We were the first cruise after dry dock, and although there were a few hiccups, it was nothing really terrible. The main issue was a delayed embarkation (they did not start loading until about 1:30), and the port personnel kept trying to keep everyone in one of the departure areas, problem being that people kept coming, and no one was leaving, and it got to be overcrowded. Eventually they opened up another room - but none of that was really NCL's fault.
Once on board, all of the public areas had a fresh coat of paint, new carpet, and if not new furniture, it was at least reupholstered. The cabins didn't appear to have anything new, except that the reading lights on the beds now have USB ports - I don't think I'd heard they were there before? The TV channels were squirrelly for the first day, with only over-air channels coming through at first.
We did have an issue with our air conditioner, in that it didn't work. It was somewhat cool the first couple of nights, so we figured maybe it just wasn't a very good a/c. Apparently our steward realized it was actually broken, and called in a maintenance request for us, so we came back from a tour to find a maintenance guy in our bathroom. We made ourselves scarce for the next two hours, and then asked for an estimate to complete, and the best he could say was "bedtime" - he'd been in there since we got back at 2:15! We went down to guest services to complain about the lack of ability to use our room (it was HOT in Havana, and I would have loved a shower, but there were parts all over the bathroom floor, not to mention a man) for what was sounding like maybe 8 hours out of a 5-day cruise. They said he'd be done in an hour, and we decided to head back out for an early dinner. He was done by the time we came back, and the hotel manager sent chocolate covered strawberries to our room, as well as a random $76 credit (not clear what that was based on), and 10 internet minutes that we happened to notice were added. So, they tried to make it right, and I was satisfied (and very happy to have working AC that night)!
The magician (Matt Johnson) and the comedian (Jose Sarduey) were both great, and we enjoyed them immensely. They also had the typical Newlywed Game, Perfect Couple, trivia, etc, which we participated in if we had nothing else planned, and enjoyed that as well.
It was disappointing that we weren't able to tender at Great Stirrup Cay, but Key West was nice, and Cuba was fascinating. I would definitely recommend this itinerary. I also appreciated the fact that although they encouraged you to use NCL excursions in Cuba due to the US regulations, there was no heavy handed pushing in that direction, as I've heard there have been for other lines.
Overall, we had a great time, and booked another cruise while on board (if you already know you want to go on another cruise, the booking perks get you a nicer cabin for a cheaper price, and the Cruise Next deal really are a good deal, as long as you are able to use them)!
It was sort of small, and the balcony wasn't huge, and our AC was broken for the first two days (see review above), and the bathroom smelled like a cruise ship bathroom, but overall it was reasonably comfortable and worked for our needs. We didn't have a huge issue with noise, although one evening the couple across the hall got into a screaming fight loud enough to be heard in our room, but that was definitely the exception, and he was clearly not making any effort to keep it down! The bed was reasonably comfortable, and I really appreciated the USB ports in the reading lights next to the bed - makes phone charging easy at night for those of us who use our phones as alarm clocks!
This was a nice tour, interesting both visually and through the narration. The guide provided information in both English and Spanish. What was covered was interesting as far as it went, talking about which celebrities live and/or lived in each mansion, and a few tidbits about the history of Miami and the islands, but I personally would have appreciated more detail about the history - there were a lot of lulls in the narration where additional background information about the area could have been covered. It was basically quiet as we cruised through more industrial areas, and some information about the importance of Miami’s status as an international port city would have been nice. Overall, a nice time for the price (but check Groupon before you buy tickets)!View All undefined undefined Reviews
We greatly enjoyed the Old Town Trolley tour, taking it around the island, stopping at the Southernmost point for pictures, then jumping back on for the last couple of stops around. I will say, we picked it because there were more stops, but several of those were because it goes out of the way to pick up riders at hotels outside of the immediate downtown area. This adds quite a bit of time to the tour - the drivers did a good job of keeping it entertaining during this period, and we did get to see more of the area, but probably not really necessary if you are starting downtown in the first place. The narration was quite informative and highly entertaining, with each driver adding his or her own flavor to the patter.View All 256 Conch Train Tour Reviews
Although I've read a couple of his books, I wasn't all that aware of Hemingway's story. He definitely lived a rather colorful life, and the tour here made that really come alive. Although they do not accept credit, we purchased our entrance fee as part of a package with Old Town Trolley Tours, and were able to pay with credit that way.View All 55 Ernest Hemingway House & Tour Reviews
We very much enjoyed our private tour with Alejandro and Winnie from Cuba Outings! We started with a drive around New Havana and Modern Havana in Alejandro's 1953 Chevy BelAir convertible. We visited El Cristo de la Habana, the Plaza de la Revolución, drove by Chinatown and the giant Christopher Columbus Cemetery, as well as through the Bosque de La Habana and the Capitol before returning to Old Havana. We said goodbye to Alejandro and the convertible, and Winnie took us to a small, privately owned restaurant for lunch, Barroco, where we had delicious mojitos and some vieja ropa. Although the mojitos were great, I do find myself wishing I had tried the papaya smoothie concoction that Winnie ordered, as it looked delicious! After lunch, we continued the walking portion of the tour of Old Havana, visiting the Plaza de la Catedral, the Plaza de Armes and the surrounding museums (although they were unfortunately closed, as we visited on a Monday), Plaza Vieja, before returning to the Plaza de San Francisco next to the cruise port. Winnie kept up a steady stream of information (per our request - she said she didn't want to overwhelm us, but we assured her we wanted to be overwhelmed), and we learned not just about the history of Cuba, but a lot of the present as well. Excellent tour, I would highly recommend it!View All 251 City Tour Reviews