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238 Cuba Cruise Reviews

DO NOT BOOK THIS CRUISE! We had a family reunion / birthday party on the ship. The ship/cruise line was picked by someone in the family who cruises often and promoted the trip as a "great deal" . Although I was happy that ... Read More
DO NOT BOOK THIS CRUISE! We had a family reunion / birthday party on the ship. The ship/cruise line was picked by someone in the family who cruises often and promoted the trip as a "great deal" . Although I was happy that someone else planned the trip, this is the last trip that family member will ever plan for us...#sensationFail. There was "NOTHING GREAT" about this cruise, and Carnival nickels and dimes you for everything, so once you add it all up - it was also "NOT A DEAL". There are many better options than this for a great trip. Food: Horrible. If you are into greasy Guy Fierri hamburgers and fries, then you'll be very happy... because that's about the only thing worth eating. Other than that, the entire cruise food choices are very very bad. There are no "restaurants" so your choices are buffets or dining room - both were gross. The crew members on the boat work their butt's off, so no disrespect to them, but sit down dinner service took on average of 3+ hours --- once food arrived, it was a joke. A "side" of broccoli = 1 piece of broccoli with two sprouts. A drink at dinner would take at least 45 minutes to arrive. Entertainment: Horrible. There is almost nothing to do on this ship. You will be out of options on day-2. Pool areas: Horrible. 2,000 people sharing an overgrown hot tub (the pool) and an actual hot tub. The slides -- hahahah -- they don't slide. The kids went down the slide and would get stuck half-way down because there's no water in the middle of slide. Rooms: Good - actually a bright spot here... had a Junior Suite, beds were clean and comfortable, bathroom and shower was fine, balcony was fine. Clean. Embarking/Disembarking - best part of cruise was getting on, then getting off the ship. Very well organized, fast and error free. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our 46th cruise and we are Diamond members. Allow me to begin this revie with The pros: The service was the best of any cruise ship we have ever been on. The staff was eager to please. The production shows were terrific. ... Read More
This was our 46th cruise and we are Diamond members. Allow me to begin this revie with The pros: The service was the best of any cruise ship we have ever been on. The staff was eager to please. The production shows were terrific. Very professionally done and entertaining. The ship was in good shape considering the fact that it is almost 30 years old. The cons: There was a sewerage smell the entire five days on the ship. The food in the buffet was just plain BAD. Same food every day, very limited selection and it was not tasty. Food in the main dining room was just OK. Our outside cabin was more like a closet. When getting off the bed, we had to walk sideways. No ref ridge in cabin. Very little drawer space. We found the drinks in the Schooner bar to be watered down. Much better drinks when ordered in main dining room. Our waiter Milton and Head waiter Nick were excellent. the embarkation and debarkation was very fast and orderly. The embargo on Cuba began while we were docked in Havana. We left the following day and learned that we were the last ship to leave Cuba. The country itself was run down as the communist government owned everything. We learned that they pay Medical Doctors $53 per week so most of them have to hold additional part time jobs. Our tour guide was an engineer with a Doctorate degree but claimed she made more money as a tour guide because of the tips. I would normally rate this ship as 3 stars, but because of the smell, I cannot rate it better than 2 stars Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
No Lobster at all. Was told they do not serve it any longer Martini at dinner only on the 8th floor. Why would I not be able to get a drink at dinner? Insane No Make up mirror available No shrimp cocktail anywhere. Was told they ... Read More
No Lobster at all. Was told they do not serve it any longer Martini at dinner only on the 8th floor. Why would I not be able to get a drink at dinner? Insane No Make up mirror available No shrimp cocktail anywhere. Was told they will not serve it any longer. Unacceptable Wait staff just plain not accommodating to my wants and needs in main dining room. Room floors were worn and soiled Premium drinks now popped up to Super premium Entire cruise was an over priced Onion soup was half a cup with the cheese just dabbed on top. Was told I’d have to eat at the La Bistro to get real baked onion soup Still no martinis available in main dining room Ordered steak median rare. Came well done. Order no spices no garlic no peppercorn. Not only was there peppercorn on the steak it was also on tomato and sweet potatoes. Fish was was dry but everything around it was very oily. 3 1/2 Ordered a shrimp and arugula salad for lunch. Lots of arugula and three super small one inch shrimps. Are they kidding me French Restaurant was fantastic. Top food and even better service. So far for brunch in main dining room I’m waiting 33 minutes for my cappuccino coffee. Are they trying their best to keep me off Norwegian. French specialty restaurant was great. Great wait staff. Great food. Should have eaten there every night. Bottom line was way too expensive for a third rate ship. Norwegian should be ashamed of them selves. Seriously ! Was planning another cruise to Hawaii. Will never again sail Norwegian. They cut my internet off at 10 pm the night before departure even though I paid for it until Friday morning. Sucks. Had to go to the front desk to print my boarding passes. Toilet seat in room was disgusting. Urine stains embedded. Ask cabin Stewart to change it which they did. Just wondering how many other folks sat on it and never said anything. Spirit Air was good. On time both ways. Will try my best to stay away from them also. Coulda flown AA first class by the time I paid for the upgrades. Nothing to do with the cruise itself. Just an extra $1,000 or so dollars to get to the port plus overnight accommodations and transfers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Apparently, being from the Northeast, I was unaware of a delightful thing known as a “swarm of love bugs”. They were positively everywhere. Inside, outside, in staterooms and dining rooms. Some even survived for several days. ... Read More
Apparently, being from the Northeast, I was unaware of a delightful thing known as a “swarm of love bugs”. They were positively everywhere. Inside, outside, in staterooms and dining rooms. Some even survived for several days. Needless to say, the first day was shockingly bad. I am not sure what could have been done differently, but this was outrageously bad. Key West is a lovely place. Many things to do and see. This ship has a bizarre policy requiring tender tickets for a walk off port?!? Luckily we had an excursion and did not have to deal with that. This port stop was far too short. Havana is the opposite of Key West. It was Dirty, smelly, and had wild dogs inside the port! Water in the harbor is very dark due to pollution. Cobblestone courtyard across the street had brown, fetid liquid in between each stone. We took a tour in an antique auto, the driver could not speak English, but he was polite. The ship was in port overnight, it was such a waste. Food in the buffet was “different”, the themes (Asian, Latin) were attempted but they did not succeed. The basics offered late night in the great outdoors were excellent. Sports bar did not show playoff games- very odd things were on instead. Comedian (Jeff Nease) was the highlight of the trip, both shows were extraordinary. Win a cruise bingo was in the Bliss lounge, (far too small) and at the same time as the Latitudes party. Room steward was excellent, he made towel animals every night! He worked very hard to clean up after the bug situation. The ship had a Cuba shop that allowed for purchase of souvenirs. Disembarkation was swift and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wife and I have been on 10 or 15 NCL cruises and we liked them all except this one. Food was not up to par. The shows were poor. The cruise director was poor but the assistant cruise director was excellent. The piano bars were very ... Read More
Wife and I have been on 10 or 15 NCL cruises and we liked them all except this one. Food was not up to par. The shows were poor. The cruise director was poor but the assistant cruise director was excellent. The piano bars were very good. Cabin was small but OK. Room Stewart was terrible. He never vacuumed the carpet for the entire four day cruise. The waiters were very good. NCL never again. Sorry. The good news is that it its a short ship so there is less walking and less crowds. Pools were alway crowded. we did manage to get into a hot tub once. Food in he cafe was not what we are accustomed to on cruise ships. Next time we will choose another line. Free drinks were a real plus however we do not drink. It was a pleasure not to be hassled to buy drinks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my 5th Norwegian Cruise, previous 4 were on other ships. The Sun was disappointing; service and amenities were below what I enjoyed on other Norwegian ships. I was in a suite which has always included water and liquor in the ... Read More
This was my 5th Norwegian Cruise, previous 4 were on other ships. The Sun was disappointing; service and amenities were below what I enjoyed on other Norwegian ships. I was in a suite which has always included water and liquor in the room, but not on the Sun! Had to pay extra for bottled water. Many of the bars were never opened. So, yes, they claim unlimited drinks, but hard time finding one on the Sun. The pool and hottub area was surrounded by a low redwood wall. Very ugly and not sure of the purpose. There were no openings, you had to CRAWL OVER the wall to access the pool or hot tubs. The entire area was bland and unattractive. The staff was not as friendly or helpful, slow service in restaurants and bars. Staff seemed to forget that the customer comes first, always trying to change what was promised with the excuse it's beyond their control. Very disappointed in their customer service and the Sun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this Cruise because I needed Four Points to achieve Platinum Status. This Cruise went to Cuba. I was on the Breakaway one day before I boarded the sky. The Breakaway put a hold on a lot of money, boarding the sky, the money was ... Read More
I chose this Cruise because I needed Four Points to achieve Platinum Status. This Cruise went to Cuba. I was on the Breakaway one day before I boarded the sky. The Breakaway put a hold on a lot of money, boarding the sky, the money was still under a hold. I could not spend any money on the sky. Guest Services was not helpful, they refused to ask NCL corporate to send a settlement statement to my credit card to lift the hold. I settled my account in cash before I left the Breakaway so there was no need for a hold. After emailing my credit card that is all that needed to be done and guest services on the sky refused to help me, to the point that I was in tears several times. I am a casino VIP and would have spent a few thousand more dollars on the sky had I had access to my money. With that being said, the casino manager was fabulous and despite not having access to a few thousand more dollars to spend in the casino, he made my cruise feel a little more special. Cabin 8064, was conveniently located right by an elevator. There is a huge exhaust problem in the room. I woke up from every nap and night sleep with a headache oh, sometimes I found it difficult to fall asleep due to the smell in the air. I had brought a travel fan and that helped the little but did not get rid of the smell. I could not prop my door open hence I was directly by the elevator and there was a lot of traffic. I did not go to any shows, I only dined at La Cucina one time and all other dinners were in the dining room called The Crossings. The staff in The Crossings were fabulous. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I’ve traveled on MSC Divina out of Miami and loved it, I can honestly say that MSC brought a new level of elegance to cruising in south Florida, but the Armonia is just not up to the standards that Miami cruisers are use to. Even the ... Read More
I’ve traveled on MSC Divina out of Miami and loved it, I can honestly say that MSC brought a new level of elegance to cruising in south Florida, but the Armonia is just not up to the standards that Miami cruisers are use to. Even the cheaper Carnival lines out of this port are better. The air conditioning didn’t work for 2 days Not just in our room but all the rooms in our section. The ship has no insulation to keep out noise. You could hear all the noise from outside your stateroom. Especially from the buffet room above us. We literally had to be given another room just to sleep in one night due to the heat and noise. For this I do give them credit. The Food was always cold and the service is not up to standards that I personally loved about MSC. Unlike the Divina, the cigar bar in the Armonia has no bar, so you have to go out looking for a waitress to get you a drink and bring it back to the cigar room. I’m in the entertainment business and my wife and I loved the shows on the Divina. Totally 1st class. The shows on the Armonia remind me of a refined high school play. This ship needs to be retired or sent to another port where the standards are not as high. We will not be cruising on the Armonia again and don’t expect to refer anyone else either. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise as a replacement for the trip that we were to take last year when I ended up in the ER. Trip did not start out well when they cancelled our flight at the last minute (Southwest). When we finally arrived at the ship we ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a replacement for the trip that we were to take last year when I ended up in the ER. Trip did not start out well when they cancelled our flight at the last minute (Southwest). When we finally arrived at the ship we were hungry and exhausted. We waited over 2 hours to be able to get to our room. We were very surprised when we saw how small the ship was and the fact that there was only 1 pool that could maybe hold 18 people at best. We never got to use the pool. My husband had always wanted to see Cuba which is why we took this trip. It would have been nice if the Cruise Line had told us that they had booked us a day in Cuba when everything was closed due to Holiday. Why would a cruise line book a day in a port where everything was closed? Unbelievable!!! This was supposed to be the high light of our trip. Our room was the smallest room that we have ever seen or been in, you could not even turn in the shower but the water was hot. Thank God. The Schoonover bar smelt like raw sewage for at least 2 days. I almost got sick from the smells. The food in dining room was about a 3. One night my ice cream was delivered to me soupy. I do not like to drink my ice cream. :(We were shorted our time in Key West. it started with 11 hours and ended up getting only 5 1/2 hours. felt very rushed. Thank God we had been there previously. The scheduled port times, the ship, the room and the food was the worst that we have ever had on any cruise that we been on. This girl may be done cruising. This was my 6th cruise and 4th with Royal. No longer Royal. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted to go to Cuba and I had always loved RC. However, this was the a terrible ship. The smell of sewage was overwhelming. During the disembark the crew blamed the smell on Keywest. If I weren't a local Floridan I might have ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and I had always loved RC. However, this was the a terrible ship. The smell of sewage was overwhelming. During the disembark the crew blamed the smell on Keywest. If I weren't a local Floridan I might have believed them. Also, it didnt explain the gut wrenching smell on the 4th floor at sea. The room was a interior nightmare. The ceiling was multi-colored stained old smoke room. The Anniversary package we purchased was late and left a lot to be desired. The AC was broken , except for 1 night out of 5. The bathroom , had old scum on the walls and the previous guest hair hanging from the shower head - upon arrival. The carpet was definitely in need of replacement. The door handle to the bathroom had several screws sticking out - that took the crew 3 days to repair. Into say the room was a let down was completely and understatement. The whole room needs a scrub down and new paint The ports were excellent . Keywest, cozumel and Cuba. The excursions we had to cancel because of running late / lack of information were quickly resolved and the staff were very helpful. The pool bars and staff were overwhelmed and it showed. The crew is usually upbeat and get the party started. Unfortunately, this crew looked over worked and stressed. They weren't going out of their way to show a smile or make you feel important. The wind jammer had standard cruise buffet food. The only happy person was the washy-washy young lady. They guarded the ice cream machine with the smallest cones, I'd ever seen. My poor boyfriend resorted to getting two at a time. The main dining room was just blah... the crew again looked stressed and asked me to give a positive review. Just kinda hoped for more since I'm a seasoned cruiser and this was my boyfriend's 1st cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Let’s begin with what I now regard as a “Bait & Switch” maneuver from RCCL. They sold us a “Best of Cuba” cruise with three ports in Cuba including Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and an overnight in Havana. Santiago ... Read More
Let’s begin with what I now regard as a “Bait & Switch” maneuver from RCCL. They sold us a “Best of Cuba” cruise with three ports in Cuba including Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and an overnight in Havana. Santiago has been closed since the middle of 2018. We booked our cruise with these three ports advertised, in November of 2018. We were not notified of the change in itinerary. We only discovered the new itinerary in March of this year during our early check-in process. Of course, Royal Caribbean covers themselves through their cruise contract that states that Itineraries are subject to change at any time. But they are still selling (to this very day) a port that they know full well is not available to their ships! I find that to be deceitful. So, after day 4 of an 8-day cruise, we reach our first Cuban port of Cienfuegos. The original itinerary had us docking at 7:00am and so we booked a private tour to Trinidad with that in mind. We docked at 8:00am and were told that tender tickets would not be handed out before 9:00am and we would not be disembarking until 10:00am. The cruise line contracts with tour companies on the island that are owned and operated by the Cuban government, so the Shore excursions get priority over everybody else. After pleading with the Crown and Anchor manager, Andy, (our Elite Captain’s club status on Celebrity transferred to Diamond status on RCCL) and meeting with the guest relations supervisor, and several other pleadings, they agreed to let us off around 8:30am. Other passengers weren’t so lucky. We met a couple who didn’t get off until 11:00am and their tour basically consisted of a ride to Trinidad where they met our guide, had lunch and returned to the ship. Total time ashore – 7 hours. Day 5 at sea. Around 4 am we heard an emergency alert over the PA system of the ship. Later that morning, we learned it was a medical emergency and that we would have to turn around and head for Grand Cayman to medivac a passenger. New ETA to Havana 3:00pm; 8 hours later than planned. Day 6 of this 8 days “Best of Cuba” cruise, we finally arrive in Havana at 4:00pm. With the same departure time set for the following day. Total time in port – 24hrs. We stood in line for one and a half hours at the gangway on deck 5 before we could disembark in Havana. We met our guide at 5:00pm, 8 hours later than planned so our whole day Havana tour turned into 4 hours. In total we were in port 32 hours out of an 8 day “Best of Cuba” cruise that was scheduled for three ports including one overnight. Now to the ship. The Empress of the Seas. We did our research and read the review. We lowered our expectations knowing that the cruise ship wasn’t the object of this cruise. The Itinerary was. We expected the staterooms to be small, perhaps not as small and cramped as they were as one cannot get in the bed without ducking under the bunk upon each side of the walls or turn around in the tiniest of showers. You can’t open the bathroom door and the closet at the same time. One blocks the other. So I’m not going to whine about size. It seems that Royal Caribbean has put no effort and no money into maintaining this vessel. The lounge chairs with their plastic straps are straight out of an old Vegas off-strip motel poolside. The entertainment and activities for three and a half sea days was disappointing. The food in the dining room and in the buffet was mediocre at best and repetitive. The menus were misleading as their dishes are misnamed and therefore underwhelming. If you’re going to call something a Vol au vent and present a flat piece of soggy pastry in sauce on a plate, be prepared to disappoint. Same with describing a rum soaked sponge cake and serving a dinner roll soaked in syrup masquerading as a Baba au rum. This was our fifteenth cruise. Our first on Royal Caribbean, and also our last. We talked with several other frequent cruisers of other cruise lines and they had the same reaction as we had. Never Again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was awesome and the only one to come back and keep us happy. All other bars you had to go to them and wait! Since they do automatic gratuity you get poor service. Food was ok....best thing was guys cheeseburgers. Tiny cups for water. Soda was flat that was part of my drink package. Not much entertainment during the day. Comedy shows were pretty good. One pool for whole ship. Definitely outdated even though it says remodeled in 2019. Would not recommend. Budget vacation/ budget ship! Very disappointed. We bought alcohol and was told by airport that cruise ship should have given us a bag for carrying it on plane-nope didn’t happen so we lost alcohol at security. Mel the cruise ship director was kind of rude. She didn’t have great things going on to engage cruisers. We could have visited Cuba on Tuesday and spent more time in Key West. Went on Monday to Cuba and all Museums are closed on Mondays...... Had to pay a $75/pp visa to go to Cuba. Our room attendant did a great job! Greeted us by first name every time we saw him! Asked me what I wanted done on a daily basis whether I needed more towels etc. he was always smiling!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We missed about 30% of the planned itinerary, including no stop in Casilda. Our trip was cut short as soon as we arrived, by 6 hours. We spent way too much time aboard ship and our land time was constantly changed and shortened. The ... Read More
We missed about 30% of the planned itinerary, including no stop in Casilda. Our trip was cut short as soon as we arrived, by 6 hours. We spent way too much time aboard ship and our land time was constantly changed and shortened. The cruise directors were very flippant about the reasons. We missed a wonderful concert in Cienfuegos due to a guide or tour director’s mistake and were left behind to take a taxi to the venue, with a guest lecturer and another guest. No apologies from Pearl Mist staff. The advertised gym was a few pieces of broken and/or rusted equipment, covered and unusable for a good part of the trip due to wind or rain. MOST IMPORTANT, many passengers got a terrible respiratory and stomach infection. I got very sick myself. There were a lot of leaky air conditioners. Our room smelled moldy and mildewed. The carpet was damp and dirty in places. The crew was evasive about what was making so many people sick. The nurse actually stated that “Cuba is hot and the ship is air conditioned.” We live in Florida! That being said, the waitstaff, housekeepers and the 2 entertainers worked really hard and were excellent. Cuba is well worth visiting, but not on Pearl Mist. We paid fora 5***** experience. Customer service has been disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Diagnosed with Leukemia so figured I should check off some bucket list items quickly, always wanted to see Cuba, the Bahamas and Miami and figured this would knock out them in one shot. That being said, Cuba was beautiful but ... Read More
Diagnosed with Leukemia so figured I should check off some bucket list items quickly, always wanted to see Cuba, the Bahamas and Miami and figured this would knock out them in one shot. That being said, Cuba was beautiful but could've used more time there. Miami was nice, a lot to see and do. The Bahamas, well, not so great. Come to find out it was owned by Norwegian and like the cruise itself, not great! Sad thing was we paid so much for the trip and was seriously let down. The cruise itself seemed to go smooth and the drinks were good although a little slow at times. We paid for the premium package, top shelf alcohol/food but as I said before the drinks were fine but the food was not so and sadly enough, I had to spend nearly an hour of our vacation at the service desk straightening out all the food and alcohol charges they padded my bill with. WHAT?? Thank goodness an experienced cruiser tipped my wife and I off to that problem or we'd have to deal with that at checkout which was chaotic. To add, we went with friends who also stated they had similar issues? Anyhow, I prefer to think that the cup is always half full and not half empty and may e if things go well with my treatments I'll try it again. Just my two cents! God bless y'all and stay positive!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 21st cruise, so we are not novices. We also aren't overly demanding and understand that things won't always go as smoothly as we would like. We chose this cruise for the itinerary...5 nts with 36 hours in Havana. ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise, so we are not novices. We also aren't overly demanding and understand that things won't always go as smoothly as we would like. We chose this cruise for the itinerary...5 nts with 36 hours in Havana. This was our 3rd NCL cruise, but the last had been over 10 years ago. We had heard that the NCL experience had declined significantly, but were shocked at the extremely poor service and apathetic attitude of the crew. The ship is in good condition and our balcony cabin very nice. When we arrived at our cabins (we were traveling with my brother and his wife who also a balcony cabin but on the other side of the ship, so a different cabin steward), we both discovered that our bathrooms had been used and not recleaned. Our shower had personal products left behind, the shower curtain was very sour smelling and there was a used towel near the sink. Our friend's shower had a used wash cloth hanging conspicuously in it. Disgusting. We had the premium plus beverage package which includes most drinks including top shelf liquor. We quickly discovered we could consume mixed drinks all day long and never feel the slightest effects of alcohol (if you want any alcohol at all ask for a floater). We aren't big drinkers, but still. We tried several different bars around the ship and could order the exact same drink by name from the menu and it was made totally different every single time...different color, different taste, different everything. Additionally, it took an average of 10-20 minutes to get our drinks once the order was placed...again...every single time. The Garden Cafe buffet menu and food were average but we always had to find someone to clean a table as there were very few workers (max of 2 per very large section) and they moved in slow motion and with great apathy. More than once we had to ask that a dirty table be wiped after the used dishes were removed, and once I had to ask that the whole table be wiped and not just the part in front of me. The worst service encountered was in the main dining rooms. Very slow service, orders taken and food served reaching across the table, and one waiter took my brother's order standing about three feet back at a 45 degree angle behind his shoulder making him practically yell his order by twisting his neck around. The food was less than average with one fish dish that smelled like dirty socks being totally inedible. I ordered hot tea during the entree one evening and was told I couldn't get any until coffee was served with dessert. We ate in the Brazilian steakhouse restaurant one night and did have excellent service there but after my husband paid a cash gratuity for all four of us (more than 20%), my brother discovered a $10 gratuity on his statement at the end of the week that was not on his receipt after dinner. We also ate at Cagney's which was very good. We were careful to order wine that was included with our beverage package (the bottles on the menu with stars next to them) and our bills reflected no charge at the end of the meal. However, we were charged for two $42 bottles of wine on our week's end statement. My husband addressed it with the purser and was told it happens all the time. Seriously? We only had to tender once, but that was frustrating as well. We were at Great Stirrup Cay where there is a local tender boat rather than using the ship's life boats. We disembarked well after the point where tender tickets were required. We got on the almost full boat and thought "Great! This won't take long!" Wrong. It started to drizzle rain (not a storm and no lightening), so some passengers decided to get off. Apparently they won't leave until the tender is completely full so we had to sit another 20 minutes and wait for more passengers to slowly arrive. My brother and his wife took a later tender and had to wait over 30 minutes for it to fill up. Our take-away is that NCL is banking on their beverage package and people's perception of free, unlimited booze to bring passengers. We want to feel valued when we pay someone hundreds and even thousands of dollars depending on the cruise to give us a vacation we love and will remember fondly. As NCL did not ask for customer comments at the end of the cruise we can only assume they do not care. Fortunately for us, we know what other cruise lines offer so we know not to sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I, like many of my shipmates, chose this cruise specifically because it visited three Cuban ports: Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana. As MANY others have noted in previous reviews, RCI advertises these ports, knowing full well that ... Read More
I, like many of my shipmates, chose this cruise specifically because it visited three Cuban ports: Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana. As MANY others have noted in previous reviews, RCI advertises these ports, knowing full well that for at least the past six months, they cannot port in Santiago. They continue to advertise three Cuban ports, and then literally as soon as final payments are paid, the RCI website is updated to show that in fact you won't be visiting Santiago: the ship will stop somewhere else instead. In our case, it was Cozumel, Mexico. Since most Caribbean cruisers have been to Cozumel before, this wasn't a particularly attractive alternative. RCI doesn't do its guests the courtesy of notifying them of this change. I only found out via the CruiseCritic roll call for the cruise. So if you are interested in this cruise, be forewarned: you will probably NOT visit three ports in Cuba. There was, for us, only one positive about this cruise: the crew. With the exception of the cruise director (whom none of us saw at any point in the 7-day cruise, even being out and about all the time!), the crew were friendly, helpful and really just an amazing bunch of people. They made up for many (but not all) of the many shortcomings of this ship (and RCI in general.) MANY NEGATIVES: where to begin? Let's start with the cabin. We had an inside (see below). Another problem? The food is average AT BEST: and often downright bad. We're not fussy by any means, but of the seven meals, 3 of them were awful (we couldn't even eat them), 2 meals were mediocre, and only 2 were average in taste and quality. Our dining room waiters did their best: always asking if we wanted something else, and so on, but we don't like to waste food, so we just figured (on several nights) to have a bit of a "fast"..... The dining rooms (both the main Starlight areas and the Windjammer buffet) are horribly overcrowded, with tables pushed so close together that you literally had your neighbors' chairs up against the backs of yours. They are also VERY understaffed: they need at least 50% more servers in both areas. We like to talk with our servers and get to know them a bit, but they were so busy that they rarely had time to even slow down, much less stop! The swimming pool is a joke. First of all, it's a uniform depth of 1,80m (a bit over six feet). It is VERY small and because it has no shallow area, older people tend to just sit on the edge with their legs in the water. This makes getting into and out of the pool a real challenge, and once you're in the pool, you have to keep swimming, because you can't stop anywhere on the sides (with all those dangling legs!) Maybe 20 people (if they crowd close together) can sit around the sides, and only 10 or so can "swim" (by which I mean tread water in a very confined space.) Finally, it's a salt-water pool, so if (like us) you don't care for salt-water pools, you won't enjoy this one. We went in on the first day and never went back: it was always very crowded. The casino onboard has an interesting two-level design, which we liked. There are a couple of things you need to know about the casino, however. First of all, it is completely non-smoking. Not a problem for us, but for many, this will be a disappointment. The other thing we didn't care for was the fact that about 75% of the slot machines are old: and I mean 20+ years old! Some of them still use coins, believe it or not, that's how old they are! Many have buttons that don't work, or are out of order for "maintenance". If you plan on playing the slots, you cannot charge to your "SeaPass" card. You have three options: bring cash (USD) with you; use the ATM to get money (for a $6.95 fee); or go to the cashier and charge it to your SeaPass (for a 5% fee). So if you are going to get more than $107 to gamble with, use the ATM. The fee is actually better than getting it at the cashier's. Generally, though, we were bored with the selection of machines after 2 days. Honestly, going to this casino is like going to a small "locals" casino in Las Vegas: lots of old, tired machines, and really low payouts. Another irritating aspect of this cruise is the way RCI has two levels of customer service when it comes to shore excursions. This is particularly true in Cuba. If you are booked on an RCI excursion, you get off the ship first. But if you have made independent plans, tough luck. You have to wait on the ship until all of RCI's "customers" (as they put it) have left the ship. Then you can go (unless you are in Cienfuegos: then you have to get a "tender ticket" and wait even longer for your turn.) So for example, we arrived in Havana at 0700. Because we had private tours, we couldn't get off the ship until 0930. So you may want to schedule any private tours for later in the morning (i.e. when it's getting hotter!) because if you had an 0900 tour, you'd probably miss it in Havana. We did one ship excursion, the "Chichen Itza Mixed Reality" tour from Cozumel. We had not been to Chichen Itza, and it's a long trip, so we thought a ship tour was safer in terms of getting back in time. The description of the tour is quite a bit different from the reality: the virtual reality they offer is in fact a slide show on a tablet, that you do with the guide on the long bus ride to the site. The guide and driver were excellent, but we only had 90 minutes at the site, out of an 8-hour excursion. As to the Cuban ports, the town center of Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though I honestly can't imagine why, unless perhaps UNESCO felt like Cuba ought to have a site or two. The best way to see the "sights" in Cienfuegos is to hop on the little Transtur tourist (covered open-air) train that departs every 45 minutes or so from the pier. It's a 40-minute tour, costs 5 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos), and makes a lengthy stop at Jose Marti Square (where all the "UNESCO" sites are located.) Then it continues on to Punta Gorda, where all the rich government officials and other revolutionaries live, and goes past some of the beautiful old hotels and the Palacio Valle and along the Malecon. You can walk to Jose Marti Square from the pier, but many of the roads are rough, unpaved, and you have to run the gauntlet of touts selling pedi-cab or horse-drawn carriage or "classic car" tours. We found Havana to be amazingly underwhelming, and certainly not deserving of the hype we'd read before our trip. Again, a few well-maintained (tourist-oriented) streets surround by squalid, dirty, rather smelly neighborhoods with decaying buildings and a lot of poor people living the socialist dream. No, we're not political at all, but the irony to us (as Europeans) of the failure of the revolutionary ideals was very sad. Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly lengthy experiences. Long lines, long waits, and once you did get on the ship, all of the cabin areas were closed off, with signs saying, "Cabins will be available after 1330." Our luggage did not arrive until just before dinner. RCI transfers are a joke. At disembarkation, we did "self-assist" so as to catch the schedule 0815 transfer to Fort Lauderdale airport. We waited in line for 30 minutes, then finally got off the ship and walked to the bus. We sat on the bus for 90 minutes before leaving at 1000! The ship itself is old and very tired, despite the fact that it just came out of a "refurbishment" at the end of March 2019. We couldn't see much that looked like it had been upgraded or updated: perhaps they just put in more tables and chairs in the dining areas, and renovated the cabins for the officers and the cruise director. To us, Empress of the Seas seemed like a ship that needs to be completely rebuilt, possibly for one of the luxury lines. It certainly is nothing more than a cash cow for RCI, because they don't seem to be spending any money on facilities or crew. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and ... Read More
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and generally expect some hiccups when traveling by air, boat, or car. I would describe myself as pretty tolerant and not difficult to please. We cruised from Miami on the MSC Armonia on 4/2/19. I booked this cruise and paid in full in January 2018 and we chose the Fantastica package based on the offers with it (drink vouchers, free room service and room choices). I booked directly with MSC by phone. We choose room 7055 with the category of ocean view. Embarkation was fast and smooth. I was impressed we had very little wait time and were on our ship quickly. We were told our vouchers for drinks would be in our stateroom. Staterooms were available by 1:30 pm. That where the disappointment started. No drink vouchers in the room. Our room was very tiny. That is ok, we don't spend much time there. The problem is our ocean view window was in actuality an obstructed view. Clearly the deck plans and category is listed (and priced) as ocean view (indicated on the plans as dark green) and not an obstructed view. Armonia has installed a large net off the bottom of the 8th floor that extends down and across our entire view from our room on the 7th floor. It was clearly there for a long time. I will try and attach picture. This net made it impossible to take any pictures from our window. The bed was large and comfortable. The shower was ridiculously small, with a shower curtain that "sticks" to your body when you shower. The hair dryer was useless, not enough power to dry your hair so bring your own. Those small issues we ignored. The room view I was unhappy with so we went to the desk to voice our complaint. We initially had a long line, but a guest services agent asked us in line what she could do to help. We gave her our issues with not receiving drink vouchers. I had called about this with MSC the day before departure. My fantastica experience was supposed to include 12 vouchers per person. I guess they are discontinuing these on 3/31. Well when I purchased it was advertised. It also was clearly listed on my eticket I had just printed a week before departure as "included in your cruise". I showed this to the first agent we talked to. Her name was Nadia. She said she would take care of the issues and check back after 6pm. Long story short it took 2 days to get the drink vouchers and MULTIPLE trips to the front desk where we had to explain all over again what the issues were. First you get met by a blank stare, then "I don't see any of these issues documented", then the longer you stand there they "find it", and tell you "to come back later, another day, no rooms left etc. It took 4 days and multiple trips to come to a conclusion. At one point on day four just as we are about to leave ship for port we were contacted and told we could move to another ocean view room 7001. Thankfully I insisted on seeing before packing everything up. After waiting 40 min for someone to open the room for a look I discovered this new "ocean view room 7001" didn't even have a window in it. No door to outside, it looked just like an interior room. What a waste of time. Eventually they offered 100.00 in compensation credit. We balked because I already knew the obstructed view rooms were 100.00 less per person. I paid 200.00 more to get that ocean view that really wasn't. By that evening on day four we were told that they would compensate 200.00 total for our cabin. We were told multiple times the ship was full and no other rooms available but met a couple who told us on embarkation that they were asked if they would like to upgrade to balcony rooms. I feel we were lied to multiple times and put off in hopes we would just give up. Our rooms was kept spotless by our steward. We appreciated that. The shows I saw prior on this forum were rated as poor. We actually really enjoyed them. The acrobats and entertainment were amazing. The bands in bars and public areas were frequent and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the variety night by the crew. The pool was clean and temperature comfortable. The hot tub was a disappointment as well. There were two onboard. They held 4 people each for a ship of 2000 that was not sufficient. The last two days on board one hot tub was drained and never refilled. We did not buy any MSC excursions. We purchased our own directly from a vendor before departure. We took an old car tour while in Cuba. There is paperwork you have to fill out in advance for Cuba. You do have to pay 75.00 pp to get a visa to be allowed to disembark in Cuba. We enjoyed Cuba very much and were overnight in that port. Some confusion on if cigars are allowed back into the US. Law says yes but I saw a couple stopped when boarding by the Cuban officials telling them they were confiscating them because they were not allowed. Money is easy to exchange as soon as you get off the ship in the terminal. You can change it back again if you have any left over. Cozumel with spent the day relaxing at Chankanaab Park. 12.00 for two people in a cab to get there. Cab drivers like to gouge and charged the same ride back 15.00 for two people. Grand Caymen we spent the day at Royal Palms beach club. 2.00 entrance fee pp. 5.00 pp taxi ride there. Very nice beaches there, but you will pay 15.00 for a chair and 15.00 for an umbrella. Now, the food. I am not a picky eater. My husband is. But even I felt the food was very poor in the buffet in particular. It was often seen two days in a row. The food choices were not huge. The buffet items were often empty. The carved meats were doled out in the size for a child. The breads were good. The pizza was excellent. The grill was the staple for my husbands cruise. The dining room was better, but not a huge menu either. The service in the dining room was excellent. The buffet area was too small for the number of passengers. It was always crowded and hard to find a seat and if you did the table was dirty and you had to wait for someone to wipe it off. The staff in there seemed overwhelmed most times. We never got a visit asking for drink orders in the buffet area unless we sought one out or went and got it from the bar ourselves. Once I got a waiter for a drink on the pool deck when I stopped one. Otherwise, we had to go to the bar and get our own drinks. Other ships I have been on have multiple wait staff walking around getting orders on the pool deck. The fantastica package says free room service. Literally the only thing free with that was 3 sandwiches, 2 salads, 1 soup, cookies, brownie, fruit plate or continental breakfast. I ordered mild and cereal and my milk cam heated up in a teapot. ? The full breakfast and dinners came with additional 7.95 service charge. I didn't use it. Not sure why fantastica has "free room service" on their offer. There does not seem to be many public bathrooms on board and those we did use were not kept clean frequent enough. The most used ones definitely smelled like urine. Sinks not kept tidy and papers on the floors. Disembarkation was smooth and quick, we carried off our own luggage. All in all the ports and entertainment we enjoyed. I will not cruise with them again, due to the issues that took too long to resolve. There is no reason to book a higher level experience if they do not deliver on the benefits. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Aboard the Norwegian Sky, you are likely to find inconsistencies in guest service which in turns feels like Horrible Guest Service. The Buffets lack a variety of choices of food daily/the same foods are served on the buffet for ... Read More
Aboard the Norwegian Sky, you are likely to find inconsistencies in guest service which in turns feels like Horrible Guest Service. The Buffets lack a variety of choices of food daily/the same foods are served on the buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with little to no change every day. The late arrival in Key West causes many excursions to be closed for the day and pre-booked excursions that feel rushed because of the late arrival. The late arrival also causes all guest rushing to disembark the ship all at once which causes all guest to wait in long lines for several hours before actually getting off the ship. Don't hold your breath if you need something from housekeeping, it will be a hit or miss if you actually get it...The daily entertainment and activities are mediocre at best. On the other-hand, the complimentary fine dining options and open seating/dining times are great. I would recommend choosing a different cruise line with a similar itinerary. It would not only be worth your money, but worth your vacation! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 5th cruise on NCL, the 4 previous have been cruises in Europe. We took this shot cruise with family as it went to Cuba. We had a third in our cabin and it was ridiculously crowded as the sofa when made into a bed blocked ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on NCL, the 4 previous have been cruises in Europe. We took this shot cruise with family as it went to Cuba. We had a third in our cabin and it was ridiculously crowded as the sofa when made into a bed blocked access to the bathroom from the main bed! I would tell anyone to avoid a third in a cabin on this ship (SKY)!!!! There is no way the third person in the cabin should be charged full price, at least then it might make the cabin cost more appropriate. Cost/day was relatively high which I attribute to alcohol included and going to Cuba. Service in the main dining was extremely slow...over 2 hrs for a dinner; some nights up to 2.5 hrs. Not sure why; we did complain and it got slightly better. Seems some of the servers were new/not well trained. Food was OK (not as good as our other NCL cruises). Not sure if this cruise is an indication of declining service and poor cabins (not by specific choice but chosen by itinerary/value, all our other NCL cruises were on the Jade so hard to compare to the other NCL ships). If it wasn't for the opportunity to travel with extended family I would have been very disappointed in the cruise. We have taken over 15 cruises with 6 different cruise lines and this was by far the most disappointing. I will probably stay away from NCL in the future unless fantastic value/itinerary offered Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
While they did a good job of refurbishing most of the ship this year, there still seems to be a problem in some cabins with an ammonia-like smell, and some parts of the showed the obvious age of the ship (like the rust on the corners of ... Read More
While they did a good job of refurbishing most of the ship this year, there still seems to be a problem in some cabins with an ammonia-like smell, and some parts of the showed the obvious age of the ship (like the rust on the corners of the bottom threshold of the bathroom). I had an inside cabin, and I spoke with several who had a similar cabin on this cruise and they all reported the same thing. While the food and entertainment were acceptable, they seemed a bit below the typical I've experienced on 5 other NCL cruises. I did not pay for any of the specialty restaurants so I can not offer any comment about them. The Crossings and the Palace restaurants were generally about the quality that you normally get on NCL ships in these dining rooms. The buffet seemed a little sub par for buffets on NCL, and was about half the size I usually see on ships about this size. The best reason to go on the Sky is the itinerary. Having the opportunity to go to Havana, and on this particular sailing have two days there, made it all worthwhile. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
5 day cruise out of Miami: Great Stirrup Cay- Key West- over night in Havana. I am a seasoned cruiser with 15 cruises under my belt. NCL is easily my least favorite cruise line. After my first cruise with NCL I vowed never again. ... Read More
5 day cruise out of Miami: Great Stirrup Cay- Key West- over night in Havana. I am a seasoned cruiser with 15 cruises under my belt. NCL is easily my least favorite cruise line. After my first cruise with NCL I vowed never again. After this cruise I can assure you NEVER AGAIN. Customer service is a joke. The lines getting off the boat especially Key West was beyond ridiculous. People spent 2+ hours of their “Key West” day trying to get off the boat. I did experience the “bad smell” on the boat but I could get over it. Someone on deck 8 down the hall from us was complaining about as we walked by. Food was okay. Service was okay. Entertainment was sub par. My biggest complaint is... if this is your job, if this is what you do every day why is it so hard to organize where and when people are to be moved on and off the ship. Disembarkation for Key West didn’t happen until 5pm for most people and back on board by 9:30... Also, being an alcohol included cruise you can totally get the vibe that bartenders just aren’t as into it as other cruises. Over all Great Stirrup Cay, Key West and Havana are amazing each for their own reason. My advice would be to chose another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat ... Read More
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat for hours. Cabins poorly serviced, beds lumpy and hard. Advised of food allergy well in advance of cruise very poor choices, all meals and menu in Dining poor, meals served Luke warm to cold and not together with partner. Veendam Singers and Dancers excellent other entertainment poor to average. Ports good Shore Excursions ok. Disembarkation disgusting, had tour and airport booked, colour and number we were due to leave at 8.00 am, but kept telling us, no bus hasn’t arrived, 3-1/2 hours later we were all still waiting told tour was cancelled Staff member in charge returned to ship and left us all outside some sitting on limited seating the rest standing waiting for a bus to maybe come for us. Hoping HAL has the common decency to take care of airport transfer for all disappointed passengers looking forward to tour, we of FLL Everglades which we will now never see. Lastly emphasise Kitchen staff and Head Chef Orly, who should be responsible, all the time have let the Company down inexcusably Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was the third cruise my family and I have taken with MSC. We have had positive experiences before but not this time on board the MSC Armonia. It started poorly with the embarkation process. A process that in previous Cruises had ... Read More
This was the third cruise my family and I have taken with MSC. We have had positive experiences before but not this time on board the MSC Armonia. It started poorly with the embarkation process. A process that in previous Cruises had been pretty smooth was a complete mess. The agent checking us in did not know the itinerary. Kept telling us different ports that we were not going to. Once on the boat we went directly to the room. It was an inside cabin. Small compared to other ships but I understand booking an inside cabin my expectations should be realistic. If you have more than 2 people staying in the room your items will not fit in the closet. The shower was no better, the curtain did not close all the way, water everywhere and the handle rail was broken and the handle to the water was also broken. The buffet left a lot to be desired. There was not much variety. Everyday it seemed to be roasted chicken, rice and vegetables. The Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs by far the best selections food wise. In previous ships the entertainment has been excellent but it seems like they use this ship for training or to tryout new performers because the shows left a lot to be desired. The rest of the entertainment was not great either. Other that the Newly Wed game the Cruise Director was non existent like previous ships. One worker specifically was very rude and lazy. He did not want to set up pool deck games unless there was a line of people waiting to play. He had little motivation and less energy getting people to get involved with the activities. When I questioned him about the games he got nasty and started arguing with me. I said to him part of what I payed for goes towards entertainment , his response was well I don't care I do not get paid tips. I complained to guest services and no supervisor would speak to me. Honduras stop was a mess. I understand tendering is an issue anywhere but on a 6 hour stop in Honduras it took over 2 hours to get out of the boat, leaving even less time to enjoy Roatan. Again went to guest services and was basically told too bad MSC guest that booked MSC excursion get priority too bad. There was very little to no empathy or sympathy for the guest. Not many activities for kids 10 to 13 year range. Most kids this age are past legos and coloring. Not enough activities in the sports deck for them. It wasn't all bad, our room attendant was great and the room was always clean. The bartenders on the pool deck were also very good. Very friendly and actually acted like they were enjoying themselves and liked their jobs. The restaurant experience was also great. Had a very friendly waiter and helper. It is unfortunate to have experienced this and would make it very difficult to book another cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We basically chose this ship because of the itinerary. Cuba is a must see. First off, MSC, you need to update your website. Its difficult and disappointing trying to get any information from MSC. We overall had a great time on the ... Read More
We basically chose this ship because of the itinerary. Cuba is a must see. First off, MSC, you need to update your website. Its difficult and disappointing trying to get any information from MSC. We overall had a great time on the ship. There's more than 7 languages spoken and the Captain spoke almost all of the languages "very impressive" our cruise director Seanon was great also, very funny and welcoming. The shows were like any other ship shows. Our Cabin was clean and well maintained throughout our cruise. The food on the ship was different from American food "example" breakfast pizza was a first for me "sweet and fruity" they had hot milk and the coffee is not strong. I personally like my coffee dark. There's lots of entertainment on the 11th floor "pool deck" their gelato is delicious " 11th floor foward". The burgers are good and the pizza is good also. We had high seas so our Cayman islands stop was canceled, but we weren't disappointed because we've been there several times. There we a lot of people disappointed though. The night after leaving the Cayman islands "which we missed" our visa forms was put in our cabin, we filled it out and when we docked in Cuba, we had no problems with immigration or customs, was a nice experience, there's the bank and kiosk where you can exchange your money and what you don't use just exchange it back to US dollars, there's the CUP money which the local uses, 25 CUP equals 1 US and there's CUC which is equal to 1 US dollar tourist use the CUC and locals uses the CUP....you get back the taxes also. It was a nice cruise, a pleasant experience with MSC and we'll definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The Norwegian Sky was okay. The cabin was small but functionable. The service in the crossing restaurant was terrible. The wait staff was slow and not responsive. The quality of the food was not impressive. I could cook better that ... Read More
The Norwegian Sky was okay. The cabin was small but functionable. The service in the crossing restaurant was terrible. The wait staff was slow and not responsive. The quality of the food was not impressive. I could cook better that the cooks on board. Our porter for the room was not very efficient. I had to put the extra bed down everyday after he made up the room. Cuba was great and had a great time there on the Island. I would recommend going to see Cuba. The excursions are very expensive and you can save hundreds by booking you own excursions on shore with the locals. Strawberry tours does a lot of free walking tours and car tours and the walking tours are free. Look for their website and book a tour with them. They even have an app for your phone. The boat itself was nice and well maintained. The staff seemed pleasant and helpful when you asked them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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