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I recently took the Jan 1 voyage from Montego Bay to Cuba as part of the People to People organization. Good: The ship is actually in pretty good condition and the public areas are kept up well. The intimate size allows passengers to get to know each other and mingle. The food was mostly pretty good although there were some misses with quality. The crew, overall, is very friendly, although they seem a bit overworked. The Cruise Director Danny does an incredible job and he was very helpful to our group. Photo prices are very reasonable - $5 each. Boarding and disembarking is very smooth, although Jamaican Immigration can be a bit slower. If you have a departing flight at 12:30 or after, you should be in good shape. We got to the airport at 9:30am. Neutral: There sometimes was confusion at the Reception Desk, where employees were not sure of procedures or how to answer detailed questions. One must register their credit card at the Reception Desk for onboard expenses. Do this as soon as you can or while the desk is not busy. There can be a long queue if you wait until everyone has had lunch on the boarding day. Try to settle affairs the afternoon of the day prior to disembarkment because the desk gets busy in the early evening. Needs Improvement - Be Forewarned: There are a few risk management issues passengers show know about: First, the complete room number is printed on your key card. The front desk sells lanyards but you may wish to be prepared with your own method of keeping your card secure. The room safes do not use touch key pads where you create your own code. One must secure a key fob from the Reception Desk (and leave a $50 security deposit on a credit card.) The key fob also has the room number on a tag attached to it. Be prepared to manage this. It is also very important for U.S. passengers to let their credit card company know to expect a charge from Greece for on board purchases prior to leaving. My credit card company initially declined the charge for suspected fraud and then declined subsequent transactions. (I had notified for Jamaica and Canada, thinking the Cuba Cruise company was still Canadian. It is not, apparently.) Also be forewarned about the toilet: Passengers received a letter stating they could not flush used toilet paper down the toilets and to deposit it in a can that was in the bathroom. This was quite the topic of discussion even among strangers and it made many Americans uncomfortable. Most people I spoke with decided to be disobedient but took efforts not to flush *too* much toilet paper. Entertainment: The cruise entertainers try hard but the shows miss the mark. But that is what one expects on a smaller vintage ship. There was one number, an interpretive dance about Afro-Cuban slavery, that was a bit awkward. Montego Bay Airport Tip: Check your credit card or if you have Priority Pass to see if you can enter Club Mobay VIP lounge. They assist you through Immigration and security and the club itself (by gate 9) is a welcome relief to the hustle in the terminal. There is good food, free drinks, and even service from Margaritaville.

Celestyal Crystal: pretty good, but be forewarned about quirks.

Celestyal Crystal Cruise Review by RobKabob

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2016
  • Destination: Cuba
I recently took the Jan 1 voyage from Montego Bay to Cuba as part of the People to People organization.

Good: The ship is actually in pretty good condition and the public areas are kept up well. The intimate size allows passengers to get to know each other and mingle. The food was mostly pretty good although there were some misses with quality. The crew, overall, is very friendly, although they seem a bit overworked. The Cruise Director Danny does an incredible job and he was very helpful to our group. Photo prices are very reasonable - $5 each. Boarding and disembarking is very smooth, although Jamaican Immigration can be a bit slower. If you have a departing flight at 12:30 or after, you should be in good shape. We got to the airport at 9:30am.

Neutral: There sometimes was confusion at the Reception Desk, where employees were not sure of procedures or how to answer detailed questions. One must register their credit card at the Reception Desk for onboard expenses. Do this as soon as you can or while the desk is not busy. There can be a long queue if you wait until everyone has had lunch on the boarding day. Try to settle affairs the afternoon of the day prior to disembarkment because the desk gets busy in the early evening.

Needs Improvement - Be Forewarned: There are a few risk management issues passengers show know about: First, the complete room number is printed on your key card. The front desk sells lanyards but you may wish to be prepared with your own method of keeping your card secure. The room safes do not use touch key pads where you create your own code. One must secure a key fob from the Reception Desk (and leave a $50 security deposit on a credit card.) The key fob also has the room number on a tag attached to it. Be prepared to manage this. It is also very important for U.S. passengers to let their credit card company know to expect a charge from Greece for on board purchases prior to leaving. My credit card company initially declined the charge for suspected fraud and then declined subsequent transactions. (I had notified for Jamaica and Canada, thinking the Cuba Cruise company was still Canadian. It is not, apparently.)

Also be forewarned about the toilet: Passengers received a letter stating they could not flush used toilet paper down the toilets and to deposit it in a can that was in the bathroom. This was quite the topic of discussion even among strangers and it made many Americans uncomfortable. Most people I spoke with decided to be disobedient but took efforts not to flush *too* much toilet paper.

Entertainment: The cruise entertainers try hard but the shows miss the mark. But that is what one expects on a smaller vintage ship. There was one number, an interpretive dance about Afro-Cuban slavery, that was a bit awkward.

Montego Bay Airport Tip: Check your credit card or if you have Priority Pass to see if you can enter Club Mobay VIP lounge. They assist you through Immigration and security and the club itself (by gate 9) is a welcome relief to the hustle in the terminal. There is good food, free drinks, and even service from Margaritaville.
RobKabob’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7013
The cabin was very clean but the bedding is a bit aged. Furniture was in very good condition. There was a flat screen TV but the refrigerator was not as cold as it should have been. There was no minibar as advertised. Cabin was pretty roomy but a little shy on the drawer space. Closets were decent size.