I selected this cruise because it was offered by Apple Vacations as an authorized People-to-People tour for Americans and it was a smaller ship (since I had never been on a cruise before, the idea of being on a boat with 1000's of other travelers was not my idea of vacation.) There is a more luxurious (MORE expensive) cruise line that also cruises around Cuba but I'm not one who needs be waited on hand-and-foot so I didn't want to pay for it!
For those now worried about too many Americans "ruining" the experience, the guest ratio on our trip was about one-third. Most guests were probably 50+ on our sailing (but there were a few 20 and 30-somethings). No young children on our trip.
Our sailing was below the 900ish guest capacity. Maybe only 1/3 full so the staff was not overwhelmed/busy so we took the opportunity to try to have conversations with many of them. We learned where they were from (Bali, Cuba, Philippines, Mauritius and others) and life on a cruise ship for 10 month contract. From the Cuban staff, we learned about growing up and living on the island.
Response from TimL, Passenger Services @Celestyal Cruises
We originally booked a Outside Window room. I saw pictures on cruise line website showing a full size bed and when I walked in the cabin there were two twin beds. I thought I got the wrong class room so I went to the reception desk and learned all rooms are twins and the beds are pushed together. Since the cruise was under-capacity I was able to upgrade to a balcony room (which has a double bed) for $400. SOOOOO glad I did! We really enjoyed sitting on the deck every morning we sailed into a new port!
Very smooth check-in process. We arrived at the beginning of check-in time so there was no waiting.
Loved that we stopped at artsy places and the downtown square is lovely. Also had time to shop and enjoy a beer on the hotel rooftop deck with a great view.