1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Celestyal Crystal
My husband and I took this cruise January 30 - February 6, 2015 embarking in Montego Bay. Check in from Jamaica was short, simple and easy as was check out at the end of the cruise. We did not have to pay exit fees from Jamaica or Cuba (although we were prepared to) nor were we ever asked for proof of medical insurance. At all of our stops in Cuba, there were Cuban medical staff checking our temperatures to ensure we were not running a fever. Some stops had more bureaucracy than others in terms of wanting us to have our passports with us. We've done a lot of traveling and are used to quixotic rules. Danny was always clear in his announcements as to what we might or might need when leaving the ship so this was not a big issue. We took crisp Canadian cash with us for exchanging into CUC and encountered no problems at the currency desks in ports. I heard that US cash could be exchanged but at a 10% surcharge. The currency desks did have exchange rates posted for a wide variety of currencies so I assume other cash was acceptable as well. A couple in front of us wanted to use a credit card to get CUCs and were told no. Descriptions of the ship posted previously are generally accurate so I won't elaborate except to say that we had no problems with the room i.e. hot water when we wanted it, good pressure in the shower, cleaned well and regularly, etc. Yes, we were asked to put our dirty toilet paper in a trash can rather than in the toilet but on previous visits to China and the Greek Islands, we were asked to do the same. The water on the ship is safe to drink and we used it to refill our own water bottles. No gastrointestinal problems at all. We didn't notice any unpleasant taste to it and if you asked the staff in the dining areas, they would fill your bottle for you. We found the food quite good and in some cases excellent. My husband and I have taken Regent and Uniworld cruises in the past so my comparisons are to that level of dining. In talking with the Maitre d' we learned that the chef had been replaced two weeks previously (mid-January?). He also told us that both Jamaica and Cuba do not allow the ship to load food through them. Food is flown to Trinidad where is shipped to the Louis Cristal when it is in international water. I was pleasantly surprised by the jambalaya which was spicy, a veggie burger which was moist and flavorful, my steak which was tender and blue when I wanted it to be, etc. It is true that the offerings at breakfast are somewhat repetitive but we found there was enough selection that we did not have a problem finding something interesting every day. Perhaps previous comments about poor food quality resulted in a change of chef and an overall improvement. We found all the staff polite and helpful. My husband uses a cane and staff would almost always help him with his tray and especially when the ship was a little rocky. I've tried to focus on new information that may be helpful to others. We took some tours but explored other places on our own. Fellow passengers were congenial and spoke a variety of languages although there was some degree of English spoken by most. Thanks to the French Canadians on board for their patience with my French.  

Louis Cristal Cruise Review - Cuba Cruise

Celestyal Crystal Cruise Review by commonloon

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My husband and I took this cruise January 30 - February 6, 2015 embarking in Montego Bay. Check in from Jamaica was short, simple and easy as was check out at the end of the cruise. We did not have to pay exit fees from Jamaica or Cuba (although we were prepared to) nor were we ever asked for proof of medical insurance. At all of our stops in Cuba, there were Cuban medical staff checking our temperatures to ensure we were not running a fever. Some stops had more bureaucracy than others in terms of wanting us to have our passports with us. We've done a lot of traveling and are used to quixotic rules. Danny was always clear in his announcements as to what we might or might need when leaving the ship so this was not a big issue.
We took crisp Canadian cash with us for exchanging into CUC and encountered no problems at the currency desks in ports. I heard that US cash could be exchanged but at a 10% surcharge. The currency desks did have exchange rates posted for a wide variety of currencies so I assume other cash was acceptable as well. A couple in front of us wanted to use a credit card to get CUCs and were told no.
Descriptions of the ship posted previously are generally accurate so I won't elaborate except to say that we had no problems with the room i.e. hot water when we wanted it, good pressure in the shower, cleaned well and regularly, etc. Yes, we were asked to put our dirty toilet paper in a trash can rather than in the toilet but on previous visits to China and the Greek Islands, we were asked to do the same.
The water on the ship is safe to drink and we used it to refill our own water bottles. No gastrointestinal problems at all. We didn't notice any unpleasant taste to it and if you asked the staff in the dining areas, they would fill your bottle for you.
We found the food quite good and in some cases excellent. My husband and I have taken Regent and Uniworld cruises in the past so my comparisons are to that level of dining. In talking with the Maitre d' we learned that the chef had been replaced two weeks previously (mid-January?). He also told us that both Jamaica and Cuba do not allow the ship to load food through them. Food is flown to Trinidad where is shipped to the Louis Cristal when it is in international water. I was pleasantly surprised by the jambalaya which was spicy, a veggie burger which was moist and flavorful, my steak which was tender and blue when I wanted it to be, etc. It is true that the offerings at breakfast are somewhat repetitive but we found there was enough selection that we did not have a problem finding something interesting every day. Perhaps previous comments about poor food quality resulted in a change of chef and an overall improvement.
We found all the staff polite and helpful. My husband uses a cane and staff would almost always help him with his tray and especially when the ship was a little rocky.
I've tried to focus on new information that may be helpful to others. We took some tours but explored other places on our own. Fellow passengers were congenial and spoke a variety of languages although there was some degree of English spoken by most. Thanks to the French Canadians on board for their patience with my French.
 
commonloon’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Celestyal Crystal price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email