My wife Carol and I were very interested in learning more about Cuba so we chose the cruise called: "The Cuban Explorer." There were supposed to be two cuban ports. The other destinations on the cruise did not interest us much. We went to Key West, Florida. I would describe this as a once nice little town that has become an empty tourist trap. Next, we went to Havana after a day at sea. Having sailed mostly the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, we found the days at sea rather dull since there was nothing that was very interesting to do on board nor was the sea anything special. (I have been in two spectacular storms on other ships.) My wife who is Canadian Chinese, a seasoned traveller experienced two incidents of nasty behaviour by co travellers who felt they had a right to scream at fellow passengers to move aside. Described in the past as the "ugly American". In fact being an American I was shocked maybe at their attitude and outright prejudice. We complained to the front desk there should be a code of behaviour for passengers. A total put off given the number of diverse tourists traveling today. Shame on their backward rude behaviour- and the fact they thought they could get away with it. Carol is recovering from cancer and this trip was a rest for us both. However, compared to John Cleese on the Queen Mary, the speakers we heard on the Veendam were informative but little else. We watched a couple of movies on the tv in our cabin and attended two talks/demos by an America's Test Kitchen chef. Carol, who is really at a chef level herself (she was a judge in the International Chocolate Competition in Toronto), though not professionally, enjoyed these demonstration/talks quite a bit. The ship, though old (built 1993), is superbly maintained by an excellent and conscientious crew. But the quality of the maintenance apparently did not extend to the mechanicals of the ship which I believe was the reason we could not stop at Cienfuegos. Missing this port is the main reason I have downgraded the cruise. The captain got on the PA a couple of time and told us that we couldn't go to Cienfuegos but he kept saying that there was no safety issue. If there was not a safety issue, why couldn't we go? If there was a safety issue, why were we cruising in this ship and why did it take on new passengers when we got back to Fort Lauderdale? As a very poor substitute for missing a key destination we were offered an afternoon of free booze. Again, of little interest to us. And it did not make up for not visiting one of the destinations we thought would be a highlight. The main plus for the cruise was the dining.The food was wonderful. Meat, vegetarian and non-gluten dishes were available. Brilliantly cooked and served. Dinner in the dining room was always a pleasure. For breakfast and lunch we went to the cafeteria style "Lido" deck. We were both surprised by the very high level of culinary artistry the staff exhibited. The one tour we took in Havana was abysmal. It was supposed to be a culinary tour. The guide certainly knew her stuff and was professional but the offerings were not worth the time or money. "Culinary" turned out to be going to a large hotel salon with a view in downtown Havana and being given a pretty lousy four hour meal with lots of booze served. The Cuban musicians were local and good.( I am a classically trained musician.) From there we were dragged off to some run down night club where we had loud Cuban music played at us while we were given rum, cigars and coffee to sample with no comments, explanations or any attempt to instruct. Neither my wife nor I smoke and there was no alternative of any kind offered. Our windowed cabin had no balcony but was adequate. The bathroom was nice because it was larger than the one on the Queen Mary 2. It had a full tiled bath. The gym was well equipped. I love my work out and this was important to me. The service in all respects was uniformly excellent.

Review of "cuban explorer" cruise

Veendam Cruise Review by alanjmckee

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
My wife Carol and I were very interested in learning more about Cuba so we chose the cruise called: "The Cuban Explorer." There were supposed to be two cuban ports. The other destinations on the cruise did not interest us much. We went to Key West, Florida. I would describe this as a once nice little town that has become an empty tourist trap. Next, we went to Havana after a day at sea. Having sailed mostly the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, we found the days at sea rather dull since there was nothing that was very interesting to do on board nor was the sea anything special. (I have been in two spectacular storms on other ships.)

My wife who is Canadian Chinese, a seasoned traveller experienced two incidents of nasty behaviour by co travellers who felt they had a right to scream at fellow passengers to move aside. Described in the past as the "ugly American". In fact being an American I was shocked maybe at their attitude and outright prejudice. We complained to the front desk there should be a code of behaviour for passengers. A total put off given the number of diverse tourists traveling today. Shame on their backward rude behaviour- and the fact they thought they could get away with it.

Carol is recovering from cancer and this trip was a rest for us both. However, compared to John Cleese on the Queen Mary, the speakers we heard on the Veendam were informative but little else. We watched a couple of movies on the tv in our cabin and attended two talks/demos by an America's Test Kitchen chef. Carol, who is really at a chef level herself (she was a judge in the International Chocolate Competition in Toronto), though not professionally, enjoyed these demonstration/talks quite a bit.

The ship, though old (built 1993), is superbly maintained by an excellent and conscientious crew. But the quality of the maintenance apparently did not extend to the mechanicals of the ship which I believe was the reason we could not stop at Cienfuegos. Missing this port is the main reason I have downgraded the cruise. The captain got on the PA a couple of time and told us that we couldn't go to Cienfuegos but he kept saying that there was no safety issue. If there was not a safety issue, why couldn't we go? If there was a safety issue, why were we cruising in this ship and why did it take on new passengers when we got back to Fort Lauderdale? As a very poor substitute for missing a key destination we were offered an afternoon of free booze. Again, of little interest to us. And it did not make up for not visiting one of the destinations we thought would be a highlight.

The main plus for the cruise was the dining.The food was wonderful. Meat, vegetarian and non-gluten dishes were available. Brilliantly cooked and served. Dinner in the dining room was always a pleasure. For breakfast and lunch we went to the cafeteria style "Lido" deck. We were both surprised by the very high level of culinary artistry the staff exhibited.

The one tour we took in Havana was abysmal. It was supposed to be a culinary tour. The guide certainly knew her stuff and was professional but the offerings were not worth the time or money. "Culinary" turned out to be going to a large hotel salon with a view in downtown Havana and being given a pretty lousy four hour meal with lots of booze served. The Cuban musicians were local and good.( I am a classically trained musician.) From there we were dragged off to some run down night club where we had loud Cuban music played at us while we were given rum, cigars and coffee to sample with no comments, explanations or any attempt to instruct. Neither my wife nor I smoke and there was no alternative of any kind offered.

Our windowed cabin had no balcony but was adequate. The bathroom was nice because it was larger than the one on the Queen Mary 2. It had a full tiled bath. The gym was well equipped. I love my work out and this was important to me.

The service in all respects was uniformly excellent.
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin D 618
Normal size. Usual furniture. Nothing else except large comfortable bathroom.
Cleaned by two excellent stewards.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews