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1,937 Cuba Cruise Reviews

This was my 3rd cruise, my previous being on Silver Discoverer and Silver Shadow. When I booked the itinerary was to Central America but it got changed towards the end of 2019 to being Cuba and Cape Canaveral but Silversea hadn't done ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise, my previous being on Silver Discoverer and Silver Shadow. When I booked the itinerary was to Central America but it got changed towards the end of 2019 to being Cuba and Cape Canaveral but Silversea hadn't done its research and so the itinerary changed swapping Cape Canaveral for the the Bahamas - Nassau and Bimini - ultimately we ended up overnighting in Nassau instead of even going to Bimini so it was all a bit disorganised from that respect. No compensation was offered for the fact that I ended up on a completely different voyage to the one I booked! Regardless of all that, Silversea was as usual a great way to travel although I believe the restaurant menu layout has been changed to encourage guests to eat less courses than my cruise the previous year (prior to the takeover). Silversea excursions are always informative and I saw some great places, I fell completely in love with Havana and plan on going back for a proper visit in the not too distant future. The one area Silversea could really work on is the show lounge entertainment. The cast are always amazingly talented but they're stuck with Luna Rossa choreography and badly fitting costumes when they do the full cast shows. The individual shows are much more fun as personalities shine and you get properly entertained. Also making opera singers join in with musical theatre style shows is just wrong! I was very lucky that we had Colin as our cruise director and as a classical pianist he was able to provide some real music to let the opera singers shine. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Paradise Review – April 2019 5-night cruise from Tampa to Key West, Havana and Cozumel departure on Monday, April 8 and return on Saturday, April 13. This is a long review because we spent several days in Tampa prior to the cruise and ... Read More
Paradise Review – April 2019 5-night cruise from Tampa to Key West, Havana and Cozumel departure on Monday, April 8 and return on Saturday, April 13. This is a long review because we spent several days in Tampa prior to the cruise and have a lot to say about Cuba. We are a couple in our mid-50’s. Pre-cruise Hotel We drove from South Carolina to the Tampa Bay area several days prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn next to the St Petersburg/Clearwater airport. The room and hotel were as expected from a Hampton Inn. Our last visit to Tampa we stayed in Ybor City and thought it was great, but we needed to save some $$$ on this trip and the Pinellas Park/Largo area was much cheaper. Tampa pre-Cruise Activities NCAA Women’s Final Four (Downtown): Our original purpose for visiting Tampa was the basketball tournament. We greatly enjoyed the basketball tournament, which was our third. Parking at the Convention Center was reasonable, but the food in Amalie Arena was very, very expensive. We checked what cruises were departing after the tournament ended and this cruise fit perfectly. Busch Gardens (North Tampa): We planned to visit Busch Gardens not sure what to expect. We thoroughly enjoyed the animals, particularly from the Serengeti Express train through the Serengeti Plains exhibit. We rode once in the morning and again in the afternoon and saw different animals in different places. We also were impressed by the massive alligators and the gorillas. Our visit coincided with the annual wine and food festival, which was nice to have good food and drink available for purchase. It is also the Year of Beer at Busch Gardens honoring the founding of the park 60 years ago. Each guest (21 and over) can receive two free beer samples, which we enjoyed. The park maps are not sufficiently detailed and we struggled figuring out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go most of the day. We did not ride any of the huge roller-coasters. We purchased the Tampa Bay City Pass for just a few dollars more than admission to Busch Gardens. Chihuly Collection (St. Petersburg): We decided to purchase a Tampa Bay City Pass because we were spending several days in Tampa. We visited the Chihuly museum in St. Petersburg and enjoyed the exhibit, which is smaller than the Chihuly museum in Seattle. It has mostly similar works of art but some smaller pieces I did not recall seeing in Seattle. Florida Aquarium (Channelside): The City Pass included admission to the Florida Aquarium so we visited before the basketball game at nearby Amalie Arena. The exhibits were nice but not anything we haven’t seen at other nice aquariums. S.S. American Victory Mariners Museum (Channelside): The Florida Aquarium required less time than we planned so we toured the American Liberty, which is a functional WWII liberty ship with exhibits about the role these ships played in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The ship is moored next to the aquarium between Cruise Terminals 2 and 3. To find it walk between the aquarium and Terminal 3 and follow the signs. The American Victory is not part of the City Pass. Port of Tampa Departure: Could not be easier. Arrived at Terminal 3 slightly before our scheduled time of 11:30. Dropped the luggage quickly (few cars dropping bags) and parked in the parking garage across the street, which had ample spaces available. We pre-paid parking before leaving home and handed the parking attendant our printed ticket and parked on the second level near the elevators. Although we were early, by the time we had competed check-in our group number had already been called. We were still on the ship before many passengers had shown up. We had Guy’s burgers for lunch, at 1:30 we went to our cabin to change and went to enjoy the hot tubs on the Serenity deck before it was crowded. Return: Getting off the ship was quick and orderly and went much faster than the scheduled departure times. We learned that self disembarkation was starting with Deck 14 and we were on Deck 4 (Riviera), so we got luggage tags when they were offered at 10 am on the last day (Friday) and had a low group number (5 out of 28). Customs consisted of checking passports, and asking how many cigars and how much liquor (rum) we were bringing in from Cuba. We were under the duty-free limits and were on our way home. Muster Drill and Sail Away The Muster Drill was reasonably quick and efficient. As usual several passengers did not show and had to be tracked down. We did not need to walk from the muster station to the lifeboats. Sail away takes about two hours to sail down the channel and across the bay to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Gulf of Mexico. Guy’s Burgers The burgers and fries were very good and consistent throughout the cruise, as we have experienced on past cruises. Paris Restaurant (Lido Buffet, Deli and Pizza Pirate) The Lido Buffet for breakfast was good, except for the coffee which wasn’t very good. The Lido Buffet for dinner was only okay, except the ribs on the last night were excellent. The Lido serves a sub-set of the offerings in the main dining rooms. The ice cream was good. The other deserts were only so-so. The pizza was always fresh and tasty, and the line was never long. The Deli offered a large variety of sandwiches and hot dogs for lunch and dinner, but sometimes the line was long. The Lido Buffet was under staffed compared to previous cruises on Fantasy and Elation. Tables were not cleared in a timely manner, many times only one side of the main buffet was open, and only one person was typically working the Deli. We had anytime dining but never ate dinner in the main dining room. Lido Deck Rum Fog and Blue Iguana Bars The bars seemed well staffed on the first day, then appeared to have fewer working and walking the Lido deck for the rest of the cruise. There was a special drink offered on embarkation day in a Tervis Tumbler for about $20 (drink and tumbler) which we thought was the best deal of the cruise. We used the tumblers for water and other drinks for the rest of the cruise. Stateroom Our porthole stateroom on the Riviera Deck was near the bow. The carpet and furnishings were in excellent condition. The bathroom sink and shower were also in great condition. The shower curtain tended to drift into the shower. The water pressure was outstanding, and very hot (the warnings in the bathroom about scalding should be taken seriously). Our room steward did a great job keeping the room fresh while we were away having fun. A towel animal made an appearance every day. There was excessive noise and vibration overnight after leaving Cozumel and on the sea day. It sounded/felt like a heavy metal door being slammed below our cabin two or three times each minute. I assume these were waves hitting our side of the ship since we did not hear the noise the first three days. Casino We visited the slots on Thursday after leaving Cozumel and again on Friday. The casino was not as smoky as previous cruises we have taken. Entertainment and Activities The “80s music” show in the theater was well done and we enjoyed it. The “rock music” show had some undisclosed technical issue, requiring the singers to sit in front of the curtain, and it was boring. The other musical performers at the Atrium Bar and Casino Bar were loud and not soothing to our ears, like our last cruise on Fantasy. The “PG” comedy show consisted of bringing some passengers on stage and asking some questions with the comedian making jokes out of the responses. While I appreciate the improv nature of the show, it lasted about 20 minutes and just wasn’t very funny. We skipped the adult comedy shows. We noticed other activities like trivia contests, bingo, etc. seemed limited on this cruise, like our last cruise on Fantasy. Key West We docked at the Outer Mole/Navy Mole and had to take the “conch train” to the depot near Mallory Square. We docked at noon and left at 6 pm so we only had about 5 hours. We had been to Key West on a prior cruise so we walked down Duval St as far a Truman Avenue, walked over one block to the Hemingway House and Old Lighthouse, then walked back toward Mallory Square and enjoyed some Key Lime Pie. A squall line came through late in the afternoon and it was very windy, delaying our departure by 2 hours. Havana We arrived in Havana on-time at 7 am, because it is only 90 miles from Key West. We booked the “Culinary Traditions tour” though Carnival. We gathered in the dining room and waited for our turn to exit the ship, go though Cuba customs, exchange money and start our tour. We asked for small bills to have money for tips when using bathrooms, etc. The entire process lasted approximately 1.5 hours. Our group of 44 people (a bus load) was one of many leaving about the same time. We stayed up front near the tour guide and had no difficulties hearing or getting the photo’s we wanted. Our tour started with a walking tour of old Havana. Many of the streets in old Havana are cobblestones so they can be difficult to walk on unless you wear comfortable walking shoes. There are also numerous unmarked large and deep holes in sidewalks all over Havana so you must watch were you are walking and stop walking to take photos, etc. Some buildings near the major plazas in Old Havana have been restored (or at least painted) but many buildings outside Old Havana are very run-down looking on the exterior. We then boarded a tour bus for drive by several government buildings and eventually stopping at the cigar shop. After being given the opportunity to buy some authentic Cuban cigars, rum, and coffee we boarded the bus and went to lunch at the former Havana Hilton (known as the Havana Libre since 1960). Lunch is on the 25th floor and the views of the city are amazing. There is a lengthy pre-lunch show, which is probably required to meet the “people-to-people” travel requirements of the tour. We were the second group to arrive for lunch and the prime seats to see the show in the middle of the restaurant were already taken, but it wasn’t all bad because we sat by the floor to ceiling windows enjoying the views and were free to move about as we pleased. If you “volunteer” to get on stage and participate in the show you are rewarded with a free drink made as part of the show, which we did instead of buying drinks at the bar. Lunch consisted of corn soup and Cuban pork, it was good but it was not spicy. After lunch we boarded the bus for the Plaza of the Revolution. This is one area where the classic 1950’ cars (which are mostly taxis for hire now) congregate. Our tour then drove along the Malecon back towards the ship. Our last stop was a shopping area with a restaurant and small shops, including another cigar and rum buying opportunity. This is where we learned how to smoke Cuban cigars, along with a small sample of coffee and rum. We appreciated the short cigar smoking “class” as a uniquely Cuban experience. We also noticed very few Cubans other than the tour guides appeared to speak any English, including most of the hotel staff at our lunch and the two cigar stores where tourists probably visit every day. There is also no Diamonds International or Senor Frogs in Havana. For us all these factors made the day very authentic and unlike any other Caribbean port. Cozumel We arrived in Cozumel at noon and left at 10 PM. We walked from the Puerta Maya Cruise Pier where Paradise and other Carnival ships dock about 2.5 miles to the Thirsty Cougar near the Punta Langosta Cruise Pier “downtown”. After enjoying various adult beverages and a late lunch, we walked back to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Majesty is the oldest, smallest of the Royal fleet and it shows. While the food service is above Royal's average the rest is far below. Even the layout of the ship is a bother. If you rely on elevators to go between floor good ... Read More
Majesty is the oldest, smallest of the Royal fleet and it shows. While the food service is above Royal's average the rest is far below. Even the layout of the ship is a bother. If you rely on elevators to go between floor good luck. Everything is all ajumble. Nothing fatal but it speaks to the lack of attention to details. We got notice of an excursion cancellation - 12 hours before it was due to depart. Funny thing was I had never signed up or paid for that excursion. Took 3 days of a 5 day cruise to Cuba to get my Diamond + status sorted out. While everyone did their job the only person I can point to that seemed to be willing to take pride in service to the guests was a guy who wiped down the tables and removed empty cups from the pool deck.. Cuba was great. Majesty was just transportation to the island Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The ship is not giant which I liked, not brand new but clean and in good repair Cabin was good size with king bed and unobstructed window-lots of storage space. In room fridge with beverages to buy-we didn’t but there. We had a ... Read More
The ship is not giant which I liked, not brand new but clean and in good repair Cabin was good size with king bed and unobstructed window-lots of storage space. In room fridge with beverages to buy-we didn’t but there. We had a really comfortable bed/pillows/pleasant room-service on the room was great. Shower that many have made comments on- we did not have a problem-small but just watch the curtain The spa lash pad. Servers were attentive and there were no long waits for bar service, and servers were generally very pleasant. Food- pizza very good, grill hamburgers and hot dogs, fries also very good, buffet I will give a good but leave off the very mostly because I don’t care for buffet food and the hustle around serving yourself. Seated dinner, was well served, good food not gourmet. But considering the price.... you can upgrade but we didn’t Pool area- two pools with deeper areas and section for shallow kiddie splashing-very clean. There is also a great little splash area for little ones fun. Several nice bar areas some with musicians- we liked the rum bar and Carib music. Casino plenty large and some times with lower minimum for betting3-5 dollar blackjack. Casino staff were all pleasant. We went to two evening shows and choose not to spend additional time at them. They were okay not my thing. Activities were available during the day for those who did not go to the shore. We did not partake of any spa service so I cannot comment on them. Going ashore- like many cruise ships precedence is given to those who booked through the cruise line so expect that. In Cuba we got in line an hour ahead of time with plans for a private tour and were shuffled in with those who had a msc excursion so that was nice. I am an American so used to when you stand in line you take turns..with a large group of people with different cultural backgrounds you see the differences here. People cutting in or pushing ahead. MSc staff tried to control bu there are just some who think they should take priority over everyone else and these tended to be non-Americans, sorry but that is my observation. I enjoyed the different cultures all the time except when waiting in line. We met some very nice people. In Mexico be aware people will ask for and expect tips. Ports-costa maya private beach day booked outside of cruise, very quite, very secure, small private resort- included transportation paid ahead of time and bonus no one trying to sell you stuff. This was really a great day. I spoke with someone else who did not have the same experience at another beach resort with the taxi driver demanding a $100 Tip to take them back to port at the end of the day, so play close attention when booking Cozumel-private excursion, discover dive, rum tasting, lunch and Jeep tour-nice dive,, lunch okay, tequila tasting fun but high prices. We bought but probably paid more than it was worth. The guide told us the weather was bad on the other side of the island and kept hinting that the tour would be shorter due to weather. We insisted on the tour anyway and surprise there was no rain or wet roads when we got there. So we ended up a little suspicious about a desire to cute the event short. There is beautiful ocean views and very nice to get away from the tourist area. It was so nice that we are pretty sure that my husbands iPhone decided to stay on the beach there or in the Jeep. It was time to upgrade anyway. Cuba- the reason we booked this cruise. Havana was very interesting and again we booked privately, having the same guide for two days. Don’t miss the classic cars, jazz club, local restaurants. Souvenirs seem to have pretty much set prices. We came away with Panama hats and rum. You will take a hit when exchanging American dollars for CuC. Every one treated us pleasantly and Cuba was a great experience. I would recommend this cruise to others and hope my comments help others.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary which included an over night in Cuba. We did the 7 day cruise. For starters, embarkation, was smooth with the exception of security in Miami. I had outside food with me and one guy said it ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary which included an over night in Cuba. We did the 7 day cruise. For starters, embarkation, was smooth with the exception of security in Miami. I had outside food with me and one guy said it was ok to go through with it. Then someone else stopped me and said I couldnt go through with it. We told her the other guy said it was ok, they went back aNd forth,then let me get theough with my food only to have someone else come again and say i couldnt. Get it together people yes or no. I got annoyed and threw it away. Everything else went smoothly. The crew was awesome. They interacted a lot with the cruisers.They were entertaining and put on a good show. We went to three shows and we enjoyed each one. Don't expect Las Vegas quality but it was still fun and entertaining. There were other activities like bingo and trivia. Linking room card to credit card was easy via a kiosk located on two decks. No lines. For us the music was excellent. We love salsa, merengue,bachata and there was plenty of that. Ports of call were amazing especially Cuba. No issues with disembarkation except Disembarking in Cuba took a little longer than expected. Money exchange was quick and easy at the port in Cuba. My least favorite thing was the food. We ate at the main buffet and mdr. Food was just ok. Edible. The pizza and burgers were pretty decent by the pool area. Pizza is ItaLian style not Amercan style. Which I enjoyed but wished there was more selection,toppings. One other thing I didn't like was the smell in the bathroom (balcony cabin deck 9). It wasnt always there but sometimes when toilet lid was open it stunk and shower was extremely tiny. I don't know how a bigger person can fit in there. But overall we enjoyed our cruise and would cruise on Armonia again. Service was excellent. Thank you Armonia. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 25th cruise and 4th with NCL. It was a last minute cruise booked directly through NCL. At no time in the booking process were we informed that the tips per day were increasing from $14.50 pp to $20.00 pp. Upon receiving bill ... Read More
This was our 25th cruise and 4th with NCL. It was a last minute cruise booked directly through NCL. At no time in the booking process were we informed that the tips per day were increasing from $14.50 pp to $20.00 pp. Upon receiving bill under door on day of departure, was the first I would see this change. I immediately called the cruise line on the car ride home and was put on hold for one hour. Getting no satisfaction from the agent I called back again and was put on hold for another hour. Finally, I was told that we could have prepaid the $14.50 before April 1. This we were never told upon booking directly with NCL. The agent gave us a $50. Credit towards another cruise if we book within 2 years. I doubt we will be on NCL again any time soon. My assessment of this cruise is the following: Ship: Nice renovation and very clean. Small public rooms which made for congestion. Food: C- The buffets were less than average with few bake goods. No cookies, croissant, danish, etc. the entire 4 days until the very last morning. Baker must have been sick. Crossing dining room was good with excellent wait staff. Food was average. Entertainment: Fabulous shows! Cabin: Porthole, small but functional. Very pleasant & efficient Cabin person. Destination:Cuba is very interesting and will return for another visit. Private island was nice. Passengers: Too many drunken passengers taking advantage of their bar packages. I doubt many of them will even remember they were on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation process was wonderful, our arrival time was between 12:30 and 1:00. We arrived around 12:00 and we walked right on the ship. We had lunch on Deck 10 the lido buffet. I found the food to be limited, they have a themed ... Read More
Embarkation process was wonderful, our arrival time was between 12:30 and 1:00. We arrived around 12:00 and we walked right on the ship. We had lunch on Deck 10 the lido buffet. I found the food to be limited, they have a themed lunch/dinner every day. French, Italian, All American, Good Eats. I didn't really care for it. The deli also in the buffet was good I had the turkey wrap it was excellent, hot dogs were also good.Guys burgers were great. We forgot to eat at Blue Iguana Cantina but I heard it was good. I thought the pizza was terrible, it was paper thin and had no taste so it didn't matter that it was open 24 hrs. The ice cream was wonderful also 24 hours. The dining room was closed for lunch, I was not really used to that on the other ships I have been on. We did eat in the dining room for dinner I found the food to be very good but thought the portions were small. I had the chicken breast it was seasoned well and moist but only came with 2 pieces of broccoli or a handful of peas and carrots. My husband had the pork chop and he felt the same and usually had 2. We chose this ship because of the itinerary, Key west, Havana, and Cozumel. In Havana bring toilet paper, towels and hand sanitizer. Go to the lecture about Havana you will learn about pee-pee coins, because you need to pay to use the restroom. We did the easy havana and fusterlandia tour and it was excellent. Raciel with havanaturs was our tour guide we had an air conditioned coach with a bathroom. All ports were amazing we did the ship sponsored tours. Our room was very nice we had a outside view it was perfect for us as we were not in the room much but we wanted a view and I could sit on the ledge and look out the window and look at the water. Our steward was Jay, he introduced himself on the fist day and brought us our bathrobes, and my complimentary water as I was a repeat Carnival cruiser he cleaned our room early when we went to breakfast, our room and the ship were always very clean. Everywhere that you went that somebody was always cleaning something. The shower was small but we did fit. The shower curtain was a joke and when we showered there was a large puddle outside the shower. Found the activities to be limited but that was fine because we were off the ship or eating most of the time. We did the trivia and trivial pursuit we had a great group of people. I was very impressed with the debarkation it was extremely well organized, we were off the ship and in our car on the way home in half and hour. The elevators were inadequate, so ended up taking the stairs most of the time, so we felt less guilty about the food we ate, because we burned it off going to the next level of the ship. Overall we had the best time and we would go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because the ship was sailing out of Tampa and was going to Havana. We are avid cruisers and have sailed out of Tampa before. This trip provided us with opportunity to visit with family in the Tampa area and to go ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the ship was sailing out of Tampa and was going to Havana. We are avid cruisers and have sailed out of Tampa before. This trip provided us with opportunity to visit with family in the Tampa area and to go to Cuba . Embarkation is Tampa is usually better than Port Canaveral and this proved no exception. We also had FTF for the first time. THE GOOD DINING ROOM -----our experience here was not just good it was excellent! Ayu and her staff were the best that we have ever had. The staff shows were fun and the food was better than on the Breeze. At times it was very good. We ate all of our breakfasts and dinners in the Dining Rooms. Dinners were Early Dining in the Destiny. The décor is modern, with no tablecloths(except for elegant night). I liked it. Bacon, Hash Rounds and eggs cooked your way were the best. Pancakes were rubbery and the cereal crusted French toast at brunch was terrible. CABIN-----Spacious, modern and clean with new features such as soft close drawers and USB ports. However, only small bench at desk and no other seating. Our cabin R35 was noisy with the bow hitting the waves often. STAFF------This is the friendliest staff that we have encountered. EXCURSION------Ship excursion, Easy Fusterlandia in Havana was the BEST that we have had. Our group of 7 all thought that it was excellent and the highlight of our cruise. It included a professional show with music and dancing ; we also had a gourmet lunch with Mohito and wine included. CASINO-----The casino was small but had all new machines. The BAD KEY WEST--Getting off of the ship in Key West was a total disaster(in my opinion) Since the ship docks at the Navy Pier, everyone has to be shuttled into town. The halls were jam packed with people and you could not get an elevator. It was the worst that I have ever experienced. ELEVATORS---extremely slow PIZZA----In my opinion, it is just plain bad and not worth waiting for. This has been true of the pizza on my last 3 carnival cruises. They need a new recipe and a new system. THE UGLY--- THE ATRIUM---the atrium and promenade, in my opinion are just plain ugly! The brown on brown and mustard colors are dark and depressing and the first impression as you board is not a good one. It screams old and ugly! Overall we enjoyed our cruise because we were with family and seeing Cuba was awesome. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories ... Read More
First off embarkation and debarkation were a total breeeze. Everything went smoothly and getting off the ship in Cuba and through customs was about a 10 minute process. Everyone was extremely organized. I have read other horror stories about going through customs in Cuba and in my experience they were all exaggerations. The upgrades to the states rooms were well thought, as we all know outlets are usually an issue in older ships. There were four usb plugs in my interior room which was spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The ship itself is a little quirky but I got the hang of it. I am not a fan of a ship that you can not walk straight through (it’s a minor inconvenience and mainly something you adjust to after the first two days on board) the atrium is beautiful but has a lack of seating. This ship also has one pool which wasn’t an issue on our cruise but I can imagine it being packed on a cruise with more families/children. Food overall was great. Guys and blueiguana are my go to for lunch on this ship as the lido deck is more limited than other larger ships. Dinning room service and meals were some of the best I have had. The one thing that fell flat was the pizza. Carnival usually has the best pizza and it’s something I enjoy having late at night once the day is wrapping up but there was something so off about the pizza on this ship. Had it once and didn’t bother trying it again. The standout port on this trip and the reason I even booked it was Cuba. I mentioned above reading several “horror” stories of getting through customs in Cuba and either those were inaccurate or Cuba and the cruise line have learned how to stream line this process. You will have to fill out your visa which carnival gives you at embarkation. If you’re not sure how to fill it out or want to make sure you do it correctly guest services can give you an example of a complete visa or it will be in your fun times printout the day before you arrive to Havana. We booked an excursion through carnival. Culinary traditions and Cuba. It was hands down the best excursion. Our tour guide Viviana made the excursion she was informative and answered everyone’s questions. We started with a walking tour then drove down the Malecón. Had an amazing lunch at the Habana Libre hotel with a band and dancers. From there we went to plaza de revolucion, took pictures with old fashioned cars before finishing our excursion with shopping and a Cuba pairing of cigars, coffee and rum. If you’re thinking of going to Cuba do it and do it now. Cuba is changing that much is obvious and if you want to see it before it does don’t wait just go. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early ... Read More
We did this cruise via a casino coupon and we upgraded to a Junior suite from an inside room . Mistake but I will talk about this in my cabin review. We were two couples in our early 40's and my single friend in her early 40's. The single friend was a first time cruiser and she loved it! The rest of us have been on 5 or 6 other cruises and thought it was up there in our favorite 2. We didn't go in with huge expectations and maybe that is why we had a blast. Embarkation was a breeze. Because I upgraded to a Suite we had priority boarding which meant a really short line compared to the huge line for everyone else. They will let your non suite friends get in the short line with you. We were there at noon and on the ship by 12:20. We all bought the drink package and thank god! We like to drink and some of them got cut off by midnight because they reached their 15 drink max. But hey, drinks get warm, you set them down, you may not like one, they still count so we were glad we bought it. Lunch on the Lido deck we all chose guys burgers and fries and they were all great. We hung out all day by the pool, in the casino, walking around etc. We missed going under the sky bridge in Tampa as we were in the casino (woopsy) . Anyway this boat rocked alot more than other cruise ships I have been on. Sometimes you noticed it, but I just tried to not look out the windows as we moved and I was generally fine. I am also very sensative to sea sickness and I never heard anyone else complain about it. We met for early 6pm dinner in the main dining room Destiny. We sat the 5 of us and 3 lovely ladies from Virginia. Our two waiters were great and our drinks and apps were on the table in 5 min. All our meals in the main dining room were very good! we did all pay $20 extra one night and got the filet and lobster and it did not disappoint. Day 2- arrive in Key west at noon, I really wished we got here sooner as it is very close to Tampa???? I was confused why the itinerary didnt allow more time at this port. Anyway we had a few cocktails on board and waited for the masses to fight their way off. We walked off at 12:50 ish and no lines. It rained all day in Key West but we did a little bar hopping and had fun anyway. Irish Kevins was for sure our favorite spot with the live singer/comedian guy. Got back on the little trolly thing around 3pm and went back to the ship. I will definately be back in Key West as it wasnt nearly enough time here. Got back went to casino (after we were like 12 miles out of course) and made it to the main dining room again for dinner. I say made it because it was a long day of drinking and some people wanted to nap! Food great again! Day 3- woke up around 8am, some ate breakfast (my husband and I don't really eat breakfast) Waited for most to get off the ship in CUBA, we got off around 11 am with absolutely no one in line. Customs took 30 seconds as did money exchange. Just to give an idea of how much you will need in Cuba, most of us took our $80 US and it was too much (for what we did). First of all DO NOT get suckered into buying an excursion if you want to just walk on your own!!!! Carnival will try and tell you that you have to check off "people to people" and book an excursion. We being in Cuba last year knew to check off "support the cuban people" option and you can totally just walk off. We walked to the main square accross from the ship and you will get a few locals asking if you want to pay $1 each and they will walk you around. We said no, but one guy seemed to never leave so what the heck we let him walk us around. He took us to a local John Lennon bar (dive bar but very cool!!) we all go cubra libras (rum and cokes) and were surprised it was $10 a drink!! We had one, felt very buzzed and moved on to the next stop. We walked through beautiful streets, saw the market, other squares, local people living life. It was great. Ernest Hemingway bar right near the port was our fave as it had live cuban music and here a round of drinks for 5 people was $7.50 US. Or $7.50 CUC. Totally cheap and fun here. We danced and walked around some more. We all tipped our guy $25 US and he was more than happy I am sure. Got back on the boat and only 2 made it to dinner.... Day 4 - Cozumel- We arrived at 12:45pm to port and we chose again to wait an hour before getting off to avoid the crowd. We had booked El Cid's for the twilight day pass as our ship was here 1pm to 9pm. No other day pass resorts were offering this late day pass. It was $65 each I think?? MAKE SURE you bring the printed piece of paper with your reservation or they will make you print it at the hotel. We had drinks, food (good food) towels, pool, snokeling, all included. It was a fun day! The shopping area right a the ship is awesome, I thought it was beautiful clean and lots to do. We were back on the ship around 6 as we are wimps of the sun and apparently cannot drink too much in the sun. Day 5- day at sea, usual activities, silly games by the pool, lots of food.... I dont really know as I was burnt from Mexico and did not hang around outside. We were mostly hanging around the casino area/American bar. Now 3 of us were smokers and even as a smoker I will say that this small one side of the bar and in the casino were always VERY smoky.. The air suckers in this area seemed to not work. This was also the area that they had the trivia games which we LOVED!! So much fun. But dang do something with the smoking vents! CASINO!!!!- Ok we hung out here ALOT!!! Like every day for a long time especially at night. We usually go to Greektown Casino in our hometown near Detroit. We usually hit at greektown pretty much every time we are there so we think it is the loosest best slots in the world lol . This casino was pretty close. It is small but it pays good!!! Every single time you sat down people were hitting like crazy! My husband probably won $1000 a day on slots easily. I couldnt believe it . I loved playing roulette with our group. I won one of the pong games in the casino where they called my name and I had to throw one out of ten ping pong balls into a gift bag with money on it. I won $75 it was fun. Overall the wait staff was fantastic, you always had a drink in your hand, we never waited once at any of the bars nor in the casino. Dinner service was fast, we never waited more than 10 min for dinner. I couldn't believe we were on the same cruise that people were ripping on the slow service and crappy food. We did not think this at all. Look , don't expect Ruth's Chris style meals, expect more like outback or Texas Road House lol. Then you will not be disappointed. This boat is small and therefore you won't get lost and everything is easy to get to. Having said that it is small and can sometimes feel like there is not much to do. There is not much craziness going on near the pool, which I like sometimes. We NEVER had a problem getting a chair, there were never any big drunks partying like it was springbreak. There was no more than 20 kids on the whole ship. It was just a great cool crowd of people. Cabin review is next.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
A friend and I decided on a last-minute cruise, as we both were looking for a week's vacation that required little planning. We booked about three weeks in advance and we were able to get an ocean view room. We were nervous because ... Read More
A friend and I decided on a last-minute cruise, as we both were looking for a week's vacation that required little planning. We booked about three weeks in advance and we were able to get an ocean view room. We were nervous because the room was on the 5th floor, same as the two main dining rooms, and near the elevators, but it ended up being a great location. Quick and easy to get everywhere, and we didn't hear any noise from the elevators. The ship was refurbished this year and it was done very nicely. Just the rooms can use an update!! Havana was a fun experience. I recommend the 'Best of Havana' six hour tour. We wouldn't have known where to go without doing a lot of research (and since we didn't have cell service for directions). The tour was half bus ride/half walking. We ended up being on the bus a little more due to the rain, but our tour guide was great. We also got to do rum and coffee tastings, and time to purchase cigars as well, if you wanted. After the tour we wandered to the hotel where Hemingway spent his time and sat in the lobby bar drinking mojitos and listening to a wonderful piano player for an hour or two. It was fantastic. The indoor market isn't worth going to. It's about 100 booths with tourist tchotchkes. The next day was a ship/cruise day. Unfortunately it rained a bit and was cloudy, but we still enjoyed some sun on the deck. Not too much great entertainment on the ship, but that was expected since it's a smaller ship. We spent most evenings at the mojito bar or the local or at the karaoke bar. Great Stirrup Cay was wonderful. If you plan to lay by the beach all day, I recommend trying to get out on one of the first tenders so you can get chairs by the water. Floats are only $16 to have all day, and we had a $50 credit that we used towards them. Getting on the ship and disembarking (in Havana as well), was run very smoothly. We never waited in a line at any point. Even exchanging currency in Havana. I've been on cruises we're you're in line for a long time. I recommended keeping your suitcase and walking off with it on the last day. Again, there was no line, so we walked right off! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was my first cruise on Norwegian Sky.....and I cant wait to travel again with them.....not only was the service great and the food excellent the whole experience was more than we could imagine ...it was fantastic!.....I am already ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Norwegian Sky.....and I cant wait to travel again with them.....not only was the service great and the food excellent the whole experience was more than we could imagine ...it was fantastic!.....I am already trying to book my next one to Europe! The agent who took care of made sure we had all our documents gave us tips on how to take advantage of all the emilites the ship had to offer! The crew what can you say they made life wonderful with there smiles and always looking after us. The spraying of or hands to make sue no germs are spread is a wonderful way it issued everyone a germ free ship. Just amazing service and courtesy . We are looking for wood to our next trip with theses wonderful people! The ship has a lot to offer and we tried to get in all in. The shows where a knock out! The comic on board Alex Ortiz made it a wonderful show ..Oh lets not forget bingo.....Please make sure you get in touch with us to secure our next trip! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We missed about 30% of the planned itinerary, including no stop in Casilda. Our trip was cut short as soon as we arrived, by 6 hours. We spent way too much time aboard ship and our land time was constantly changed and shortened. The ... Read More
We missed about 30% of the planned itinerary, including no stop in Casilda. Our trip was cut short as soon as we arrived, by 6 hours. We spent way too much time aboard ship and our land time was constantly changed and shortened. The cruise directors were very flippant about the reasons. We missed a wonderful concert in Cienfuegos due to a guide or tour director’s mistake and were left behind to take a taxi to the venue, with a guest lecturer and another guest. No apologies from Pearl Mist staff. The advertised gym was a few pieces of broken and/or rusted equipment, covered and unusable for a good part of the trip due to wind or rain. MOST IMPORTANT, many passengers got a terrible respiratory and stomach infection. I got very sick myself. There were a lot of leaky air conditioners. Our room smelled moldy and mildewed. The carpet was damp and dirty in places. The crew was evasive about what was making so many people sick. The nurse actually stated that “Cuba is hot and the ship is air conditioned.” We live in Florida! That being said, the waitstaff, housekeepers and the 2 entertainers worked really hard and were excellent. Cuba is well worth visiting, but not on Pearl Mist. We paid fora 5***** experience. Customer service has been disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 21st cruise, so we are not novices. We also aren't overly demanding and understand that things won't always go as smoothly as we would like. We chose this cruise for the itinerary...5 nts with 36 hours in Havana. ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise, so we are not novices. We also aren't overly demanding and understand that things won't always go as smoothly as we would like. We chose this cruise for the itinerary...5 nts with 36 hours in Havana. This was our 3rd NCL cruise, but the last had been over 10 years ago. We had heard that the NCL experience had declined significantly, but were shocked at the extremely poor service and apathetic attitude of the crew. The ship is in good condition and our balcony cabin very nice. When we arrived at our cabins (we were traveling with my brother and his wife who also a balcony cabin but on the other side of the ship, so a different cabin steward), we both discovered that our bathrooms had been used and not recleaned. Our shower had personal products left behind, the shower curtain was very sour smelling and there was a used towel near the sink. Our friend's shower had a used wash cloth hanging conspicuously in it. Disgusting. We had the premium plus beverage package which includes most drinks including top shelf liquor. We quickly discovered we could consume mixed drinks all day long and never feel the slightest effects of alcohol (if you want any alcohol at all ask for a floater). We aren't big drinkers, but still. We tried several different bars around the ship and could order the exact same drink by name from the menu and it was made totally different every single time...different color, different taste, different everything. Additionally, it took an average of 10-20 minutes to get our drinks once the order was placed...again...every single time. The Garden Cafe buffet menu and food were average but we always had to find someone to clean a table as there were very few workers (max of 2 per very large section) and they moved in slow motion and with great apathy. More than once we had to ask that a dirty table be wiped after the used dishes were removed, and once I had to ask that the whole table be wiped and not just the part in front of me. The worst service encountered was in the main dining rooms. Very slow service, orders taken and food served reaching across the table, and one waiter took my brother's order standing about three feet back at a 45 degree angle behind his shoulder making him practically yell his order by twisting his neck around. The food was less than average with one fish dish that smelled like dirty socks being totally inedible. I ordered hot tea during the entree one evening and was told I couldn't get any until coffee was served with dessert. We ate in the Brazilian steakhouse restaurant one night and did have excellent service there but after my husband paid a cash gratuity for all four of us (more than 20%), my brother discovered a $10 gratuity on his statement at the end of the week that was not on his receipt after dinner. We also ate at Cagney's which was very good. We were careful to order wine that was included with our beverage package (the bottles on the menu with stars next to them) and our bills reflected no charge at the end of the meal. However, we were charged for two $42 bottles of wine on our week's end statement. My husband addressed it with the purser and was told it happens all the time. Seriously? We only had to tender once, but that was frustrating as well. We were at Great Stirrup Cay where there is a local tender boat rather than using the ship's life boats. We disembarked well after the point where tender tickets were required. We got on the almost full boat and thought "Great! This won't take long!" Wrong. It started to drizzle rain (not a storm and no lightening), so some passengers decided to get off. Apparently they won't leave until the tender is completely full so we had to sit another 20 minutes and wait for more passengers to slowly arrive. My brother and his wife took a later tender and had to wait over 30 minutes for it to fill up. Our take-away is that NCL is banking on their beverage package and people's perception of free, unlimited booze to bring passengers. We want to feel valued when we pay someone hundreds and even thousands of dollars depending on the cruise to give us a vacation we love and will remember fondly. As NCL did not ask for customer comments at the end of the cruise we can only assume they do not care. Fortunately for us, we know what other cruise lines offer so we know not to sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, ... Read More
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, "you can cancel, but you will not get a refund". After taking at least 20 cruises on many different cruise lines, this one ranks as the worst. The food was barely edible. The food on the buffet was generally cold and when I brought it to their attention, they found a legion of middle managers who apologized profusely and then did nothing about it. In Cienfuegos, the crew was totally unprepared to handle the tender disembarking and return.They shuttled passengers back and forth with two small tenders. At least 1500 passengers were left outside in a pouring rain for two hours while they slowly brought people back to the ship. The only shelter from the rain was crowded with the ship staff. The passengers were so upset about conditions on this ship that they were yelling at the MC on the evening show. I would not recommend Royal Caribbean based on this experience. The ship is old but and poorly maintained, but if the ship was managed better, it would have been a much better experience. We have been to Cuba on other cruise ships and had a very enjoyable time. I agree with other customers. Choose another cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Let me preface this review by stating that we have taken many cruises, on Princess as well as Carnival and have never had an unpleasant experience, until now, on Norwegian. When we choose to spend our hard-earned money on a cruise ... Read More
Let me preface this review by stating that we have taken many cruises, on Princess as well as Carnival and have never had an unpleasant experience, until now, on Norwegian. When we choose to spend our hard-earned money on a cruise vacation, that price includes not only the monetary cost of the trip, but the use of valuable vacation days as well as the travel costs incurred to arrive at the cruise terminal. We could have gone anywhere, but we chose Norwegian’s 5 day trip to Cuba and Great Stirrup Cay. I am going to start with the worst of it. Let’s visit this premium alcohol package that was included in the cost of our cruise. Night #1, we are pleased to see some good wines on the list, available by the bottle, so we order them. Night #2, we order these two wines again, but after taking our cruise card, our waiter returns to advise that Norwegian is now out of these two wines. Really? On night #2? After dinner we stop at our lobby bar, where, surprise, they happen to have these two wines, as they did at various other bars and eateries on the ship. It is seems apparent that Norwegian trains its staff to cut off the premium wines once a passenger has had a bottle or two. Unacceptable. We paid for premium wines and were denied the items we paid for. Additionally when we requested a substitute, the waiters refused to provide anything comparable. The second issue we encountered occurred at Norwegian’s Great Stirrup Cay, where we had reserved cabanas, as we had elderly relatives in our group. The island/cabana area is infested with biting insects, in our case, no-see-ums, which immediately ravaged every person in the cabanas. This would have been 100% preventable if you had 1. been honest that there is a problem and warned your passengers about it, and 2. Stock cabanas with insect repellent. At no time was an insect problem ever mentioned. At no time was is suggested that we bring insect repellent to the island. Please see the attached photos of the aftermath of sitting in your cabana for approximately four hours. The current state of my literally hundreds of bite scars (one month later) is that they are dark purple and not fading anytime soon. What you need to know is that I run a Tanning and Skin Care business which requires me to be at the Colorado River, in a bathing suit, where I market and sell my products. Due to this horrific scarring on my legs and arms, I am completely unable to wear a bathing suit and promote my brand. This is no laughing matter, as I am losing money on a daily basis as a direct result of Norwegian's neglecting to address a very serious matter. Aesthetics aside, biting insects transmit diseases and due to the severe infection that resulted from these bites, I have scheduled a doctor appointment to have them analyzed for contagious disease as well as permanent damage to my skin. At this point I am formally requesting that Norwegian reimburse me for the premium alcohol package that I was denied, as well as damages for the physical harm I was exposed to resulting in permanent, disfiguring scars, the severity of yet to be determined once an official prognosis is reached. UPDATE 6/20/19 - Norwegian has thus far declined to address my concerns, rather, thanking me for the feedback. I have since obtained a dermatologists report indicating that the scarring my be permanent due to my skin type. Initially I didn't even mention the food, some of which was good, but again, not even comparable to other cruises I've been on (Princess). On our last night we'd reserved dinner in the Italian restaurant. A full hour after sitting down, our party of 14 still did not even have the cocktails we ordered. Other diners had come in, been served and left before we received our appetizers. We sat another 1.5 hours before finally requesting a manager and telling the staff to forget the courses, just bring everything, as we had to get up very early to disembark the ship. Most of us did not ever receive the apps/salad/soups that we'd originally ordered. I really don't anticipate getting any sort of compensation from Norwegian, however, I do intend to warn every one I can about their sub par ship, food and customer service. You have many choices when it comes to cruise lines - I strongly recommend NOT choosing Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was very upset that RCI cancelled one of the Cuban ports and switched it to Cozumel (along with 1500 other people). I really, really liked Cuba. I liked the small ship but I'm not a huge cruise fan and I do not like the mega-ships ... Read More
I was very upset that RCI cancelled one of the Cuban ports and switched it to Cozumel (along with 1500 other people). I really, really liked Cuba. I liked the small ship but I'm not a huge cruise fan and I do not like the mega-ships so that's just personal preference. I met so many nice people because the ship was small. :-) The staff were generally very nice and helpful. I did not care for the dining room food - it was just blah. The volume of the music on the pool deck is too loud!!!!! The entertainment was good though the regular singers/dancers were "okay". Loved the coffee package as I am a coffee lover. If you know it is the oldest and smallest ship and you accept that, then you will have a really nice trip. The Chichen Itza excursion is not worth it. We were there for only one hour at high noon. The Botanical Gardens excursion in Cienfuegos was very nice. The Free Havana Walking Tour I found on TA in Havana was EXCELLENT! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because it visited Havana, and it was short. We had never been on a Norwegian cruise before, but after reading the reviews, we were sort of dreading it! It seemed that this was going to be a bare-bones, very basic ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it visited Havana, and it was short. We had never been on a Norwegian cruise before, but after reading the reviews, we were sort of dreading it! It seemed that this was going to be a bare-bones, very basic cruise with the advantage of visiting one of our bucket list locations (with the ease of getting into Cuba via a cruise). But it turned out to be better than expected! Our voyage featured excellent service, a really friendly staff, and a mostly adult crowd (I don't suppose a lot of kids want to visit Cuba!). This is on the small side for Norwegian, about 2,000 passengers, so if you want a megaship with waterslides and 20 restaurants, this ain't your ship. But the specialty dining we enjoyed at the French place (Le Bistro?) was really good and reasonably priced a la carte. At dinner, the main restaurants (Four Seasons and Seven Seas) were both more than adequate, with super efficient service and surprisingly good food. Maybe our expectations were so low that it just seemed good...I don't know! But me and my husband were pleased with the variety and quality of the food. I will say that breakfasts are fairly basic. The gym is great, everything you need. We didn't use the spa. There is only one pool area on this ship, split into shallow and deep pools. If you wanted a relaxing day to read at the pool, you won't get it on this ship. There is constant blasting music happening poolside. From what I understand, these short Cuba cruises include all drinks. You are still on the hook for daily gratuities, but having drinks included in the cruise price is great. No surprises at the end of the cruise for your booze bill! :) The wifi is shockingly bad on Norwegian Sun. I think they have a hamster running on a wheel in the belly of the ship that runs the server haha. Seriously, they would be better off not even offering wifi than offering such substandard wifi and having everyone be frustrated with it. The poor guy at the internet service desk was constantly being visited by annoyed passengers trying to access wifi. That guy is underpaid!! Our balcony cabin was small but comfortable. Nothing out of the ordinary, nor extraordinary. Tiny bathroom, lots of little cubbyholes for your stuff, a small coffeemaker, other basic amenities. As usual on nearly every cruise we've experienced on Holland, Silverseas, Celebrity, and now Norwegian, the entertainers worked their asses off with super broad material. I'm always amazed at how they do so much with such absolute cornpone. Overall, for the money we paid, we were thrilled with this bargain trip to Havana. We drank, we saw Cuba, we sang karaoke. What more can you ask?? Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Diagnosed with Leukemia so figured I should check off some bucket list items quickly, always wanted to see Cuba, the Bahamas and Miami and figured this would knock out them in one shot. That being said, Cuba was beautiful but ... Read More
Diagnosed with Leukemia so figured I should check off some bucket list items quickly, always wanted to see Cuba, the Bahamas and Miami and figured this would knock out them in one shot. That being said, Cuba was beautiful but could've used more time there. Miami was nice, a lot to see and do. The Bahamas, well, not so great. Come to find out it was owned by Norwegian and like the cruise itself, not great! Sad thing was we paid so much for the trip and was seriously let down. The cruise itself seemed to go smooth and the drinks were good although a little slow at times. We paid for the premium package, top shelf alcohol/food but as I said before the drinks were fine but the food was not so and sadly enough, I had to spend nearly an hour of our vacation at the service desk straightening out all the food and alcohol charges they padded my bill with. WHAT?? Thank goodness an experienced cruiser tipped my wife and I off to that problem or we'd have to deal with that at checkout which was chaotic. To add, we went with friends who also stated they had similar issues? Anyhow, I prefer to think that the cup is always half full and not half empty and may e if things go well with my treatments I'll try it again. Just my two cents! God bless y'all and stay positive!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary; two nights in Havana. The embarkation process is one thing that NCL has down pat. We got to the pier early, breezed through the check-in and were seated in the waiting area. Once our ... Read More
I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary; two nights in Havana. The embarkation process is one thing that NCL has down pat. We got to the pier early, breezed through the check-in and were seated in the waiting area. Once our group number was called, we boarded and went to the pool deck for a couple beers. They had a big ice bin filled with several different kinds of beer; as we all know, beer on ice is the best there is! And this sailing included an open bar. We then had lunch in the buffet, and soon our cabin was ready. More about the cabin later. After lifeboat muster, we gathered with fellow Cruise Critic members in the Spinnaker Lounge forward. This is the most beautiful lounge on the ship. And I'd like to add that being my first time aboard the Sun, and I know that she had a re-fit last year, I was very pleasantly surprised to see her condition; practically everything looked brand new! NCL held a Meet and Greet the next morning for us CC's with several of the crew members attending. They were very informative and answered many questions that we all had concerning regulations in Cuba. We found the food aboard to be a little above average. The quality was very good and the service was wonderful. The food itself was nicely presented, and quite tasty, but not particularly exceptional. Again, nothing wrong with it, but not spectacular. For the price of the cruise, we found the food to be perfectly adequate. My reason for cruising is not for the food, but for the ship, the itinerary, the ports, and simply being on the ocean. The food is less important to me. Immigration in Havana went very smoothly and very quickly. We docked at 6 PM, stood in line to get a ticket for leaving the ship, went through with our passports and visas and were on the street in Havana by 7 PM. We and another couple arranged for a 3 hour tour for the next day and then did a little exploring in the immediate area by the ship. Our tour the next day was in a 1956 "Dodgemouth" convertible! The front end was a Dodge, and the back end was a Plymouth! What fun that was! Our guide showed us many historic sites and we went to Hemingway's home as well. There are some new restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba, but I hope that they are not too restrictive as I hope to go back again! Our next stop was at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, but I stayed on the ship as the weather was a little iffy and I had just been there in Nov. of '18 while cruising on the NCL Sky. Once back in Miami, we did the "walk-off" disembarkation where we took our own bags. This began at 7:30, and after going through customs and all, we were off the ship by 7:45. A wonderful ship, a wonderful itinerary, and an exceptional value! I hope to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise as it was very reasonably priced and it was our first time with Norwegian.. Embarking was quiet an experience with the staff shoreside being quiet short and abrupt if you had a question to ask. Once onboard we ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was very reasonably priced and it was our first time with Norwegian.. Embarking was quiet an experience with the staff shoreside being quiet short and abrupt if you had a question to ask. Once onboard we went straight to the outside restaurant on deck 11 for a snack and drink, the bar staff seemed very rushed and a tad rude, probably due to the amount of people they were trying to serve, so put it down to work overload. Our reservation was deck 4 mid ship, I didn’t like the fact that we could only access it from either end of the ship and the aft access was via 1 small elevator or small staircase. After spending the night in the room we simply had to move, the AC noise was, at the very least annoying. We upgraded to a balcony on deck 8, this was much more roomier and not quiet so loud, much easier to access and better located. We were allowed to choose which restaurant we went to for dinner, thankfully this was the case s the 1st one went to was awash with the smell of smoke, seven seasons on deck 5 aft. We then went to Four seasons, deck 5 mid ship, although the smell of smoke was all around the atrium it didn’t creep into this restaurant too much. Our service in this restaurant was excellent, although I think the menu could have been a bit more varied from day to day they did try to please us. We found the layout of the ship very disjointed with having to go up and over to come down again just to get to somewhere next door on the same deck, very weird. The worst part of this ship is the smell of smoke on some days, I think most was coming from the casino and maybe because of the age of the air handlers it seemed to spread far and wide, it really was quiet sickening and I found I couldn’t sit in many places due to this awful smell. I did make it know to customer services how unpleasant I found it and it seemed many others were of the same opinion, the ship did try to pump air fresheners thru it’s system but they we short lived. Our cruise was only 6 days and we were ashore for 4 of them so we didn’t have much time for the entertainment but the daily activities was a little bare. In brief, if you are not handicapped and if you don’t mind the exercise then you will overcome the ships layout.. if they stopped smoking in any indoor areas or upgraded their air system this was a very pleasant cruise. The staff were very welcoming and helpful and the service at dinner was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I, like many of my shipmates, chose this cruise specifically because it visited three Cuban ports: Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana. As MANY others have noted in previous reviews, RCI advertises these ports, knowing full well that ... Read More
I, like many of my shipmates, chose this cruise specifically because it visited three Cuban ports: Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana. As MANY others have noted in previous reviews, RCI advertises these ports, knowing full well that for at least the past six months, they cannot port in Santiago. They continue to advertise three Cuban ports, and then literally as soon as final payments are paid, the RCI website is updated to show that in fact you won't be visiting Santiago: the ship will stop somewhere else instead. In our case, it was Cozumel, Mexico. Since most Caribbean cruisers have been to Cozumel before, this wasn't a particularly attractive alternative. RCI doesn't do its guests the courtesy of notifying them of this change. I only found out via the CruiseCritic roll call for the cruise. So if you are interested in this cruise, be forewarned: you will probably NOT visit three ports in Cuba. There was, for us, only one positive about this cruise: the crew. With the exception of the cruise director (whom none of us saw at any point in the 7-day cruise, even being out and about all the time!), the crew were friendly, helpful and really just an amazing bunch of people. They made up for many (but not all) of the many shortcomings of this ship (and RCI in general.) MANY NEGATIVES: where to begin? Let's start with the cabin. We had an inside (see below). Another problem? The food is average AT BEST: and often downright bad. We're not fussy by any means, but of the seven meals, 3 of them were awful (we couldn't even eat them), 2 meals were mediocre, and only 2 were average in taste and quality. Our dining room waiters did their best: always asking if we wanted something else, and so on, but we don't like to waste food, so we just figured (on several nights) to have a bit of a "fast"..... The dining rooms (both the main Starlight areas and the Windjammer buffet) are horribly overcrowded, with tables pushed so close together that you literally had your neighbors' chairs up against the backs of yours. They are also VERY understaffed: they need at least 50% more servers in both areas. We like to talk with our servers and get to know them a bit, but they were so busy that they rarely had time to even slow down, much less stop! The swimming pool is a joke. First of all, it's a uniform depth of 1,80m (a bit over six feet). It is VERY small and because it has no shallow area, older people tend to just sit on the edge with their legs in the water. This makes getting into and out of the pool a real challenge, and once you're in the pool, you have to keep swimming, because you can't stop anywhere on the sides (with all those dangling legs!) Maybe 20 people (if they crowd close together) can sit around the sides, and only 10 or so can "swim" (by which I mean tread water in a very confined space.) Finally, it's a salt-water pool, so if (like us) you don't care for salt-water pools, you won't enjoy this one. We went in on the first day and never went back: it was always very crowded. The casino onboard has an interesting two-level design, which we liked. There are a couple of things you need to know about the casino, however. First of all, it is completely non-smoking. Not a problem for us, but for many, this will be a disappointment. The other thing we didn't care for was the fact that about 75% of the slot machines are old: and I mean 20+ years old! Some of them still use coins, believe it or not, that's how old they are! Many have buttons that don't work, or are out of order for "maintenance". If you plan on playing the slots, you cannot charge to your "SeaPass" card. You have three options: bring cash (USD) with you; use the ATM to get money (for a $6.95 fee); or go to the cashier and charge it to your SeaPass (for a 5% fee). So if you are going to get more than $107 to gamble with, use the ATM. The fee is actually better than getting it at the cashier's. Generally, though, we were bored with the selection of machines after 2 days. Honestly, going to this casino is like going to a small "locals" casino in Las Vegas: lots of old, tired machines, and really low payouts. Another irritating aspect of this cruise is the way RCI has two levels of customer service when it comes to shore excursions. This is particularly true in Cuba. If you are booked on an RCI excursion, you get off the ship first. But if you have made independent plans, tough luck. You have to wait on the ship until all of RCI's "customers" (as they put it) have left the ship. Then you can go (unless you are in Cienfuegos: then you have to get a "tender ticket" and wait even longer for your turn.) So for example, we arrived in Havana at 0700. Because we had private tours, we couldn't get off the ship until 0930. So you may want to schedule any private tours for later in the morning (i.e. when it's getting hotter!) because if you had an 0900 tour, you'd probably miss it in Havana. We did one ship excursion, the "Chichen Itza Mixed Reality" tour from Cozumel. We had not been to Chichen Itza, and it's a long trip, so we thought a ship tour was safer in terms of getting back in time. The description of the tour is quite a bit different from the reality: the virtual reality they offer is in fact a slide show on a tablet, that you do with the guide on the long bus ride to the site. The guide and driver were excellent, but we only had 90 minutes at the site, out of an 8-hour excursion. As to the Cuban ports, the town center of Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though I honestly can't imagine why, unless perhaps UNESCO felt like Cuba ought to have a site or two. The best way to see the "sights" in Cienfuegos is to hop on the little Transtur tourist (covered open-air) train that departs every 45 minutes or so from the pier. It's a 40-minute tour, costs 5 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos), and makes a lengthy stop at Jose Marti Square (where all the "UNESCO" sites are located.) Then it continues on to Punta Gorda, where all the rich government officials and other revolutionaries live, and goes past some of the beautiful old hotels and the Palacio Valle and along the Malecon. You can walk to Jose Marti Square from the pier, but many of the roads are rough, unpaved, and you have to run the gauntlet of touts selling pedi-cab or horse-drawn carriage or "classic car" tours. We found Havana to be amazingly underwhelming, and certainly not deserving of the hype we'd read before our trip. Again, a few well-maintained (tourist-oriented) streets surround by squalid, dirty, rather smelly neighborhoods with decaying buildings and a lot of poor people living the socialist dream. No, we're not political at all, but the irony to us (as Europeans) of the failure of the revolutionary ideals was very sad. Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly lengthy experiences. Long lines, long waits, and once you did get on the ship, all of the cabin areas were closed off, with signs saying, "Cabins will be available after 1330." Our luggage did not arrive until just before dinner. RCI transfers are a joke. At disembarkation, we did "self-assist" so as to catch the schedule 0815 transfer to Fort Lauderdale airport. We waited in line for 30 minutes, then finally got off the ship and walked to the bus. We sat on the bus for 90 minutes before leaving at 1000! The ship itself is old and very tired, despite the fact that it just came out of a "refurbishment" at the end of March 2019. We couldn't see much that looked like it had been upgraded or updated: perhaps they just put in more tables and chairs in the dining areas, and renovated the cabins for the officers and the cruise director. To us, Empress of the Seas seemed like a ship that needs to be completely rebuilt, possibly for one of the luxury lines. It certainly is nothing more than a cash cow for RCI, because they don't seem to be spending any money on facilities or crew. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Just finished an MSC cruise on the Armonia to Cuba...I will never be sailing with MSC again. The ship is looking "long in the tooth:" dirty stained carpets, worn finishes, and just all-around looking tired and old. Cabins ... Read More
Just finished an MSC cruise on the Armonia to Cuba...I will never be sailing with MSC again. The ship is looking "long in the tooth:" dirty stained carpets, worn finishes, and just all-around looking tired and old. Cabins didn't have enough outlets, and the crew - while generally "fine" - was not exceptional in any way. In short, there was nothing on this cruise the blew my socks off: not the entertainment, not the accommodations, not the food, not the service. Everything was just kind of "meh." The food in the restaurant was unexceptional at best, and thrown-together at worst. Buffet: way too small for the size of the ship. Entertainment, especially the shows, was mediocre compared to other cruise lines. None of the crew - including the entertainment - appeared happy to be on this cruise, and everyone was simply going through the motions. Worst: we sat on the tender boat to get back on the ship for 45 minutes because their re-boarding process is INCREDIBLY inefficient. MSC isn't ready to do battle with Carnival PLC's cruise lines or Norwegian or RC. Won't be making this mistake again...! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I picked MSC because if the price and I’ve never sailed with them before. I chose the Fantastica room level. Embarkation was super easy and fast! You have to go to a kiosk to put your credit card on your cruise card, just explore the ... Read More
I picked MSC because if the price and I’ve never sailed with them before. I chose the Fantastica room level. Embarkation was super easy and fast! You have to go to a kiosk to put your credit card on your cruise card, just explore the ship and when you see one of the kiosk free pop on. It’s super easy and fast. Food: Food was plentiful and tasty. Mind you, buffets are buffets. The food is not piping hot by the time you find someplace to sit. The dining rooms food wasn’t piping hot either. I think I had one meal that let off a little steam and I was so happy. But despite the Luke warm food, it was all still very tasty. In the dining rooms if you didn’t like something, our wait staff would get you something else quickly. They were trying to make sure we enjoyed our meals. Our water glasses were always full of cold water too (but I think that depends on which area you get). Rooms: I had an ocean view room and it was spacious! I’ve been on 14 cruises and this was by far the roomiest ocean view cabin I had. Plenty of storage spots, if it looks like a cabinet it was. Bathroom was ok - plenty of toilet space and sink space. Shower is tiny with not so fresh shower curtain. Bring your own $1 liner and put it up. Not gross when it’s a fresh new liner trying to get close and personal during your showers. Drinks: with the fantastica package you get drink vouchers. No where on any paper work does it tell you to take the one piece of paper that says **Fantastica Drink ... to guest services. Make sure you do this on embarkation day so your literal vouchers are delivered to your state room. Those vouchers get you one non-premium drink per. I’m not a big drinker so it’s all I needed. Water: bring a stainless steel water bottle and fill up (with one of the cruise cups) with ice and water daily. Tastes great. Or use a voucher for the $5 bottle of mineral (spring) water or sparkling water. Entertainment: I’m going to be honest, the regular theater singers are not that great. If you’re easily pleased you may love it. We started skipping shows because they were poorly directed and cast. The acrobats were excellent, wish there was more of them. Examples... a single dancer or pair of dancers would have made the karaoke like performances pop, some solo songs had all dancers on stage doing nothing and that was a shame, the acrobatic parts were weaved around the staff dancers/ singers which was often distracting and off-putting. The bands/acts in the loungers were amazing! So much better, just pick a type of music you love and stay in that lounge. The onboard event staff were all super friendly and trying real hard to make sure everyone was having a good time - do the events with them. They were great. Cuba: the ship makes it seem you have to do one of their excursions in order to get off in Cuba. This is not true. As long as you are spending money on people to people activities you can get off. Customs doesn’t check that, they only want your passport and visa. The people to people requirement is more for USA citizens. If you get off the ship in Havana, directly across the street from the port is a hotel, in there they have amazing excursions to beaches and all the fun stuff not offered by the cruise line. You can take these! Get Cuban cash before leaving the terminal, there are exchange places at the bottom of the stairs with no lines. Unless you have a credit card that does not originate in the USA you need Cuban dollars for everything. Take that into account when getting your travel cash. Oh and Canadian money didn’t exchange higher than the American dollar the day we were there (people with us were not happy with their Canadian exchange). All in all it’s a small ship with some nice distractions. It’s very relaxing and clean. If you’re looking for a ship with constant activities and partying pick another ship. If you’re looking to relax and just go with a good flow, this ship is a good choice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I've sailed several times on the Divina and Seaside and was a little hesitant to sail on the Armonia due to her age. Boy, was I wrong! What a great ship! It was absolutely in tip top shape and the staff were all so friendly and ... Read More
I've sailed several times on the Divina and Seaside and was a little hesitant to sail on the Armonia due to her age. Boy, was I wrong! What a great ship! It was absolutely in tip top shape and the staff were all so friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward Jasna seem to work none stop in keeping our cabins clean and stocked. The food was fantastic and the NY Strips were thick cooked perfect. The only thing I was disappointed in was the shrimp Cocktail's. Our waiter Rony gave us great service and made recommendations that were always right on the money. The main entertainment was mostly musical's, not really my cup of tea, but the skill of the performers was top notch!! I'm more a set in the Bar and listen to a singer or small group. That's where I spent most of my time. I went to Guest Service's several times with a question or request an they handled them all very quickly. I have sailed about 16 times and for me this size ship is what I like best. I have always enjoyed RCCL's Grandeur but this may be my new favorite. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019

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