My wife and I traveled with another couple on several occasions in the past. Over dinner we discussed possible destinations. Cuba was the winner, we all wished to visit Cuba before it became too “Americanized.” After researching the possibilities, we decided to cruise with a 2 day pre-cruise stay in Montego Bay. The Celestyal Crystal was the only act in town. We read all the Cruise Critic reviews, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. We were prepared for anything, it would be an adventure.
The Celestyal Crystal was certainly very different from the other ships we had been on. It was a delight, the staff was attentive and our every need was met with a smile. We were part of a People to People Program that included talks about Cuban culture by a young professor from Havana University and his associate. We had the opportunity to meet with members of the cruise staff that were Cuban nationals. We were able to talk with them one-to-one and develop empathy for the Cuban citizens.
In addition to the P-2-P programs, there were shows every evening. The entertainment crew was energetic and talented. The shows were colorful and active. We enjoyed each one. The food was good but not outstanding. There were omelet stations and a specialty lunch bar each day on the pool deck.
The excursions were another opportunity to experience the culture of Cuba. We had a 2 night stay in Havana with excursions on both days. Other ports were Santiago de Cuba, Maria la Gorda and Cienfuego with excursions at each. Each excursion was lead by a knowledge local guide. The excursions provided the opportunity interact with the Cuban people and to see loads of "Classic" cars and trucks.
Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth and without problems. All in all, a cruise to remember and I can recommend the Celestyal Crystal without reservation.
The cabin it was adequate, very clean, and comfortable.