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561 Cuba Cruise Reviews

We always have great experiences on Carnival. You could definitely tell the ship was in an older class. The paint was chipping and rusting all over the ship. That is the only reason I did not give it a 5 star rating. The cabin was ... Read More
We always have great experiences on Carnival. You could definitely tell the ship was in an older class. The paint was chipping and rusting all over the ship. That is the only reason I did not give it a 5 star rating. The cabin was very clean and comfortable. Our room steward, Leonardo was very personable and was there for all our needs. The dining was EXCELLENT whether you ate in the formal dining room or buffet. I always love all the food selections, e.g., Guys burgers, Cantina, buffet, deli, pizza. The entertainment was par on this ship. The piano man, Sam Martin was AMAZING. Sam is a very talented pianist and singer. Service was wonderful. The staff is very attentive to all our needs. Disappointed because one of our stops was Cuba, but was cancelled. Our cruise Director, Erin, was very energetic and always had the crown engaged with all the activities. Loved Erin and her crew. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I got this cruise playing MyVegas so only had to pay port fees. We found out 6 days before we sailed that we would not be going to Cuba. We were disappointed but we were also going on vacation so just adjusted our plans. We did have to ... Read More
I got this cruise playing MyVegas so only had to pay port fees. We found out 6 days before we sailed that we would not be going to Cuba. We were disappointed but we were also going on vacation so just adjusted our plans. We did have to fly to Fort Lauderdale which took 30 hours due to storms in Atlanta. Spent Sunday at a hotel. Left the hotel and in less than 1 hour we were on the ship. It is a smaller ship, it did seem like some people cancelled as it was not very busy. Our cabin was fine. Always clean and cute towel animals. Crew were always friendly and helpful. Saw crew members cleaning the halls and other areas also. Food was good, as were the drinks. Drinks were very strong which surprised me. Used to all inclusive at which are not strong at all. Stayed on board in Nassau, really enjoyed CocoCay. We did have a really good time on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My experience on MSC was different from what I typically experience on other cruise lines but I still had a good experience. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and quick. The staff was always friendly and helpful. It was very ... Read More
My experience on MSC was different from what I typically experience on other cruise lines but I still had a good experience. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and quick. The staff was always friendly and helpful. It was very easy to navigate the ship but sometimes you had to walk through one of the dining rooms during dinner to go from point A to point B which was a bit strange. Food in the dining room was good. I was able to try new fish I had never been offered on other cruise lines. We also enjoyed the pizza and gelato. I did miss the chairs on the lower deck which is where I typically hang out. I also missed watching movies poolside. I did not observe people being chair hogs. MSC has everyone with a scheduled excursion to report to the theater. It was very chaotic and not clear what you were supposed to do when you arrived. In Ocho Rios, we did the Brimmer Hall Plantation Tour with Beach & Lunch. It was an hour drive to the plantation. The demonstrations were interesting but rather than pull us around on a trailer they could do those near the house. The plantation itself wasn't very impressive nor was the beach or lunch. I enjoyed the Best of Caymen in Georgetown. We visited a turtle farm, Hell, and a rum store. The Best of Cozumel was OK. After the English guide presented his info, the Spanish guide then repeated it all. We spent too much time at the history museum and not enough time at the chocolate museum. At the tequila store, they actually gave everyone a taste of 5 different kinds. I did not schedule an excursion in Costa Maya. It's a nice port for shopping and hanging out. I did not attend any of the evening shows. They were all music and dancing type productions. I had put in a request online for an extension cord and distilled water for my CPAP but never received any response so I brought my own. While sailing with MSC was a different experience than with other cruise lines, I enjoyed my trip and would sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
For our first cruise was really good choice. Although rerouting from Cuba to Bahamas was disappointing (obv not NCL fault). Food in all restaurants we went to was very good, service was great across the board. Balcony room was tight, ... Read More
For our first cruise was really good choice. Although rerouting from Cuba to Bahamas was disappointing (obv not NCL fault). Food in all restaurants we went to was very good, service was great across the board. Balcony room was tight, but we knew that going in. Embarkation was a breeze, even with seemingly hundreds in front of us. Disembarkation was a little confused, they weren't letting folks off that had checked their bags the night before since they weren't ready in the terminal (at 8:45 AM). They finally relented and let people pass. Better to wait in the air conditioned terminal than on board in the morning heat. Also we booked the NCL transfer, and this was very smooth and well organized. I'm sure there were plenty of Ubers but NCL made it easy. One negative that is probably all cruise lines not just NCL was the medical service. My wife needed to see the doctor due to an infection. 20 minutes and $650 later we were back in the room (cost of "treatment" and antibiotics). While a bummer, this saved her a lot of discomfort for the rest of the trip. Another veteran cruise couple told us they heard the medical operation makes more profit than the casino. So get travel medical insurance! We have via our credit card, but I learned that only goes to $2500. Speaking of the casino, I ran pure at blackjack (on a 8 deck continuous shuffler!) so that helped ease the wallet pain! BJ tables were $10 and $15, and some were 3/2 (just have to ask). Poker is not so great, they spread 2-5 NLHE and rake 10% of the pot up to $25! Didn't really see the poker table get going, but I guess they should get kudos for having it. Video poker pay tables are awful (7/5 DDB) but that's expected. But casino had great service, with the open bar the waitresses kept the drinks flowing, dealers and floor guys were fun even when they were getting beat! For the food, Cagneys was outstanding, top US steakhouse service, and the food was just one notch below your Delmonicos, Ruth Criss, etc. The Italian was average (we paid ala cart $52 for that). Crossings dinner was another night and that was good with again great service. The longboard bar in the back of the ship is a gem, after 6 they serve wings, hot dogs/hamburgers, and other appetizers. Also great servers in there. Also the buffet always seemed to have great looking desserts, so Bahamas isn't our thing so we won't be going again on Sky, but with our 50% credit toward a future cruise we'll likely go with NCL again. (With better travel medical insurance). Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We left for our cruise about four days after the executive order that trips to Cuba are no longer allowed. NCL took a while to announce what our new itinerary would be and what our discounts would be, but we were very pleased with the ... Read More
We left for our cruise about four days after the executive order that trips to Cuba are no longer allowed. NCL took a while to announce what our new itinerary would be and what our discounts would be, but we were very pleased with the information when it was announced. We were originally supposed to do Cuba overnight, a day at sea, then Great Stirrup Cay. They replaced the Cuba days with Freeport and Nassau. We have cruised royal and Disney several times each, and this was our first NCL trip. We selected it for Cuba, but were determined to make the best of the trip regardless of the change. The ship itself was small, which we were expecting. The decor was nice and not garish. The layout to get to the Crossings dining room was awkward but we eventually got the hang of it. The feel was relaxed and the crew was very friendly. Our room was small. We were expecting that, being spoiled by DCL's larger rooms but we had forgotten just how small inside rooms were on other lines. We had to shift the bed about 1" every night so I could get around the cabinet without getting my leg stuck. The decor was nice, the room was clean. We were in 0138, which is right below the teen club. That was a mistake. It was very loud and there was a clunky noise or scraping noise seemingly 24/7. The dining was perfectly acceptable. We rarely do specialty restaurants and did none on this trip. I was disappointed that the sit-down lunch offered the same menu every single day. There were not enough things there that sounded good so we ended up doing the buffet which isn't our favorite but there was more to choose from than we could possibly eat so it was fine. The pretzel buns are AMAZING I am going to try to make some at home. The beef dishes were good. I found most of the soups to be very overly salted. I thought the freestyle dining was amazing, and I wasn't expecting to like it. Seating was fast, the restaurants were nice, we liked the privacy as well. The food itself seemed comparable to both DCL and RCCL and we were happy with that. Snacks in the casino were fun to try late at night as well. The breakfast buffet was really repetitive, but there was enough to select from so again it was fine. We found the sushi bar late into the trip. The service there was excellent and we had never had sushi before. We really enjoyed the spot. The view was nice, the bar was quiet and friendly. It really was a very nice space to spend some time. The main shows on the Sky were quite cheesy. Props to the cast they really did put in a lot of energy and effort. DH and I were both theatre majors and enjoy shows but these were not our style. The audience was very well mannered and the cast was really talented. We tried a couple of the group games and those were fun as well. The trivia looked fun from afar. We did not do the outdoor activities because they really aren't our style. I peeked in at the movies and those seemed like fun also. Quiet and relaxing. The bingo game we went to was a good time as well. The staff did a good job of keeping things fun. I do prefer more enrichment type activities, there was very little of that offered on this type of trip and on this ship. Our cabin steward was very prompt and did a good job. We only saw him two times but he always remembered our names and was very friendly. The convenience of the onboard account info being on our app was incredible. I wish the venue hours were in the app as well as the scheduled activities. The food service staff were always friendly, but not all were attentive. It just depended on the evening. We did three ports. Freeport was BEAUTIFUL. DH chose a sailing excursion and it was hands-down the most beautiful day we've ever had in port. Our second stop was Nassau, which is always our least favorite. We did a snorkeling tour and felt like we were cats being herded but the snorkeling was good. Great Stirrup Cay was a great little private island. We don't enjoy beach days much but do love to snorkel. There wasn't a lot to see, but it was calm, sunny, the equipment was clean and in good shape, and we really did enjoy ourselves. Even with a smaller ship, and a short Bahamas itinerary, we've decided that NCL is a great fit for us. We enjoy excursions and taking it easy, and even though there are lots of activities offered, there's a lot of opportunity for just kicking back and relaxing if that's your style. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Imran was amazing. My first cruise and they made it very enjoyable especially since we didn’t make Cuba. Food was amazing and the crew was Fantastic. We did have a couple minor issues however the staff and corporate made it right. I ... Read More
Imran was amazing. My first cruise and they made it very enjoyable especially since we didn’t make Cuba. Food was amazing and the crew was Fantastic. We did have a couple minor issues however the staff and corporate made it right. I will be traveling again on the Armonia on October 7, 2019. This will be my second cruise. Food was amazing. Someone said the Lobster was over cooked and mushy. Well over cooked Lobster is like RUBBER. SO that is a false statement. FOOD WAS FANTASTIC AND WE ARE MSC FANS. Costa Maya was probably our favorite spot. Beach excursion was Fantastic. Laid under a palm tree with Tequila and snakes. Wife and I are doing the same cruise itinerary for the most part. Honduras, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Grand Cayman. Highly recommend MSC. Small ship however made it very perfect for a Romantic experience. Will let you know how the second cruise is on MSC. Sure It will be Fantastic Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and easiest embarkation we've experienced. Our assigned check-in time was 2:30, but since we had to be out of our hotel room at 11:00, we arrived at 11:30. We dropped off our luggage, parked the car, and walked across the street to terminal F. We had priority embarkation with our Aurea experience, but it wasn't necessary. Before noon, we were on the ship sipping a drink. we sat at the forward pool bar with the best bartender at sea, Ryan Felix! Disembarkation was just as smooth as embarkation.We were in the first group called because we chose the Aurea experience. We walked off the ship, picked up our luggage and headed to our car. We had to meet with customs the morning of Key West, so there was no customs stop in Miami. Drink Package: We had the Premium Plus package which is the most inclusive package. While we may not have drank our money's worth, and I didn't bother to do the math, it was so nice to get water, specialty coffees, smoothies, specialty bottled juices, mini bar items, and any alcoholic beverage with no worry about paying a bill. I will definitely do this again. You also save the service charge when you purchase the package prior to embarkation. An extra 15% really adds up. We gave an additional cash tip to our regular bartenders at the end of the week. Spa: After our drink, we headed to the spa to book our appointments. We each had a massage included as part of the Aurea experience and I had pre-booked the Golden Jasmine package. I definitely recommending booking spa services in advance. Even with some specials thrown in during the week, the advanced purchase prices were significantly lower. We had massages or other treatments by 4 different spa staff, and each one was excellent! The only negative I have concerning the spa is the thermal area. There is not much there and it is quite small compared to other ships. One steam room was functioning correctly along with 4 heated loungers. We usually visit this area everyday when we cruise. We only visited once on this trip. When we told staff in the spa that several features were not working they pretty much said. "Oh, well. We get it fixed and it works for little bit and then breaks down again." At least they're honest? This and the Top 13 Private Solarium are the only areas where MSC really needs to upgrade and the only real disappointment on the Armonia. My husband used the gym daily and said that it was adequate. Cabin: At 2:00 an announcement was made that we could enter our staterooms. We headed to 1225, Aurea Suite. The cabin was spacious and comfortable with a tremendous amount of storage space. We loved the walk in closet and additional cabinets. There was plenty of room to store our belongings out of sight. I still would call this a deluxe balcony, not a suite. Our stateroom attendant, Emmanuel, was excellent! He kept the ice bucket and mini bar full and our stateroom immaculate. The bed and furnishings were in good shape and very comfy. The bathroom was average, but did have a bathtub. The balcony felt slightly larger than the norm, but we wished for more comfortable chairs. The dividers rattled at night and we remedied that with a little duct tape! It is an older ship and these little things give that away. There were very loud noises from the solarium above at night that interfered with sleep. On the last day I asked one of the solarium attendants, Sean, about it and he told me that they move all of the chairs at night and clean. He seemed very concerned and said that they are to move the furniture very quietly. That night, I didn't hear a sound. I only wish that I had said something after our first night! Anytime we mentioned a concern the staff was eager and efficient in trying to resolve it. I would choose this stateroom again. I gave it a 4 rather than 5 rating because of the balcony noise and chairs and the fact that it was not a true suite. Emergency Drill: This was fairly quick and easy. We needed to carry our vests from our cabin but were not required to wear them. Guests who did not attend were required to complete it the following morning. Dining: We ate in La Pergola restaurant for dinner every night. This is the anytime dining venue for Fantastica and Aurea guests. The hostess, Brenda, was wonderful. The first evening we had dinner at 8:00. It was very busy and the tables for 2 are nearly touching. My husband has poor hearing and we could not have a conversation. I spoke with Brenda on the way out and she promised a quiet, more intimate table if we could arrive at 6:00 each night. We did and it was perfect! If you like a quiet dinner, 6:00 is a great time to eat. Our waiter was Anil. He was very attentive and efficient. He always knew to bring our bottled water and favorite wine as soon as we entered the room. He made wonderful suggestions and made sure that we were happy with everything we ordered. You are always free to order more or to change your selection if you do not enjoy your selection. The servings are smaller than on most ships serving the Caribbean, but every meal was more than I could eat! I have read complaints about both the quality and quantity of food on this ship, but we did not find that to be the case. Each meal was delicious, from start to finish. If the portions are not adequate for you, you can simply order more food. We also want to mention the restaurant manager, Gochell. Hopefully I spelled that correctly! He stopped by the table each evening to see if there was anything we needed and to ensure that we were happy with our meals and service. He was very personable and had an excellent rapport with his staff. We discovered that he will be on the Meraviglia with us in November and can't wait to see him again! Most of our meals were eaten in La Pergola. Breakfast and lunch were very good. If it was closed we ate at the buffet or had pizza. The buffet had great salad, fruit, smoked salmon sandwiches, and wraps for lunch. We didn't really eat much there. It always seemed so busy and guests served themselves. I loved the way HAL served guests at the buffet. One of the few things that can ruin a vacation is getting sick. The fewer people touching the food and utensils the better! We enjoyed the pizza, but tried the burger and fries one day and didn't care for them. The gelato was good and a nice touch on a hot afternoon! We gave dining a 4 rating rather than 5 because of the up-charge on the menu for steak and lobster as well as other items that used to be included. The regular dining room menus should be all inclusive. We also took into consideration the buffet service. Bars: The forward pool bar and staff were awesome! Be sure to ask Ryan for the world's best Bloody Mary! It really was the best one we've had! The staff will concoct just about anything you can imagine. Just ask! Some of the same crew worked at the Rum Bar in the evenings. The Rum Bar had wonderful drinks, service, and entertainment. We are early birds and light drinkers, so we didn't venture out too much at night. The San Marco Coffee Bar was also excellent. We had coffee here every morning before breakfast. They also have wonderful chocolate croissants! There is also a smoothie and juice bar located just outside the spa on the pool deck. This was often breakfast or a snack. We loved being able to grab something healthy after all of the overindulging we did! Entertainment: We almost skipped out on the shows because we had read some really harsh reviews. Don't listen to reviews!! I know that sounds funny coming from someone who is writing a review! The nightly shows in the theater were absolutely fantastic! The singers brought tears to our eyes and the acrobats were incredible. They were so good that we went twice one evening! I wouldn't miss it. It can get crowded, so get there a few minutes early. They were not taking reservations as we had read prior to our cruise. We had use of the Top 13 private solarium which came with the Aurea Experience. You can also purchase daily or weekly passes. It was OK. We love quiet and hate fighting for pool chairs, so we did appreciate knowing that we could always find a lounge chair. There was usually staff there who would get you towels or bar service. Sean was one of the attendants and was wonderful! He was eager to assist and he was such an interesting guy! There were only about 6-8 chairs in the shade at any time during the day, so it was hot! You had to arrive early to grab a spot in the shade. They need to put up some type of cover. There were only showers to cool off and handheld spritzers. Another odd thing was that we could smell sewage at times. It depended on the wind. On our last cruise with HAL, we rented private cabanas at the top of the ship. These were covered and offered 2 loungers, a table and 2 chairs with views of the water. We had an attendant and additional chairs on the sundeck for sunning. The butlers brought you beverages, food, and cold towels. They really spoiled us! We really missed this space on Armonia. As far as activities, we missed the art auctions and wine, etc. tastings that we usually enjoy on a cruise. Ports: We took this cruise to go to Cuba. We booked a private tour guide and driver for Saturday and a food tour for Sunday through Strawberry Tours . Two days into our trip, it was announced that US citizens were no longer permitted to travel to Cuba. It was very sad. I cried for 5 minutes and then decided to continue enjoying our wonderful vacation. We were shocked by the behavior of some of our fellow passengers following this announcement. They were yelling and threatening the crew. The cruise director, Miguel was physically attacked. His attacker was arrested when we arrived in port. Some passengers started a petition and lawsuit against the cruise line. We were stunned. On any cruise we know that the itinerary can be changed for any reason. It certainly was not the fault of the crew! It's just part of the deal. Cuba was a bucket list item for us and we were very disappointed, but we were on a lovely ship, eating great food, and enjoying amazing service. MSC gave each passenger a $400.00 OBC, extended our stay in Cozumel, and added Key West. That was generous and it was done quickly. I was so impressed by how well the staff conducted themselves. You could see the stress in the customer service desk staff and the shore excursion staff. They were really being abused by some guests. We only got off the ship in Cozumel. We took a cab, did a tequila tasting, and visited a few beaches. There was so much seaweed that we didn't go in the water. We like our beaches in Florida much better! We did some shopping at the port and headed back on board. We love staying on the ship in port. It's so nice and quiet! No lines for anything! Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle/ Welcome Back Party: This was the best Meet and Mingle! Miguel, the cruise director, and Carlos, the activities director, hosted. There was such a nice selection of finger foods and drinks, as well as a beautiful cake. It was nice to meet some of the staff and the new cruise critic friends we talked with online. We were glad to bump into familiar faces during our vacation. I definitely recommend that you take part if there is a Meet and Mingle on your cruise! Miguel and Carlos had a group picture taken and gave each of us a copy as a gift. The welcome back party was also very nice. There was plenty of champagne, photos with the captain, and wonderful live jazz music. The saxophone player was so talented! I'm sure that was just too much information, but I tried to answer the questions that I had before our cruise. We really enjoyed both of our MSC cruises and are looking forward to sailing on the MSC Meraviglia in November. It will be our first Yacht Club experience and we are really looking forward to it! I wouldn't hesitate to sail on this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my 63rd cruise, itinerary is usually my main focus and wanting to visit Cuba there was only a few ship offerings. I have always had very good experiences sailing RCL and despite the numerous negative reviews and the size of the ... Read More
This was my 63rd cruise, itinerary is usually my main focus and wanting to visit Cuba there was only a few ship offerings. I have always had very good experiences sailing RCL and despite the numerous negative reviews and the size of the “Empress” I decide to give it a try, lucky my sailing was the last Cuba sailing before the new travel restrictions were put into place. Having recently sailed the mega ships the boarding process could not have been any easier. Navigating the ship is fairly easy and the hub of activity is on decks 5 and 6. Even-tough this is a small ship I found lots to do as there are numerous activities throughout the day. In the evening there was two venues with music and the usual fill of activities to participate. There were a number of bars, but “Balleros” was my main hangout plus the music was very good. I ate in main dining room , windjammer and the only specialty restaurant Chops, all were very good to excellent. Staff and service throughout were amazing. Even tough this was a small ship I never felt any rocking throughout the voyage. I did encounter that sewage smell on mid deck 8, but it was occasional. My only complaint was the cabin(the worst in 63 cruises.. but more below). Overall, the Empress is an underrated ship, it has much to offer, food, activities, staff and yes character. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise to go with a group of friends. The Ship: was nice for the most part. It was comfortable to be on. It generally handled the sea state pretty well. It was nice to not have to walk forever to get from one end to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go with a group of friends. The Ship: was nice for the most part. It was comfortable to be on. It generally handled the sea state pretty well. It was nice to not have to walk forever to get from one end to the other. The age of the ship did show though in some public areas. We went on the All Access tour and saw many of the behind the scenes areas. In general, the ship looked well cared for. Controls looked somewhat dated but that's fine since they seemed to work well. The Cabin: Here the disadvantage of an older ship shows. The cabin was small and had only a window. The general condition of the cabin was fine. The bathroom was tiny with a little shower tucked into a corner. You almost had to leave the door open to sit on the toilet. But the shower worked well and seemed to be in very good condition. Dining: Hmmm... Hit and miss. Some of the food was awful. Prime rib was the right color but missed badly on texture and taste. Beef medallions were the same. They did not taste roasted. Lobster bisque was horrific. Chicken was good. Most desserts were quite good. Pork was good and fish was fine. Civiche seemed to be just a kind of shrimp cocktail. The food in the buffet was generally OK if but over cooked. All that said, it wouldn't stop me from taking the ship again. Didn't pay any attention to the entertainment or activities. Service: Excellent all around Ports and Shore Excursions: Ports were good even if to almost seems 70% of the cruises I go in have stopped in Cozumel. Key West was good but the highlight of the cruise was the stop in Havana. The shore excursion of Old Havana was great. We got to see how Cubans actually live. Our tour guide was very open about conditions in Cuba and did not stray into politics or propaganda. I'd love to go back but, as Americans, we can't. WiFi: Hit and miss. Some areas of the ship had great wifi but in the cabin it worked ok for 1 device and poorly for the other. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because it was a good deal for the itinerary. Key West is one of our favorite ports and we had never been to Cuba. We knew the ship was older and we did see signs of wear. The cabin was small but we did not spend ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a good deal for the itinerary. Key West is one of our favorite ports and we had never been to Cuba. We knew the ship was older and we did see signs of wear. The cabin was small but we did not spend much time in it. We food was good. We ate in the dining room whenever we could. It was quieter than the Windjammer. We had the early seating in the dining room. Our waiter and assistant waitress were attentive. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise so we were able to arrive at the port close to 11 a.m. Embarking was fast. We were in the Windjammer before noon. The first day was at sea. We took part in trivia and other daytime activities. There were enough activities to keep us busy all day. We did go to the shows every evening. They included a comedian, juggler, and the on board troupe. The crew members and staff we interacted with where all helpful and friendly. We explored Key West on our own. It is a very walk-able port. In Havanna, we booked a private six hour excursion. Because we were the only two people in the car, we were able to personalize the tour to include what we wanted to see. The second day we did a free walking food tour. Both excursions were very interesting and allowed us a good insight into the lives of the Cuban people. Disembarking was very easy and went fairly quickly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Service was great. Entertainment was okay. The ship was small but the largest that Royal can go to Cuba with. Wanted to experience Cuba and meet the people. Was not disappointed. Education is free through University but availability ... Read More
Service was great. Entertainment was okay. The ship was small but the largest that Royal can go to Cuba with. Wanted to experience Cuba and meet the people. Was not disappointed. Education is free through University but availability of jobs for a decent wage are slim. The teacher I talked to mentioned they earn about 20 CUCs a month. (Abut $20 in US money). He also mentioned he was not allowed to cruise or leave the island. I asked him about healthcare and he said it was free but they didn’t have medical supplies so it was usually not that helpful. The entertainment on the ship was okay but nothing fantastic. Five night cruise and only 1 really good show. The Royal website described the room as having a bed and couch but that was not the case. Ship was very old, I think 1992. Was dissainted because I bought gift certificates from AARP only to find ou they could only be used on new bookings. Carnival gift cards can be used for OBC. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my first cruise on NCL. I usually cruise Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. I was a little apprehensive when I booked this cruise since I've been on NCL. This was a 4 day cruise to Key West and Havana Cuba and left out of Port ... Read More
This was my first cruise on NCL. I usually cruise Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. I was a little apprehensive when I booked this cruise since I've been on NCL. This was a 4 day cruise to Key West and Havana Cuba and left out of Port Canaveral which is the closest port to us. My hubby wanted to go to Cuba so I booked it. The ship is smaller than the ones we are used to going on and everything seemed a narrow and tight. Some little things that were big pluses to me was the water pressure in the shower it's amazing! and the ac in room worked very well. This ship's beverage package is was great too! Premium brands like Grey Goose and JW Black were included. And I loved not having to use my room key every time we got a drink. The downside is that bottled water is not included, however we bought a 6 pack of premium 1 liter bottles for 14 bucks which was well worth it as it lasted the entire cruise and then some. For dinner we enjoyed all the wine we wanted, the food was pretty good at both dining rooms and the buffet. No lobster night though, which I was hoping for. We really enjoyed the buffet at the Garden Café, the food was good and the service was great. The Maitre'D Carina was very friendly and pleasant. Always stopped to talk to us and made sure we had everything we needed. The only negative experience was the process to get tickets to disembark in Key West. Hopefully they will figure this out soon since many people were very upset about it. I would definitely return to ship when looking for a short cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Good rates we felt, only bad thing was lack of food variety sometimes and I wish they would have more staff come up to you to talk about things you can do on the ship. Bahamas unfortunately we were unable to disembark on that day, so that ... Read More
Good rates we felt, only bad thing was lack of food variety sometimes and I wish they would have more staff come up to you to talk about things you can do on the ship. Bahamas unfortunately we were unable to disembark on that day, so that was the bad part. Wish there was more pools on board, but overall very nice boat. The rooms were very clean and though they were compact we thought it met all our needs. The people were friendly on board, some bartenders didn't make the best drinks but they were all nice. I think the only negative entertainment on board was the night club at the main hall, it was just one big like high school party as the music personally was too varied and didnt have a theme. The set up did not make sense with a staff and chairs all over not giving much room for dancing, so that should be fixed but the food overall was very yummy lots of different choices and the restaurants were delicious. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We booked the cruise because of the 2 days in Havana and we enjoyed the full cruise as well. We had sailed on the Poesia a couple of years ago and we liked the Armonia cruise more. The food was definitely better on the Armonia. The ... Read More
We booked the cruise because of the 2 days in Havana and we enjoyed the full cruise as well. We had sailed on the Poesia a couple of years ago and we liked the Armonia cruise more. The food was definitely better on the Armonia. The Hotel Director on the Armonia went above and beyond and most of the Senior Staff were very friendly and outgoing. Our cabin steward did a good job and we liked our cabin. A major problem I had was with the layout of the ship. I have a small mobility scooter and between different areas of the ship there are a lot of raised bars on the ground. Each time I drive over one it jolts my body and I ended up with a really painful back and really sore spasms. I had to take pain pills and muscle relaxants the whole time. I tried going on the outside deck to get from one end of the ship to the other but it was often blocked off for some reason. The doors are not automatic either and I often had to wait for someone to come along so I could go to the buffet or to get to an elevator. When I told the Hotel Director he was sympathetic and was aware of the problem. He did send me a nice souvenir to cheer me up. Can't beat the value of MSC. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Cruised with a group of 7, ages from 50 to 95! My mother in law uses a cane and wheelchair to get around the ship. She never really has a problem getting around. Stayed in room 8207 with a large window looking out. Beds were together to ... Read More
Cruised with a group of 7, ages from 50 to 95! My mother in law uses a cane and wheelchair to get around the ship. She never really has a problem getting around. Stayed in room 8207 with a large window looking out. Beds were together to form one large bed, bigger than a queen, smaller than a king. Bed was under the window which left most of the room open, except for the bedsides. Plenty of shelves and closet space for my wife and my clothes. Room came equipped with a room safe, which we used to store our passports and cash during the day. Also had a small fridge which we used to store our water and a few beer bottles. Room was clean and so was bathroom area. Used the "under bed" storage for our suitcases and carry-on. Mark was our room steward and he kept the room spotless and refreshed the ice bucket, as requested. We arrived a little early at the port around 11:00am. We then only waited about 30 minutes after processing. I would say that the embarkation process was fairly smooth. The Sky is a little older ship, but wears it's age nicely. We chose the "free" liquor option, and most of the time the waits around the bar were ok. We tipped one of the pool waiters $5 early in the morning and another $5 later in the afternoon. His name was Anthony and he provided excellent service. Sure beat getting up and waiting by the bar for drinks. A note about smoking on the ship. It is only allowed in the casino and by the bar on deck 12. I don't think you can smoke cigars in the casino, but you may smoke them on deck 12, in the bar area. There are tables and chairs provided in this area. We only used the Garden Cafe for lunch while we were on the ship. We ate all our other meals in The Palace dining room. The food there is pretty good and there is a variety of choices. I would recommend asking for ANKITA in the Palace dining room for dinner. She is an excellent waitress and very friendly. Entertainment on the ship was pretty good. We saw the dancing and singing "We Will Rock You" show and we all enjoyed it. The comedian was hilarious. I forgot his name, but he was a former LA cop. The variety show was just ok. The city of Havana was beautiful and HOT. We used a Cuban tour company for our tour. The fee was $50 USD per person. It lasted from approx. 9:30am to 3:30 pm. The email for the company is All emails are signed Magdiel and Jessica who I assume are the owners. They are very reliable. We walked 3 blocks out of the building off the ship and met Guillermo, our tour guide in front of a hotel. Guillermo spoke great English and answered all our questions. We walked for awhile in Old Havana and took in 4 squares. We then rode to see the huge statue of Christ on a mountaintop overlooking Havana. We then drove to the Capitol building area and walked that area. We drove down Havana's 5th Avenue and admired the "rich people's" homes. We then drove to Freedom Square and admired the many buildings there. All in all we saw a lot of Havana and got to take in some history. We ended the tour at a cigar factory; where we purchased fresh cigars. All in all a GREAT tour and I would highly recommend this tour company. That night my sister-in-law and I walked out the cruise building and rented a 1948 Red Chevy convertible for a one hour drive around Havana. I would recommend going at night because the sun during the day is very hot. It cost $40 USD for an hour and we tipped our driver "Cookie" $5 for a great ride. We never got to the NCL island in the Bahamas...rough seas prevented going ashore; so we cruised around all day at sea. The weather was beautiful at sea. All in all I would recommend this 4 night cruise. The only real negative about the cruise is every time I dialed for a wake up call on our room phone there was a message "All our operators are busy right now, please hold on". This seems a little ridiculous in this day and age. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary included Cuba, which we wanted to visit. I most likely wouldn't have chosen this ship otherwise. That said, I don't get what all the complaints are about! I'm on my 20th Carnival ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary included Cuba, which we wanted to visit. I most likely wouldn't have chosen this ship otherwise. That said, I don't get what all the complaints are about! I'm on my 20th Carnival cruise so I've seen a lot of ships. It's true this one is smaller and doesn't have a few amenities like the Seaside Theatre but it still had plenty of other things you would find on other ships like Guy's Burgers, Sushi, Punchliner Comedy Club, mini-golf, Serenity deck, etc. It had a few very chill areas to relax on that you don't find on other ships too that I appreciated since the layout is different (in a good way). The smaller size meant fewer people which wasn't a bad thing either when it came to lines for food, port debarkation, etc. The food was decent too. Perhaps not quite as good as some of the other ships but other reviews had me expecting trash and it was far from that lol. Cabins were like any other ship for the most part imo (we had an Oceanview). The entertainment was good as far as music and comedians go. There was actually a live Salsa band in one of the lounges and dance lessons on one of the sea days which was fun. The cruise director Erin was just as good as other ships as well, so there was plenty to do. Room steward, waitstaff, etc also all gave the same high level of service I always have on Carnival so not sure why some people had a bad experience there. Bottom line, don't try to compare this ship to the Breeze or Vista. That would be like comparing Lake Michigan (which is indeed nice) to the Caribbean Sea (which is next level nice). The one thing I will caution is that final debarkation took a long time. There were only TWO customs agents that morning and there were probably about 2K people getting off. A few folks missed their flights so if you book a cruise to Cuba and have to fly to Miami be careful with how early your return flight leaves. Also, if you're looking for a tour in Havana go with Blexie. Much less expensive than Carnival's tours and far better. Rosio was the best! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Overall, my family had the greatest time, on and off the ship! It was perfect for the eight adults - schools were in session so there were almost no children on board. The evening activities were lots of fun. Karaoke was great and it was ... Read More
Overall, my family had the greatest time, on and off the ship! It was perfect for the eight adults - schools were in session so there were almost no children on board. The evening activities were lots of fun. Karaoke was great and it was crowded each evening. Fun way to have late night entertainment. I lost my cool when we were on the one-hour trolley tour of Key West. The driver was somewhat distracted and never made it clear where to meet for the return trip to the Ship. He pointed out a bus stop near the Navy Station and said you could pick up a return trolley at a bus stop. We tried to flag down buses and trolleys for the return to the ship but no one would pick us up. Finally I met up with other family members who told us to walk back into town and take a different bus with them. I know we were not the only ones confused. We sat down on a brick stoop outside the Aquarium to make a phone call and two different groups of people approached us to ask if this is where we get the return ride. We told them we weren't sure but were going to follow the drivers instructions. BAD IDEA. On the three hour Old Havana tour had an amazing guide named "Andrew." I was a little taken back by the amount of people begging for cash. In one courtyard, a young man sold us some coconut ice cream in a half coconut shell. It was icy and delicious. Other than that, most of us brought our own water bottles. At the spa, the women giving the couples massage were NOT gentle. I could only imagine what a deep tissue massage would have been like. I took two yoga classes for $15.00 extra. The first class was only 35 minutes. The next day it was 40 minutes. Overall, I would take this same cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I went with our good buddies to Key West and then to Havana on a four day cruise out of FLL. The ship is old(er) yes, but lots of great character...it's clean...it never felt crowded and the service was outstanding. ... Read More
My wife and I went with our good buddies to Key West and then to Havana on a four day cruise out of FLL. The ship is old(er) yes, but lots of great character...it's clean...it never felt crowded and the service was outstanding. The pool was a little crowded most of the time and so was the main dining room...otherwise I felt like it was a pretty empty ship...even though it was sold out. The Viking Lounge on top was empty about the whole time...great area to read a book and relax after getting back from the journey. Trivia was super fun. The casino was hopping most times and the dealers were pretty nice. Main dining room food was better than expected...we've gone on three Oceania Cruises so we lowered our expectations. The only suggestion is to get dressing on the side. The appetizers and soups were terrific. Fish of the day was always a good choice as well as the warm cookie and ice cream. The wait-staff was very hard working and remembered our names when we ran into them around the ship. Definitely recommend this cruise, especially for the price and itinerary! Entertainment was okay...comedian very funny. Spa - beware...they will upsell you...wife spent $500 on about $200 worth of treatments because she got sold...has trouble saying no...but she said they were very well done. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just got back from 4-night MOS sailing from FLL to Key West to Havana and back to FLL. Had read a lot of negative reviews about the MOS before going but because the Cuba stop was the reason for the cruise in the first place, they did not ... Read More
Just got back from 4-night MOS sailing from FLL to Key West to Havana and back to FLL. Had read a lot of negative reviews about the MOS before going but because the Cuba stop was the reason for the cruise in the first place, they did not dissuade us. Candidly the ship is older and doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of the new-mega ships, but truth be told the-mega ships probably couldn't make it into either Key West or Havana. We (three couples) were in separate "oceanview" cabins on Deck 5. The cabins were small, but were more than functional for our purposes. Our cabin attendant, Elizabeth, could not have been better, nicer or more pleasant. She accommodated every request with a smile and responded with a "hi" or a "are you having a good day?" every time we saw her. We chose "my time" dining for 800 p.m. in order to better accommodate our schedules. We linked up the others in our group and had a table for 6 set aside for each night in the Starlight Dining Room The food was pretty good and was presented nicely, We ate there 3 of the 4 nights and even with just that our waiter, Paolo, knew our names and preferences. All other meals we eaten in either the Windjammer or the Windjammer Marketplace, both of which are connected to each other on Deck 11 and serve the same food. The food was served buffet style, but was not lacking for choices and the service was good. We had read complaints about the bar service. We had no problems at all. We all signed up for the beverage package and at one time or another hit every bar on the ship. Some were definitely busy than others, but all moved quickly. Kudos to Angelito in the Schooner Bar which became our go-to bar throughout. By the first night he knew our names and drinks of choice and never seemed too busy to wait on or talk to us. We really weren't on the ship much, so can't say a lot about the entertainment. However, we did check out the comedian/ventriloquist who was very good. Embarkation and disembarkation in FLL was pretty flawless. Since we drive to FLL, we didn't have tight connections to make on either end, and so we arrived at around 200 on embarkation day and were on the ship within about 20 minutes. On disembarkation day, we left the ship around 845 (by which time all groups had been called) and were out of the terminal and headed toward our car by 900. No worries with security or customs on either end. Speaking of customs, there was a slight bottleneck in Havana which is but one reason why I can't imagine a mega-ship going there. But, the process went pretty quickly. In Cuba we did a private tour (which I would highly recommend) that took us to New Havana by classic car and then into Old Havana on foot, before returning us to the ship to clean up and to eat before taking us to the Tropicana show. Our tour guide took us straight to the front of the line after which were promptly escorted inside. Just so you know, the show started at 930 p.m. and ran until about 1130 p.m., though some of the dancers and performed stayed around to dance with the crowd until around midnight. That's about when we left and met up with the same 2 drivers (we had 2 cars) and our tour guide who returned us to the front door of the terminal. It was seamless and I would recommend the tour company, Cuba With Us, to anyone. The only negative that I can think of was the shopping. Key West, of course, had all of the shops that you could want, and some you wouldn't want to go in. Havana was definitely different than many of the ports we've stopped at before. Not much shopping near the ship and not even that much as we were walking and driving around. Perhaps that's just a result of the politics there as even the citizens have limited shopping options. Shipboard shopping was another matter altogether. There were the usual things, t-shirts, souvenirs and jewelry. I made the mistake of falling for the 75% off sale on Invicta watches and bought one on the sea day. The ticket price was $595 which I knew was inflated, but through some internet research after I got home appreciate was more than 5 times what it was selling for on the Invicta website and almost 6 times what it was selling for on Amazon. So, even with 75% off, I still ended up paying more than I could have paid for the same watch had I waited until I got home. Buyer beware! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Empress of the Seas is an older and smaller ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The ship was very well maintained. Rooms are very small by todays standards but they are functional. The food and service was up to Royal Caribbean ... Read More
Empress of the Seas is an older and smaller ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The ship was very well maintained. Rooms are very small by todays standards but they are functional. The food and service was up to Royal Caribbean standards. Very nice to have a ship that played Caribbean music by the pool when in the Caribbean. Making guests check out towels for pool and returning them worked real well. If some one left the pool they picked up the towels rather than leave them. That way you always knew if a lounge bed was available. Even on sea days this made lounges available by the pool all day. Life guards were great at keeping glass bottles from being taken into pool. No problem getting tables for 2 at anytime dining. Casino was small but adequate. Use of shuffling machines, 6 to 5 black jack payouts and no even money on black jack at black jack tables below $25 minimum is the main complaint. Missed diamond club area, which is not available on the ship. Biggest complaint was the lack of dress code enforcement at the main dining. People were admitted in shorts, tee shirts and tank tops, even on casual sheik night. Don't have a dress code if you're going to allow anything. A lot to see in Havana. Like stepping back in time 70 years. People were friendly. Felt very safe. Very clean. Easy to come and go through customs. Visa was easy with Royal Caribbean @ $75. Cigars were a great bargain. Make sure you buy in a national store or factory or you probably will get counterfeits. Price is the same in all stores. Know how to get to a store. They don't have easily noticed signs. You must use CUC Cuban money. Exchange rate for American money will cost you 13%. It will cost you 4% to change the money back to American. If you have Euro's or Canadian it is even. Exchange is fast and easy right at the cruise pier. Old Havana Heritage Walking Excursion booked with RC was good. It covered pretty much all of old Havana. We weren't happy that they added a bus portion to the tour. We were only told about this when our tickets arrived on board. We didn't want the bus tour but had to take it. It took up an hour of the tour. Cost $62 per person. Cafe Taberna Excursion booked with RC was good. Cost was $98 per person. 10 minute walk from cruise terminal. Nice show from 9:00 to 11:00 with band and dance couple that gets audience involved. 2 drinks and snack were included. Food is available at additional cost. Can get a little boring after 1 hour or so, especially if you don't know the language. You can leave and walk back to ship at any time if you want. Cuba's Classic Cars excursion booked through Vacations To Go, who we booked cruise through, cost $178 for 2 people and lasted about 3 hours. Very nice tour. Viewed most of the Havana Cuba highlights with stops at Revolution Square and Hotel Nacional. Half the cost of similar tour through cruise ship. All convertible cars were provided. Guide spoke English well. He was quite informative. Hotel Nacional was a great stop. Improvements to tour could be a little more time at hotel. Felt a little rushed at that stop. Tour included alcoholic drink at hotel. Meeting location was perfect. Easy to find and guides were there on time. A little disappointed with the fact that tour requires 4 per car. We were a couple and would have liked a car for 2. Maybe an option could be provided for this. If you just want to ride in the classic cars, there are plenty available outside of pier. You can rent them at $40 - $50 per hour for up to 4 people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We went on the 7 day RT cruise from Miami. Never cruised with MSC before and actually had pretty low expectations from the reviews, but thought we would go with an open mind because we really wanted to see Cuba and it was a good price plus ... Read More
We went on the 7 day RT cruise from Miami. Never cruised with MSC before and actually had pretty low expectations from the reviews, but thought we would go with an open mind because we really wanted to see Cuba and it was a good price plus we got the Easy drink package and WiFi for free. They will match your status with other lines, so be sure to do that before you go. We flew into Fort Lauderdale and used the ships transfer to Miami. FLL is a Southwest hub and the prices were better than Miami. We had to wait at the airport for a while before they had a full bus to take to Miami. Next time, I would probably just taken a taxi or Uber. One thing I want to note here is that the porters at the Port of Miami are extremely pushy regarding tips. Our bus driver told us the porters would pick up the luggage after it was unloaded and we didn't have to do anything. The porters made us bring it to them and put it on the cart for them and then held their hands out for a tip to "make sure it got to the cabin safely". This sounded like extortion to me and it does not make the cruise lines look very good (even though the porters are Port Authority employees). Our dinner mates were from London and they were appalled by how the porters acted. Embarkation in Miami was super smooth, walked right on the ship around 1:30 pm. This was the easiest embarkation we've ever experienced. I think it helped that they did not process your credit card at embarkation, which was different than I'd experienced before, there was a machine on board that you used to link your card with your room, again super easy, just different. This cruise was only 25% Americans so there were many languages spoken. All announcements were made in at least 5 languages. Also, a lot of people did not show up for the mandatory safety drill, which was frustrating waiting for the crew to round them up while we waiting for them outside in the heat. We had ocean view cabin 9271, it seemed similar to OV on Royal Caribbean's smaller ships. The bed was only a double, I would have liked to had a king, but it was fine, and we knew this before we boarded. The air conditioning in this room did not work very well, I had to contact customer service multiple times to get it fixed, but it did get fixed, and they sent us a bottle of wine and strawberries to apologize, which was a nice touch. Our room steward was very efficient and was friendly. A plus was that we were near the rear of the ship and there was a deck with seating close to our stateroom. We had first seating in the main dining room. Since this is an Italian cruise line, I was expecting good Italian food, but I was disappointed. My husband got the New York strip steak on the standard menu every night, he said it was very good. I got different things, but nothing stands out as my favorite. The service was ok, some nights were better than others, be prepared to order dessert with your meal. We had breakfast in the dining room and it was standard, same thing every day, nothing great. We found the buffet to be always crowded and the choices very limited. But don't miss the pizza out on the pool deck, while some of the toppings were a little crazy at times (like hot dogs, tuna, and many other oddities), the cheese pizza was great, best I've ever had on a cruise. As far as shows, we only went to one and walked out, they are kind of quirky because of so many languages spoken on board. In Cuba, the ship brought in dancers that were similar to the Tropicana, which was nice for people that didn't go on the excursion. We didn't participate in many activities or entertainment. It looked like they had a nice kids program, but we didn't have any kids with us. Overall, the staff was friendly and helpful, very much the small ship feel. They are a family owned cruise line and I got that vibe. They seem to really be trying to win the American market. They are employing experienced people from other popular US cruise lines, which seems to be helping. We only took one excursion from the ship and that was a tour of Grand Cayman, it was fine, no problems, small van with good air conditioning. We went to the sea turtle farm, Governor's beach, the town of Hell (which was disappointing, just a tourist trap), and Tortuga Rum Cake factory. We loved Cuba and were so happy we were able to experience it before the travel ban went into affect. Will definitely go back if it is lifted. Disembarkation was fine, well organized. Our luggage was neatly lined up and waiting for us to pick it up when our color was called. It is important to wait until your color is called, many people did not, so they had to stand there waiting for their luggage, which caused some congestion. We took the ship's shuttle back to FLL, which was very easy since they had crew directing people at the door going out. We went into this cruise with low expectations, but it ended up being a good cruise. We like MSC better than a couple other popular US lines. As long as they have good deals, we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Like many Americans, I have always wanted to see Havana, mostly because we weren't allowed to travel there. When that changed, I started making plans to find a cruise that had a overnight stay there. The Armonia sailing was 7-nights ... Read More
Like many Americans, I have always wanted to see Havana, mostly because we weren't allowed to travel there. When that changed, I started making plans to find a cruise that had a overnight stay there. The Armonia sailing was 7-nights with an overnight in Havana for less than 5-night sailings on other lines that didn't even include an overnight stop. Having just taken my first MSC cruise last December on Divina, and enjoying that one, I decided to go ahead and book. I'm glad I did because I fear that the powers in Washington will again close travel to Cuba, which would be a real shame. I hadn't been on a ship this small since my first couple of cruises, but I still managed to stay lost half the time! I really like the personal feel of the smaller ships. I'm not a fan of ships so large that you don't even have the time or energy to explore. With having only one sea day, I knew that a small ship would be perfectly adequate. Yes, the buffet is small. No, there's no separate adult-only pool area. But the inside cabin was large enough for my adult daughter and I. The shower was extremely tiny with the result that the shower curtain kept getting pushed out of the way and water soaking the bath mat (we are not super-large women). But it certainly not anything that would keep me from booking the ship again. I didn't not get a drinks package. DD isn't much of a drinker so we figured we wouldn't come close to getting our money's worth. I stuck to mostly beer during the day and wine with dinner. DD had a few frozen drinks. For such a small buffet, the selection was decent. I tend to not eat from a buffet for lunch, so usually had a burger or pizza with both being quite good. Dinner in the MDR was just OK. Nothing really great but nothing that I felt I didn't want to finish. I would've preferred another sea day, as I've been to the other ports multiple times. But I always get off the ship, and since DD hadn't sailed in over 6 years (since her honeymoon), she wanted to get out and do things. But, of course, the real purpose of this cruise was to see Havana. It was everything I'd hoped for. Beautiful architecture juxtaposed with crumbling infrastructure. Gorgeous, classic cars that, on closer look, appeared to be held together with bondo and paint. Good food; friendly people. I loved it and would go back tomorrow if I could. Actually, since I don't have any cruises booked between this October and the next, I've just spent all morning researching and pricing sailings to Cuba for next April or May. I'm just afraid that the travel window to Cuba will be slammed shut and I won't be able to return. So, if you're an American interested in Cuba, I highly recommend that you book now and go as soon as you can because we don't know what's going to happen in Washington. We did ship tours in all the ports except Havana. I typically do not do this, but we wanted to climb Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, so booked that. Then, DD's husband wanted to buy excursions for us in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, so we did the amphibious bus in Grand Cayman, and the Best of tour in Cozumel. I'd rate both about 3-1/2 stars. For Havana, I booked all our tours with Strawberry Tours. I booked a classic car tour for Saturday afternoon and reserved the entire car (they hold 5 pax) for $99, which was less than MSC wanted for one person. We had a Barbie-pink Chevy convertible. The driver didn't speak much English, but they do point out that you're getting a driver, not a tour guide. If that's what you want, you can add that person for an extra charge. After the ride, we walked back to the ship (only getting mildly lost), showered and changed, and went for a quick dinner (it's open seating on this evening). Then back out for our "free" Nightlife tour. We went to three different bars and had a Salsa dance lesson at the second. It was a fun way to spend the evening. Drinks ranged in price from 3 CUCs to 6. Back to ship before midnight where we all went up and had pizza before bed. The next morning, we did a 3-hour walking tour of the old city, visiting 4 different public squares. It was very hot out there! I personally would've preferred a more leisurely walk with more time to stop and take photos and then less of a history lesson standing out in the sun in the squares, but our guide did try to keep us in the shade when possible. Overall, for the 2 free walking tours, it was a real bargain. I believe I tipped the guide 10 CUCs for the bar crawl and 20 CUCs for the walking tour, which involved a lot more information. I would certainly book with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
After baking this cruise through a travel company, i got access to the MSC traveler website. it wasnt working for the first 3 weeks! At one point I called them, and they nicely told me they could only talk to me after my travel agent ... Read More
After baking this cruise through a travel company, i got access to the MSC traveler website. it wasnt working for the first 3 weeks! At one point I called them, and they nicely told me they could only talk to me after my travel agent called them. Once the payment had been made in full, much of the information about the cruise disappeared from the website. 2 months before departure date, the itinerary appeared, showing the jamaica port had changed. The MSC Armonia is a smaller ship, but is clean and not overly fancy. They work hard to keep it clean and it seems to work. The staff is very helpful and attentive. We had a fantasia suite which allowed us to have dinner at the La Fogolata (or something like that) restaurant at the same table each day. I like that. We had the same table and waiters the whole cruise. Speaking of food, the food is prepared well and presented nicely. The portions are fancy restaurant portions. However, you can have additional food, all you do is ask at no charge. The variety was good, plus they have standard food you can order if the selections of the day don;t interest you. The buffet is open all the time, except from around 2 a.m till around 630 a.m. The buffet has everything from soup and salad, to pizza, pasta and burgers and also fruit and desert.. Drinks are $6 each or more, if you want something specific, it will be around $10 each. The wait staff is very nice and friendly in the bars. The fantasia suit is tight if there are more than 2 people in the room. There is a walk-in closet, with drawers and a shelf above the hanging space. There are built in shelves in the walls, hidden by doors, so there was plenty of clothing storage for 3 adults.(impressive) The bathroom is a typical size for a ship, however there is a deep tub. It would be tricky for someone with limited leg or hip mobility to get in and out. Lots of storage in the bathroom for toiletries. We didnt go to any of the shows. It looked like they were acrobats. Not a fan of those, so we didnt try to go. One night the cruise staff sang broadway hits with scenery showing behind. I guess that may have been fun, but not to my taste. We prebooked our excursions through the website, months in advance. The tickets were in our room the second morning. However, no description was provided. So, i remembered some of what was to be seen or done, but there was no info provided with the tickets. Once I went to the excursion desk to see if I needed a towel for the river rafting cruise, they guy assured me I wouldnt get wet! Its a river, so of course I would get wet. He didnt offer me the written info about that excursion, he just answered my question. The river tour on inner tubes was a nice way to spend the day, A few rapids, but nothing scary. And the tour guides were there to help even before you knew you needed help. great guys! When we booked our cruise we were to go to Montego Bay and I booked the zip line tour for my adult son in Montego Bay. I had done that zip line and it was awsome. MSC changed the Jamaica destination from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios without advising us in advance. I had also been to Ocho Rios in the past and was not impressed. Prior to MSC changing that destination, I booked the excursions. The Ocho Rios zip line apparently is not worth the money, and had it not been for climbing the falls, that whole excursion would have been a waste of time (according to 42 year old son). I think MSC should have handled this better, We went on the Deluxe Beach break in Cozumel. Don;t waste your money. The bus drops you off and tells you they;ll pick you up at a specified time. You are on your own to find the beach, a chair, umbrella or cabana which apparently was not included in the $90 purchase price. The cabana is $55 with a $25 refund. The cabana is a mattress that has a rubber covering (like a baby mattress) and 2 pillows. The top of the cabana is shadecloth and the sides untie to provide more shade. Rubber and sweat and skin or sand is not a good combination. Snorkling is limited to a very specific area and their mayan ruins in the ocean is man made out of concrete. We got one free drink and never saw the waiter again. The food was a buffet (they said it had a value of $30) and it was pathetic. Chicken nuggets, like McDonalds serves, noodles with what was supposed to be alfredo sauce, tiny ribs, pulled pork, and rolled tortilllas that were supposed to have pork and cheese inside, but did not. Drinks at the buffet included 4 juices, probably generic koolaid. In Havana, we did the Hemmingway and Rum tour. Interesting info about Havana and Hemmingway on the bus to the hhemmingway home. There was no guided tour of the Hemmingway estate, it was self led. The rum factory tour did not happen since the factories are closed on Saturday. We did go to a store where we could by rum and cigars. We also were taken to 2 bars for daquiri's Interesting and fun, but another MSC Cruise tour bus was also at the bars so it was really crowded and loud. Sunday we went on the Cigar and Rum tour. Remember, factories are closed on weekends. We did tour the Havana Club and they gave us a tour of the model of the rum factory. There were samples of rum. Then we went back to the store we had been to on Saturday for purchasing rum and cigars. We never got to see how cigars are hand rolled. Then, we went to one of the same restaurants from Saturday and learned how to blend cigars and rum into a delightful event. That was interesting. The casino is small. The 11th floor pool deck is where a lot happens. It is loud and crowded in the evening. We stayed mid-ship on the 10th deck and could hear the bass while walking down the hall almost to our room. The last night, they cleaned the 11th floor deck, and it was loud in our room. The cruise itself was nice, i was disappointed in their excursions and the way MSC ignored the changes to the excursions as described. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chance to visit Cuba and feel safe about it. We just took the 5 night cruise to Cuba on the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas. I had read many of the reviews from past passengers and had a view of an old run down ship. This was our 20th ... Read More
Chance to visit Cuba and feel safe about it. We just took the 5 night cruise to Cuba on the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas. I had read many of the reviews from past passengers and had a view of an old run down ship. This was our 20th cruise but the 1st with Royal Caribbean and based on the reviews was not expecting much. This ship is old and small but really a nice ship. It is well maintained and good looking inside and out. The staff was wonderful and some of the friendliest of any ship we have been on. Our room steward Ike was the best we have ever had. The food and selection in the dining room was very good and some of the best compared to other shops we have sailed. Our waiter Leonard was fantastic. The buffet for breakfast was typical and good. But, the buffet for lunch was the disappointment when it came to food. Selection was small and mediocre to bad. On other ships we have been on, they have a grill for burgers and hot dogs that are quite good. This ship just served them from pans on the buffet and were not good. Other reviews made it sound like the seating in the buffet was tight and hard to find a seat. We did not encounter this. Activities were the usual trivia and games that were handled well. Shows were good. Especially the Lionel Richie cover singer Derik Floyd. Casino was small but not crowded. Several tables and a good variety of slots. Cocktails and drinks on the ship seemed more expensive than other shops we have been on. $8 for a beer plus tax and gratuity made it almost $10. Frozen drinks were typically $15. Maybe all cruise lines are like this now but 9 months earlier we paid about 6 for a beer and $10 for a frozen drink. We visited Cienfuegos and took a tour with Royal that was a typical excursion. Visited a fort, had lunch in a beautiful newer hotel, visited the city center square with several historic buildings. Not sure what we expected but reminded of somewhere in Mexico like Mazatlan. In Havana we did another Royal excursion. Again, not sure what I expected but the tour was fine but Havana reminded us of a post war war zone. The buildings are in total disrepair and look abandoned but yet people live in these buildings. Lines of people at bus stops. Lines to get into the grocery stores. Very sad and sorrowful. All in all, we really enjoyed our cruise and learned about Cuba. Encourage others to go. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Visiting Cuba on a cruise is the perfect way to meet the Cuban travel requirements. I was a little disappointed the cruise showed two days in Havana, but in reality left the port at 5am on the second day, so really, it was just one day. ... Read More
Visiting Cuba on a cruise is the perfect way to meet the Cuban travel requirements. I was a little disappointed the cruise showed two days in Havana, but in reality left the port at 5am on the second day, so really, it was just one day. I did like stopping in Cozumel, too. I always enjoy the food on RCL and this cruise did not disappoint. I eat at the buffet every day and no matter the time of day, there was always something available, it looked and tasted fresh with a nice variety. Taking a shore excursion in Cuba is mandatory and I enjoyed a general overview, but it was like 5-6 hours long with some interesting and some very boring information, droning on and on and on. But still seeing the sites and the old 1950s cars on all streets was great. The shore excursion options in Cozumel were excellent with options for land or sea excursions and snorkeling in Cozumel is always a treat. For this trip, I walked from the ship three miles down to the next pier where I found really great shopping and walking along. There was even a small free beach about a mile away from the ship. And, within 10 minute walk from the ship was a great beach area with lounge chairs and restaurant. I'm sure there was a daily charge; next time, I will definitely hang out here. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019

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