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600 Cuba Cruise Reviews

Nine months ago we booked a 17 day cruise to the Caribbean and Cuba. There was limited availability - penthouse and above but it looked a really good itinerary and 17 days is a good length of time to meet lots of interesting people. ... Read More
Nine months ago we booked a 17 day cruise to the Caribbean and Cuba. There was limited availability - penthouse and above but it looked a really good itinerary and 17 days is a good length of time to meet lots of interesting people. Without notification, Regent split the cruise into 10 days in the Caribbean and 7 days around Cuba. We only found this out because some friends booked for the first 10 days and we could not, at the time, work out why there was now plenty of availability on this segment but not on the 7 days which was waitlist only. This review relates to the first 10 days which were fantastic. I shall post my review of the second 7 days separately. It is important that anyone reading this reads the second half. This cruise went to many of the islands devastated by the hurricanes the previous year, which had quickly recovered. It was a great itinerary and it was good to be supporting them as they rebuilt their homes and towns. We had not seen the Voyager since her make over and she looks amazing. There was a great mix of people on board and plenty of familiar faces - including the captain's double! The entertainment was the best we have known on a Regent ship and the entertainers the friendliest and nicest of people. We were delighted to be sailing with Andy Heath the cruise director and his delightful wife Tammy. Captain Stan was once again at the helm which made us all feel very safe and the General Manager Anatoli is one of the friendliest and most ever present general managers we have come across. The food and beverage team under Director Daniella were so hard working - ever present in every restaurant and bar, with one of our particular favourites being the very hard working Dominic, the Prime 7 Maitre D' who is ever present at breakfast clearing plates and ensuring everyone was ok. Shane in Chartreuse remembered our names and greeted us like an old friend every time we saw her. A big thank you to the medical team on behalf of one of our friends we were travelling with who became unwell during the trip and could not speak highly enough about the care and service she received. There are a couple of small pointers for Regent - the television in the cabin welcomes only my husband and not me despite this being the 21st century; and they are definitely doing something weird with the meat - I see another reviewer has suggested that they are precooking it. It is not a welcome change. The excursions were all great - lovely snorkelling. We particularly enjoyed Dominica which is like St Lucia but not so spoiled by tourism and Puerto Rica which was great and if we had known how interesting the town was we would not have gone on an excursion to the rainforest. Our penthouse cabin was probably one of the best we have had in terms of layout and it was always immaculate and our butler Suraj very friendly and keen to help with anything. Great lectures which were much more applicable to that part of the world than last year - pirates, sugar cane etc. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Beautiful ship with large cabins and plenty of public spaces to get away. Lots of restaurants, but food choices were somewhat limited. Like most cruises, there were minor issues along the way, but we really enjoyed this cruise. ... Read More
Beautiful ship with large cabins and plenty of public spaces to get away. Lots of restaurants, but food choices were somewhat limited. Like most cruises, there were minor issues along the way, but we really enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation seemed a bit disjointed with multiple stops. Staggered times based on suite category meant no big lines and cabins immediately ready. Our boarding opened at 2:00 pm. Don’t get too comfortable unpacking and miss lunch as the hours are limited. Welcome champagne glass and a full bottle waiting for you in the suite. We toured and photographed the ship after lunch. Disembarkation went as scheduled with full room service breakfast available (a rarity on most lines). Out of the cabin by 8:30 am, we waited until 9:15 for our group to be called right on time. Uber for two to FLL was less than $12 + tip. Why would anybody spend more for a bus transfer? Ship. So much room throughout the ship that we often asked ourselves, “Where is everybody?” Like many newer ships, this ship has the plethora of quiet places to “hide out.” Lots of elevators and stairs made it a snap to get around. Service and Amenities. Mostly what I would expect for a luxury cruise line. All-inclusive alcohol and wine flowed freely. Water, iced tea, and juice at the gangway with cold washcloths back on the ship. Friendly staff always greeted guests in passing, but don’t expect them to remember your name like they do on much smaller ships. Bulgari toiletries. All the toys in the cabin except binoculars. (I bring my own anyway.) No fresh flowers or fruit in our cabin. Clientele. Most people we met were very experienced cruisers. Some were avid Silversea clients, but quite a few were on their first Silversea cruise. A fair number of Brits. The clientele age was more varied than we expected. We quickly made friends with a lot of interesting people and enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. This is not a ship for kids, although the one 5-year old girl onboard got a lot of attention. Entertainment. Six singers and dancers did all the shows, including their solo acts. Other musicians also onboard for piano music, etc. Enrichment activities. Ira Feldman was our destination lecturer. He was very informative and approachable. We didn’t spend time doing most of the other cruise trivia, bingo, bridge, etc. We like doing puzzles and this ship could use a better location than the card room for that purpose. Restaurants. Very different arrangement than many other cruise lines and we were quite confused when trying to make pre-cruise online reservations. I’ll try to provide the information I wish I had before boarding. There is a cluster of four restaurants on Deck 4. Atlantide is the closest thing to a main dining room and doesn’t require reservations unless you have special requests. Menu only changed slightly once during the cruise. Indochine is similar with an Asian menu, but we never went there. Seishin (Asian) and LeDame (French) are the small, premium restaurants that are pricey and small. Hot Rocks (aka The Grill) is outside on Deck 9 by the pool. For lunch they serve burgers, but for dinner you cook your own food on a hot stone. Just upstairs overlooking the pool is the pizza restaurant Spaccanapoli. It’s not really a dinner restaurant, per se, but it does have a dinner menu if you want pizza. La Terrazza is the buffet converted to a sit-down Italian restaurant in the evening with both indoor and outdoor seating. Surprisingly, it had some of the best food on the ship, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Finally, Silver Note is a nice restaurant on Deck 8 that transitions into a piano bar with dancing at night. Menus vary by restaurant, not by day, so the idea is to try the different venues if you want variety. Finally, Arts Café is a gem of a place to get snacks next to Silver Note. That is where they serve afternoon tea with scones, cake, sandwiches, etc.. Unfortunately, the amazing cakes are replaced with only chocolate after dinner. It’s a good place to get an after dinner drink. The biggest critique I have is that afternoon post-shore excursion food was limited. Waiting an hour to get a burger from The Grill or room service just doesn’t cut it when you have been walking all morning and you are starving hungry! The simple fix would be to provide more substantial food (e.g. sandwiches, sushi, fruit, cookies, etc.) at the Arts Café during the entire lull period between lunch venues closing and dinner venues opening. Food Quality and Service. We were disappointed in the quality, variety, and availability. Although we had a few excellent meals, most were just average, which was disappointing for a luxury cruise line. Appetizers were typically the best part of the meal. Our lobster tails were overcooked. Steaks were not very tender and often undercooked. Lots of good fish choices, so we ate a lot of fish. Service was too often painfully slow, sometimes taking 2 ½ hours for a three course meal. What is it about some ships and the timing of the coffee? I like to drink my coffee with dessert, but the coffee usually came 15 minutes after dessert was served and long gone. Our last dinner onboard at La Terrazza was the best food and service of the cruise. Dress code. Two formal nights and five other nights requiring jackets for men. I would prefer more nights of “country club casual” or a dress code based on restaurant venue. Wearing formal clothes or even a jacket to an outdoor pizza restaurant didn’t make sense. Internet. Finally! Free, unlimited internet. Still ship-slow and sometimes difficult to get a good connection, but at least you are not being billed for every minute. Upgrades to higher speeds and more devices were available. Self Service Laundry. With machines on every floor, we were actually able to find open machines on a sea day, which made quick work of the laundry we needed washed. Free with a confusing soap dispenser. Machine instructions were practically non-existent and also perplexing. It didn’t help that the machine labels were German and the water temperatures were degrees Celsius. Cruise lines could really help out their guests by providing no-nonsense guides in English with recommendations about which of the 14 cycles (from 20 min to 3 hours) works best for most clothes. Spa & Fitness Center. Lots of treatment rooms. We enjoyed the Thermal Suite, which was an extra package price and limited access. Silversea could take a tip from Oceania and provide free Gatorade. Smoking. This was one of our main reasons for not sailing Silversea earlier. It is now reasonably restricted and the occasional whiffs of smoke from a designated smoking area did not bother us much. Ports. Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos, Havana, Bimini. Most people were on this cruise to see Cuba. Almost everybody went ashore to get a chance to see it firsthand. We invested heavily in shore excursions primarily because we didn’t know what to expect in terms of access and meeting the U.S. requirements to visit Cuba. All the Cuban tours were operated by Havanatur and transportation was provided on relatively new Chinese buses with toilets (an amenity you will appreciate in Cuba where every bathroom has an attendant with their hand out for a tip). Our shore excursion guides were all high quality. Everything was on time and the three sea days were a welcome respite from touring. An unexpected extension to our time in Havana allowed last-minute shore excursions to the nightclubs and shows. Friends we met through Cruise Critic were able to book their own independent tours, but we did not have the time to do all the advanced research and booking. Tenders. This was the first Silver Spirit itinerary to Cuba so there were many learning opportunities. Particularly problematic was the tendering service. Some of the tender rides were 35-45 minutes, but this was not entirely Silversea’s fault. Even this relatively small ship was not allowed to get close enough in some of the ports to have reasonable tendering times. This caused several of us to miss evening plans in Santiago because we could not get back to the ship in time to go back for the evening shows. Havana was the only port where we used a dock, which was a real luxury after all the tendering. The one big misstep was in Bimini, where bad management of tender rotations caused an hour wait that made several of us miss our afternoon shore excursion. The ship staff accepted full responsibility and refunded our ticket prices, but it was disappointing. In summary. We’ve never taken a perfect cruise, but expectations can be high for luxury cruise lines like Silversea. However, after 18 cruises on a variety of lines, this cruise makes our top 3, with Regent and Azamara. We loved the location and size of our cabin. Now that we understand the system, we will make better dining choices next cruise. Cuba is a must see and we will be back in the future to see the progress. Overall, we really enjoyed this cruise and will be back Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I really wanted to go to Cuba and a cruise was the easiest way to get there. I chose Viking because they spent the most time in Cuba and I could take a bus trip across the country and see Havana (it docks in Cienfuegos). The ship was ... Read More
I really wanted to go to Cuba and a cruise was the easiest way to get there. I chose Viking because they spent the most time in Cuba and I could take a bus trip across the country and see Havana (it docks in Cienfuegos). The ship was wonderful. Food was amazing, room was clean and well appointed (even a little spacious by cruise standards), staff was friendly and well trained, tour guides were well informed and helpful, and this ocean cruise was definitely up to the Viking standards we've experienced on our previous river cruises. Unfortunately, due to weather we were unable to cruise to our last itinerary stop (Santiago de Cuba) and ended up with an additional sea day. While this did not make us happy, they handled it very well. And...a surprise came in email the day we left giving us a $500 credit each because of the eliminate port. We already have a river cruise booked, unfortunately, we can't use it toward that trip. Perhaps we will take another Viking trip after that. It was nice not to have to call and shame them into giving us something :) Overall, a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My Husband and I just finished our Viking cruise to Cuba. It was amazing! We started from Newark New Jersey to Miami with no problems. We were picked up at the airport and were taken to the port with zero problems. Check in ... Read More
My Husband and I just finished our Viking cruise to Cuba. It was amazing! We started from Newark New Jersey to Miami with no problems. We were picked up at the airport and were taken to the port with zero problems. Check in took 5 minutes and went straight to our cabin 6063. Cabin was very nice and great location. One floor up to pools, pool grill, World cafe, and bar. We were greeted by our room Stewart June who was excellent. All the restaurants on the ship were excellent. The crew were all helpful and polite. Juiguian greeted us always in “The Restaurant” with her smile. I can’t understand how someone could say there were not enough choices of food. Or they didn’t like it. How much more could one eat? I am a picky eater and I always could find something great to eat. Everyone on the ship were always greeting us and asking if we needed anything. We have been on many different cruise lines, what we loved about this ship was the size. Our tours were great. Going through customs was a piece of cake. We had Judy take us around Cienfuegos. She was so well informed and explain life in Cuba. It was an extremely hot day but what do you expect from Cuba. Rather have 90 degrees than the 30’s in New Jersey. I don’t know what some people were expecting to see, we were surprised at what we did see. Our trip to Havana with George was incredible. I don’t know how he spoke from 8:00am to 8:00pm. We learned so much history, way of life, customs, etc etc We were so happy to go in the old cars . It only cost us $5.00 each to drive for a good 20 minutes. My only regret about the day trip was that I missed out of the over night stay at the Tropicana. We heard the hotel was very nice and the show was fantastic. Out last tour was a “Catamaran “ ride which really should be called a Boat ride. We were so tired from the two other tours that it was nice just to sit and take in the sight. We couldn’t go to our last port because it was going to be hard to leave the port because of high winds. Better safe than sorry. We had an extra day at sea to enjoy the beautiful weather. We didn’t exchange any money. I used euros for people at the stands and US dollars in the stores they took us to. Departure day was also very organized. Luggage, transportation, airport all went perfect. My Husband and I have no negative comments about Viking Star and Cuba travels. We are so glad to have seen a country that will hopefully change for the better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The first thing to say is that we had a great cruise and would recommend Azamara Journey. The staff members were all friendly helpful and efficient and it seems a very happy ship. It is worth noting that some staff members had been on ... Read More
The first thing to say is that we had a great cruise and would recommend Azamara Journey. The staff members were all friendly helpful and efficient and it seems a very happy ship. It is worth noting that some staff members had been on board for many years and seem loyal to the brand. The ship in general, with the exception of the Discoveries Restaurant at Dinner time, did not seem too crowded. Discoveries could be noisy but the food and service remained excellent. The food in general was a high standard in all restaurants but we found that the ambiance of the Specialty Restaurants along with the high quality of gourmet food and service gave us a refuge and a quiet place to dine. Both Prime C and Aqalina had their own menu which remained the same throughout the cruise but were supplemented by Chefs Specials each evening. Suite guests were invited to a special ‘Best of the Best’ dinner which was an exceptional evening The complementary wines were a reasonable standard, particularly the white wines and there was an adequate selection of included drinks at the bars. The internet is well below the standard expected of Azamara in that when and if you can connect it is slow and tends to drop out. The Suites are given 235 minutes but the package otherwise is expensive and difficult to justify. Our impression was that the decor was dull throughout most of the ship, the exception being the Drawing Room/Library which is very colourful & a very pleasant place to sit. The Forward lounge was another excellent space to relax and enjoy friendly waiter service. We booked private tours of Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad but decided to use the ships shore excursion for Santiago de Cuba as the ship was due to sail at 15.00. Sadly the latter, a Panoramic tour in Santiago was very poor and a huge disappointment. This was one of the worst tours we have ever taken; firstly we could not hear the guide, Lucia above the traffic in town and she did not have a microphone to help her. Secondly we were not aware that the bus would not stop to see the Revolution Square etc - we drove slowly past the places of interest rather than being allowed time to see them close up. If this is the intention then it should be made clear in the tour description. Finally, we signed up for a tour without a lunch stop (who needs lunch when you are fed so well on board ship) but were in any case taken to a poor quality lunch despite protests from most of the group. We felt this was a waste of time that might otherwise have been enjoyed at the monuments. More importantly, it turned out to be a waste of food as most of the group did not eat much and lots of food was returned untouched. When there is a shortage of food in Cuba and the locals endure rationing, this was also embarrassing for us and our companions. A very comfortable way to see Cuba on Azamara Journey. Worth Knowing: Immigration: Be very careful filling out the Cuban visa which costs US$ 75 and is issued as you embark. The check in agent said any mistakes would mean you having to buy another visa as a cost of US$ 75. The Visa is good for all ports in Cuba. The first time ashore in Havana the Immigration line was long & generally slow. On subsequent days off the ship, it was a quick wave through after a very casual look at the passport. Local Currency You need to change your foreign currency at the cruise terminal in Havana or at a bank in the square outside the terminal. The exchange rate is fixed and common to all banks. If you use US $ you are surcharged 10% making a total of 13% commission. We were advised to use GB pounds and were charged the 3% commission only. This is common to Euros and Canadian $ also. The tourist currency is the CUC which is worth 25 Cuban Pesos, the money used by locals. Rest Rooms Cuba has a strong health service which is free to Cubans but the health care does not apparently extend to public health as is obvious in the state of toilets in restaurants and bars. You should also have some small change for the person manning the toilets. Apparently it is not necessary but fully expected and in return you will be given a hand full of toilet paper. Take some tissue with you in any case. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Our 9th cruise and our 4th with Azamara. We were initially disappointed that the itinerary was changed from 3 to 2 days in Havana but we found the day in Key West to be very relaxing and a good start to the cruise. We always enjoy the ... Read More
Our 9th cruise and our 4th with Azamara. We were initially disappointed that the itinerary was changed from 3 to 2 days in Havana but we found the day in Key West to be very relaxing and a good start to the cruise. We always enjoy the ambiance on the smaller Azamara ships and appreciated how close we docked to the city on all our stops whereas the bigger ships had to use tenders to take passengers ashore. The staff were very attentive and friendly. We always enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea in the Mosaic cafe and were amazed how Jeston and Mark remembered our preference for green tea. Our cabin was excellent with ample storage, a good sized bathroom, a very comfortable bed and in a quiet position towards the back of the ship on deck 8. Both the food and entertainment were very good with Eric and the Captain forming a very funny double act. We have always enjoyed the White Night party in the past and we were not disappointed this time. We had 2 full days in Havana and booked a guide and driver with Cuban Trip Compass. We had a wonderful time exploring Havana in an old American Chevy with a very competent driver and a guide who spoke perfect English. We can highly recommend this company. Cienfuegos was very easy to explore on our own with the aid of the Lonely Planet guide and we booked an Azamara trip for Santiago as the ship was departing at 3pm. We arrived home with a greater understanding of the history and people of this fascinating country. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my 8th overall cruise, and I chose this trip for the amazing immersive itinerary of Cuba. From the moment I stepped on the Journey, I appreciated the calming decor. It was so great to be on a ship of only 600 - you really got to ... Read More
This was my 8th overall cruise, and I chose this trip for the amazing immersive itinerary of Cuba. From the moment I stepped on the Journey, I appreciated the calming decor. It was so great to be on a ship of only 600 - you really got to know your fellow passengers...especially if you're an outgoing guy like me. We ate almost every meal at the discoveries restaurant and were VERY pleased with the quality, presentation, and taste of the food. I've been avoiding red meat recently, and they always had at least two fish choices(other than salmon)! i asked for freshly steamed broccoli and they always delivered on any request that I had. The entertainment wasn't extensive - but we did enjoy both shows by our cruise director...the VERY tall and lovely Eric! Please, please, please...book private tours of cuba! Do not take the cruise's excursions. they tell you that it is difficult when you get to cuba and that you can't get off the ship if you don't have a tour booked...NOT TRUE!!! All three of our private tours were AMAZING...private air-conditioned cars from the 50's. Do your research on TripAdvisor - and book with confidence! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
First of all, the ship is in good condition as well as the rooms, my wife and I booked a cabin with a balcony and it was really what we expected, maybe a little smaller than in the photos but we liked it. - Food and drink well, maybe ... Read More
First of all, the ship is in good condition as well as the rooms, my wife and I booked a cabin with a balcony and it was really what we expected, maybe a little smaller than in the photos but we liked it. - Food and drink well, maybe you could improve but in the same way it was not bad. - We had a lot of fun during the nine nights that took the cruise, dancers, music, it seemed an important event every night. - Excellent service, especially Mario our concierge who was very kind and helped us with everything that was presented, we even needed to make an urgent call to our tour agency and he gave us his phone. - About the shore excursions, very important, do not book with the cruise. For my tours in each port we booked with Viajes Vintage (viajesvintage.com) and we had an excellent experience, I HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM, our guides were Yunet in Havana, Myldred in Cienfuegos and Lianne in Santiago de Cuba, we had during our excursion our own classic car with air conditioning very well maintained and we paid half of what we would pay with the cruise line. - It was very simple to get off the ship terminal in all ports but in Havana, it toke a while. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We found this trip at a great price on Vacations to go. We chose Silversea Silverwind because it was going to Cuba. We had never even heard of Silversea and were excited to enjoy this trip. We went with a group of 8 friends. We flew to ... Read More
We found this trip at a great price on Vacations to go. We chose Silversea Silverwind because it was going to Cuba. We had never even heard of Silversea and were excited to enjoy this trip. We went with a group of 8 friends. We flew to San Juan and were familiar with their port and were curious as to which slip/dock we would be loading on to. We were in walking distance to the pier and grabbed our luggage and found them right away. Here we go. So excited. It was real simple getting on and off. We loved the ship. A little bit dated but I still loved it. Silverwind is the oldest in the fleet. It was easy to get around. With it only having just under 200 passengers it was very intimate. Our cabin was perfect for us. The only struggle I had was plugging in the hair dryer. The clock radio was plugged in to the only socket on the vanity. It was hard to plug in the dryer cause it was too close to the wall with only one way to plug it in I was concerned it wouldn't work. There are 2 other plugs on the desk for charging phones. No plugs hy the beds. There were however European plugs that if we had known would have brought conversions. The bath room has a small tub/shower. The bed was so comfy better than I had ever had on any of my other cruises. Our balcony was great. The price of the cruise included the drink package and our butler would bring any bottle of choice to our room The dining was spectacular. There were 4 restaurants to choose from. The Grill is up on the pool deck, for lunch you could order sandwiches, wraps, or burgers. For dinner you needed to reserve a table and their menu of many wonderful items to choose from. We got to cook our main meal on a hot lava stone right in front of us. The laDame was the French cuisine. This one is an extra fee but well worth it. Make sure you leave 2 to 3 hours for this one. The main dining has all the wonderful foods you could dream of. LaTassra for breakfast and lunch had a buffet. Nicly furnished with a variety of foods. Also need to make reservations for dinner. The main dining was also wonderful. Every evening, each restaurant served the featured red or white wine if you wanted. The activities are minimal. The ones we did participate in were great. Entertainment was spectacular. The Voices of Silverwind were awesome. The on board credit aloud us to do shore excursions and what a treat it was. We did the panorama tours of both Santiago and Havana which were very interesting. There were no children aboard this ship. There would be nothing for them to do accept swim. We had the shipwreck snorkeling in Bimini and were disappointed when it took us 45 minutes to tender in and 1 hour to tender back out. Not enough time to do any looking around really disappointed in that. We had some rough weather a couple of nights and with this ship being small we got tossed around some but I expected that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My 7th time on Azamara and 4th time on Journey. This was my 36th cruise so trust my remarks. I have sailed on RCCL, Holland, NCL, Disney, Carnival, Princess and more. I escorted my group of 26 on the Journey for the 9 night ... Read More
My 7th time on Azamara and 4th time on Journey. This was my 36th cruise so trust my remarks. I have sailed on RCCL, Holland, NCL, Disney, Carnival, Princess and more. I escorted my group of 26 on the Journey for the 9 night intensive Cuba. Pre-Cruise hotel: JW Marriott on Brickell, fantastic. Ship Staff: Wonderful as ALWAYS!! From the stewards to Capt Johannes! Ship: Old World Classic Beauty!! My home away from home. Deck 4 Oceanvw, my favorite but I have stayed on every floor in balcony as well. Food: Outstanding as usual!! If you don't love the food on Azamara there is something wrong with you, sorry. Every meal fantastic, we ate at Prime C and Aqualina as well as main dining. Aqualina did not leave an impression on me last few times but a few revisions and it's right on par with Prime C at this point! Chef even prepared Baked Alaska off the menu as 1 in my party really wanted to try it!! Waiter brought out 5 fresh made Alaska's to our table and hands down the BEST I've ever had. And that was in the Main Dining room! White Night: Out did themselves with the lobster tail and shrimp on the BBQ! Never miss a White Night! Azamazing Evening: Ours was in Havana in the renovated theater from 1890 and still had the original wood floors! Incredibly beautiful and wonderful Lintz Cuban Ballet was an emotional experience. I was nearly brought to tears with this performance!! Excursions: Hemingways Havana, loved it! Havana Classic Car ride, loved it! El Nicho Natural Baths and Waterfalls, DO NOT MISS THIS! (Although too difficult for older and or out of shape travellers, you can still enjoy it buy walking upto the falls on the main path, then wait in the shady lovely restaurant while others do the rocky path up!) Tobacco and Rum Santiago, skip it ! This should be renamed and is not a factory as some thought. Not me as I read through the descripton but still not a great tour for me personally. Cuban History and Cultural talks: The best ever! Great insight from the lecturer! Onboard entertainment: Very very nice, not as cheeky as in a few past cruises. Great Spanish Guitar performance. Overall Commments and Tips: This is a truly Immersive Trip not a vacation to a caribbean island. A wonderful, educational experience in an oppressed world. Do not forget this folks as this is for those who want to expand thier minds and learn about Cuba and in an incredible way. Be kind to the Cubans as they love Americans but of course they only know Socialism and nothing else politically speaking. Bring little bottles of shampoo and lotions from the ship, hand them out to any local you meet. DO NOT BRING Canadian money! They will exchange it at the port but you cannot use it on the street like American Dollars or Euro's. Bring small bills of $20 and less, like lots of 5's and 10's. It is difficult to make change with local vendors. Even $1.00 bills, bring 50. You will need them for tipping which is HUGE in Cuba for guides, waiters and drivers, cabs etc. And yes bring little tissue packs and hand sanitzers or wipies! Dress lighlty it is hot in CUBA and Humid! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Cuba was on my bucket list so decided to take this cruise. We had a great time. The ship is in good shape, the room was small but we did not spend much time in it. Small sofa was beautiful, not quite as much storage as larger ships but ... Read More
Cuba was on my bucket list so decided to take this cruise. We had a great time. The ship is in good shape, the room was small but we did not spend much time in it. Small sofa was beautiful, not quite as much storage as larger ships but adequate. Our tour "The Best of Havana", was amazing. We got to see so much in the 7 hour tour. Hemingway's house was great to see, the cemetery was very interesting, and all the old cars were fun to look at. We had a wonderful lobster lunch right on the water at Mr. Crab. Our tour guide was amazing and answered all kinds of questions we had about Cuba and the local life in Havana. We had bad weather on the way to Costa Maya and couldn't dock so the captain made a decision to go on to Cozumel, that was fantastic as we had great weather to spend sunning on board. The food was very good, the staff in the dining room was A No. 1. Our cabin attendant made us towel animals and kept the room in tip top shape. This is an older ship that I cruised in 1998, but it hasn't lost it's luster, we truly enjoyed our five days on the ship. Entertainment was good, the comedian was awesome, the ventriloquist was excellent and the singers and dancers put on a good show. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our tenth cruise and second with Oceania. We were on the Riviera last year and had a wonderful time. Much to our delight this cruise was even better than the previous one. For us, as good as the ship itself was and all it had to ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise and second with Oceania. We were on the Riviera last year and had a wonderful time. Much to our delight this cruise was even better than the previous one. For us, as good as the ship itself was and all it had to offer, the best part of the cruise was the people. We met so many amazing people on this cruise and had a delightful time with them from the minute we boarded to the moment we left. We’ve been on the big ships in the past, but we much prefer the size of the Riviera. We find it's a little more intimate, with a sense of community when the ship is not a floating mega-city! Also, and I don’t mean to sound like a stuffy snob, but the type of people that cruise with Oceania appeal much more to our age and tastes than some of the other cruise lines. As so many others have noted, the food is outstanding from the main dining room to the specialty restaurants to the Terrace Café buffet. The buffet selection was as good as any of the other restaurants. Beyond the buffet's amazing selection, what also appealed to us about the buffet was that we don’t touch the food – it is served to us and as a result it is so much healthier. Speaking of healthy, we loved the fact that every morning we could get fresh veggie juice just like we have at home. In all the restaurants there were all sorts of healthy eating alternatives. The room was cozy but large enough. The storage space was adequate. Of course, we loved the balcony where we spent a lot of time enjoying our books and having a drink and taking in the gorgeous views. Even the bathroom was great. It was roomy and we loved having a tub. As for the entertainment, we’re not big on the song and dance shows, but we do love comedy, and on this cruise standup comedian Tom Drake was featured. He did two hysterically funny shows as well as a workshop on comedy. We were very happy with the ports we went to this year. The ports were Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Barts. The stays in the ports for the most part were all day so we never felt rushed. Most of the excursions we chose were good – some better than others. St. Kitts was probably our favourite. We loved the beach and the drive there was breathtaking at times. Beach day at Aruba was great. We visited a lovely beach with lots of shade which we appreciated, and there was very good snorkelling there. We not impressed with the Spice Beach club excursion on Bonaire. It wasn’t much of a beach, but the snorkelling was good. There was only one port we didn’t visit, St. Barts, because we would have had to tender there. We don’t like the tenders that Oceania use. They use their lifeboats, and they are just too rocky. We had a bad experience on one last year and decided to avoid it this year. We found more than enough to do on board – trivia, miniature golf, shuffleboard, cooking lessons, (okay we’re 65, what do you expect!!) The staff was top notch. Everyone from our cabin attendants to the severs in the restaurants to everyone else on board were helpful, courteous and friendly. I should also point out that on this cruise we had the best cruise director ever. Her name was Dottie and she was by far the best Cruise Director we have come across in our ten cruises. She connected with the guests so perfectly. She was always bubbly, funny and just downright nice. Embarkation and debarkation was unbelievably smooth and quick. We hope to go on another Oceania cruise next year. We understand that the Riviera is going to be getting a little refurbishing. We did see some people complaining in previous reviews that the ship looked a little worn. We thought the ship was totally charming. We had no complaints about the appearance or performance of the ship. Hopefully we'll see what is new next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose Azarmara because we did not want to be on a giant cruise ship with thousands of our closest friends. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to experience Cuba and not just stop one place for a few hours. Service was ... Read More
Chose Azarmara because we did not want to be on a giant cruise ship with thousands of our closest friends. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to experience Cuba and not just stop one place for a few hours. Service was stellar everywhere we went. After a couple of days in Windows Cafe, the server called me Diet Coke with a smile because it was a small enough ship to get to know people. Themed food night in some of the restaurants were well appreciated. The white night party on the deck was a fun evening. Lots of dancing! There seemed to be ample seating almost always in the pool area and plenty of activities for those who wanted to participate. The ship put up a big screen for the Superbowl and served Superbowl party foods for dinner which was a great touch. Getting on and getting off the boat at ports was a breeze.The ship was small enough to dock at all three ports so we didn't have wait to transfer to start our vacation. We chose to do private shore excursions, but did do the Tropicana & Santiago de Cuba though the boat, which were both well organized and interesting. Highly recommend the El Cobre tour which included an outstanding steel drum band who played music you would never expect from a steel drum. Our private tours were with Blexie - Havana & Caribbean Pearl Tours which were personalized based on our interests. They were both outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the amount of time visiting Cuba. We toured Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and cautious for our safety. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the amount of time visiting Cuba. We toured Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and cautious for our safety. The ship was spotless, the crew always friendly and sincere no matter when and where. Embarking the ship's tenders was done with ease. The were more concerned for our safety and we felt comfortable with their assistance. We enjoyed the lectures offered. There were no big production shows. However, the singers and dancers were superb including the Cruise Director and his assistant. The fact that the Viking Star passenger load is less than 1,000 people, you get to know most of the entertainers, officers and other crew members personally. Meeting for the tours was handled very smoothly with hardly any wait time. The public rooms including quiet areas were decorated in good taste and very comfortable. The cappuccino was adequate, but most of the time it was machine made. I would like to have had it otherwise. Overall, I recommend Viking Ocean Cruise to Cuba. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary. We wanted to see Cuba and liked the fact that it only went to Cuba and involved several overnights. We really got a chance to experience several ports in Cuba. We also like cruising on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary. We wanted to see Cuba and liked the fact that it only went to Cuba and involved several overnights. We really got a chance to experience several ports in Cuba. We also like cruising on the smaller ships. The service is more personal and you get to know the other passengers. We had a balcony cabin and it was perfect. There was enough storage space, bed was comfortable, and we made good use of the balcony, having breakfast there twice and using it for the sail-aways. We are glad more cruise ships re offering open dining as the Journey does. The food was excellent, prepared and presented well. The portions were just right for us, but those with bigger appetites can always order more food. The wait staff was very well trained and friendly. If you want fancy shows and lots of entertainment, this is not the ship for you. But we really enjoyed the ambiance and intimacy of this small ship. And there was enough to do and see. Over all, we loved the ship and the accessibility of the Captain. He was often seen walking around, and welcomed questions and conversation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise line because of its itinerary and the Journey being a small ship: 690 passengers. We have been on small ships before and have thoroughly them. The itinerary was Cuba intensive: 3 full days in Havana, 1 day in ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because of its itinerary and the Journey being a small ship: 690 passengers. We have been on small ships before and have thoroughly them. The itinerary was Cuba intensive: 3 full days in Havana, 1 day in Cienfuegos, and overnight in Santiago. The ship was great as was the food and service. Officers and captain were very visible. Highly recommend Azamara. Currency exchange in all 3 ports in Cuba. 10% penalty for US$. No penalty for Euros or Canadian. No problem getting off the ship and doing own thing in Cuba. In fact after the first day in Havana, we didn't even have to go through customs. We didn't do Azamara shore excursions as for many years I have hired private tour guides. In Havana we used Blexie Tours. I highly highly recommend them. We had a private guide, George, and classic cars for 2 of our 3 days in great shape with a/c. The third day we went on our own just soaking up the ambiance of the city. Very friendly people. In Cienfuegos I used Fer Tours. Good tour as well. Not as great as Blexie in Havana but then there is not as much to see in Cienfuegos. Traveled in a classic car in great shape. In Santiago used Out of the Box Tours. Maike (spelling??) was our guide. Highly recommend this tour as well. I could have paid for this tour in US$. Many times you have to pay to use the bathrooms and sometimes no toilet paper. Would recommend having small denominations of coins like 25, 50 cents to use and take toilet paper. You should tip 10% in restaurants. Our guides we tipped considerably more. 25-35% per couple. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This "immersive" cruise to Cuba was perfect. It stopped in Havana for 3 days, then Cienfuegos and then an overnight in Santiago de Cuba. We were a bit taken back by the age of the ship at first but it was in excellent ... Read More
This "immersive" cruise to Cuba was perfect. It stopped in Havana for 3 days, then Cienfuegos and then an overnight in Santiago de Cuba. We were a bit taken back by the age of the ship at first but it was in excellent condition, the service was exceptional and the small size made it fast and easy to get ashore. Our only criticism was the inability to make reservations in the main dining room and occasionally mediocre food. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 that was quite spacious with a loveseat sized couch and coffee table in front of the sliding glass doors. The balcony was larger than most with a dining sized table and chairs. Room service servers routinely brought a white table cloth and we enjoyed meals on the balcony while in port. Though the bathroom was very small, it was perfectly adequate. There were plenty of outlets and USB ports near the beds for recharging. Internet service, though pricey, was the best we ever experienced on a ship. Dining is more limited than on some ships with the primary choices being the main dining room, the buffet or one of two specialty restaurants, one steak house and one Italian. The only dining room option was anytime dining with no reservations possible and on one evening we had a fairly lengthy wait. We appreciated the variety of options and the "theme" nights but the food was unpredictable - sometimes truly excellent (e.g. perfectly cooked steak) and sometimes "send it back" quality. We participated in one Chef's Table that was absolutely superb! Room service menu options, service and quality were extremely good. As expected for such a small ship (750 passengers) the entertainment was limited. A real highlight was that the two cruise directors doubled as entertainers and both were truly excellent. We really enjoyed Alicia Hill in both her entertainment and cruise director capacities. She seemed to know everyone on the ship. The White Night activity at which dinner was served poolside followed by dancing and entertainment proved to be really fun. Service was always fast and friendly and the crew went out of their way to accommodate requests. Standard drinks are included and there is no mandatory tipping. That said, we felt that the crew expected tips. Snacks and drinks were abundant. The crew was attentive, even to the point of remembering us and our preferences from one locale on the ship to another. We like wine and found the Sommeliers and wine list to be exceptional. The drawback to this wonderful ship and crew were the shore excursions in Cuba. We did two excursions when we arrived in Havana and both were dreadful. We don't fault the cruise line for this at all as both excursions were operated by the government with government employed tour directors, in government buses, that took us to government run restaurants and establishments. After day two, we figured out how to use private tours and find private restaurants and the rest of the trip was fantastic. We were very appreciative that we had a "floating hotel" to go home to every night and would recommend a cruise as a first trip to Cuba for anyone. We highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It was an opportunity to travel to Cuba, which hasn't been readily available and may not be in the future, who knows! Traveled with my husband, my mother, and my sister. We stayed in Key Biscayne for 3 days prior to the cruise, and ... Read More
It was an opportunity to travel to Cuba, which hasn't been readily available and may not be in the future, who knows! Traveled with my husband, my mother, and my sister. We stayed in Key Biscayne for 3 days prior to the cruise, and got to the ship terminal 2 hours prior to our 3:00 pm embarkation time. But very few people were there, and we breezed through. We were given our room key and our luggage was there when we arrived. Disembarkation was equally as smooth. Our overnight trip to Havana was marred by the tornado, so we didn't see the Tropicana show. But friends of ours were there the previous night, and said it was fantastic. The Melia Hotel was quite nice (we were expecting worse). And the CARS!!!! The tour guides were very knowledgeable. The tour to Trinidad was a long bus trip, and not as interesting as we anticipated. In Santiago de Cuba, we decided we couldn't stand to be on another bus, so we went out on our own. We (my sister, my mother, and I) passed through customs, and were kind of standing around considering our options, when a man came up to us and asked if we needed a guide for the day. He was wearing a blue Infotur shirt and hat, and was very professional, explaining that he was with a state-run agency. It cost $40 an hour for the driver and old-car taxi, and $20 an hour for the guide. We took the taxi to the cemetary, and arrived well before the tour busses, which were arriving as we were leaving. This in itself was worth the $40! We then drove through the streets around town, and were dropped off in the city center. Our guide, Wilbert, stayed with us for over 3 hours, and only charged the $20 (I gave him a $20 tip, bought him lunch and drinks too). He took us all over, and it was a true person-to-person experience. He took us inside his home, showed us the ration book, took us to a neighborhood restaurant for lunch. My mother and sister had coffee with him in his home, and we all ate the local lunch (yes, including fresh veggies and lettuce) and didn't get sick! We brought a bag of toiletries, which he was very thankful for, and said he would share with people who needed them. Advice: Don't be afraid to interact with local people. They are very friendly and appreciate tourists. I would definitely go again, when we're able to just go as tourists, and do what we want. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 1st cruise in 14 years, and we have been intrigued by Cuba for even longer. As new empty nesters and not yet retired, costs still are kind of a thing. Some of our choices reflect some effort at economy, which we found is ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise in 14 years, and we have been intrigued by Cuba for even longer. As new empty nesters and not yet retired, costs still are kind of a thing. Some of our choices reflect some effort at economy, which we found is achievable even on Azamara. Our past cruise experience had been on 2,000+ passenger behemoths; part of this review relates to the (first for us) small ship experience. For economy, we flew to Miami early on departure morning (a decision we'd like to have back as we were gambling with winter weather up north). Our Deck 6 midships cabin had an obstructed view through the window. We felt little ship motion, no vibraiton and we were well-insulated from public space noise by other cabins. The obstructed view meant a savings, but we could see well enough for us. We love the (little) R ships and we felt seeing the same staff and passengers lent a sense of collegiality and hominess. Sometimes some passangers might feel the activity selection was insufficient for their tastes - whether this is a legit concern really needs to be weighed in terms of cruise demographics. Our school-year sailing to Cuba meant that the average passenger age was about 66, with a pretty tight standard deviation. In our mid and late 50s, we were decidedly among the youngest on board. Now and then, all of the programmed activities were for an older age group. We were happy enough on our own, but not everyone would be. Azamara pays attention to the details. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze and the food was outstanding. We did not do the upgraded restaurant or drink options; we are foodies and still do not feel it necessary as the food in the main dining room was great. Here is an interesting and important observation about food during dinners too: portions are modest and gluttons will be disappointed. To us that was fine, but might not be for everyone. There always is the buffet option, with rotating regional specialities each day. All you can eat there, but it lacks the ambience of the main dining room. Along this same vein, there only was a midnight buffet one light with late-ending nighttime shore excursions. Otherwise, no. Fine with us too. Another nice thing about the dining room was this: no assigned seats or times. You come when you want. If you like your waiter and remember his/her name, you can ask for that section but need not. The tables are close enough to strike up conversations with neighbors if you want, but one need not. We have recollections of assigned seats on other cruises with incompatible table-mates; we like Azamara's solution. Room service was included and perfect every time we used it (for coffee in the mornings). Tips are included in your fare; we tipped our room stewards and waiter anyway. Service from absolutely everyone was top-notch. We did the shore excursions sponsored by the cruise line and generally were very satisfied. Mind you, Cuba is new to tourism and Azamara is new to Cuba. Some growing pains were inevitable and showed. Overall, we feel we really learned a lot about the Cuban people and culture, which is why we went. There was one child on the boat, under the age of 20. She was two years old. This is not a cruise for young families or children. The boat simply is not equipped. We knew that and were happy. We definitely would go again on Azamara, on an R-ship (we love the smallness) but might do something a bit more tourism-experienced than Cuba next tme. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
our group of six cousins does a weekend cruise every winter. this time, we wanted to stop in havana and chose the majesty and it was fantastic! i found the ship to be in fine condition and the crew was very friendly and accommodating. ... Read More
our group of six cousins does a weekend cruise every winter. this time, we wanted to stop in havana and chose the majesty and it was fantastic! i found the ship to be in fine condition and the crew was very friendly and accommodating. this is my 16th or 17th short cruise and i've been on royal, carnival, celebrity and princess. in other words, this ain't my first time at the rodeo. we had a delay embarking due to the tragic death of a crew member on the way into port. i can't imagine how the crew members who knew this person managed to put on a happy face after such a sudden shock. the muster was mercifully short and well-organized. we had the moonlight dining room and i can't recall the names of the waiter and assistant but they were both right on the ball and very sweet. my sister has celiac disease (gluten allergy) and the staff was very solicitous of her the whole trip. they were very kind to me the time i was too hungover to eat anything but mashed potates :-) the dining room meals were very good and the buffet was good too. i didn't realize the pizza place (sorrento's?) was free until the last night. oh well. the cruise director whose name i've also forgotten was one of the best i've experienced. his second in command was also really fun and charming. kareoke was hilarious. the comedian was surprisingly good too. i usually find them cringeworthy but this guy was actually funny. we listened to a guitar player and a piano player - both excellent. and the band in the show was very good as well. our cabin steward was eugene and he was both adorable and very sympathetic on my hangover day. we re-arranged the cabin a bit. i don't know why cruise lines insist on having extraneous furniture in cabins. we had a good size table that i shoved under the desk. i put the chair between the beds and used it as a luggage rack. we were way up the front of the boat on level 2. it was pretty noisy the first night but it settled down after that. other people from level 2 said they hadn't heard anything so it might have been the location on that floor that was the problem. we had not-so-great weather. so we didn't hang out at the pool. it's on the small side but we only had one day at sea so no big deal. we stopped in havana and nassau. don't believe the hype about going to havana - it could NOT have been easier. both the US and cuban immigration/customs folks glanced at our passports and sent us on our way. we went to junkanoo beach in nassau. not as loud as i remember and great conch fritters. would definitely recommend the ship and the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 10th cruise, our 4th cruise line, and our first time with MSC! By the end of the week I felt a part of the MSC family. The captain gave a great welcoming speech and another talk the final night of the cruise. MSC cares that ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise, our 4th cruise line, and our first time with MSC! By the end of the week I felt a part of the MSC family. The captain gave a great welcoming speech and another talk the final night of the cruise. MSC cares that we have a great experience. It was interesting to experience the European way of doing things, especially their food. We ate in the formal dining room, the buffet, and the pizza/burger station. There were American favorites on the menu and new items for us to try. Their hamburgers are the best I have had ANYWHERE! The only thing we missed was peanut butter and guacamole. We met passengers from all over the world: Canada, Wales, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Turkey, Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Argentina. We attended the shows in the theatre every night except two. We particularly like the Adams Family and the Abyss. Our favorite entertainment was the piano music in the Cafe San Marco. We listened to Fernando, the pianist, every night. Our main reason for choosing this cruise was to go to Havana. We did two excursions thru the ship and some walking around on our own. The ship provides the Visa---you just have to fill it out. Getting through Customs and Security in the terminal was a breeze. The two tours we did were well organized and very educational. Two of the most impressive things about the whole cruise were embarkation and disembarkation. . . . very smooth, no waiting in lines. My husband used the wheelchair service........the crew member who was our escort, Christian, was excellent. I don't have any gripes. My philosophy is this: every cruise line is different, every ship is different, every vacation is different, every location in the world is different. Enjoy your travels! Look for the good! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We are seasoned cruisers, are used to the mega ships, but we wanted a little getaway cruise to break up the time, and I’ve been wanting to go to Cuba. In researching, I found that this 6-Night cruise in January, which was the month we ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers, are used to the mega ships, but we wanted a little getaway cruise to break up the time, and I’ve been wanting to go to Cuba. In researching, I found that this 6-Night cruise in January, which was the month we wanted to travel, was an excellent value, so we went with the Owners Suite. After booking, I realized that Empress of the Seas used to be Nordic Empress, which we sailed on in 1997! Now I had become quite skeptical, but kept an open mind. Thankfully, the weather held out for us, because prior to our departure week, there were several itinerary diversions due to weather. It’s been ages since I’ve cruised out of Miami, but it was so smooth and organized. And luckily for us, because there was damage to a pier in Key West, we were informed several weeks earlier that we were now stopping in Havana, replacing Key West. I was absolutely thrilled! What a bonus that was! We have been on several sailings where the tables were turned, and we missed a stop we really wanted, and this just made the cruise that much more special. Upon boarding the ship, I was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was! I couldn’t understand why it has gotten so many terrible reviews, other than some guests may not have ever sailed the smaller ships, and could only compare Empress to the mega ships. The service was exceptional! Everyone in every area was so welcoming towards us. The ship is the oldest and smallest, but it was a breath of fresh air. It was wonderful not waiting in lines for any activity, show, or at a bar. Our suite steward went above and beyond, as did our dinner servers, each and every night. The Owners Suite was wonderful, with a delightfully large balcony overlooking the front of the ship, it was amazing! The suite itself was not huge, but certainly large and spacious enough for two people.The Loyalty Ambassador onboard made sure everything was taken care of, not only for us, but for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed our three ports of call: Havana, Cienfuegos, and Grand Cayman. We did two shore excursions in the Cuba ports being novices there, but now that we’ve gone, our next cruise to Cuba, we will venture out on our own. It was so easy getting around and conversing with the locals, we have mapped out what we will do next time. Back to the locals, I found them to be so engaging, easy to talk to, and friendly. Havana is such colorful a city, I highly recommend it. Cienfuegos is a bit more primitive, but the tours will take you out to the beautiful countrysides. The shopping there is limited, but I found the little stalls near the ship had the best little remembrances at better prices! In Grand Cayman, we just walked around, shopped, stopped at the Paradise Grill overlooking the water, it was wonderful, and one of the best days just hanging out, relaxing with a beverage, enjoying the scenery. The shows on the ship were okay, we went to more than we usually do, as we aren’t real show goers. We also went on the Bottomless Galley Brunch which was by far, a highlight of the week, and I highly recommend it. This cruise was one of the best trips ever, I can’t stop thinking about it and how much we enjoyed it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My EXCELLENT rating of this adventure is not indicative of luxury, rather a unique opportunity to experience Cuba and to do so aboard a mega-yacht. This was our third Cuban trip in six years. Booking this ship/itinerary allowed us to visit ... Read More
My EXCELLENT rating of this adventure is not indicative of luxury, rather a unique opportunity to experience Cuba and to do so aboard a mega-yacht. This was our third Cuban trip in six years. Booking this ship/itinerary allowed us to visit locations we had not seen previously and would have had difficulty getting to on our own. The Variety Voyager could be classified as an expedition-style ship (Galapagos, Arctic, Antarctic) in some ways, but I suggest it's contemporary, sleek flair places it in its own category. This was our first time aboard a large scale yacht although we have cruised more than 45 times aboard ships of all sizes and in all parts of the world. The booking experience was simple; we received all information promptly. Our flight to, and pickup at, Havana airport was efficient, as was embarkation (and seven days later) disembarkation. Service on board was without fault. All staff and crew were helpful and friendly. Buffet breakfast/lunch had enough choices to keep it from being repetitive. Dinners were from a menu with several courses and choices. Passengers wore comfortable warm-weather clothing throughout the day and evening. Some wore a nicer shirt, top, dress for dinner but it isn't required or necessary. We chose to pack light and never felt underdressed. Captain Constantine, Hotel Manager Stefanos, George, Marina, Christian, Vick, Vilim and their fellow staff/crew were attentive, pleasant and helped us to enjoy our adventure. It would not have been the same without them! Please see cabin comments below. This mega-yacht is a UNIQUE way to travel. It is not meant to be a cruise ship experience. In fact several passengers had never cruised. It is a relaxed atmosphere onboard with enough space to spread out if necessary. The décor is clean, contemporary and attractive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Honestly, we chose this cruise because we didn’t have to do international flying to take the cruise. Along with that, it’s cold weather at home and a warm climate was appealing. We were also intrigued by stories of Cuba and it sounded ... Read More
Honestly, we chose this cruise because we didn’t have to do international flying to take the cruise. Along with that, it’s cold weather at home and a warm climate was appealing. We were also intrigued by stories of Cuba and it sounded interesting. Everything on board was top notch. Food, service, entertainment, all excellent. Excursions were ok. a lot of emphasis from the guides was on helping us buy cigars and rum. Guides were very much into promoting Us/Cuba relations as they “love Americans”. It was heartbreaking to see the areas that clearly had once been so beautiful now delapidated and in disrepair. The guides were so proud of their heritage it seemed they didn’t see it the same way. Probably the highlight of the excursion was the ride through Miramar in Havana in one of the iconic classic cars with the top down looking at the once wealthy area’s beautiful (then) homes. The weather caused us to miss a port of call so we had an extra day at sea. We already had two days of the cruise as “at sea” so there was definitely a lot of boat time. It was good to see Cuba but I would not go back again. It truly is an eye-opening trip to see what can happen to a once prosperous country when put in the wrong hands. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We heard so many positive things about Viking that we thought we would try them. We have been on 21 cruises with various cruise lines and we can honestly say this is the best of them all! We had originally booked a cruise with them last ... Read More
We heard so many positive things about Viking that we thought we would try them. We have been on 21 cruises with various cruise lines and we can honestly say this is the best of them all! We had originally booked a cruise with them last Jan and also booked our flights with Viking Air to go to the West Indies out of San Juan. Our flight from Toronto to Charlotte was cancelled by weather issues and when we phoned Viking Air all she would say is "I can't get you to San Juan". Thankfully our cancellation insurance refunded all of our money and we promptly booked for this cruise to Viking. 7 days is the shortest cruise we have ever done so we booked a hotel in Toronto for 1 night, 2 nights in Miami (pre cruise) and then one night in Miami and one night in Toronto post cruise to stretch out our holiday. Our experience with Viking was just so outstanding! Not one complaint about anything. The ship is fairly new (2 years old) and she is beautiful! We had a Deluxe Verandah portside. OUr embarkation time was 1 pm but because our shuttle got us there for 11 we were prepared to wait but we were ushered right on board! Very friendly happy staff on board. We had signed up for a Meet and Greet (the Viking Star board wasn't very active) and we received a card in our room with our invite. Even though only 4 of us were there the ship's officers came up and we had champagne and apps during our time with them. Food was delicious! Specialty restaurants are included and because so many passengers went to Havana for an overnight tour we ate in Manfredi's a second night. Chef's Table was an Asian Theme and we loved it. You really don't need a drink package as they are very generous with wine and beer and water during your lunch and dinner meals. We enjoyed our included shore excursion in Cienfuegos and also the one we paid for (Bay of Pigs museum). Glad there is no casino aboard and no little ones around. Loved the spa facilities (everything included except the treatments) and the pools. Service was excellent. Our port stop in Santiago de Cuba was cancelled due to high waves but we enjoyed another sea day. Love, love, love Viking!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019

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