My wife and I picked this carnival cruise because it was one of the few that spent overnight in Havana. Overall we give the cruise three stars but I must say that Havana is a prime destination. Here’s why.
Initial boarding at the Tampa cruise terminal was no problem. Because of a back up in Tampa Bay the cruise left two hours late. Apparently this boat has some mechanical problems and rumor was that it had only one engine operating. Just a rumor though. Room Portering was a problem for us because the first night our steward forgot to clean a room. He did manage to get the last three nights though. We had several orders from room service which was prompt but they struggle to get the order right. We arrived in Havana an hour late as they were only able to make up one hour cruising faster. That pushed back all the tours. We found the tourist to be interesting but very overpriced. The buses are top notch but some of the places that you go to our questionable. The guy was knowledgeable but they do follow a government script. We saw the streets of all the Vanna and we’re taking to to cultural events which included a women’s drum group and a modern dance. Not for all taste but because of the state department rules requirement. Going through customs was rather expensive because of a 10% penalty against American currency to convert into Cuban currency. American dollars are not useful and the actual Cuban peso is not useful. Cuban convertible currency is needed and his pegged at a dollar for dollar. There is a 3% exchange fee and the 10% American penalty.
Does represented the so-called people to people tours. We did sign up for a very expensive show at the Tropicana nightclub that evening starting at 10 o’clock. And excellent show. Las Vegas style showgirls, actually the forerunners of the Las Vegas showgirls, and cuban music. Very entertaining. All attendees get either a cigar for the man or a flower for the woman. A bottle of rum for two people is on the table along with mixer. This is a must see.
The ship was scheduled to leave at 11 AM on Saturday and they cut one of our tours short so we could be on board to leave. Not sure whether hurry. Then proceeded to crawl back to Tampa to make sure we had a full day at sea on Sunday. The ships food was not up to the standards that we are used to. Variety was much more limited in the quality wasn’t quite there. The waitstaff was inattentive at times. The ship, of course, had photographers wondering about ready to document your cruise for a price. There was also of course the casino with the standard slats and table games. Onboard shopping was somewhat limited and we didn’t think the deals were particularly good.
There were several shows and they didn’t seem up to the usual standards that were used to. We walked out on one because of the amateur nature of it. The comedy club is excellent. If you’re on carnival go see it as it’s going to be one of the highlights.
There was a speaker who gave three lectures on Cuban culture, Dr. Dave. This was excellent and extremely informative. If you’re on this cruise and he’s presenting go see it.
The ship is older and needs a good cleaning. It’s showing it’s age. Havana is a excellent destination but this cruise should have been better.
This was a standard cabin Which was reasonably clean.
Nicely laid out port with available reasonable parking
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