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1,939 Cuba Cruise Reviews

Many others have written about the ship and food. I'll include a little of that at the end of my review. The topics I will cover in depth are alcohol, money, and tips: The ship sells alcohol in the gift shop, but you cannot take ... Read More
Many others have written about the ship and food. I'll include a little of that at the end of my review. The topics I will cover in depth are alcohol, money, and tips: The ship sells alcohol in the gift shop, but you cannot take it to your cabin until the night before the cruise ends. You can, however, buy alcohol in Cuba and take that to your room. The most popular Cuban rum is Havana Club, and it comes in silver and gold (clear and brown). I was told that the 7-year-old version was very smooth (and reasonably priced). I bought a liter for 19.45 CUCS (pronounced Kooks) so basically $20 in USD. The Cuban beers are Crystal (similar to pilsner) and Buchanero (a darker beer and malty). Both were good and each one costs 1 CUC. Yes, you can buy that in Cuba and bring it on board. Also at the 3 lunches that were served in Cuba (and the cost was covered by Fathom), rum, beer and sometimes wine was included. At two restaurants, they automatically distributed lemonade to everyone, then came by with the Havana Club rum and would pour a hefty amount (or you could have a small amount or no rum at all) so it was a nice way to try the rum and beer. The alcohol is government controlled so you won't find it cheaper at different liquor stores. Be sure to read the back of the cocktail menu that will be on the bars and tables aboard the ship. On the back cover, at the bottom and printed in small type, is the information that the drinks include a service charge and if you feel that you received exemplary service, you could add a tip. I wish I read that at the beginning of the cruise, as I had tipped the bar staff several times. I stopped tipping on drinks that day. One final warning about drinking beer in the bars on board the ship: at the end of the beer list in the aforementioned cocktail menu, there is an announcement that you can purchase a flight of 3 beers that are served in 6.5 ounce glasses. This applies to the beers that are listed above the ad. To me, that meant that I was going to sample 3 beers of my choice and the pours would be 6.5 ounces. That surprised me, as my local craft bars serve flights that are anywhere from 2-4 ounces. I asked the bartender, who explained that only the glasses themselves are 6.5 ounce glasses. The amount of the pour is 4 ounces! To me this was false advertising, and I commented about that on the cruise ship critique. Consider yourself warned! The beer special of the day, which was really the special of the week, was Boddington beer from London. It was normally $5.95 for a 16 ounce can, on sale all week for $3. Now for the catch: only one bar stocked it! So if you weren't at the pool bar and ordered it, the waiter had to travel to the pool bar to obtain it. After several patrons complained, they started to carry it in the Andersen bar as well. Be sure to read your daily newsletter cover to cover: at the bottom of the Monday newsletter was a brief statement about the daily beer special and to ask your bar staff for details. Many passengers weren't aware of it until they heard me ordering the Boddington special. Money: If possible, don't bring U.S. dollars or Mexican pesos to exchange for Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUCS). Why? Because there is a whopping, 13% surcharge on both types of money when exchanging it for CUCS. I went to my local money exchange and brought Canadian dollars. Many other people brought Euros or the Pound Sterling. On those types of money, only a 3% surcharge is involved. There are 14 tellers in the Havana port terminal where you can get CUCS. Be sure that the money has monuments on it. If it has faces, then you have purchased CUP (Cuban Pesos) instead of CUC, and only the street vendors accept CUP. So long as you use the tellers that are right at the cruise ports, I don't think you will have any trouble with obtaining the correct money. The other two ports each had 4 tellers for exchanging money. Tips: The Fathom staff will explain whom to tip on the tours. Basically you tip the tour guide, bus driver, and waiter in the restaurants. Since I hadn't exchanged my money for CUCS, I tipped in Canadian dollars which they can exchange for CUCS and only have to pay the 3% surcharge. Everyone appreciated their tip. The public bathroom attendants also expect a tip (no more than a dollar) so if you have Cuban coins, it is a good way to use them up. If not, you can tip with a US dollar because getting something is better than getting nothing. I was told that at the Fathom talk that I attended and I agree with them. On the ship, they will bill your card at the rate of $11.50 per day per passenger for the cruise tips that cover your cabin steward and restaurant staff. I was fine with that. You can always tip additionally in cash for outstanding service. I would definitely sail Fathom again because I loved the small ship experience. The rooms were comfortable and well designed. The food was fine....but you really don't get Cuban food on the ship. You will experience that when eating lunch on the land tours. I met a passenger from Puerto Rico who said that none of the ship food...not even the food that had "Cuban" or "Dominican Republic" in the title, was authentic. The actual Cuban food had good flavor, but wasn't "spicy hot". The most common soup was similar to American chicken and rice. In fact rice mixed with black beans were a staple. Fish, pork, and chicken are popular. So are plantains. They didn't serve chips and salsa, but do serve a basket of bread. The desserts are mostly flan. The vegetarians who didn't want fish were served omelettes. Someone needs to tell the Fathom chef that a "rack of pork" does not translate into a boneless pork chop (ha...but it was delicious even without the rack). The coconut cream pie didn't taste like coconut....but my favorite dessert was the dulce de leche ice cream. I recommend trying all of the ice creams (only served in the dining room and not in the buffet) with unusual names. All were quite good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We took a family trip to Cuba as my husband's mom immigrated from there in the 1950's. It was her first opportunity to go back, and my husband's to see his mom's birthplace. The ship was beaiutiful and the perfect ... Read More
We took a family trip to Cuba as my husband's mom immigrated from there in the 1950's. It was her first opportunity to go back, and my husband's to see his mom's birthplace. The ship was beaiutiful and the perfect size for this type of trip. All the travelers had the interest in Cuba as a commonality and were very friendly and open about sharing their experiences on the island. This was not a party atmosphere, rather a cultural experience, and I loved that about it. No silly poolside contests and games that you find on other cruise ships. My only suggestion for improvement would be providing authentic Cuban cuisine onboard. The food was more international which was similar to what we got in the restaurants on the tours as well. So I had to return to the states to get really good Cuban food. Overall the cruise was great. Crew was excellent! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I enjoyed this cruise and would do it again. On October 2 we sailed with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Eastern Cuba. In Havana the Captain had to change itinerary. We went to Cienfuegos and spent a whole day rather than half a day. ... Read More
I enjoyed this cruise and would do it again. On October 2 we sailed with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Eastern Cuba. In Havana the Captain had to change itinerary. We went to Cienfuegos and spent a whole day rather than half a day. Then we turned around for a third day in Havana, skipping Santiago. On our sea day to Cienfuegos the captain asked if there was anyone on the ship who had type O blood and a universal donor card. There was a medical emergency. The staff stabilized the patient, the captain poured on the speed and we arrived in Cienfuegos 5 hours early, at 2 AM, to get the sick crew member to hospital. On the sail out the captain told us that the crew member should make a full recovery. On short notice the Impact staff re-shuffled the ground program, creating a choice of 5 different full day options for Cienfuegos and a new program for a third day in Havana. The crew took all of the changes in stride and gave us a great cruise. Many of the problems cited in earlier reviews have been resolved. Embarkation was smooth, fast and hassle free. The food was good (not great), with a wide selection at the buffet. The dining room experience, even with its more limited selection, was my choice because of interesting fellow passengers gathered around a table of 8. The convenience (and particularly the speed) of the buffet was an advantage on in-port days when we wanted to be in town. The entertainment on board was very good. Between Havana and Cienfuegos there was a hot Cuban Son Band. The dancers put on a great display of Cuban moves. The movies included “Old Man and the Sea,” “Buena Vista Social Club”, and “Viva Cuba,” a delightful Cuban film about two runaway kids’ trek across the island. The lectures on the ports of call and Cuban history were ok (not extraordinary). The ship was clean, and our stateroom was big enough, although with a tight shower. Our stewardess was outgoing, and friendly. The bed was firmer than my personal preference. I enjoyed the informality of Adonia. The décor created a British “club” atmosphere, especially in the library and some of the bars. The pool was salt water, not really big enough to swim laps but fine for relaxing. Disembarkation the first day in Havana created some consternation among some passengers. We arrived at 11 AM but were asked to disembark in tranches, with the last group not getting off until 1:30 PM. Several people in the last two groups congregated at reception to complain. But the system actually worked pretty well. It meant that you could wait for immigration in a comfortable setting rather than standing on line, but is disappointing when you don’t know in advance. If you are not on one of their tours you can get off whenever you want. Be sure to be up on deck for the sail into Havana. There is a lot of tipping recommended and Fathom provides a guide on how much to tip waiters, tour guides, bus drivers and others, like people whose picture you take. Be sure to request small change when you change money. The first time we changed money we got a lot of 10 notes when we needed coins and small bills. The first day’s tour in Havana is a walking tour. We took it, but if we had to do it again we would go on our own. The tour was fine but since we were in the group that left the ship at 1 PM we did most of our walking in the worst heat of the day and had our walking tour cut short by the late afternoon torrential rainfall. Our guide was good, as was the lunch, but it was really more of a standing tour than walking tour and there was no time for “People to people” interaction. When, on the walk, I found myself talking to a book seller in the Plaza de Armas we had to move on. Just as I started talking with a street musician, it was time to move on. On our unexpected third day in Havana we opted to do a “self guided” P2P and we had much more contact with people, including with the immigration agent, out of uniform, who stamped us into the country. She called out “Hey Alaska” talked with us a while and pointed us in interesting directions. On our evening in Havana we skipped the tours offered by Fathom and started the evening Crusin’ the Malecon at sunset in a 1955 Chevy two tone red and white Bel Air convertible with Cuban salsa playing on the radio. We had a stop at the National Hotel Bar and also cruised Revolution Square, and several neighborhoods. We followed that by going on our own to Café Taberna, the bar within walking distance of the ship, where Beny More played in the day. The band musicians ranged in their 20s to ageless. Old men walk up to the bandstand using canes but could really sing and play. It was a memorable night. On the second day in Havana we opted for the optional Las Terrazas tour a visit to a reforestation project that has become a UNESCO recognized bio-sphere reserve. The project is billed as a sustainable community and the tour guide does his best to convince you of this, but I saw no solar, wind or hydro electricity generation and he had to admit that power comes from fossil fuels. Cubans have a different definition of sustainable than I do but the tour was worth it. It got us into the country, we met a local doctor and artist and had time to wander around the village. Later we had a good meal, and visited an old French coffee plantation. I very much enjoyed the day. The sail out of Havana Harbor occurred just at sunset, with the red sky behind Havana’s skyline. It was a glorious way to end the day. I will not comment on the tours in Cienfuegos because they were day long because of the change in schedule and not what you will likely encounter. But sailing out past one of the villages along the shore it seemed like the whole village turned out to wave to the boat and call out “Adios.” We missed Santiago but made good use of our return to Havana. On our unplanned day in Havana we opted out of the Fathom tour and set out on our own, including taking a 1952 yellow Studebaker convertible (with a Soviet Lada engine) to Moro Castle. He dropped us off at the artisan’s market about 7 blocks from the ship where we looked at the artwork and bought some things. I particularly enjoyed the display of old locomotives outside the market. We visited the church of San Francisco de Paula, which is now a concert hall with a strikingly modern stained glass window and a new altar. Then we walked, finding having conversations no problem. We sat in a park and talked with a percussionist from the Tropicana show, the customs officer who was off duty and learned that this was a holiday, the first day of a three day Independence Day weekend. We covered several of the old city’s squares, enjoyed street food and searched for a cooperative which was having a special sale for the holiday. Everywhere we went people were glad to see us and that made the trip special. Go now before that changes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I wanted to go to Cuba and checked into all the options and picked this one. Ship is very nice. Crew is great. Cuba is amazing and I can't wait to return! Fathom is doing lots of things right -- including an onboard credit for all ... Read More
I wanted to go to Cuba and checked into all the options and picked this one. Ship is very nice. Crew is great. Cuba is amazing and I can't wait to return! Fathom is doing lots of things right -- including an onboard credit for all passengers when a port was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew. I've never seen a cruise line do that before and I've missed plenty of ports! So thanks Fathom. Food on board is the weakest link. They can do better and should. Excursions were interesting because no one seemed to know what the excursion would be! But, friendly crew, wonderful ports, warm and welcoming Cuban people. Travel suggestions: no beggars or street crime. People will ask you for soap, lotion and even for your empty plastic water bottle. I came prepared for that (lots of hotel soaps, lotions and shampoos) and had some interesting conversations along the one. I also gave away a baseball game everyday -- a great conversation starter! Go for it! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My husband and I were very excited to visit Cuba before any changes started occurring. Taking the Fathom's philosophy of people to people and sailing on the Adonia appealed to us. The sessions on Cuba's history were very ... Read More
My husband and I were very excited to visit Cuba before any changes started occurring. Taking the Fathom's philosophy of people to people and sailing on the Adonia appealed to us. The sessions on Cuba's history were very interesting and gave lots of information. The food quality I would also give a poor rating as all of the main dishes were overcooked, dry and difficult to cut.... pretty impossible to imagine shrimp being difficult to cut. Excursions: We had been instructed not to give anything to the street people, and it was stressed in many seminars as to Fathom's beliefs about this. Yet, on our tour of Santiago de Cuba, our guide had no ability to enforce this and the group was encircled by those looking for a hand out. Finally a uniformed officer had to step in and chase them away. The whole group was quite intimidated with the situation. Havana and Cienfuegos were fascinating and most of the guides were eager to talk to Americans and answer our questions as honestly as they could. Seeing Cuba was the highlight of the trip, and we would do it again, just not on the Adonia. When we became ill the last day at sea, we found out the ship had an outbreak of norovirus. We were confined to our cabin and not allowed to disembark with the other passengers. We were kept over 2 hours before we could leave with minimal assistance with our luggage to get to the terminal. Quite a sour note to end the week on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were on the Europa2 from Curacao to Havana Suite 669. This is a relatively small ship, beautifully designed with open spaces and many artworks decorating the walls. Cabins are spacious and include a dressing room and/or a separate ... Read More
We were on the Europa2 from Curacao to Havana Suite 669. This is a relatively small ship, beautifully designed with open spaces and many artworks decorating the walls. Cabins are spacious and include a dressing room and/or a separate toilet and all come with a balcony. The ship offers a culinary experience with 7 top class restaurants to choose from, ranging from Japanese, Asian, French to Italian. Most personnel is quite young, extremely friendly and helpful and bilingual German/English. The atmosphere is relaxed: no formal nights and only a jacket is desirable for gentlemen at dinner. There is no daily service charge and there is an opportunity given to visit the bridge. Embarkation went very smoothly and the welcome included a well-staged reception with champagne. Medical service was excellent. For all these cruising aspects I would rate it 5+. Where it faltered a bit, at least on this trip, is the entertainment section that was nearly exclusively musical (although it included a well appreciated classical concert) and the lectures which were well below par for the English speaking passengers because they were given in Gerglish and lacked inspiration. As we were on a group tour with its own shore excursions I cannot really comment on those, although other non-German speaking passengers complained about the language and the price/quality of the tours (perhaps partly due to the generally limited highlights in the islands visited – Cuba excepted). Overall I would rate it a solid 5 if you are German, Austrian or Swiss and a 4.5 for those not so Goethe minded. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We're boomers who have not cruised since 2004 when we sailed a Yangtze River cruise. We're not party animals and select our venues for sightseeing or history. This cruise did not disappoint. The shipboard programs the days ... Read More
We're boomers who have not cruised since 2004 when we sailed a Yangtze River cruise. We're not party animals and select our venues for sightseeing or history. This cruise did not disappoint. The shipboard programs the days prior were very informative. The HavanaTur guides could be hit or miss with most giving it their best effort. It really depended on their English proficiency. Shore excursions were great! Wished we had more time in Havana to participate in some of the many offerings. The Fathom staff is very enthusiastic and professional. The Pacific Restaurant, the main dining room, offered very nice menu choices. At times it was difficult to decide. The wait staff was excellent. When my husband stepped away to observe our mooring, our waiter informed him breakfast was ready! We chose to eat most of our breakfasts and dinners here and almost always shared a table. We really enjoyed meeting new people. Our room steward, Luis, was impeccable! He always placed a paper cover over my half filled drinking water glass. For those shoppers, this is not a shopping destination. Except for cigars and rum, the other offerings fall under the trinket category. Lots of wood carving and art. Vacuum packed coffee made for a great gift for friends. On the whole this cruise suited our desires. This is the best way to see Cuba now. And there is amazing architecture! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I chose this cruise to go to Cuba. This is the only option for Americans to visit Cuba by ship. The food is mediocre at best. They served goat in the buffet. We ate in the dining room most nights. One night they offered veal, lamb and ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Cuba. This is the only option for Americans to visit Cuba by ship. The food is mediocre at best. They served goat in the buffet. We ate in the dining room most nights. One night they offered veal, lamb and duck. There were no lower fat options, other than the vegetarian pasta. There should be an option to get a chicken breast and vegetables at any time. There was no entertainment on board besides musicians in the bars and movies. A comedian one night, or a magician would have been nice. I get the theme of the cruise is enrichment, but one night of entertainment would have been nice. I love the small ship. She is old but beautiful. The cabins were large and comfortable. No complaints on the ship. Just the food and entertainment. I traveled to Dominican Republic as well on the Adonia. Same complaints. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
After taking many lovely cruises, my husband and I were intrigued by Carnival's "voluntourism" concept for Fathom. The idea of helping others in a different culture appealed to us. So, last Spring, we booked the DR cruise ... Read More
After taking many lovely cruises, my husband and I were intrigued by Carnival's "voluntourism" concept for Fathom. The idea of helping others in a different culture appealed to us. So, last Spring, we booked the DR cruise Nov. 6-13 and signed up for the various volunteer opportunities. To our surprise - and subsequent delight- the DR trip did not have enough participants, while many people want to go to Cuba these days.. Fathom switched our itinerary to Cuba. They did a fabulous job of very smoothly transitioning us from DR to Cuba. Gotta be flexible. What a wonderful trip to Cuba! The Impact Guides were delightful. Katie, Colin, Gabe, Winslow, Jeff and others have fascinating personal backgrounds. Peace Corps, international study and immersion, passionate concern for all humanity. Since we really did still want to have the DR experience, we signed up for Jan. 1, 2017 before we went on our Cuba trip. It was fun to chat with the Impact Guides about both Cuba and DR. Now we are so eager to go to DR. The terrific music everywhere in Cuba impressed us a lot. If you like New Orleans, you must visit Cuba. Our fellow passengers were so friendly. Housekeeping service was perfect. Thank you- Linet! The on board sessions were interesting and different from other cruises. Try it and see. We learned so much about Cuba on the shore excursions, which were carefully planned by Fathom for us. If you are looking for a different sort of cruise, have a go with Fathom! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This cruise is a great opportunity to see Cuba and have some relaxation at the same time. Our cabin and our attendant were wonderful. The boat was very nice and there were several recreational activities planned, or you could just lay by ... Read More
This cruise is a great opportunity to see Cuba and have some relaxation at the same time. Our cabin and our attendant were wonderful. The boat was very nice and there were several recreational activities planned, or you could just lay by the pool. We never tried the extra payment restaurant, but we were very happy with the sit-down restaurant. The buffet wasn't the best, but more than adequate. The excursions we went on were included in the cruise price and were very good. I think the people who complain about this cruise must be comparing it to a big, fancy cruiser and this is not that type of cruise. Read about the trip before you book it and manage your expectations. You are traveling to Cuba! I felt it was a good value. p.s. The cruise line tries to be socially responsible. And at the end of the cruise, they refunded us the port charges that they were able to save, $43 pp. They could have just kept that money and we would never have known. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We liked the idea of sleeping and eating on the ship, unpacking once. Everything was organized very well. We received the "Soundings" paper every day with all the details. The ship was perfect for us, no gambling or shows. ... Read More
We liked the idea of sleeping and eating on the ship, unpacking once. Everything was organized very well. We received the "Soundings" paper every day with all the details. The ship was perfect for us, no gambling or shows. There was some entertainment with live bands. This cruise is a casual atmosphere. We had a cabin at the back of the ship which wasn't real convenient to everything. It was very quiet but we couldn't use our balcony. Every time we went out on it we came back in the room with a black greasy substance on our feet. Only thing I could figure out was residue from the smoke stack? My husband sat on the balcony chair and had grease on his shorts. Our cabin was always hot even with the air on high. There was a lot of heat coming from our refrigerator, I finally shut it off. The food was O.K. but nothing special. The attentive service at the Pacific Restaurant was great. Nice variety of different places to eat. We always had a place to sit. We liked the bus tours on land. We saw a lot of places, but you didn't know which sites the bus you were on would go to. With 10 buses full of tourists they have to go in different directions to avoid congestion. We spent most of our money on tips. Every tour guide and bus driver receives a gratuity which isn't included in the cruise price. On day 1 Havana we had two guides on the bus and another at Hemingway's house who didn't speak English. On day 2 Havana we had two guides and another at the cemetery. In Cienfuegos we had one tour guide, and in Santiago one tour guide. We had lunch three days on land which included gratuities, along with dancers and singers, more gratuities. It would have been nice to be informed of the automatic gratuity charge given to the ship staff ahead of time rather than when we received our bill on the last day. We were glad we got to see Cuba one week before Castro passed away. It will be interesting to see how Cuba will change in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I’m going cover things that haven’t been mentioned previously People to people Tours We went on all the P2P tours that were included. They were all good and included Lunch in Havana & Santiago. Mobility challenged ... Read More
I’m going cover things that haven’t been mentioned previously People to people Tours We went on all the P2P tours that were included. They were all good and included Lunch in Havana & Santiago. Mobility challenged warning for the tours The tours are not for the mobility challenged…..do not come if you use a walker, cane or wheelchair. The Havana walking tour is over cobble stone streets and some of the curbs are a foot high. Tours inside buildings are also challenging…you will have to be able to climb up to 3 flights of stairs…buildings do not have elevators. Our tour went to a roof top restaurant and you had to climb up 3 flights of narrow and steep stairs. The tour also went to the National Theater and up 3 or 4 flights of stairs. One lady had to leave her father at the bottom that was using a walker. Tips Cash – we spent about 25 CUCs per day in tips Make sure the bills you get have Monuments(CUC) and not Faces(CUP) Exchange rate/fees….for example we got USD $200 = $174 CUC I also exchanged 45CAD and got 33CUC Shopping Havana We walked along Obispo street, which was about 2 blocks away from the ship. There are plenty of small shops for tourists to buy souvenirs and bars with live bands. About 2/3 of way up on the left is a Flea Market looking area with vendor stalls where you will find the best prices. Artisan Market At the end of the 2nd day Havana bus tour, they will take you here. About 5 blocks south from the ship in a warehouse on the water was a giant souvenir shopping place. Beware, the vendors are VERY AGGRESSIVE here….you’ll love it here if you like paying more and getting hounded by vendors. You will find art work in the back and the same souvenir stuff(T shirts, wood carvings, magnets, hats) at every vendor stall. There are at least 100 vendor stalls here. Alcohol purchases Cheapest prices for Rum & Cigars were at the Havana port shop. Not all prices were same although we were told prices were same because they were sold in state run stores. The ships policy allows each passenger to bring onboard 1 bottle of wine or champagne free of fees. If that isn't enough, you can buy your Rum or beer in the Cuban ports and bring it on the ship without an extra charge. One passenger paid 1 CUC for a Crystal beer. The same beer was sold on the ship’s bar for $7. If you do order from the ships bar, beware the prices include a service charge(printed on the back of the drink menu in small print) Drinks with local ice We were extremely cautious about not drinking local water and having ice in our drinks. The ship tour guides told us they haven’t heard of any problems and we did have drinks with ice made from local water a few times and we didn’t get sick. Salsa Dancing & Live Music Hotel Inglaterra We went on a Monday night, which is not a big dance night and they had a Salsa band in front of the hotel in the outdoor café area. They also had a Salsa band and dancing in the roof top club. No cover. by Maryland Salsero Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Basically: Cuba has only moderately good roads; passable Chinese buses and long roads and distances. This is why it is fantastic to travel to Cuba by ship. You drive especially in the night and you have time in the day for sightseeing. ... Read More
Basically: Cuba has only moderately good roads; passable Chinese buses and long roads and distances. This is why it is fantastic to travel to Cuba by ship. You drive especially in the night and you have time in the day for sightseeing. The ship, the Celestyal Chrystal is a very good three stars - plus ship. After 41 years of cruising I can say that quite in comparison. If you are looking for a luxury vessel for a reasonable price, this will be difficult. In comparison (from cheap ferry boat to Queen Mary 2 in the "Queens" class I've already done a lot of cruises): great value for money and a nice ship. Pleasantly small; You feel partially "yacht-like". Ship well through and easy to walk through. What more do you want? We had a larger interior cabin (deck 3); It was relatively spacious with enough boxes and a desk. That the bathroom in this class is small, one must know and accept. The TV offers "exterior view" as well as ship and travel information; Unfortunately no outside temperature was displayed Friends were with us and had the newly built suite with balcony (deck 6). Very beautiful! And almost 5-star! In ship evaluations, three weak points were sometimes mentioned: quality of the meat, tightness of the buffet at the pool and long waiting times on "all inclusive" drinks. I can not confirm. Here the shipping company may have reacted: The meat quality is excellent; As at all the food is rich and tasty. There is a breakfast buffet in the restaurant and the top deck café; Lunch restaurant served or top deck buffet cafe; In the evening the same. In reviews it was criticized that the buffet is not 24 hours on duty; I found with these food amounts funny, because afternoon snack is also available! The "narrowness" of the buffet on deck I found not problematic, as it was only once during the trip the buffet as a BBQ outside the pool and the pool was locked. Otherwise, the buffet is at the upper deck inside and you can sit outside or inside and also the bathers have enough space. As for the "all inclusive" drinks, there is now the sun bars waiter, who can help and you can take the drink right away. Incredibly nice ship personnel; Both from the "ships crew", as well as from the restaurant service, bar service, entertainment team. In addition, a first-class professor was on board, who gave interesting lectures in English. The pool: well, adapted to the size. But you do not go on a vessel for swimming. Entertainment: an excellent revue theater on board; All great Cuban artists; Like a small branch of the Tropicana: dancers, singers; Show actors; Liveband etc. 5 different performances in 7 days! Very interesting lectures. The excursions - as always with cruises - quite interesting, although dependent on the quality of the respective guide. Cuba is a friendly and safe country. One can see much, especially In Havana on foot. Many interesting museums; Also the Museo de la Revolucion! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this ship for the ports that it offered and the programs with it, and loved every minute of it. But if you are expecting a luxury cruise line, this is not for you. We were on the second floor . The room was vey small but quiet. ... Read More
We chose this ship for the ports that it offered and the programs with it, and loved every minute of it. But if you are expecting a luxury cruise line, this is not for you. We were on the second floor . The room was vey small but quiet. The food I would call average, some very good, some fair, but all meals had something for everyone. All of our staff were fantastic! And the activities were very good. I was afraid I was going to get bored with all the educational presentations, but Jorge made them very interesting. The music was great, especially "Latin Souls" and "Duo Jaleo." The dance lessons were good but would have been more fun with some male staff helping! I thought the shows each night were good, considering the small staff they have to work with. Our ports were interesting. I would have liked to have gone into the city of Santiago, but the excursion was interesting. I loved Havana. We took a side trip from Cienfuegos to Trinidad. It was a beautiful bus ride and a really nice trip. But those who stayed in Cienfuegos said it was really nice too. Unfortunately, we didn't got to go to Punta Frances. Not the ship's fault. Cuban authorities decided we couldn't. So we had an extra day at sea...the ship staff filled in well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I found this company about 6 months ago while looking for companies that offer tours of Cuba. At that time we USA citizens still had limited access to Cuba and the tour companies offering tours usually charge $1000 per day for land tours. ... Read More
I found this company about 6 months ago while looking for companies that offer tours of Cuba. At that time we USA citizens still had limited access to Cuba and the tour companies offering tours usually charge $1000 per day for land tours. I then found Celestyal Cruises offering the "People to People" program for USA citizens and the all inclusive (gratuities, liquor and exclusions) cost for the 2 of us was $3400 for their 7 day package. So we were sold and looked forward to our first glimpse of Cuba. 1. The ship is old but spotlessly clean and well maintained. 2. The crew were wonderful and always available to assist. 3. Our cabin was small (no tiny) and the bathroom even smaller. All cabins were the same small size. The beds were more like cots, low to the floor. So low you couldn't put your empty suitcase under the bed to save space. OK the cruise was cheap and we stayed out of the cabin as much as possible. 4. The ship was not full at all and their second dining room was closed. There is one main dining room and one buffet room. It doesn't matter which one you go to, the food was barely edible. Breakfast, the same everyday. Warm fresh fruit salad bar, cold eggs, bacon, and all other foods that should have been hot. If you want omelets or pancakes you must go out to the pool area for these items, thankfully made to order & hot , must then go back inside for coffee and any other items like salt and pepper. I asked where the toaster was to make toast, but they had pre-toasted the bread & put it in with the danish and obviously cold and hard as a rock. Lunch, did vary but only slightly. They had a roast every day and a carver to serve you. But all roasts were so overcooked, they looked grey. We made a salad for ourselves and added some cold cuts (all room temp.) Cruise ships are famous for their hamburgers. But not Celestyal. So overcooked they were dry and hard. No french fries either. Dinner in the dining room was odd to say the least. We like a table for 2 but the room is set up like a cafeteria, 90% of the tables were long tables for 8/10. If you wanted a table for 2 you had to be one of the first 10 couples in line at 6:20 p.m. The menu offered a Chef Special every night of a Cuban specialty. The chef had no clue how to make any Cuban dish. Most folks would just send it back. By day 3, we tried to just have 2 or 3 starters and no main course offering . Our waiter tried but never got the concept that a starter could be a main course too. By day 4 we just went to the buffet. The bread offered at all meals were dry, tasteless and mushy, like our Wonder Bread, in roll form, or baguette form. 5. All inclusive drinks - You still had to present your ship's card, every time you asked for a drink, even a bottle of water. The "bartenders" are European trained and have no clue how to make a good cocktail/drink. And although all-inclusive they measure each and every pour. Quickly we realized we had to ask for a double measure to even taste the rum or whatever. The wine offered at dinner was just what they gave you and if you like sweet cheap wines then you have it made. If you want any other wine that is not their pick of the day, you then must pay extra. Our box wines are better then their offerings. 6. Excursions - Wonderful. The locals guides went out of their way to inform us and give us an eye opening experience in Cuba. We only had 3 ports of call with an overnight in Havana. 7. Entertainment - For long time cruisers we were pleasantly surprised that the ships entertainment was really good. Most ships now have lousy shows but the guys/gals on this ship were great. 8. Dress code - Don't waste your time with even one large suitcase for 2. Jeans were the norm at dinner. Their "Elegant" night was laughable. Jeans were still the norm. And yes, tee shirts were worn and dress up for guys was a clean polo shirt. Overall - The crew was great. We met fun people. We got what we paid for, a cheap 7 day trip to get a glimpse of Cuba. Yes, we definitely want to go back and especially Havana for maybe 3/4 days. But Never again will we waste our money on a Celestyal cruise anywhere. we both came home and I was the exact same weight and my better half lost a pound. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The first part of this was posted on the message boards. I've added many more details here (scroll down to "more observations") Well unfortunately for us, Fidel died the night before we arrived in Cuba, which totally ... Read More
The first part of this was posted on the message boards. I've added many more details here (scroll down to "more observations") Well unfortunately for us, Fidel died the night before we arrived in Cuba, which totally altered the tone of the entire trip. All the music was cancelled on shore, and numerous restaurants and bars were shuttered. The country was in mourning for 9 days so our shore excursions had to be revised in many instances. For example we couldn't get anywhere near Revolutionary Square in Havana due to Fidel's ashes there, with thousands of people lined up to sign the book and write their last respects. As for Celestyal Crystal itself, a couple of really big changes in the itinerary, which they relayed to us at the last possible minute. We were supposed to sail out of Havana on the second day at 5pm, but this was changed to 1pm, so we lost the afternoon there. Not sure where the blame lies, but as we sailed out of the harbor, we passed an MSC ship, waiting to take our berth, so someone (harbor master? Celestyal?) screwed up with the port schedule. Then we were told that we wouldn't be stopping at Port Francis, due to the govt. banning ships from anchoring on the coral. We learned that it was also cancelled (again at the last minute) the week before. So I suggest you leave the snorkel equipment at home and save your space for more clothing in your suitcase. I'd be surprised if the Govt is going to reverse this policy, and I'm curious to see how long it'll take Celestyal to delete it from the itinerary. Food left a lot to be desired. They either need to buy sharper steak knives, or quit putting any kind of beef on the menu. Multiple disappointments with overcooked, tough meat. And cook the pork please! We did the buffet mostly for lunch and loaded up on salads. Would have loved a nice cup of soup, but they rarely had hot soups (cold cucumber, or chilled mango etc). They did have hot consomme a couple of times which we doctored up with a few croutons from the salad bar. Check out by the pool for a cooking station. Omelets and french toast out there for breakfast; variety of stuff for lunch, like tacos etc. We didn't find it until the 3rd day on board. Dining room on the 5th deck was closed due to the ship having less than 800 passengers. All inclusive drink package (alcohol) was absolutely worth getting. No need to upgrade to the premium package. Included were Absolut, Johnnie Walker Red, Drambuie, Brandy, Frozen drinks, etc. House wine was actually good. You can't just walk up to any bar and order a drink; you have to order from the wait staff...couldn't figure out why this was. The staff (with the exception of the front desk people who had quite the attitude) were fantastic, from the wait staff to the room stewards. The entertainers were very good, however, it was the same people every single night and it was somewhat repetitive after awhile. Cruise director Danny was great, but hearing the same speech in 4 or 5 languages is time-consuming and annoying: English, German, French, Spanish. Wifi was surprisingly good, best wherever you have a Cisco router mounted on the wall. Look for them. We took 3 hrs for $18, which was plenty for us to check email etc. Ship interior is a little worn, she's quite old after all, but she sails beautifully. MORE OBSERVATIONS: Dining: No food available between meals, although there is a menu in the lounges which has items (burgers, pizza etc) you can PAY for, but not sure if you can order all the time. Main dining room: No more assigned seatings with specific times. However it is not conducive to open seating. It has mostly large rectangular tables seating 8+ people and they don't try to seat you with people who speak your language. They do have limited tables for 2, which you can request, however you may have to wait quite awhile to be seated. (Worth the wait in my opinion...they do let you sit in the adjoining Eros lounge and will call you). The main dining room also features items you can pay for: steak, lobster tails, etc. We did have the tails and they were excellent; $18 for one large tail. As I said above, the quality of food on the regular menu left a lot to be desired. Meats all very over cooked (lamb, beef) except for pork, which was nearly raw. Risotto was so undercooked it actually crunched! Waiters limited English doesn't help. We asked one to translate the description of the risotto, and he said it was with asparagus ...it turned out to be broccoli. At the buffet, the bacon started out VERY undercooked the first day; after that it was so overcooked you could barely chew it (too many times reheating perhaps?). Cabin: I can only comment on ours which was a Cat. XC on the 3rd deck. The window was a nice size, and nearly took up the entire outer wall....this will give you an idea of how NARROW this cabin was. A bed on either side against the wall with small night stand between them. Bed lamps were mounted so low on the wall next to the bed, that everytime you turned over during the night, you're arm would smack the lampshade (making so much noise it woke you up). Ridiculous set-up. Beds were VERY narrow and had a permanent gulley in the center, which you sort of fell into and stayed there for the whole night. Not enough room under the bed to stow a full size piece of luggage, but there were 2 big closets and you could stand the suitcase upright in one and thankfully it fit just fine (after moving the life vests elsewhere). Very limited drawer space. Safe deposit box easy to use and the fridge worked well (no mini bar in ours). Be aware that the bottles of water in the room are NOT included in the drink packages..if you use, you pay. Better to order your bottled water at the bar and stock up your room. There is only one outlet located over the desk. Bring a gang plug if you need to charge more than one item. The hair dryer is also here but uses a different plug, however they have screwed the wire onto the top of the desk so you can't steal it (not that you'd want to). Whether you use it or not, it takes up desk space all the time. A wall-mount would have made more sense. Don't plan on watching much TV. Limited channel selection and for news, only CNN with a lot of rerun segments. They should upgrade the ship map....the size of the ship icon on the screen makes it look like it's as big as the Isle of Youth, so it's hard to tell exactly where you actually are. The video on the live web-cam channel is very poor quality. Bathroom: On the plus side, there are lots of shelves for storage and a hand-held shower with a strong spray and ample hot water. However, the shower curtain was very worn with many of the top clips missing, making it easy to flood the whole bathroom floor. Try to organize your curtain as best as you can before turning on the water. We used a lot of towels soaking up the floods. They do supply liquid soap and shampoo dispensers. Be aware that the tiles in the shower become very slippery once the soap hits. By the way, we never had an issue with the tissue in the toilets. Pool: A small pool is located on the 8th deck completely surrounded by tables and chairs under a retractable roof, which was never opened all the way, in spite of great weather. The lounges were all located on the 9th sundeck. So when you got hot sitting in your lounge chair, you had to take the elevator down a deck to take a dip, and then go back up to lay out in the sun. The hot tub is located on the 5th deck aft.....also surrounded by tables and chairs, no lounges. This area is partially under a roof, so there's lots of shade (for all those people getting skin cancer....and there are many). The portside half is smoking, and starboard is non. There's a small bar (Thalassa) where you can order a cup of coffee early in the morning and sit and enjoy the fresh air. They did have danish/muffins at the bar sometimes as well. This was our favorite place to sit on the ship; very quiet and relaxing and the hot tub was usually empty. Public Areas: The theater (called the Muses Lounge) is very attractive but very impractical. Visibility from most of the seating is terrible and if anyone is in front of you, you can't see the stage. Also, there are not nearly enough seats. Our sailing had under 800 people and it could never accommodate all of them....since they only had one show per night (at 9pm). Many people left when they couldn't find a seat. There is a balcony, also laid out so that only the front row can see the stage. The seats behind were elevated, but not enough to be able to see over the heads of the first row, so this section was always vacant. As is the case with the theatre seats and tables, the ones in the Eros lounge are also jammed packed together with no aisle space once people pull the chairs out and sit down, making it impossible for the wait staff to take drink orders. Less bulky furniture might be the answer. Looking for the Library? It's a tiny room stuck in the corner of the "conference center" on Deck 8. If you are German-speaking you're in luck....tons of books for you. Other languages are there as well....Spanish, French, Greek, etc with quite a few books. If you're English speaking you'd better load up your iPad or Kindle because there are very few choices available. Elevators are very slow, and there are only 4 of them. They also have weight limits and won't move if you're over (and it doesn't take very many bodies to tip the scale). If you're fit, the stairs are much faster. Especially when there is one out of order, which happened quite frequently. Public announcements are not everywhere. Over 100 people were sitting in the Eros lounge waiting to be called for disembarkation, and never heard the announcements, and many had a plane to catch! In spite of all the above criticism, we really enjoyed the ship and especially the crew (from a multitude of countries), who bent over backwards to give you good service. We would probably sail her again....hopefully when no one in Cuba dies and the music is playing once again in this beautiful country. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We didn't fancy traveling over land to reach Cienfuegos & Santiago, cruising seemed to be the best way to travel. We didn't expect or want luxury so we weren't disappointed by this cruise. It was well organised with ... Read More
We didn't fancy traveling over land to reach Cienfuegos & Santiago, cruising seemed to be the best way to travel. We didn't expect or want luxury so we weren't disappointed by this cruise. It was well organised with friendly crew across all areas & lively entertainment. We arrived in Cuba on day 3 of Castro's mourning period but fortunately for us, music, dancing & alcohol were allowed on board, however, when ashore Cuba wasn't its usual vibrant self. We followed the cruise with a 3 night stay in Havana, fortunately this coincided with the end of the mourning period, so Havana came to life again during these 3 days, but still not as lively as expected. Given that our cruise coincided with such an historic period in Cuban history, this was a very enjoyable cruise and one we would recommend if you want to experience a flavour of Cuba. EMBARKATION After a 10hr flight from the UK, arriving at a chaotic Havana airport, it was a relief to arrive at the Cruise Port, although first impressions of the building in the dark weren’t very encouraging. We needn’t have worried though, the embarkation process was very efficient & calm, however, what this would have been like during the busy daytime period I cannot comment. There is a money exchange facility in the Port, although this was closed by the time we had checked in. A letter awaited us when we checked in to our cabin informing us that the cruise had a changed itinerary on days 2 & 3 – see Downsides below. CABIN Our cabin on deck 5 was bigger than expected & looked out across the promenade deck, which wasn't a problem as this part of the deck wasn't always accessible to passengers. When it was accessible passengers couldn’t see through the cabin window as the glass was one way view outwards. The cabin was cleaned every morning with a turn down service every night. FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT Food was as expected for a ship with multinational guests. We ate in the buffet most of the time so we could sit as a couple. Both restaurants were busy in the morning as everyone needed to be ready for excursions but during 'at sea' days, breakfast was more leisurely. There was food served pool side at breakfast & lunch which was a nice option and afternoon tea was available in the buffet restaurant. All the waiting & bar staff were very attentive and efficient throughout the ship. The all inclusive package made life on board very easy, we didn't incur any extra charges other than for the two optional excursions in Cienfuegos & Jamaica. The Thalasia bar on Deck 5 is a nice quiet spot to have an afternoon or early evening drink. We generally had pre dinner drinks in the Eros lounge listening to a very talented violinist. The after dinner entertainment in the Muses lounge was of a Cuban/Latin theme with a bit of acrobatics thrown in, which most of the audience seemed to enjoy. We ate later than most so only watched the last half hour from the back of the lounge, sometimes the audience participation afterwards with Danny was just as entertaining. After dinner we enjoyed listening to the Latin vibes in the Eros and watching the audience put to use their newly acquired Salsa skills. Guest nationalities were mainly Spanish, German & American with a handful of Jamaicans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders & only a few guests from the UK. EXCURSIONS Havana - Day 2 (our first day in Cuba) Old Havana tour (included in the cruise) A great guide and some lively conversations, but excursion cut short due to reduced time in port (see downsides below). Helped to orientate us for our 3 night stay at the end of the cruise. Cienfuegos - would have liked to have taken the City tour & Botanical gardens but not enough English speaking guests had booked to make this viable for us, so we just did the City tour. Because of Castro's passing, the City was very quiet with mainly tourist groups around. Easy walking distance into town from the cruise dock if you’re not a fan of excursions. Montego Bay, Jamaica - had a very amusing guide for the morning Greenwood Great House excursion, which also made a very quick stop in Falmouth on the way and a drive by Usain Bolt's old school! As Jamaica was a full day stopover being an embarkation port, it was a shame there weren't any afternoon excursions or more full day ones. Nevertheless we made use of the on board facilities during the afternoon and watched a lovely sunset over Montego Bay from the Thalasia Bar before departure. Santiago - highlight of the cruise for us - although this inclusive excursion was cut short due to Castro's ashes arriving later the same day, this meant we had more free time. We took advantage of the free guides (in yellow t-shirts) waiting at the port to take us around the town on this historic day. Our guide was very knowledgeable and didn't mind telling us about her life in Cuba and her hopes for Cuba's future. Needless to say we gave her a tip for a very informative walking tour of the town. DISEMBARKATION Suitcases had to be left outside the cabin by 12 midnight the night before and we had to be out of our cabin by 8am the next morning. At 7.30am we watched the ship come into the port of Havana then went back to the cabin at 8am to collect our hand luggage, but our key cards wouldn't open the door, fortunately George our housekeeper was nearby and let us in, he said security disable the card at 8am. We collected our hand luggage and headed to the buffet for breakfast. The disembarkation call came at about 9.30am. We had been told the day before that the Cuban authorities wouldn’t be in a hurry to clear the ship for disembarkation, so we were surprised by the early call. DOWNSIDES We knew our inbound flight timing meant day 1 was going to be a non-event for us so we were banking on a full day in Havana on day 2. However, a letter in to our cabin after checking in informed us that the cruise had a changed itinerary on days 2 & 3:- Day 2 – the cruise had to depart Havana early due to port congestion (only space for 2 ships at the port), so the included excursion had to be back at the ship by 12 noon with no free time afterwards to explore on our own. I don’t know if this happens every week or if it was just unfortunate that the Port authorities had overbooked the Port during our stay. Day 3 - Punta Frances port of call cancelled therefore day 3 would be a day at sea – reason given was ‘reviewing environmental impact of cruises’. If Punta Frances remains a no go zone for cruises, it will be interesting to see if Celestyal make changes to their published itinerary for the remaining 2016/17 season, or perhaps this too was just a one off for our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We just returned from Cuba. The reviews of the ship were "iffy" Not true, the ship was great. Very clean, our cabin was fine. The shower was very, very small. Our air was just o.k.. Mohammed in the dining room was amazing. He ... Read More
We just returned from Cuba. The reviews of the ship were "iffy" Not true, the ship was great. Very clean, our cabin was fine. The shower was very, very small. Our air was just o.k.. Mohammed in the dining room was amazing. He did gluten free for me daily. The beverage package is well worth it. One woman in the pool complained about the food. The people in Cuba have a bare subsistence. Please don't be the "ugly American". The lectures were very good, don't miss them. Take a good book for the sea date as there is not much to do other than the lectures unless you like folding napkins. We booked with "Legendary Journeys" Tammy was are tour guide (she was nonexistent) We did hook up with a Friendly Planet Guide who was great. Legendary said they would pay the 95 dollar fee.They did not. Also, we booked a trip to Trinidad (not to be missed) There were 10 English Speaking guests and the rest German. The night before the morning tour we were told that there would be two separate buses. When we got on the tour they said it would be bi-lingual. The guide was excellent but this was problemetic as we were past the site she pointed out by the time she translated to English. The same was true in the square as she did German first for 20 minutes then let them explore for 30 min, by the time she did English we only had ten minutes.to explore. We asked for a partial refund but were told no. I would recommend this tour to anyone. There were different groups coming and going all the time. Rhodes Scholars used Celestial Some guests got on in Havana and off in Havana some as we did in Jamaica. The Tropicana can be skipped. Great costumes but no substance. Not very good voices. The ships local entertainment is great. The funeral procession went right past where our ship was docked Happy Helen Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise last minute because the cruise we had booked to Cuba was cancelled. We originally discounted this cruise line because of the negative reviews, but then I remembered that dissatisfied customers usually post more often ... Read More
We chose this cruise last minute because the cruise we had booked to Cuba was cancelled. We originally discounted this cruise line because of the negative reviews, but then I remembered that dissatisfied customers usually post more often then satisfied customers. Last review before mine had a totally different view on almost all the same things, however we went about our trip differently. The food was definitely not the best I have ever eaten, however if you went into the main dining room for meals, breakfast was the same buffet, but you could also order from your waiter and your omelettes, eggs or even pancakes could be make fresh for you. Lunch was also ordered off the menu unless it was a disembarkation day. The choices were limited, true, but you could always find something good. The appetizers were made as main courses for us throughout the cruise, if that is what we preferred. The soups, both hot and cold, were always delicious, salads fresh. We received our meat at the medium rare temperature we preferred and were served french fries with our hamburgers at request. They could use fresh fish options for sure, but I was not dissatisfied with the food at all and came home 3 lbs extra. The staff was amazing and unlike the prior review, we arrived as late as 7:15 for dinner and they always found us a table for 3. We did upgrade to the gold drink package and the choices were much more plentiful. We were in a balcony suite, so not an inexpensive choice, however the nicest suite I ever had on a ship. Our private bedroom was as big as most balcony suites we have had in the past, with a separate living area, very large triple bathroom. It was fabulous. The tours, the people, the shows on board all A+++++. Loved the ship, the staff, especially our head waiter. Will probably travel again with Celestyal to the Greek Islands! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We choose this cruise mainly because of stops in Cuba and grand Cayman. I will catalogue below, but our biggest disappointment of the cruise was the fact that even though the itinerary stated we were going there! When we booked the ... Read More
We choose this cruise mainly because of stops in Cuba and grand Cayman. I will catalogue below, but our biggest disappointment of the cruise was the fact that even though the itinerary stated we were going there! When we booked the cruise the first stop was Cayman but this was changed. The day before we were due to go to Cayman the captain announced that we were unable to go yo Cayman as our anchorage had been cancelled as the bigger boats had priority! Poor reason not to go as this cruise hat been booked a year in advance. So my catalogue begins Arrived at Montgo bay our visit to Jamaica and only got to see the airport. The plane got in at 2.15 and we were kettled into a corridor at the airport in a queue until 4pm waiting for a coach transfer! The boat left for Cuba. Arrived at Cuba again queued in a corridor for 30 mins for a coach to go for a five minute drive to pick up a car tour. Julie the cruise tour manager was clueless! The lido pool deck was never clean. You never saw a drinks waiter you had to go up to the bar. Dishes lefty lying around and the tables never wiped. Most of the entertainment very ameature Positives Orion restaurant brilliant Broadway theatre fantastic Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I decided to treat my husband to a Caribbean Criuse for his 60th birthday. It was his first cruise and unfortunately he has decided will be his last. I had looked at the ship on line on YouTube and what we experienced bore no resemblance ... Read More
I decided to treat my husband to a Caribbean Criuse for his 60th birthday. It was his first cruise and unfortunately he has decided will be his last. I had looked at the ship on line on YouTube and what we experienced bore no resemblance to what was shown on the video. We were booked into an outside, at extra cost, cabin 5143. Walking through the corridor to the cabin there was a definite foul odour. The view through the cabin window was marred by the rusted frame work. The cabin was cleaned regularly by the cabin staff, however, we had problems with the toilet which was constantly leaking from the back. Three days in there were problems when the toilet stopped flushing. This was reported and fixed. The smell of effluence remained in the corridor throughout the cruise. The air conditioning in our room which was directly above our bed and was very fierce. The engineer was called to adjust it on more than one occasion. At night we could not sleep from constant rattling and scratching noises which we thought was coming from outside the cabin and was in fact coming from the lighting above our heads my husband had to stuff a cushion between the ceiling and frame to get some rest. The ship appears tired and rundown throughout and should be taken out of commission. Lifts between floors do not work efficiently and appear creaking. The Lido deck was dirty and unkept. Tables were placed ad hoc with rubber mats that were obviously placed for the table to sit were out of place and left worn and dirty. There was nowhere to sit on decks the areas around the pool were over crowded with deck chairs everywhere. Tables on deck were left uncleared. My husband had to clear away trays and plates in order for us to sit down. On other deck where there were seats there was smoking as non smokers we could not sit there. We chose to eat in the Orion restaurant the staff were very cheery, however, we waited 15-20 minutes between courses at evening meals. Breakfast our toast would be brought to the table and go cold whilst we waited for the breakfast to arrive which was on more than one occasion the wrong order. On deck drinks staff avoided coming over to you and we had to go to the bar. Having ordered a fruit punch cream was added without my asking for it when I sent this back it was returned to me in the same plastic beaker with the cream still obviously in the drink. The drinks steward was not pleased when I took it back to be changed I had to give it to a different server. The itinerary was changed at the last minute, we missed going to Grand Cayman. This was extremely disappointing as we had never been there before and we were hoping to visit family. We were instead taken back to Jamaica where we had already spent 7 nights of our trip. We were taken to Ocho Rios, the ship docked in what was an industrial loading area, far away from the town and the other cruise ships. We were told free transport was offered to Dunn's River Falls. No other option was given. The Falls cost $20 US each. It was Boxing Day and was crowded with tourists and residents queuing to get in. We would not travel with Thomson Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
A Christmas and New Year cruise starting in a port everyone should see and touring the sunny Caribbean - who could resist. A bit concerned re the iffy reviews on here but our trip confounded them - it was brilliant. And we've cruised ... Read More
A Christmas and New Year cruise starting in a port everyone should see and touring the sunny Caribbean - who could resist. A bit concerned re the iffy reviews on here but our trip confounded them - it was brilliant. And we've cruised with 7 cruise lines to date. Cabin (a balcony) bigger than most, ship condition top class, food excellent (you need to like the Italian way of 6 smaller plate courses) restaurants and bars great (especially the White Lion pub bar) and service levels great in all areas. MSC and Armonia produced the best cruise of our 13 to date. The only down for us was the entertainment - very continental in appeal, but as the majority of customers were mainland European that is unsurprising and they all seemed to enjoy it. Loved the embarkation which saw the cases dropped at the airport in UK and not seen again until the cabin. Loved the disembarkation which allowed us th stay on board until late afternoon as our flight was not until late. Well done MSC, we will be with you again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I choose this particular cruise to see some of Cuba, which was a most fascinating, educational, and interesting country. I would certainly return to see more. But - and I have to mention this way - the absolute unexpected delight of my ... Read More
I choose this particular cruise to see some of Cuba, which was a most fascinating, educational, and interesting country. I would certainly return to see more. But - and I have to mention this way - the absolute unexpected delight of my holiday was an unforgettable experience aboard the Celestyal Crystal. All of the crew and support staff were simply amazing! Their constant energy and enthusiasm bowled me over. They worked very hard and diligently to provide (me with) a great experience. And always in such a genuine manner. They love their work! This is a smaller ship, and I got to know the staff personally. They always seemed to take time out to 'engage' me and others in my group. Nightly stage show always full of energy, and often continued straight into dancing which involved the guests. Cabin was very comfortable. Housekeeping services were provided twice a day - over the top! General ship areas extremely clean and polished. Limited dining areas (2 closed - perhaps under renovation?) but always copious amounts of food. Shore excursions were of good content and extremely well organized. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016

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