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602 Cuba Cruise Reviews

We wanted to go to Cuba and visit the smaller ports where big ships can't go. We also prefer the small boats where everyone eats together and you choose where you sit, etc. This ship is as close to a riverboat experience that you will ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and visit the smaller ports where big ships can't go. We also prefer the small boats where everyone eats together and you choose where you sit, etc. This ship is as close to a riverboat experience that you will get outside Europe! It is not a glamorous boat - the furniture is a little dated and the carpets a little worn in places. The cabin is huge by cruise standards and we had a very comfortable king bed which all rooms have. What they do not do is "nickel and dime" you to death. Except for gratuities (which are completely voluntary) you should not pay an extra cent. From complimentary tote bags, hats, amenity bags to take ashore, etc. everything is included. The food is delicious and there are many choices. The staff is wonderful - especially the dining room and housekeeping. All tours are included and excellent. We enjoyed learning from various guides and seeing a variety of sights. To be honest, we didn't attend much of the evening entertainment - we were too tired from all the action during the day! There is wine and beer with lunch and dinner and there is an hour long cocktail event every night before dinner. All is included. Yes, the program and ship attract older people, but honestly, they were some of the most interesting to get to know. They had traveled the world and lived lives of adventure. The Cuba trip also attracts a much younger group than the American focused trips. If you want to go to Cuba we would recommend this ship and tour. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first time on Oceania. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises over the years, and kinda got burnt out on it, but the lure of Cuba made this cruise of interest to me. I know Oceania makes a big deal about their food, ... Read More
This was our first time on Oceania. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises over the years, and kinda got burnt out on it, but the lure of Cuba made this cruise of interest to me. I know Oceania makes a big deal about their food, and for the most part I would say that they delivered. The dinners that we had in specialty restaurants Red Ginger, and Tuscan Steak were outstanding (5 star). The Grand dining room was excellent too, but just not quite on the same level as the specialty rooms. The only complaint my wife had was about the "lobster bisque" which she ordered both in the Tuscan Steak, and in the main dining room. She said it tasted like fish soup, not lobster bisque. Now I know I'm being a bit picky here, and if this was our only complaint, well then things weren't so bad. The stateroom was adequate, with the bathroom being very small. I was prepared for this though, as I had previously read comments online regarding this. Decor on the ship itself was very elegant, but unfortunately Oceania is intent on mucking this up next year by refurbishing their ships using some sort of boring, modern, monochromatic gray color scheme that came from a Marriott hotel somewhere in Newark, NJ. Too bad that they are going to do away with the elegance of this ship. But for me the best part of the cruise was the 4 o'clock High Tea in Horizons. Just a surreal experience looking out at the ocean while the string quartet was playing, eating finger sandwiches and miniature tarts. Just grand. Would I cruise on Oceania again? You bet I would, but this time probably with a European, or Asian itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
What a great opportunity and way to experience Cuba! We had the over-the-top comfort and dining of Oceania, and lots of time to experience this interesting country. With an overnight in Havana, we packed more excursions and time ... Read More
What a great opportunity and way to experience Cuba! We had the over-the-top comfort and dining of Oceania, and lots of time to experience this interesting country. With an overnight in Havana, we packed more excursions and time ashore than would have been possible with other lines that only spend a few hours in the port. Then, getting to experience two cities on the south side of the island provided a unique contrast. While the onboard crowd was a tad bit 'older' than we prefer, the ship's activities fit the bill. And the entertainment was the BEST we've ever experienced on a ship!! The cast worked so well together, have fantastic vocal harmony, and made excellent choices when it came to musical numbers. The couple that provided dance numbers were also soooo good. Then we had sessions where that couple taught us several ballroom dances (now I just need to practice!). Oceania also provided excellent Enrichment talks about Cuba and the history of the area! We highly recommend not only this cruise line, but this itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We sailed on the Majesty 4 years ago for a short weekend cruise and it was great. So we did it again this year when we found ourselves with a free weekend. It was just my husband and I on this trip and we really had an awesome time. ... Read More
We sailed on the Majesty 4 years ago for a short weekend cruise and it was great. So we did it again this year when we found ourselves with a free weekend. It was just my husband and I on this trip and we really had an awesome time. We’ve sailed on 6 different Royal Caribbean ships from many different classes so we knew going into it that the Majesty wasn’t a flashy ship with a lot of innovative features but not once did that detract from how awesome the vacation was. The crew on this ship is on top of their game! Everyone we met was super friendly, attentive and just nice to talk to. They really went above and beyond to make sure everyone was cared for in a genuine way. Bar service was even better than on some of the bigger ships. It was quick to get a drink no matter what bar you went to or just laying by the pool. We didn’t have a tough time getting a chair by the pool any day we were there either. The main dining room was phenomenal! Food was fantastic. Service was great. Our waiters were quick to bring drinks and would bring you a couple different starters or entrees to try and share at the table. We certainly never left hungry or dissatisfied in any way! Our first stop was Havana. We were so excited to check our Cuba and Royal made it as easy as they could. Cuba was definitely a cool place to visit and interesting to learn about. Also cool to get some Cuban cigars to bring home too! Be careful where you buy them though. Make sure it’s a reputable store. We overheard someone at dinner saying they bought a box of cigars for $55 and when they opened it, it was full of garbage. Nassau was also a good stop. We have been a few times before so it was tougher to find something to do and not pay exorbitant prices for Atlantis. We did the Rainbow Reef Snorkel tour and it was amazing! It was short but efficient. They didn’t waste time with ‘mandatory’ shopping stops or sightseeing. They took us straight out to the reef. Got in the water and fed the fish to bring them closer. We were literally swimming in a school of fish which was so cool. If sightseeing Nassau is your thing, this isn’t for you. But if you just want to spend some time in the water and take a boat ride, this tour is perfect. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Great itinerary. Great time to travel while the little ones are in school. I traveled solo. I met up with a great solo group facilitated by Clarissa. She was genuinely friendly. And very helpful, making reservations, getting us ... Read More
Great itinerary. Great time to travel while the little ones are in school. I traveled solo. I met up with a great solo group facilitated by Clarissa. She was genuinely friendly. And very helpful, making reservations, getting us priority seating. My room steward was very pleasant. I had packed my motion sickness patches with my checked luggage. She was able to locate my bags before we set sail. I was pleased with this. Starting the trip with motion sickness was avoided. She also got me an extension cord for my CPaP machine. The food was fabulous. We visited the main dining room, the buffet, and Los Lobos. I was disappointed there was no O'Sheehans. Once we frequented The Sports Bar all was well. At the time of this cruise I was a Gold latitude member. This entitled me to a discount on shore excursions. I was disappointed this discount did not apply automatically. Guest Services did adjust it upon my request. This may have been my most favorite cruise with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Over-all rating 10: Ports of call, small number of guests 1400, quality of service, food, activities..it all was great Areas of Improvement: Beverages: Pre-paid adult beverage pkg: $45/day must include both adults so $90/day/6 days. ... Read More
Over-all rating 10: Ports of call, small number of guests 1400, quality of service, food, activities..it all was great Areas of Improvement: Beverages: Pre-paid adult beverage pkg: $45/day must include both adults so $90/day/6 days. My fiance does not drink and the alternative offered of the regular beverage pks did not interest her. Essentially, we were off the ship boarding/departure/tours about two days so could not use pkg. Suggest a daily package even if a bit more for one. Phone service: Not on hold long, Unfortunately, all week long we could not hear what the other person was saying so it was of little use to us. Check-in/check-out: seems they might have more agents on duty, long lines. Handicap Rooms: not enough with balconies Service: Outstanding in all areas but a few of the staff did not know location questions when asked and had trouble with English We are handicapped so we could not participate in all activities. We did, however, find other things to do and the trip over-all was fantastic. Highly Recommand. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My husband and I recently took this cruise to Cuba, we have both always wanted to go there. I can't say enough good things about it. This ship goes to places most Americans will never see, We enjoyed the daily talks on the ship ... Read More
My husband and I recently took this cruise to Cuba, we have both always wanted to go there. I can't say enough good things about it. This ship goes to places most Americans will never see, We enjoyed the daily talks on the ship providing information on various topics in regards to the ports we were visiting etc.. At each stop the tours that we went on were very good and educational, The food was very good on the ship and the staff was great. My husband and I were probably one of the youngest people on this trip which was fine with us. The cruise ship does not have a casino or swimming pool. All rooms are a decent size and all have balcony's. If you have ever thought about going to Cuba this is the cruise to take, Oh, and we felt very safe everywhere we went in Cuba, Believe it or not they have a very low crime rate Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), ... Read More
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), sophisticated but not stuffy, great food, cabins are spacious and comfortable, super clean, enjoyable entertainment, included shore excursions and so much more. Ultimately though my love of this cruise was because of their staff. From the top down, ALL are committed to making this the best cruise you have ever been on. During the 3 week cruise we always met staff asking how we were doing, did we need anything, were we enjoying our cruise and what could they do for us. It appears the crew are treated well and love their jobs. The smiles are amazing. On board surveys were acknowledged with a phone call and a promise to review something, make a change or take immediately correction. The general manager and all department heads were available and approachable. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals in The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, Chef’s Table, Mamsens and the World Cafe. Room service was always available. Complimentary beer and wine at both lunch and dinner was a nice perk. Complimentary adult beverages at sail away’s, parties, receptions, etc. The food was plentiful, varied and beautifully presented. Loved Mamsens yummy light snacks with their Norwegian influence. Manfredi’s had an Italian styled menu and was always fantastic. Please note that there are no up charges for the specialty restaurants either! Our penthouse veranda cabin was spacious and very well organized. The bathroom and shower were roomy. Plenty of electric plugs and charging ports for your electronic devices. Tired of paying for wifi on other cruises? Well Viking’s wifi is FREE and generally worked very well ( even in the Pacific Ocean). Entertainment was appropriate for the passengers sailing with a classic and contemporary mix. The very talented Cruise and Assistant Cruise Director were fully engaged with the passengers. The ship’s band and small troup of singers were very good. Some special performers ( magician, violinist, local culture group,etc.) were also good. There were enrichment programs with guest speakers as well. Each port had a complimentary excursion provided plus other interesting choices. A lovely spa was also available plus 2 small ( but adequate) swimming pools. Quality and value through and through. No nickle and diming you as the passenger. I loved this cruise and have already booked another Viking adventure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We love cruising, and DH being a big cigar smoker- Cuba was at the top of our bucket list. Like everyone else, we wanted to go before there was a Starbucks on every corner. We went with 2 other couples- 1 being a real classic car fan. ... Read More
We love cruising, and DH being a big cigar smoker- Cuba was at the top of our bucket list. Like everyone else, we wanted to go before there was a Starbucks on every corner. We went with 2 other couples- 1 being a real classic car fan. Price was certainly right, so we went on Empress on a B2b to see more of Cuba. At first we were disappointed that Santiago was replaced with another Havana stop, but found that 3.5 days was certainly not enough to see everything. After following reviews for several months we had pretty low expectations...the ship, Cuba, tours, etc. Were we wrong! Yes, the ship is old and small. We knew that, and weren't expecting The Edge (our next cruise!). We found it clean, and as we don't use alot of the newer ship stuff anyway. It was full the first week (Thanksgiving), but never once did it seem crowded. Some of these reviews just seem to nitpick every little flaw- look at the entire picture! However, the service and food more than made up for it! I think our cabin steward, Gusti, lived outside our door! He couldn't do enough for us. And our waiter was so good we followed him the second night to another table! He insisted we try everything, and was never wrong. He kept bringing us more appetizers, another main dish, etc, yet we were still one of the first to leave the dining room! We were going to try the specialty restaurant, but the MDR food was so good we cancelled. Cruise director Bobby and the rest of the activities staff also helped make the cruise exceptional. Everyone was very friendly and really seemed to enjoy their jobs. Cuba itself was clean, but poor, as was expected. Our lunches at Paladars were exceptional and such fun (and cheap!). The people were very friendly and helpful. The experience was like something 100 years ago! It truly was experiencing a different culture, which we don't see enough of in our travels. Architecture was beautiful, and restoration efforts for their 500th anniversary next year were amazing. We took 3 private tours with 2 different operators- FerTours and Cuba Connections. I will go into more details on reviews of each later. Cuba Connections would be my recommendation. Most memorable moments in Havana (so many to choose from!)- Rum Museum- do the cocktail tour. Regular tour is 7 cuc, but for 15cuc includes a stint behind the bar learning to make drinks (and drinking them!). Feeling no pain, joined in with the band on the maracas. Had a fantastic tour of Hotel Nacionale and got tickets for the Cabaret Parisienne that night. Show was very good, and paid 35cuc rather than over $100 through the ship. Got great seats down front, Also went to the Jewish synagogue, which was a surprise. Very modern and beautiful. Again, they made us feel very welcome. From Cienfuegos also went to Trinidad. Don't do it! Too long of a drive for not much! During a full day in Havana went to Pindar del Rio- Vinales- to the tobacco plantations. Fantastic! That truly was a journey back in time. Spent 2 hours on a highway 1 lane each way, often behind horse-drawn carts. At the plantation went into a barn to learn about the cigars, then went for a smoke. I even had a Montecristo! Government takes 90% of the tobacco, but the farmers can keep/sell the other 10%. Got Montecristos for 3cuc each! Ended up with 7 boxes of different cuban cigars! During a RCI sale we booked 2 ship excursions, which we normally don't do. Even these exceeded my expectations. In Cozumel did the swim with dolphins- fantastic time, fantastic value! Included the swim (much longer and more intimate than I thought), beautiful grounds at Chokobban, and a great open bar & buffet ($70pp!). The snorkel in Georgetown was one of the best! Bit of a drizzle in the morning, but by the time we got to the protected reef the sun was shining. 20 of us on a boat that held 80 was perfect, the rum punch at $3 (mostly rum) was great, the depth was perfect (not too shallow and not too deep) and the guides were great, always feeding the fish. All in all, the perfect trip (if we ignore the horrible American airlines flight back home)! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first Holland America cruise. It was an 11-night Caribbean cruise departing on November 19th with stops at Cozumel, Belize City, Mahogany Bay, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos, and Havana that we booked primarily for the Cuban ports. ... Read More
This was our first Holland America cruise. It was an 11-night Caribbean cruise departing on November 19th with stops at Cozumel, Belize City, Mahogany Bay, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos, and Havana that we booked primarily for the Cuban ports. This was our 26th cruise – most of our previous cruises have been on Carnival & Princess. We arrived the evening before the cruise and rode in what is probably the dirtiest cab in Fort Lauderdale to our Hotel – The Marriott Renaissance which is directly across the street from the entrance to the cruise terminal. This is a full service hotel and arriving late in the evening were thankful it offered room service which was very good. The next morning I took a walk to the bridge East of the hotel which offered a view of the cruise ships and saw the new Celebrity Edge arriving in port. If we return to Fort Lauderdale we will stay at this hotel again. I believe HAL books many cruisers into this hotel. Our check-in time was 1pm but we spoke with the shuttle driver and he recommended we go earlier because he said the HAL terminal wasn’t crowded. The shuttle charges $6 per person for a ride from the Hotel to the Terminal. We also arranged for the shuttle (Quick & Safe I believe) to pick us up post-cruise at the terminal and take us to the airport. The charge was $10 per person. We arrived at the terminal about 12:15pm and the embarkation process went quickly - the HAL employees were pleasant and personable – we were on the ship in maybe 30 minutes. All 3 pieces of our luggage arrived shortly after boarding. We were very pleased with our cabin – it was a Vista Suite located around the corner from the AFT elevators on the verandah deck (Deck 9). It was very quiet, everything worked, the balcony had lots of room, and our cabin stewards (Gus & Teddi) were great. This cabin was conveniently located to nearly everything – our dining room on the 8th floor was one stair flight below and the Lido was two stair flights above. We used the stairs extensively except for when we returned from tours. As noted in other reviews, one of the four elevators was inoperative the entire cruise. The metal finish on the balcony exterior could have used some refinishing. The food and service in the main dining room, Lido, and room service was very good. The Lido staff are clearly overworked/understaffed and work very hard to clean tables, do set-ups, and provide drinks. We were always able to find a table – like other cruisers – sometimes we resorted to self-service for beverages. I believe the ice cream person is one of the busiest persons on the ship. The Lido closes for breakfast at 10am, lunch at 2pm, and dinner at 8pm. The burger place takes your order and then gives you a buzzer to alert you when your order is ready – very efficient. At Cozumel, we booked the tour to Chichen-Itza which lasted nearly nine hours. We spent an hour and twenty minutes at the actual site. The rest of the time consisted of ferry rides to and from Carmen De Playa and then a long bus ride to and from Chichen-Itza. The site itself is magnificent and it would have been great to have more time there but we have been trying to schedule this tour for 15 years and for one reason or another it was always cancelled – so we were thankful to finally make it there. Our tour guide was Jorge and he was very good. There was a very long line to enter the site so one of the benefits to a HAL tour is bypassing lines. At Belize City, we booked the tour to the Lamanai ruins with riverboat ride. This is one of our all-time favorite tours . . . Bernie, the tour guide was wonderful and kept everyone informed and taken care of. The ruins are in the jungle and require a walk of one and one-half to two miles but there are three large temples to see. Following the tour of the ruins, we were served a good lunch at the Ecco-Park on the river. A shipboard talk about the Chichen-Itza and Lamanai sites prior to the tours would have been helpful. We took no tours at Mahogany Bay or Grand Cayman. We booked the Santa Clara & Los Abuelos De Fiesta tour at Cienfuegos. This was an all day tour that featured an hour and one-half drive from Cienfuegos to Santa Clara which gave us a glimpse of rural Cuba and many small villages. When we arrived at Santa Clara we learned the museums we were scheduled to visit were closed on Monday. HAL refunded everyone 30% of the tour price. This was a good tour with an excellent lunch. We booked the Best of Havana tour. We met in the theater at 8am and sat there until 10am before leaving because only five buses at a time were allowed to come into the terminal. So this made an eight hour tour a ten hour tour. Our favorites were the fort overlooking Havana, El Malecon, the Revolution Plaza, and the four Plazas. If I were to do this over, I would hire one of the classic car taxi-cabs to show me Havana seeing the same things in less time. As it was, we enjoyed the tour and were served an excellent lunch. All these tours were long/all-day tours and it was very hot (except for Havana) so we used the sea days to rest and recuperate. I would recommend anyone taking this cruise rise early for the entrance into Havana – the only harbor entrance/departure more scenic that I can think of is Venice. Rather than leaving at 2am, we overnighted in Havana – leaving at 830am Thursday morning so we were able to view it once again. Arriving, the best view is from the starboard side. When converting your currency into CUC’s (Cuban Pesos for Tourists) remember to ask for “mas pequenos, por favor” because you will need smaller denominations and 1 CUC coins for tips – everyone wants a tip – even the dogs. We did not attend any of the shows in the theater - they were scheduled for 8pm while we were at dinner and if they had two shows the second show would be at 10pm which was our bedtime. We did enjoy the musical entertainment in the bars and Crow's nest which we attended every night before dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and purchased future cruise certificates while on board. It was nearly perfect. I have read many reviews critical of the ship’s appearance and condition but I thought the interior of the ship looked great – and the promenade deck which I walked on about two hours every day, the teak looked great. Our next cruise is a 10 Day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Grand Princess from San Francisco next October. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We booked the ship for the destinations. RC must have taken note of all of the customer complaints. We did the Best of Cuba trip on Thanksgiving week and it was unforgettable. Our Santiago stop was replaced with Havana. We stopped in ... Read More
We booked the ship for the destinations. RC must have taken note of all of the customer complaints. We did the Best of Cuba trip on Thanksgiving week and it was unforgettable. Our Santiago stop was replaced with Havana. We stopped in Havana for 1.5 days, Cienfuegos for 1 day, and Grand Cayman for 1 day. We had plenty of time to explore each city and were able to go out at night in Havana. I would not recommend purchasing any excursions through the ship. You can purchase the same thing from a local for 1/3 of the price. The staff on the ship was excellent as well, and the dining experience was excellent. Windjammer was slightly disappointing but the main dining room was great. The rooms were older, but again, we booked the ship for the destination. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to experience Cuba. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We picked this trip just for the Havana overnight and it fit into a week we already had off. The ship is old but well maintained. Cuba exceeded expectations. We did a tour with Discover Viñales that was one of my favorites ever! Two ... Read More
We picked this trip just for the Havana overnight and it fit into a week we already had off. The ship is old but well maintained. Cuba exceeded expectations. We did a tour with Discover Viñales that was one of my favorites ever! Two and a half hours each way and well worth it. The overnight in Havana have us time to get out of the city the first day and still have the evening of the first day and the second morning to explore Havana. The food and drink quality was consistent but our cabin was subpar. It was on deck 6, exterior, no balcony and right underneath the jogging track so we had a lovely wake up each morning listening to those clearly more dedicated to their fitness than us. The AC was inadequate and the room stayed pretty warm. Size was what I expected but the heat and wakeup call were not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to experience The Viking Ocean experience. We were extremely impressed with all aspects of the Viking ocean experience. From the easy embarkation process, to our explorer suite being ready as soon as we boarded, and the very ... Read More
We wanted to experience The Viking Ocean experience. We were extremely impressed with all aspects of the Viking ocean experience. From the easy embarkation process, to our explorer suite being ready as soon as we boarded, and the very helpful suite stewards. The steward gave us a tour of the suite and explained all the specific details of the suite as well as what was included in our package. The Explorer Suite was well laid out and the wrap around verandah was to die for. We were also very impressed with the quality and taste of all the meals we had on board. Although we indulged a lot it felt like we were eating healthy. We were not too impressed with the destination. We were anchored in both the ports and the water was definitely not Caribbean blue. More muddy than blue. That was disappointing. However, being on the super luxurious cruise ship was well worth the trip. We will certainly go on another Viking Ocean cruise and hope they expand their destinations out of Florida into the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Our friends invited us on this cruise because they had taken other Viking cruises and were happy with them. The food was very tasty and fresh. We enjoyed the various talks every day. At night the entertainment was 1st class. We ... Read More
Our friends invited us on this cruise because they had taken other Viking cruises and were happy with them. The food was very tasty and fresh. We enjoyed the various talks every day. At night the entertainment was 1st class. We play Trivia every week so we enjoyed that. We met lots of interesting people who had taken lots of Viking cruises. We enjoyed the infinity pool and hot tub. I would like to take another Viking cruise. Cuba turned out to be an interesting destination. We had not considered visiting earlier to a large extent because of the apparent discouragement of travel there by the US government. We found the people there to be mostly apolitical and living as they had to. There was certainly no feeling at all of anything but friendliness among those we met or all the others we simply met or saw on the streets. I certainly think US sanctions do much harm and essentially no good. Hopefully our relations with the Cuban people will continue the improvement that has finally begun to take place during the last few years. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice. We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show! The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city. We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment. Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Havana stop as well as the time of year and other ports. This was our third time on the Sun and it did not disappoint. The recent updates have the ship looking really good. Everything about this cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Havana stop as well as the time of year and other ports. This was our third time on the Sun and it did not disappoint. The recent updates have the ship looking really good. Everything about this cruise was terrific, especially the staff who were friendly and engaging. We managed to find our favorite bartender, Stan, and we enjoyed his drinks, conversation and smile. We were in a Suite and our Concierge was Yahira and we have had her on previous cruises and she is terrific. We found the food to be very good in both the main dining rooms as well as the specialty restaurants. The buffet was good and is a typical buffet. The service throughout the ship was excellent and the crew really works to make you enjoy the cruise. In Havana we took a horse drawn carriage and walking tour and I would suggest this is an excellent way to experience Havana. This was a highlight of the trip. Another great tour was on St. Kitts where we took a train tour complete with pina coladas-terrific. The St Lucia catamaran trip was really nice, as well. The entertainment was good, not great, but we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had a $250.00 cruise credit from a previous cruise, so we explored destinations we had not visited before. We took a 15 night cruise to Key West, Cuba, where we had a six hour excursion. In Aruba we went to the Aloe Factory, and the ... Read More
We had a $250.00 cruise credit from a previous cruise, so we explored destinations we had not visited before. We took a 15 night cruise to Key West, Cuba, where we had a six hour excursion. In Aruba we went to the Aloe Factory, and the highest point on the island where we climbed the rocks and got a beautiful view of the island. In Curacao,we went to the liquor factory and toured the island. In Bonaire we went to the salt factory and saw how sea salt is extracted. We also go to see the old slave huts. We saw wild goats and donkeys as well as Flamimgos and learned about the changing of their color from gray to pink. We had previously visited St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico so we just did our own exploring. In Barbados we visited the Halos caves. Very interesting. It was wonderful! I have food allergies and thankfully, the Sious Chefs and Waite Staff made sure I was taken care of. No problems at all and the food arrived hot and tasteful. There were many activities during the day for those who did not wish to venture out and many music venues in the evenings and great shows - we had singers, dancers and comedians. Everyone was friendly and courteous. We would like to take another cruise on this particular ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Wanted to experience Cuba and the Central American countries in the Caribbean. We were a group of 7 in 4 cabins traveling with extended family. We found the number of ports excellent. The scenery, beaches, people and flowers were stunning! ... Read More
Wanted to experience Cuba and the Central American countries in the Caribbean. We were a group of 7 in 4 cabins traveling with extended family. We found the number of ports excellent. The scenery, beaches, people and flowers were stunning! Visiting Cuba and riding in an old car was like stepping back in time. Going through the Panama Canal, experiencing the rainforests of Costa Rica, swimming in the warm waters of Roatan, Honduras, lounging on the beach in Belize were all highlights for us. Loved the staff in the main dining rooms, bars, and buffet. They made us feel like family. The “washy washy” people kept things clean and sanitary. There were two who played a guitar and sang “I want to wash your hand” to the Beatles tune. Would have liked to see more shows by the cruise singers and dancers. Yes, I would go again. You will love it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose the Sun because we had been on it a year ago and like the smaller size and we loved the 15 day itinerary which included some places we had not been in many years, like the ABC islands. It went to Cuba, which was ok for some,they ... Read More
We chose the Sun because we had been on it a year ago and like the smaller size and we loved the 15 day itinerary which included some places we had not been in many years, like the ABC islands. It went to Cuba, which was ok for some,they have so many rules to follow to visit, plus you have to purchase a special Visa, but when they said, bring your own toilet paper......? It also included St Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts, San Juan(which I was pleasantly surprised by) it was lovely, St Thomas and Stirrup Cay. When not in a port we were in the 2 pools which are so nice and refreshing but not too cool. They took out some of the tables by the pool and put in more lounge chairs which was a good idea. We chose the drink and specialty restaurant packages. Le bistro, is my favorite, we went there twice. The changes were subtle but everything looked clean and fresh. The food was good but sometimes it was a little hard to find tables. At breakfast instead of the cafe buffet, we found out that if you went to Modernos they had great made to order omelets and waffles, fresh fruit, etc with no lines. Magans bay beach was absolutely the safest and most beautiful of the ones we went to, although they were all lovely. The entertainment was very good, singing, dancing, the one comedian juggler, Dan Bennett, was exceptional. Everyone was so nice and very helpful, especially Bradley in the photo studio. Reminded us of one of our grandsons, I asked him if we could adopt him. We've done several cruise lines but Norwegian is fast becoming our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Azamara Journey Cruise November 10 thru November 20, 2018 Cuba Intensive Miami, Santiago de Cuba (12-13), Grand Cayman (14), Cienfuegos (15-16) and Havana (17-19) We recently completed our first cruise on Azamara on the Journey. It ... Read More
Azamara Journey Cruise November 10 thru November 20, 2018 Cuba Intensive Miami, Santiago de Cuba (12-13), Grand Cayman (14), Cienfuegos (15-16) and Havana (17-19) We recently completed our first cruise on Azamara on the Journey. It was a 10 day Cuba intensive cruise from Miami going to Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos and Havana and then back to Miami. The cruise stayed overnight in each of the Cuban ports including 2 nights in Havana. We had booked one of their continental suites, 8068, on deck 8 , which meant we got a variety of included benefits in addition to the regular Azamara benefits. This included unlimited dining in the two specialty restaurants and a 4 bottle bar setup in our room including vodka, rum, gin and scotch. All bottled water is included in your cruise fare which considering Darlene only drinks bottled water on cruises is a really good benefit for us. We flew in a day early to Ft Lauderdale because of the lack of direct flights from St Louis to Miami. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port. We have stayed numerous times when leaving Florida on cruises. The hotel has a small shopping center next to it so you can pick up any forgotten or just needed articles for the cruise and has always had a clean room and decent breakfast for us to use. This is a good place for people looking for a place to stay either before or after a cruise. If you stay in the area, there is a good Greek restaurant, Mini Pita, in the shopping plaza right next store. They serve wine as well and the food is excellent. We ate a late dinner there the night we flew in so I know they are open until midnight. This meant we had to arrange transportation from the Hampton Inn to Miami the morning of November 10th. I used Wall Street Transportation & Limousine World Wide Company. They sent a Cadillac SUV and driver who arrived on time at 11:15 AM and drove us to the RCL docks in Miami where our ship was. The limo was clean and the driver friendly and I can recommend this company for transportation needs in Miami. After arriving at the port, the process of signing in and getting on the ship was excellent. One we got on the ship, we went to the buffet restaurant on deck 9 for some lunch while the rooms were being made ready. At around 1:30 PM as we were finishing our lunch which included a selection of 2 white and 2 red wines each day, they announced the cabins were ready for occupancy. Generally the wines offered were very good and during the whole cruise we only purchased one extra cost bottle of wine and instead drank the free wine for lunches and dinners. While I don't consider either my wife or I wine experts or wine snobs I do feel the house wines offered both red and white were perfectly acceptable. We did have one red that we tried that we ended up not drinking but it could have just been a bad bottle. Our continental suite, 8068, was a pleasant surprise. There was plenty of space for 2 of us and the bathroom had a nice walk-in shower. Darlene felt it was a little small but it was perfectly functional and we managed to make it with a single sink for the 10 days we were on the ship. The bed was comfortable but came with 2 feather pillows which we should have exchanged as Darlene is allergic to feathers and dusk, But instead I used those 2 pillows and she used the other two. Our suitcases arrived early enough we got them unpacked and put away before the ship sailed at 5 PM. There was enough space to get everything either hung up, put onto shelves or into drawers and still have some extra drawer space for cameras and other items. We went up to the bar at the stern of the ship for sail away from Miami and got a few pictures of the skyline of Miami as the sun set. Then we attended the meet and greet for cruise critic members who had signed up followed by a cocktail party for frequent cruisers. We are Elite on Celebrity and Diamond of RCL so we were given Discoverer status on Azamara and were invited to the Discover welcome back cocktail party. We had made reservations for several nights of specialty restaurant dining when we first got on the ship as I had read on CC that sometimes they can be hard to get later during the cruise. So we ate dinner the first night in Prime C, the Journey's steakhouse restaurant. We ate at around 8:30 and had a really nice meal. This was the only night we ordered a bottle of wine rather than just drinking the “free” wines and although it was a decent red, it really wasn't much better than the daily offerings. We ended up taking the bottle back to our cabin and drinking it there over the next day or so. The next day was a sea day so we slept in a little late and got breakfast in the 9th deck buffet. It was surprisingly not crowded and offered eggs cooked to order as well as a number of items immediately available including fried or scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc. They also had fruit and cereals. The coffee in the buffet was better than on most ship's buffets and the orange juice was freshly squeezed. To be honest the day passed quickly. We went to the sit down dining room for lunch and were not really particularly happy with the selection or the service. Since it was only open during sea days for lunch, most of the rest of time we went to the buffet restaurant for lunch and breakfasts. For evening dinner we decided to try the regular dining room and were seated at a table for 8. The service and the food was a mixed bag. Sometimes it seemed the waiters were being asked to service too many tables and when the main courses arrived they were warm rather than hot. Again the offered wines were good and although you had to occasionally remind the server when you needed a refill, there was plenty for everyone. The next morning we would be arriving in our first Cuban port of Santiago de Cuba so we wanted to try to turn in a little early which we did. We had ordered room service for our breakfast so we would be ready for our ship's tour at beginning at 9:30 AM. We decided to eat on the balcony as the table looked like it was bigger than the one in the cabin. Our butler, Ronald, called at 8 AM to let us know our breakfast was on the way and he arrived with it about 5 minutes later. I had ordered the steak and eggs which arrived hot and cooked correctly. Darlene had an omelet with veggies and cheese. But she ended up getting some of my steak as I couldn't eat it all. We also had berry bowls and a fruit plate we shared and lots of hot coffee. We had decided on doing ship's tours in Santiago and in Cienfuergos in order to use up the $700 in cruise credit we had gotten for booking the suite on Azamara. Another reason was that about 2 weeks before the cruise we were notified that instead of docking at Santiago as was originally scheduled we would be tendering in that port. Evidently their cruise port had been damaged by a storm or hurricane a few months before and had not yet been re-certified for use by cruise ships carrying US passengers. By doing a ship's tour we would be among the first passengers being tendered into the port and would get an early jump on the day's activities. We went to our tour meeting place in the theater at around 9:25 but evidently people must have started arriving much earlier and we were in the fourth bus going on the fort and city tour we had selected. They had rolls, doughnuts, juice, coffee and tea there for people who had skipped breakfast, which was a nice touch. After a short wait we were led down to the tender deck and boarded our tender for what turned out to be a 20-25 minute tender ride to get to shore. I'm not quite sure why the Captain had been ordered to anchor the ship out as far from shore as he did but it made for a long tender ride. After arriving on shore we had to go through Cuban passport control and then stop to exchange US dollars for Cuban CUC currency. Officially the exchange rate is 1 US to 1 Cuban CUC but they charge an extra 12% fee to exchange US dollars. They only do this will US dollars not other currencies so if you are traveling to Cuba you might want to get a few hundred dollars of Canadian money before going and use it to exchange. We exchanged $350 dollars US and got 308 CUC. They rejected one of our 50 dollar bills because it had a mark on the back side so check any bills you are looking to exchange before planning on using them. Once we had some Cuban currency we then proceeded to our assigned bus. The buses were a pleasant surprise in that they were relatively nice Chinese vehicles with good AC and relatively comfortable seats. The tour we had booked was called "Colonial Santiago" and was a full day tour that included a tour of downtown Santiago, a stop at San Juan hill where Teddy Roosevelt and his rough riders fought a battle, a visit to colonial era fort, lunch, and a musical dance program by Cuban musicians. Our guide was a Cuban woman who spoke good English and tried to answer any questions we had. The port we had been taken to seemed to be in a mainly commercial area and our first drive was to the main square in Santiago where their cathedral was. There is also a large public building where Castro gave one of his early speeches declaring his rebellion against Batista. Also off this square is one of the oldest surviving houses which was built in 1545. We also then walked through a shopping area used by the locals and the guide pointed the 2 types of stores, government owned and private owned. Next we boarded the bus for a trip to San Juan hill for a short visit. This was made famous by Teddy Roosevelt and his rough riders during the Spanish American War or as the Cubans call it the second Cuban War of Independence. Here there were statues, cannons and a reconstructed blockhouse. We re-boarded the bus for the drive out to the fort which was on a peninsula on one side of the bay from where Santiago sits which took us about an hour or so. Let me mention here that it was hot the day we were there, above 90 degrees and although the bus's AC worked well most of the places we visited didn't have much shade or any AC which made the day one you needed to drink a lot of water. Arriving at the fort we had to walk up numerous levels of steps to get up to the main gate of the fort. The fort was placed at a narrow entry to the bay on which Santiago sits. Pirates had used the bay as a place to get fresh water from the streams that flow into it and also to restock their ships with other provisions prior to the Spanish building the fort here. Castillo del Morro San Pedro De La Roca was begun in 1619 and was continually expanded and worked on right up into the mid 1800's. The views from its battlements were really spectacular and it is hard to believe that the fort was taken by pirates several times given its position and how difficult it must have been. The interior of the fort contained a chapel where the guide told us of the legend of the white lady. Evidently the wife of one of the commanders of the fort is supposed to haunt the fort looking for her husband who never returned from an expedition to Florida. We didn't see her but we were not there at night or in the early morning when she is supposed to appear. There was a small museum with items found in the fort and weapons from the time the fort was used. But the fort required climbing up and down a lot of steps and most of it was in the direct sunshine so it was hot. Darlene decided with several other tour members to leave the fort early and go down to the restaurant where we would be having our lunch. When I arrived at the restaurant, she had saved me a seat and they served us Cuba Libre drinks, rum and coke basically. Then also gave us Cuban beer and bottled water. The food was served family style and was a variety of small portions of chicken, pork, fish, beans, rice and fried plantains as well as Cuban bread, This was followed by some cake and ice cream as well as Cuban coffee but no decafe coffee. The food was all right but not great and the restaurant was not air conditioned but even if it did have ceiling fans, it was still hot. There were a number of souvenir stands along the walkway back to the bus and we ended up buying a wood carving that according to the artist is a symbol of the male and female. I think we paid 20 CUC for it and the guy who sold it said it took him 4 days to carve. Our last stop was back in Santiago where we were to attend a Cuban dance presentation by a group of Cuban dancers and singers who have traveled around the world putting on their performances. It was interesting but might have been more so if I understood Spanish. We arrived back at the tender port around 4:00 PM and were able to board a tender relatively rapidly. The trip back to the ship was uneventful but just as long as the morning ride in had been. We had looked at a different excursion at this port which went to the city of Trinidad which is supposed to be a world heritage site. We decided on the tour we did because we worried about the length of the bus ride. Once back on the ship we talked with several couples who we had met the first couple of days on the cruise who did that tour and who were very critical of the length of the bus ride, they said it took almost 2 hours to get there and another 2 hours back with basically boring scenery the whole trip. They also said the lunch wasn't particularly good and that all in all it was a trip they would have just as soon not taken. The Journey stayed in the bay until around 6 AM in the morning and then sailed for the Caymans giving us what amounted to our second sea day. We decided to try the dining room for a sit down breakfast which we often do on sea days when on a cruise. The whole experience re-enforced our first impression of the main dining room. Again the service and the food was a mixed bag. We had arrived towards the end of the serving period and the restaurant was only partially occupied. We said at a table for two but it was arranged close to 2 other tables for 2 on either side both which were occupied when we arrived. One was just getting their coffee and the other looked like they were in the middle of their main breakfast meal. We got menus when we say down but it took a few minutes for someone to come back to ask about coffee and juice. We were surprised to find the menu here wasn't much different from the suite breakfast menu for room service. Darlene ordered the steak and eggs like I had the day before and I got waffles since that isn't something we fix at home. It took awhile for the food to arrive and when it did the steak was prepared correctly but was significantly smaller than the one I had gotten from room service. Getting coffee refills became a matter of watching for waiters and signaling them to come over rather than having them come by and offer to refill our cups. By the end of the meal we had decided to skip future breakfasts in the dining room and either do room service or the upstairs buffet. Grand Cayman is always a tender port and since I had left my extra batteries and charger for one of my cameras at home by mistake, I wanted to go to a camera store and get a charger and possibly an extra battery so around 11 or so we headed down to the tender deck and rode into Grand Cayman. This time the tender ride was only a few minutes as we were anchored much closer with the 3 or 4 other bigger ships there with us anchored out further. I found a tourist map which had one camera store listed “Cathy's Cameras” which was on the main road that runs along the shore. It was located in the lobby of the Sunset House Hotel. Assuming it couldn't be too far a walk we began walking down the sidewalk and just kept walking for what seemed to be forever. Had I known how far it was I would have gotten a taxi but once we were over half way there and in spite of the heat, there didn't seem to be anyway to get a taxi to take us the last half. To make things worse, I was looking for a battery and battery charger for a Canon camera. It turns out Cathy's Cameras doesn't carry any Canon products at all and according to them no one in the Caymans carries Canon products. They did have a generic charger that looked like it would work with the battery in my camera so I spent $45 for it. Unfortunately when I got it back to the ship I got it to work once and then when I tried to use it the second time it failed to recharge my battery at all. So all and all the whole trip was a waster of time, money and energy. We were able to get a taxi back to town and then went shopping for some ribbon or shoe strings that Darlene could use to keep her hat from blowing off her head. We ended up finding some shoe laces in a drug store and decided to head back to the ship for a late lunch. We luckily caught a tender quickly and were back in time to do the buffet lunch upstairs. My plan in the afternoon had been to go to the Sanctuary where they had a hot tub and sauna but instead we decided to do some laundry in the free laundromat on deck 7. They give you the soap for free and the machines which looked relatively new were also for free. We ended up doing 2 loads which took up the rest of the afternoon. That night we went to the other specialty restaurant called Aqualina which is Italian influenced cusine. In Cienfuegas we booked the ship's "Nuestra Senora de Jagua" tour. Explore the history and culture of Cienfuegos on this journey to the Fortress of Nuestra Señora de Jagua, followed by a scenic drive and a walk down the Santa Isabel Boulevard. Your journey begins with a visit to the Fortress of Nuestra Señora de Jagua, located at the entrance to Cienfuegos's beautiful bay. Learn about the city's rich maritime traditions and the history of this fort, founded in 1745. Nuestra Señora de Jagua is the only Spanish military fortress constructed in the late eighteenth century Renaissance style. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a panoramic drive through the heart of Cienfuegos. Then, it's off to the Teatro Tomas Terry, a magnificent opera house and theatre that seats 950. Marvel at sumptuous Carrara marble and hand-carved Cuban hardwood decorations. Finally, explore the bustling Santa Isabel Boulevard before returning to the ship. We arranged for 2 days of tours with Fer 2 Havana tours originally and then had to alter our arrangements because Azamara changed their schedule and Fernando was very good at changing our 2 days to 3 days at the same price. We did an evening when the ship arrived and met our guide, Javier (Pepe), met us in the square directly across from the ship at 7 PM. He then changed plans as we had already eaten on the ship and we went to the Hotel National for a drink which has been in Havana forever and has been where all the famous and infamous people stayed. We had very good rum drinks there and enjoyed the ambiance before going on the cannon firing at the fort in a vintage 53 Pontiac hardtop with A/C and then to the Buena Vista Social Club.where we stayed for drinks and listening to the Cuban music. For the cover charge which I think was 30 CUC each we got 3 drinks each. I got Cuba Libre and Darlene had a beer and 2 bottled waters. The music was loud and we left after about an hour and 45 minutes. Our driver had waited for us and drove us back to the ship. The next morning at 10 AM we met Javier again in the square and we did a walking tour of the four main squares of old Havana for about 2 1/2 hours, Then we had lunch at a really private restaurant that was a little expensive 80 CUC for the 2 of us with one glass of wine each. We both got a seafood dish with lobster, shrimp, fish and rice and veggies. We also each got a desert. The restaurant was totally full but many of the people there were from either other Fer Tours or other guides. Javier then met us outside and we walked to where we met our driver for the rest of the day in his 1956 red Chevy convertible. The car wasn't his but the owner had gotten too old to drive so he hired him to take care of the car and drive it. We had the car for 3 hours and saw a lot of Havana with an informative driver. He left us off at the ship at 4:30. Finally the next morning, our ship was in Havana for 3 days, Javier again met us in the square at 9 AM and we got in another old Chevy hardtop with A/C and went to Hemmingway's house, followed by a visit to the town where he kept the Pilar and his favorite bar there. Then we came back to Havana and went to Fusterland. This is an area of Havana an artist began decorating with mosaics and painting and included a visit to his house. If you have been to Barcelona and see Guidi's village there this is similar but maybe more colorful and tropical. Our ship was sailing at 3 PM so Javier and the driver dropped us off at 2 PM by the ship. These were great tours with a great guide, Javier, who is a psychologist in real life. The cost for the 3 days was $480 US which was a fraction of what similar tours thru the ship would have cost. If you are going to Havana give Fer Tours a chance to give you a great time in Havana. The last night after finishing packing we went to a Chef's dinner in Prime C. It was labeled Cuban night and had a variety of Cuban influenced foods prepared by the chef each matched with good wines. There were 5 couples there including us. Several had gotten a free Chef's dinner in a promotion that some cruise agencies were running for people who booked suites. Unfortunately we paid for ours. The food and company was good. It was hosted by the ship's young environmental officer who was from Serbia or Croatia, I can't remember. But he spoke good English and was a personable young man. We only saw the Chef at the first of the meal. The wines and courses were announced by the head sommelier. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and especially getting a chance to visit Cuba. It is a friendly and welcoming country that unfortunately is badly in need of a lot of infrastructure repair. The long USA embargo and the loss of help from the USSR when it fell shows. The old cars in Havana especially were interesting and fun to see. It is amazing how they have managed to keep them running. Our tour guide in Havana, Javier (Pepe), did a great job and we left him with a good tip at the end of the last tour. I hope someday he gets to travel to the USA where he has a sister living in Florida. One of the things we learned from him is how most Cubans his age are still living with parents and in many cases grandparents all in one home. That was the case with him and with the driver of the convertible we were with for 3 hours. He said it was the most common and only way they could afford to live at all. The average wage for a Cuban worker is $30 a month with a few highly skilled doctors or higher governmental officials making more. Given there is no such thing as a home loan, if you can find a home for sale, you have to pay cash which few Cubans can possibly do. Well this is long enough for now. Azamara is a cruise line that we will be looking at for future cruises as we enjoyed the friendly and helpful crew and the ship's size as well as the complimentary wine and cocktails. Have a great next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Well, always liked Azamara and realized they were doing Cuba with a lot of time ashore. We were led to believe that you had to do prebooked tours to meet Cuban government rules, etc... That wasn’t truly the case. Because we had a lot of ... Read More
Well, always liked Azamara and realized they were doing Cuba with a lot of time ashore. We were led to believe that you had to do prebooked tours to meet Cuban government rules, etc... That wasn’t truly the case. Because we had a lot of on-board credits, we did some ships tours. They were very good. A bit long day one in Santiago de Cuba. Overall we wouldn’t have maybe seen some of the great musical talent we did, or experienced a unigue family restaurant if not on these tours. A good mixture of sea days too. They’ve been changing the itinerary as they go to eliminate an issue or two. The ‘ 50’s American cars were quite the attraction. The AzAmazing evening was just that of course. Weather great, if a bit hot. We did a wine tasting on board that was fun, and Marcio the DJ does great I-pad classes. Our favourite spot is always the back deck, the Sunset bar, although our balcony wasn’t bad either! We don’t get into much else, a cruise is good downtime. Been there done that with extra restaurants etc. Havana needs 2 days/ nights for sure. La Taberna, a great bar very near ship. Staff always helpful and friendly. A few newer staff on this one due to the Pursuit. We stayed in Bricknell prior, good choice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to try out Viking Ocean cruises after 35+ cruises on other lines. We liked the focus on destination cruising and were attracted by the absence of casinos, child entertainment facilities, amusement park rides, etc. We were ... Read More
We wanted to try out Viking Ocean cruises after 35+ cruises on other lines. We liked the focus on destination cruising and were attracted by the absence of casinos, child entertainment facilities, amusement park rides, etc. We were wowed by the wonderfully roomy stateroom, with abundant storage and closet space. The service by the room stewards and dining room wait staff was above any we have experienced on other ships. The board process was lightning fast, no waiting, no excess paperwork, all smiles and welcome. The World Café was amazing -- most upper deck buffet restaurants on cruise ships are lacking, but Viking Star's service and seating were wonderful. Everything was open, easy to get to the food, high quality food, lots of seating and no feeling of being crowded. The ship's officers closely monitored the Cuban immigration process when we landed in Cienfeugos, expediting however possible. The shore excursions were well run, giving us an excellent exposure to not only Cuban culture, but the values and practices of a socialist society. One tour guide took us into a ration store, demonstating how subsidized food distribution works, and intervied the manager of the store for us. We intend to take more Viking Ocean cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all ... Read More
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all deluxe-Sliver sea-seabourn etc. and I must admit Viking Ocean is right up there and maybe surpassing them. I was in a Penthoust veranda suite 6019, comfortable plenty of draw space and closet.One complain I do have is the difficult maneuvering one has to do to use the TV. If the remote is not aimed just right it wont work. The two or three shows they have were very good. I also think they should go to a truly all inclusive , as the other deluxe lines . On the Cuba itinerary being in Cienfuegos for 3 nights is quite inconvenient for visiting Havana. It is almost a 3 hour drive And you really need to stay overnight in Havana to get to see anything, and that is not really enough. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Excellent cruise. Good value for money. Great way to see Cuba and get a feel for the culture. Excellent food and service. We loved the excursion to Havana and especially the ride thru the city in the old 1950's era cars. That was the ... Read More
Excellent cruise. Good value for money. Great way to see Cuba and get a feel for the culture. Excellent food and service. We loved the excursion to Havana and especially the ride thru the city in the old 1950's era cars. That was the highlight of the trip for me. The staterooms were spacious with plenty of room for all our clothes. The entertainment was extremely good as well. Our only disappointment was with the amount and timing of the dancing available to us. Would have liked more Latin/ Cuban music. Hopefully in the near future the cruise line will have a Havana terminal in order to avoid the 3 hour bus ride from Cienfuegos. The hotel in Havana was 4 star and had an excellent breakfast. The onboarding lectures were extremely interesting, especially the lecture on Havana cars and also the Cuban Missile Crisis. Expect to gains some weight with all the great food. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
From the moment we stepped in to the embarkation lounge in Miami we could tell this cruise was different from others we'd taken with other companies. First of all, there were no lines!! We breezed right through. And no Welcome Aboard ... Read More
From the moment we stepped in to the embarkation lounge in Miami we could tell this cruise was different from others we'd taken with other companies. First of all, there were no lines!! We breezed right through. And no Welcome Aboard photo to purchase later either. Instead we were welcomed aboard with glasses of champagne. Clearly a different kind of cruise line! How wonderful!! The ship is airy and bright and easy to navigate. There is no casino and the shops are small but well stocked. There are lots of spaces to sit and read or play board or card games while watching the world go by outside the ship. And every afternoon and evening there was lovely music being played somewhere- near the pool, at the pool, in the Atrium. Our stateroom was equally bright and airy. And our steward was waiting for us to give us a tour of it so we would know where everything was and how everything operates. How thoughtful! He knew us by sight by the end of the first day. There are plenty of dining options aboard and we managed to dine in all the venues at least once during the week. The staff was, without exception, friendly, attentive and professional. The choices in the Main Dining Room and the World Cafe are largely the same but in the Cafe, you choose how many things you want to try and how much of each you want. When we went to the Main Dining Room the first night right after the lifeboat drill, there was a line. Not to worry, here came a waiter with more champagne to keep us all amused! And the line moved very quickly. Dinner at Manfredi's was an immersion into Italy. Delicious!! The Chef's Table is a dining event - with five courses paired with different wines all explained by the staff. Experiential dining at its best. The two full days at sea allowed us to explore the ship, swim and hang out at the pool, play games, go to tea in the Wintergarden (the scones are fabulous!), try out all the exercise options and go to the lectures. The lectures are another thing that set Viking apart from other cruise lines. We actually came home a lot better informed about Cuba, Cuban history and the history of US Cuban relations than we were when we left. It's a good feeling! The port excursions were extraordinary as well. Other than the first day and the last day, the process of clearing Customs and Immigration each day was quick and seamless. The first day, the additional paperwork and the lines to exchange money caused the process to take longer. And the last day, all of the trips arrived back at the terminal at the same time causing a delay. That wasn't the plan but it is what happened. We went to Trinidad de Cuba, a day in Havana, a walking tour of Cienfuegos and the trip to the coffee plantation near Santiago de Cuba. All allowed us to glimpse different bits of Cuban history, Cuba today and the people who live there. Only at one stop were we surrounded by local people selling souvenirs and trinkets. The tour company is owned by the government. The buses were all brand new air conditioned coach buses with a bathroom if necessary- very comfortable. The tour guides were all knowledgeable and spoke good to excellent English. It was clear that there were times when they could be frank and other times when they were less forthcoming. That in itself was a lesson. None of these trips were overly strenuous. The trip to the coffee plantation was the most walking over uneven ground that we did. There were water bottles provided as we left the ship each day and more on the buses so we were able to stay well hydrated in the heat. The meals that we ate on the tours off the boat (Trinidad and Havana) were good and gave us additional insights into Cuban culture and cuisine. Each tour seemed to include a cocktail somewhere that seemed a bit superfluous. But it was fun. And then we got another full day and half sea to process what we'd seen and heard, and to enjoy the activities and the ambiance that is Viking. Ahhh! But alas, all good things come to an end. Even though we wanted to linger, disembarkation went just as smoothly as embarkation. We breezed through Customs and Immigration and almost before we knew it we were back on the bus headed to the airport. I have recommended this trip and Viking to everyone who will listen to me since we got home. And we're already pouring over the catalogs to plan our next voyage. Viva Viking!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018

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