I chose this cruise because it had a Cuba Intensive itinerary. That said, I did book most of my excursions through private companies. Places I wanted to go such as Vinales National Park were not on their Itineraries and I often dislike being with the busload of people. Also, I have traveled many times on Celebrity and Royal and had never tried Azamara. The ship is a very easy to manage size in terms of getting from point A to B. The rooms (veranda) are considerably smaller than their sister ships, but adequately appointed. The whole ship is miniaturized in general.
Things I really liked:
Staying more than one night in Port.
Azamazing evening was very well organized.
They did a sensational White Night Party on the main deck.
Labadee was wonderful arriving on a small ship and having the island to ourselves.
The attention to detail and service was very good.
It was very relaxing traveling on a small ship.
Deck 7 was a good choice for many reasons. The first is Deck 8, I believe, gets the noise of chairs moving from above. Also the self serve laundry was on that deck. Two flights up was pool, food etc, two flights down were shops, Caberet, and main dining. All in all you probably cant pick a bad location.
We booked privately with Viajes Vintage Tours. They met us promptly - driver and guide. The car was vintage with a diesel engine. We couldn't put down the windows because of the smell and it seeped into the car. I think that is the standard. We drove out to El Nicho Falls and had a wonderful hike and climb. It is absolutely beautiful there. There is a restaurant on the premises but we did not eat there. If you go you can swim in the natural pools. Honestly, not much to see in Cienfuegos other than skinny dogs and horses, dilaptadated buildings and such. There is a mororish house under repair that is a restaurant now and that was architecturally interesting. We did not get off the ship day 2 there.
The guide and driver were very prompt and waiting for us as we exited the port. I had an agenda of places to go so we got to see the Morreo Castle, Sna Juan Hill, M-26 Barracks, Castro and Jose Marti's graves, a pdeestrian shopping street for locals, we wanted to see their Soviet era train station, we went to a local green market, Diego Velasquez's home, Plaza Cespedes and more.View All 40 City Tour Reviews
We were with FerTours. We had a fantastic time. We went horse back riding around a farm, tasted honey, coffee, Guavita Rum, and learned the A-Z of tobacco farming which concluded with a cigar rolling demonstration. All of those products are grown in Vinales. If we could have spent the night there I would have. Also went to a botanical Garden. We ran out of time to see the caves, but we did visit the large prehistoric mural.View All 4 Vinales Reviews
Wonderful to be there from a small ship. The island was peaceful. I've been there with Royal and Celebrity with thousands of other guests. This was a real treat. I'm from South Florida so I did not go in the water because it was cold for me. Everyone else did.