck that the ship embarked from Piraeus, was easy to access with airplane/taxi. Decent hotels was available very close to the port... a walk distance.. The cabin was decent, larger than expected. The personnel was very well trained, polite, helpful. The food was very good, a lot of entertainments- it was an origami club, Greek language lessons and many others.. The excursions was interesting, we learned a lot for the local culture and traditions. Compliments to the staff, and thank you for the amazing trip :) Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My partner Raman & I were on this ship (Celestyal Olympia) for a 3 Days Cruise, as part of our Globus tour 'Iconic Agean with 3 Night Cruise'. It was their first cruise of 2016 (March 11-14, 2016) & the weather was ... Read More
My partner Raman & I were on this ship (Celestyal Olympia) for a 3 Days Cruise, as part of our Globus tour 'Iconic Agean with 3 Night Cruise'. It was their first cruise of 2016 (March 11-14, 2016) & the weather was early spring, so guess the ship was less than half capacity, to our advantage. We had upgraded our indoor cabin on deck 3 (ic) to the balcony suite (sb) on deck 9 by paying a hefty sum, but it was worth every penny. We were in room 9003 (named after Vasco da Gama, who was coincidentally the first European to sail to India, the country where we stay). The highlight of the ship for us was our room comforts & its big balcony. It being a right side room, we had an ever greater advantage as the ports & scenic views are better seen from the right, so we could easily click a lot of nice pics. We knew at the outset itself that the time on the ship was short as we had 5 ports in 3 days, so we decided to make the best use of it. We also had the huge advantage of having our Globus tour guide, a warm lovely lady Christiana always with us on the ship & offshore. The theme of the cruise was the carnival theme, so it was well decorated with lots of related procedures. The onboard hospitality, housekeeping & the embarkation experiences were excellent, as was the hectic combination of the destinations of Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Heraklion Crete & Santorini. We also had a bonus of seeing Samos island from close, as a group was dropped & picked up there. The ship was overall relatively smooth despite a strong winter breeze & turbulence on the last day. We disembarked earlier than scheduled at all ports, so got more time for our excursions. Thanks to our Globus guide, we did the best Celestyal cruise shore excursions viz. Ephesus through the ages (Kusadasi), St Johns monastery & the grotto (Patmos), Knossos tour (Crete) & the Oia village tour (Santorini). At Mykonos we preferred to do a lovely walk tour with our Globus guide. The weather was superb in general,a great combination of sunny, cloudy & breezy. Santorini was more grey than blue due to the weather, but we still enjoyed a lot. One recommendation. Our cruise cards got demagnetised many times & so we couldn't open our cabin, despite not keeping them close to our mobiles. The easy solution would be to give a cover in which the cards can be kept like in most hotels. Finally I'd recommend this cruise as the cheapest & fastest way to see the Greek islands briefly. An overall great cruise experience. Am posting many pictures here. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We are first time cruisers so read with appropriate caution. I thought this was a great way to see Cuba. We sailed on January 1st. from Montego Bay with a "People to People" educational program. The ship and food were deemed ... Read More
We are first time cruisers so read with appropriate caution. I thought this was a great way to see Cuba. We sailed on January 1st. from Montego Bay with a "People to People" educational program. The ship and food were deemed "below expectations" by the experienced cruise passengers we sailed with but both were perfectly adequate in our opinion. You take this cruise for the destination, not the ship. The crew was above all earnest, but overworked. I'm not sure the ship is staffed well enough when the vessel is full. There were concerns with elevators that frequently did not work and, "ahem" the toilets of questionable quality. The ship is on the smaller side so meeting people was quite easy, especially given that most on board were there for their first Cuba experience. I thought that the entertainment on board was great. It was not "polished" but the entertainers were clearly energetic and invested in putting on a good show. As others have mentioned the cruise director "Danny" was great and made sure that everyone was having a good time! What I most loved about this cruise was the port of calls and the educational sessions offered by the two University of Havana professors who were on board with us. They gave a fascinating overview of the history, politics, culture, and flora/fauna of this great land. I felt sorry for the cruise guests who were not "required" to attend these sessions as they were quite informative. You ideally go on this cruise to learn and there were many opportunities to do so. Shore Excursions: Santiago de Cuba - our first shore excursion offered a decidedly pro-Castro view of Cuban history, an exposure to Santeria dancing, and unfortunately not lunch. Eat a good breakfast before this one! There is, however, a stop for coffee and beer at a local gallery that had exquisite ceramics for sale at very reasonable prices in the gift shop. Havana - the reason that most of us took this cruise. Havana is amazing but the quality of the shore excursions was, at best, uneven. I might skip them entirely. The ship docks in Old Havana and there are great squares and historical buildings that can likely be experienced better with a good guidebook. Your ship will stay here for one full and one partial day. I would spend the first day exploring Old Havana and having dinner in one of the many Paladares, or private restaurants. Hemingway had many talents, but the bars he frequented has only one - ripping off tourists with substandard Mojitos. Skip these. For the second day take a taxi to the National Museum of Fine Arts for their spectacular modern collection. Have lunch at "Habana 61" and still have time for the Museum of the Revolution and a leisurely walk back to the ship. The formal excursion would make you choose between these two museums but this is not at all necessary. Maria la Gorda - We almost skipped this excursion as those who boarded the ship before us proclaimed the nature preserve as a total bust and because we are not beach/hot weather people. This stop turned out to be one of the most fun. First of all, tenders run between the cruise ship and the beach continually so you can spend as much time or as little as you would like. I would suggest the first non-tour tender. Once you exit on the pier move as far to the right as you can as this is where there are beach umbrellas and a Cuban BBQ sponsored by your ship. You may purchase drink/food coupons in advance but these are not required. For a short queue you can simply sign purchases to your cabin account. This made for a most relaxing day and a great counterpoint to the urban Havana. Cienfuegos - the most beautiful port and excursion of them all. Known as the "Pearl of the South" from colonial era the architecture was well preserved and the most common tourist sections were closed to vehicular traffic. Your first stop will be in the main square to see the Teatro Tomas Terry theater and the gorgeous Palacio Ferrer. Save your money from the street vendors in this area because for us the next two stops were at artist collectives where there was an abundant amount of original art for sale and the opportunity to meet the artists. Definitely a highlight of the trip! This excursion ends at Punta Gorda, where the wealthy of the area once congregated, and Palicio de Valle, a former Batista casino, turned into a restaurant with beautiful views of the bay. I'm not sure we would take a cruise with this company again for a non-Cuban destination. Having said that, our costs were considerably less than competitive offerings and we had a great time overall. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
It was our very first cruise experience and we are definitely impressed and the highlight of our Europe trip. Prior to our departure date, we read some of the reviews about Celestial Olympia which some were not favourable but we were ... Read More
It was our very first cruise experience and we are definitely impressed and the highlight of our Europe trip. Prior to our departure date, we read some of the reviews about Celestial Olympia which some were not favourable but we were pleasantly surprised because our experience in the ship has not dampened or spoiled our enthusiasm to go on a cruise again in future, in fact we could go for a repeat cruise with Celestyal Olympia anytime. All the staff were very friendly and hospitable, the entertainment was excellent- the Greek band, the dancers, the lovely Greek lady singer, we had the most enjoyable four nights, we were definitely entertained. Our cabin which was a last minute upgrade to executive cabin was reasonably priced, it was a very smooth sailing we had the best sleep! We also liked the food, drinks were unlimited, we learned Greek dance, salsa and cha cha, we had lots of fun to say the least. We certainly highly recommend it and will do it again in future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We were very disappointed with this cruise. The cabin was very shabby with holes filled in the walls but not painted over, carpet was stained and curtains were thread bare and would not close properly. In the bathroom the shower showed ... Read More
We were very disappointed with this cruise. The cabin was very shabby with holes filled in the walls but not painted over, carpet was stained and curtains were thread bare and would not close properly. In the bathroom the shower showed rust and the grout in the floor kept falling out. There was obviously some problem with the drainage system as the carpet in the passage was stained outside several cabins and there was a suction pump being used and also a blower operating to dry the carpet. The cabin staff were very friendly and did the best they could with what they had to work with. There was a lack of information on the islands that were visited prior to the shore excursions. The food was very average and the wine poor although the staff were friendly and helpful. As a whole the ship was very old and tired and needs a complete makeover. Altogether not a very good experience for our first cruise, we would not recommend it to anybody. Although we didn't enjoy the ship we loved the Greek Islands and explored them ourselves via taxi or on foot rather than the cruise shore excursions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We are very disappointed with this Celestyal Cruise. The cabin was very shabby with holes in the walls that had been filled but not painted and thread bare curtains that didn't close properly. The bathroom had rust evident in the ... Read More
We are very disappointed with this Celestyal Cruise. The cabin was very shabby with holes in the walls that had been filled but not painted and thread bare curtains that didn't close properly. The bathroom had rust evident in the shower and the grout in the floor was falling out. It was obvious there was a problem with the drainage as there were stains on the carpet in the passage way and a suction pump was being used as well as a blower to dry the carpet. The cabin staff were friendly and did the best they could with what they had to work with. The food and wine was average but the waiting staff were friendly and helpful. It is clear that this ship needs a full makeover before it would become pleasant to sail on, it was not a good experience for our first cruise. There was a newsletter each day detailing what activities there were on board but no information about the various islands visited except to list the tours. The on shore excursions were very expensive, we did some ourselves by taxi which worked out well. While we enjoyed the Greek Islands we would not recommend this cruise at all. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Our first cruise - never again. The ship is old, tired and should be ditched. We did a cruise round some of the Greek Islands. They couldn't get into Patmos. At Mykonos we only had two hours and for most of that it was dark, Santorini ... Read More
Our first cruise - never again. The ship is old, tired and should be ditched. We did a cruise round some of the Greek Islands. They couldn't get into Patmos. At Mykonos we only had two hours and for most of that it was dark, Santorini was so crowded it was like a conga line around the town. The cabin was OK, but very small and airless. There was no room for two cases, except on the floor. The crew were very pleasant but looked and acted like they were overworked. The food was poor, pretty much the same every day. They took so long checking us in we never got the emergency briefing at the beginning so we had no idea what we would need to if there was an emergency. The personal/medical form which we were told was so important to have completed was never requested. Several times we wanted to find a quiet space just to sit and read - no chance, everywhere was so noisy with loud music. We were charged 20 Euro for wifi which didn't work for most of the time (who charges for wifi now?). When I asked about the wifi I was told it was either the bad weather or the satellite was down - REALLY ?? We were sadly disappointed and we really feel we wasted our $'s and five days of our holiday. NEVER. NEVER again would we we use Celestyal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I took a 3 night cruise to the Greek islands and Turkey on the Celestyal Olympia. It was such a fantastic cruise! The cruise is very port heavy but the time on the ship was fabulous. The crew was amazing and so friendly and helpful. I ... Read More
I took a 3 night cruise to the Greek islands and Turkey on the Celestyal Olympia. It was such a fantastic cruise! The cruise is very port heavy but the time on the ship was fabulous. The crew was amazing and so friendly and helpful. I spent most of my time by the pool and in the sunbathing deck. It got pretty crowded but it was still enjoyable. They had music and dance lessons by the pool and the buffet was great offering hamburgers, gyros, sandwiches and desserts. The Aegean restaurant had wonderful dinners and the staff was superb! The entertainment at night in the lounge was great and a perfect way to end the evening. Everything ran smoothly and the staff was very efficient at the ports getting everyone on and off the ship. I would love to cruise with Celestyal again and I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking to enjoy the Greek islands! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I have just returned from our vacation in Greece. While we were pleased with most of the trip, the cruise fell short of what we were expecting. Some problems were not serious - the food was hit or miss, and the "pool" ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from our vacation in Greece. While we were pleased with most of the trip, the cruise fell short of what we were expecting. Some problems were not serious - the food was hit or miss, and the "pool" was more like a kiddie pool. Our big issue, however, was with our cabin. The cabin was supplied with two twin beds, rather than one larger bed, which was not what we had hoped for our honeymoon, nor was the stale smell on the blankets and the torn carpet. The worst part was the bathroom. The toilet did not work when we arrived. It was fixed quickly, but had to be dealt with the second and the third day as well. The shower did not drain properly, flooding the bathroom floor when we showered. Above all, the smell in the bathroom was that of a backed up sewer, and would drift into the cabin if the door was left open for more than a second. The outside of the room also smelled strongly of diesel. After returning home and researching this cruise line, we learned that this was formerly a car deck. While not everything about the cruise was negative (the entertainment was good, the all-inclusive drink special was worth the price, some of the meals were tasty, and the overall itinerary was fun), the cabin left a sour taste on this trip. If we had known what the cabin would be like we would have preferred to stay on the mainland for a few extra days. We would not use this cruise line again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We signed up for all the excursions we could. While it was exhausting, taking an excursion at each port-of-call was better than staying on the ship (read the other recent reviews). The beach transfers were the best deals. Our excursions ... Read More
We signed up for all the excursions we could. While it was exhausting, taking an excursion at each port-of-call was better than staying on the ship (read the other recent reviews). The beach transfers were the best deals. Our excursions all went well, but that might be because we were part of an EFTours student group and we had a Tour Director to handle issues and shepherd us through disembarking and other procedures. We did have one small group who had an excursion cancelled but they had enough notice and were able to make a substitution, with the Tour Director's assistance. Food was mediocre except for the desserts which were generally delicious. Breakfast was OK although the eggs left much to be desired. The Greek yogurt was good -- add mueslix, fruit and/or honey. The Grill was the best place to eat. Yes, hamburgers and pizza but better than what you get in America. DO NOT PURCHASE DRINK PACKAGES. It was near impossible to get served a drink, at dinner or the bars. As other reviews stated, service generally sucked. The best part of the cruise was disembarking on the last day! Would not use Celestyal Cruises again, mainly due to food and service issues. We did use the spa -- I had a manicure and pedicure on the very first afternoon, and my daughter had a massage. Although pricey, it was a nice way to start the cruise and we were very happy with those services. We never did have time to use the pool. Also noted our bathroom in the cabin was not cleaned well. Air conditioning -- I suspect they turned it down at night so it was not as cool. I woke up each night in a sweat. Did not appreciate that AT ALL given our exhausting daily activities. Excursion: Ancient Ephesus, Kusadasi, Turkey -- It was not advertised but after our visit to Ephesus we were taken to Turkman Village Art & Rug for a rug-making demo and shopping. It was fun but I wish I had been better prepared for this experience. Be sure to read the reviews on Turkman Village on TripAdvisoncom if you are visiting Kusadasi. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We chose this cruise as we only had a limited amount of available time to visit the islands during our stay in Athens. I had done a lot of research and was a little nervous based on my findings on the internet. I wanted to write this ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we only had a limited amount of available time to visit the islands during our stay in Athens. I had done a lot of research and was a little nervous based on my findings on the internet. I wanted to write this review to inform people that this cruise was an amazing experience overall!! I booked online directly with Celestyal rather than use a tour group and was able to book at a 15% discount early booking rate. The process of booking was very easy and I was able to select my own cabin while booking. I chose to upgrade to a balcony suite (Cabin 9003) and it was fantastic! The cabin was very large (I think about 300sqft) with a large balcony, a nice sized bathroom with bathtub, a king-sized bed, lots of cabinet space for our clothing, and a small living room area. I feel that the selection of an upgraded cabin helped to make this cruise very enjoyable as we were able to escape there to enjoy our balcony in peace. We booked the 3 day excursion package which included: 1. KUSADASI - Ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Houses, 2. PATMOS - Religious visit to St John's Monastery -Grotto of Apocalypse, 3. CRETE - Minoan Palace of Knossos - 1st European Civilization, 4. SANTORINI - Spectacular Oia Village perched on the caldera rim. Overall, the excursions are great! We could have saved some money and tried doing these on our own, but I liked having everything ready to go for me when we reached the port and it was worth the extra bit of money to not have to worry about how we would get to all of the sights on our own. There is also the benefit of being first off on the tender boats when the ship did not dock. It was also nice to have the tour guides to explain the history to us. The only downside was not having enough time in Santorini. Oia was stunning and we really only had a total of 3 hours there after you tender boat in. I will certainly make another trip back and spend more time in Santorini in the future!! Mykonos was beautiful and we did this on our own and I would say that you do not need to book an excursion here. The dining was quite enjoyable for us. My husband and I went to the Aegean restaurant several times for lunch and dinner and were always placed with other people. We were able to meet people from all over the world and we really enjoyed this. The food was always good and we found the staff very friendly. We also went to Leda casual dining for breakfast and lunch and it is buffet style. The food here was good. We did sit on deck by the pool a few times and they always had an activity going on, but we did not really partake in any of the activities. This is a really port intensive cruise and we just wanted to relax when we were at sea. There was always entertainment in the evening and we did take in a couple of shows which were good, but again, because it was so port intensive, we tended to relax in the lounge or in our room on the balcony. We did purchase the all inclusive drinks package, which is worth it if you want to enjoy a few beverages. Overall, our cruise with the Celestyal Olympia was fantastic! For anyone who is looking to enjoy the islands in a short amount of time, this cruise is for you. The ship is a bit older, but the experience of the Greek Islands was amazing! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
I booked this cruise, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, in a hurry, it was a last minute idea I had and didn't read any reviews, it just matched my available dates so I went for it, and am very glad I did. Even though it was ... Read More
I booked this cruise, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, in a hurry, it was a last minute idea I had and didn't read any reviews, it just matched my available dates so I went for it, and am very glad I did. Even though it was our very first cruise experience ever, I knew that cruises through the Greek isles are supposed to be smaller and less luxurious than those in the Caribbean for example, so I set my expectations accordingly. Yes, it's an old ship, but very well maintained and with an excellent crew on board. All crew staff was great: the waiters always making sure if you're in need of a refill, the entertainment crew was absolutely brilliant, most of them multilingual and always with a smile on their faces. The shows on board were quite nice, really. The band in the theater was great, believe me, it was a Greek rock band that could nail Pink Floyd classics and make it look easy (great guitar player). Food was sometimes good and sometimes very good, not great. And to be honest, cruising through the Aegean is all about the destinations, we visited Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Crete and Santorini. My only complaints: The weather was very bad, sea was very rough for the last two days of our journey, so bad that hale was falling in Crete and we couldn't disembark in Santorini due to the high waves. We were later refunded for the cancelled tour in Santorini. Cabin is outdated and not very comfortable to be honest. The Cuban band in the Latin bar, really sucked. Trust me on this one, I am latino and know perfectly the difference between good and bad Latin music. This bar was always empty, so clearly I was not the only one with this opinion. All in all, I can recommend this cruise, we had a great time, and would book in Celestyal again, not a 5 star, but definitely a 4. Recommendations: Don't go for the all-inclusive alcohol drink package unless you're a really serious drinker/drunken; you won't get your money's worth even if you spend all 4 days drinking till unconscious. Don't buy the Video or the Photographs, not worth it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We arrived in Havana around 1 pm, the funny thing was, since we purchased the air/flight packages, pretty much everyone on our flight from Toronto was going on the Cuba Cruise! Once we arrived, there were representatives with Cuba Cruise ... Read More
We arrived in Havana around 1 pm, the funny thing was, since we purchased the air/flight packages, pretty much everyone on our flight from Toronto was going on the Cuba Cruise! Once we arrived, there were representatives with Cuba Cruise signs, showing us where to go to catch the bus to the terminal. Don’t feel pressured to exchange your money at the airport, there is a currency exchange at the cruise terminal, before you get on the ship. The bus was an air-conditioned coach, and the guide explained what we were seeing during the ride to the cruise terminal (about 45 minutes). When we arrived, we had to leave all of our luggage on the dock, including our carry-ons (so don’t assume you can put a change of clothes in your carry on). We went to get our Cruise cards, go through the ship’s customs, and got to our cabin, all in under half hour. Our luggage showed up very quickly (less than an hour). We then went out to explore Havana. Since we hadn’t arrived early enough to do the Cruise excursion, I had arranged ahead of time to have a 55 Chevy with driver and tour guide pick us up at the terminal (OldCar Tours). This was well worth the 40CUC per hour. They drove us around the city and the guide was very informative. We boarded the ship once again in time for dinner, which was a buffet on the first night. We weren’t impressed with the food that night, but we were pleasantly surprised that it did get better (more on this later). We met our cabin steward (Yasnay) and she was so friendly and fantastic the whole week. They clean the rooms twice a day, replacing the towels if you want, and even making up the bed twice. I was a bit concerned about the fact you can’t flush toilet paper, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal, there’s a can with a lid and they changed it twice a day. If you forget out of habit, nothing happens! It still flushed! The one thing we noticed almost immediately is that the majority of the people were seniors. We are in our 40s and felt like we were the youngest couple there. Eventually we did see a few younger couples with kids but we felt sorry for the kids because there really wasn’t much for them to do. I would NOT recommend bringing kids on this cruise, my kids would have been bored most of the time. The evening shows were fantastic! We really enjoyed the “cirque” type performances, and they had a team of fantastic dancers. The Havana Moon band played nightly and were very talented. One of the musicians played the flute, sax, clarinet, and something else! The main singers, Freddie and Hector were great! Freddie should have his own record contract, he’s that good. They also had other entertainment in the various lounges throughout the evening if you didn’t want to go to the main show. The service on board was impeccable. The waiters and drink servers were always there when you wanted them. All of the staff on board were friendly, and you got to know some of them by name. Excursions: We did an excursion every day, but if we were to do it again, we would probably do some exploring on our own. When you get to Holguin, I would definitely recommend the swimming with the dolphins. We all agreed it was the highlight of our trip. At this port (it wasn’t even a port, we had to use the ship’s tenders to get to shore) there was really only a tiny town with nothing to do, so definitely take an excursion here (Antilla). In Santiago de Cuba, we did a city tour, but they spent too much time (in my opinion) at a cemetery and not enough time at the beautiful fort (we only had 20 minutes at the fort, not even enough time to take the steps down to the beach). We also made a stop at the former Bacardi Rum factory and were thrilled to buy bottles of rum for 7CUC, but later on, we saw it even cheaper at the Duty Free shop at the Havana airport!!! I recommend that you do this city on your own, research on Trip advisor what you’d like to do and do it. In Montego Bay, we took an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls, but wish we had just rented a taxi on our own after we saw that several others did so. The excursion was overpriced and the tour bus was way less comfortable than the busses in Cuba (no leg room at all). Anyway, the falls were fantastic and I’d highly recommend a visit. In Cienfeugos, we did the El Nicho waterfall excursion. I would NOT recommend this excursion to ANYONE! First of all, you ride on the back of an old Russian army truck, open to the wind and sun, very uncomfortable, for 2 hours to the waterfalls! Then we ate a meager lunch and only had an hour to do the trail and waterfall. Then a 2 hour ride back. Definitely NOT worth 4 hours of driving. Also, it was the “dry” season so the falls were a trickle and some of the river areas were dried up. At Punta Frances we thoroughly enjoyed the beach day. We found many seashells and just enjoyed the warm waters and hot sun. Cabins: Our cabin was 3029, at the very back of the ship. The engine rumble and vibrations were VERY loud and I would NOT recommend being anywhere near the back of the ship, especially at the lower levels. Thankfully we brought earplugs and we got used to the vibrations. It was nice to have a window, and we took the two single beds and pushed them together so we could sleep together. The room was small, but we didn’t spend much time in there anyway so it didn’t matter. The shower sucked, it would not give any hot water, ever. I had so many lukewarm showers and even a couple of cold ones! There was plenty of space to unpack your suitcases, several drawers, many hangers in the closet, etc. We didn’t use the safe, but just kept our wallets on us. We left electronics (iPhones, laptop, cameras) in the room but had no issues. Disembarking: Pretty painless, you had to leave your room at 8 am, but could then go eat breakfast. We then had to wait until about 9:30-10 to actually get off the ship. Once off, you went to find your luggage (they gave you tags the night before, take note of the colour of the tag, and the letter on it) and boarded the tour bus to the airport. Wifi: The wifi was very unreliable, I wouldn’t recommend paying the $12/hour. We only ended up using 20 minutes the whole week because it usually didn’t work. We had hoped to use it to book our seats on our return flight but we weren’t able to get online. The good news was, that our entire flight was on this ship, so no one booked their seats early! First come, first served at the airport. Don’t forget your 25CUC/person to pay at the airport. Dining: We usually did the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the sit-down restaurant for dinner. The one thing that bugged us about the sit-down meals is that they constantly put us at tables with people who didn’t speak English. We would even request a table with English speakers, and they still couldn’t manage to get it right. This is why we just did the buffet at breakfast and lunch. We eventually met a couple we liked and arranged to meet them for dinner each evening. I’m sure the Maitre D’ could figure out a way to seat people in a way that wasn’t awkward for everyone at the table. The meals at the restaurant were great! We are foodies, and didn’t have any complaints. The buffet meals are “ok”, but nothing special. Overall, we really enjoyed our time on the Louis Cristal and would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to really see different areas of Cuba, rather than stay in one place at a resort.   Read Less
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