1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Cuba Cruises
  4. Cuba Cruise Reviews

561 Cuba Cruise Reviews

Traveling party consisted of myself, my 8 year old daughter, and my parents. We booked this trip less than a month out so we were very limited in cabin availability. We typically book 2 balcony cabins but our only option was to book a ... Read More
Traveling party consisted of myself, my 8 year old daughter, and my parents. We booked this trip less than a month out so we were very limited in cabin availability. We typically book 2 balcony cabins but our only option was to book a quad cabin ov guarantee. We attempted to book 2 cabins but the only outside cabins available were quad cabins that could not be booked for only 2 passengers. So we all ended up in one very very small very dated cabin. We were a little leery of such a small ship and were right to be concerned about the cabin however the public areas of the ship were nice. Our last few cruises have been on Oasis and Freedom class ships and Disney so it was a big change. We found the ship to be well maintained and clean with the exception of the small children's pool/splash pad area. The splash pad area was not operational while we were on board and did not appear to have been opened for a while. The one pool was so crowded that it was virtually unusable. It was not a huge deal for us, we found plenty of other things to do to occupy our time. We enjoyed the fact that the casino was smoke free! The cabin location was great 7th floor forward but close to the centrum. We loved the close access to the forward public balcony area it gave us a place to go to escape from the tiny cabin. The cabin was the smallest one I have seen in many years. It is not suitable for more than two people. Since it was just a 4 day cruise though it was tolerable. We choose this cruise only because of the Cuban itinerary so we just dealt with the close quarters. The embarkation process was well organized and quick. The ability to leave carry on's in the theater until the cabin was open was a nice surprise. I hope this is implemented fleet wide. I took my daughter to the Florida Aquarium next door while my parents had lunch on board. The aquarium is a quick and easy walk and she enjoyed it. Lunch was crowded as was lunch and breakfast in the windjammer the rest of the week. It was manageable and we were always able to find a table but the set up leaves a lot to be desired. It is just not laid out very well. The buffet lines cause mass congestion and need to be better organized. We did the brunch the first morning in the main dining room and found it to be a little chaotic as well. The food was great in the dining room and we always found something we liked in the windjammer but the buffet selection was more limited than we have found on other royal ships. Once thing I was disappointed in was no bagels to be found at breakfast. They served smoked salmon on both buffets, windjammer and dining room, but no bagels to put it on! Very strange!! We enjoyed the shows. It is not Oasis class caliber entertainment but enjoyable none the less. We really liked headliner Tony Tillman his level of energy is enviable. I think when 3 generations are entertained at the same show you must be doing something correctly. Key west was hot and humid but we still had a nice time. It was my daughter's first visit so we took the conch train tour and took the obligatory tourist southern most point picture and went to the butterfly conservatory. Getting off the ship in Key West was a disorganized mess! We typically do not book ship excursions. We have found that we can usually book our own tours that are generally better than the ship offerings and cheaper but choose to book the conch tour through Royal as opposed to booking it ourselves online since it was the same tour and Royal promises a guaranteed first off ship if you book with them. Since our time was very limited in Key West we went with that route. It was useless though as we were told to get in line with everyone else when trying to get off the ship. The line stretched from deck 2 up to deck 5 wrapping through the centrum area and into one of the public spaces. It meant nothing that we were holding tour tickets that promised first off. If this is your primary reason for booking a shore excursion through the ship don't!! Cuba of course was the highlight of the trip and we are already searching for an opportunity to return. We did not have near enough time and are looking for a ship to do an overnight. We enjoyed the informational talk on board prior to our arrival and found it very interesting and informative. Everyone was told multiple times what time to be up and out on deck if we wanted to watch our arrival into port so we set an early clock, got the cameras ready and anticipated the first views of Cuba. This was all for naught. We ended up arriving 45 minutes to an hour early. I woke up before the alarm went off and looked outside our window and saw lights. I threw on some clothes super fast and ran out to the front deck and saw the last of the statue as we floated by. It was dark outside still so no decent pictures. It was a disappointing start. Once again the disembarkation process was terrible. We had booked a 3 hour shore excursion through the ship. Online prior to arriving it was stated a 9:30 start time. I booked a local walking tour for the afternoon starting at 2:30 thinking that would be plenty of time between. Once on board the start time was adjusted to 10:30 but I figured we still should be fine. 10:30 start should be finished by 1:30 right? Wrong! We were herded into the theater at 10:00 to wait for our number to be called. Keep in mind we arrived earlier than the 8:00 expected time so we had been able to get off the ship for 2 hours at this point, again first off when booking their tour was a joke. Long story short the 10:30 start time did not happen. The tour did not leave until 11:10 and then was late returning. We were not returned to the port until 2:50. By the time we got off the bus and across the street to the meeting point for the walking tour it was 3:00. Our guide was not there not that I would have expected them to be it was pouring and we were 30 minutes late. So we ended up doing a horse and buggy tour which my daughter loved and the english speaking guide gave us a lot of interesting info. The bus tour we took was interesting and we saw lots of sights and enjoyed it, but it would have been nice to have started on time and ended on time so that we could have made it to our next tour. I talked to the folks at the shore excursion desk the next day and expressed my frustration mainly due to the fact that we felt horrible for standing up a local independent guide who most likely earns around $22 a month because the ship excursion wasn't prompt. It did not get me very far he apologized and then attempted to sell me the all access ship tour. Next time we will arrange our own tours, get off as soon as we dock and spend every docked minute available touring the city. That was another thing we learned after arrival you do not have to book a shore excursion to qualify to visit. We were under the impression from what we read on the web site that it was required in order to get off to have an excursion booked through rccl. I think it was just a matter of us not doing enough research prior to going. All in all the ship is pretty and well maintained, we enjoyed the food, enjoyed the entertainment and can't wait to go back to Cuba! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Book cruise as our annual family vacation. We had a great time with a few hiccups. The dining experience was great; our waiters for dinner Leonardo and Wilson knew our names (11 people in our party) and drink orders after the 1st day. We ... Read More
Book cruise as our annual family vacation. We had a great time with a few hiccups. The dining experience was great; our waiters for dinner Leonardo and Wilson knew our names (11 people in our party) and drink orders after the 1st day. We enjoyed interacting our waiters immensely. Entertainment and activities were good. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The cabin was cleaned and bed made daily; however, the sheets appeared unchanged the entire trip. I had a charge to my room in error, that went unresolved until after the trip; I had to pay and await adjustment after exiting the ship in order to make purchases while aboard. Guest Services were helpful in removing some unwanted charges and credit account for the inconvenience. However, I feel more can/should be done when the error was theirs/off-shore. We enjoyed the ports (Key West, FL & Havana, Cuba) and discussed doing again in the near future. Great Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had a hiccup at the start of the cruise, we left 7 hours late, still have no clue as to what the problem was. Captain was not very forthcoming with information. First technical issue then electrical issue. Plus was since we arrived at 3 ... Read More
We had a hiccup at the start of the cruise, we left 7 hours late, still have no clue as to what the problem was. Captain was not very forthcoming with information. First technical issue then electrical issue. Plus was since we arrived at 3 pm the next day in Havana we stayed an extra day and missed the out island. $100.00 credit to each stateroom due to the inconvenience plus again no explanation in the letter that was delivered. really think NCL could have stepped it up with a little more than $100.00. Havana is a must, the old cars, the Tropicana, waterfront, artist in the market area and outside of the market area, just walking through the streets is an experience. Never once felt uneasy, people were very friendly, very few individuals asking for handouts. Hats off to the shore excursion desk Daniel Domenico Lopardo and his staff did an amazing job. Since we arrived late some tours had to be cancelled and refunded, all taken care of without an issue and staying the extra day added tours which needed to be booked. They were also very knowledgeable with each tour Cagney's is a must go to even if it is priced a la carte, don't bother with il adagio go back to Cagney's. Dining room food was good and service was also good. We tried both main dining rooms and were pleased the few times that we ate in them. Even went for lunch one time which we have not done in years. The buffet is well a buffet, take your pick. I like that you can still get an omelet hand made in either the buffet line or the Great Outdoors at the back of the ship, my favorite place to sit and eat breakfast or lunch. I definitely would do this cruise again, really hoping NCL will extend it to a 7 day cruise and stop in some of the other ports of Cuba. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Cuba was our special destination. We had only one afternoon to enjoy & experience. Recommend adding the bus tour to your destination. Will return some day to experience more. We made the best of it this ship is smaller than we ... Read More
Cuba was our special destination. We had only one afternoon to enjoy & experience. Recommend adding the bus tour to your destination. Will return some day to experience more. We made the best of it this ship is smaller than we expected. Not a lot of extra frills on board. The casino was not enjoyable at all. Wish it could have been user friendly. Did not see anyone winning at all. Stay out of casino. Pool is more like a bathtub for a ship. Kitty pool not operational & windjammer was ok at the most. Getting on and off ship was very easy. Had issues with room in beginning. Hot in room & no remote control for half of the day to get updates. Speaker for announcements did not work in room also. I was ok with the staff and overall trip. Spent most of the time on the pool deck in the open air. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I chose this cruise because I wanted to go to Cuba. The other two ports, Key West and Cozumel, were added bonuses. The food was a highlight. Everyone in my party liked what was served in the Windjammer and in the main dining room. As ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to go to Cuba. The other two ports, Key West and Cozumel, were added bonuses. The food was a highlight. Everyone in my party liked what was served in the Windjammer and in the main dining room. As far as the crew is concerned, we really liked those in the dining room and our cabin attendant. We also appreciated that we were not pestered constantly to buy drinks or drink packages. The range of products needs to be expanded in the shops. We enjoy onboard shopping but there really wasn't much to buy especially where jewelry was concerned. Another disadvantage of this cruise is that there was only one small pool. In previous cruises with Royal Caribbean we liked the fact that there was an adult pool. On the Empress there is one very small pool and the even smaller children's pool was closed for the duration of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This trip was taken with family- the cruise line and ship were chosen based on our intent to visit Havana, Cuba. Although the ship was the smallest in the fleet, there were enough activities to keep occupied during slow times. The dining ... Read More
This trip was taken with family- the cruise line and ship were chosen based on our intent to visit Havana, Cuba. Although the ship was the smallest in the fleet, there were enough activities to keep occupied during slow times. The dining in the buffet (Windjammer Cafe) was at the level to be expected. My main dining room (Starlight Dining Room) experience was AWESOME! Our wait staff was superb! Poolside- the children's pool was closed, which I am sure was a bummer for them. It definitely made for a tighter situation in the adult pool. Ports- Cozumel was advertised by the ship's Shopping Director as the World's Best Shopping Port, or some similar title. I didn't really get that connection when we arrived. It felt very-much like Broadway at the Beach (Myrtle Beach, SC). Havana was wonderful! The tour and tour-guide were wonderful. (Be wary if they tell you that only cigars and rum can be bought that the only store they take you to. Not true...) The shopping at the marketplace near the port was so exciting! There and so many beautiful artists to meet and purchase from. I definitely recommend Havana to anyone! Key West- After visiting the southern-most point and the Hemingway House, we were ready to leave. Overall, I would probably not take the same cruise again, but would definitely take another that included Cuba as a port. Especially an opportunity to stay overnight. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The cruise in general was very good about the ammenities, including restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinning, bars, casino, gym, off shore excursions, swimming pool, sauna, etc., etc. The rooms for group of 2 or more persons is horrible, ... Read More
The cruise in general was very good about the ammenities, including restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinning, bars, casino, gym, off shore excursions, swimming pool, sauna, etc., etc. The rooms for group of 2 or more persons is horrible, specialty if you are 67+ years old, that was my case. The process for departure and disembark was easy and fast. The timelime of the activities onboard and on destination ports were accurate and properly planned. We travel for 5 days and 4 night, departing from Tampa to KeyWest Florida, Havanna Cuba, and Cozumel Mexico. Cuba for tourist in Cruises is not very attractive. They only attraction was a Cementery, Plaza de la Revolucion, a Shopping for Tabaco, Rum and Coffe, but you don't see restaurants or attractions except that at your risk go to visit the old city of Havanna and try to find some local attractions. In Cozumel Mexico, if you go to the interior of the Island of Cozumel go with sufficient Cash to eat and drink, because the don't accet any Credit Card and the crew of the ship do not inform you about this critical situation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Chosen as we are family of 5 so budget important + itinerary. Did two weeks (back to back 7 day cruises which around 20% of the passengers die). We have cruised around 11 times before but limited to 4 Royal Caribbean cruises (our ... Read More
Chosen as we are family of 5 so budget important + itinerary. Did two weeks (back to back 7 day cruises which around 20% of the passengers die). We have cruised around 11 times before but limited to 4 Royal Caribbean cruises (our favourite), 6 Costa cruises and one previous MSC cruise (chosen again due to great ports not catered by others). Flight out by Iberia was smooth. We did not book transfers but hooked up seamlessly with the MSC transfer bus for a discounted fee. Great that the ship was in dock for the first two days in Havana as felt no rush getting settled in and exploring Havana and staying out to 1am enjoying the music and promenade. The locations were fabulous and I arranged tours directly at each port in advance with local agents. Similar to the cruise ship offerings but around 30-50% cheaper and generally private tours so more comfort and flexibility. Having said that if you were single or a couple doing the cruise ship cruises would be affordable and fun. The food was ok (not as good as some I am sure) but no issue with the timings, seatings and staff all of whom from attendants, bar staff and customer service were excellent. There was a hard sell on drinks packages on the first day but after that felt the staff were relaxed, responsive and pleasant. We gave individual tips and asked for the automatic service charge to be removed at the end which was done quickly and in a pleasant way. The announcements were not intrusive or excessive and generally done in 4 or 5 languages if important but usually English and Spanish. The guests were a mixture of Spanish speakers, Italian speakers, French, German and English speakers and as a rule we found people smart, pleasant, healthy appearing and well mannered. Shows were not really our cup of tea but we did not feel the ship was too loud or too quiet and enjoyed what there was including the fitness areas and the spa and the shopping areas. Clearly being a smaller ships activities are limited. We had two outside cabins and found them spacious. well laid out, everything worked including the air con and great showers and plenty of storage including under the bed. Relaxed attitude to towels as well. What more can you want. We find that bigger ships in general across different companies are similar and we do prefer the larger ships and MSc have those but not covering the routes we wanted. To that extent we missed the better shows, speciality restaurants, different pools and physical activities. We would travel with MSC again if a suitable itinerary came up and in budget but would prefer the bigger ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This is a short cruise - but popular because of Havana. There are a great number of reviews for this 4-day cruise which cover pretty much of the territory - so I will limit my thoughts to a few key points. As with my other reviews, I ... Read More
This is a short cruise - but popular because of Havana. There are a great number of reviews for this 4-day cruise which cover pretty much of the territory - so I will limit my thoughts to a few key points. As with my other reviews, I should point out that you will find me in the bars, restaurants and casino - not the shows, art auctions etc. 1. If you are north of 50 and an experienced cruiser - especially with the higher end cruise lines - definitely book a suite. You are swept onto the ship in VIP style - best I have seen, including the higher end lines. You have access to Cagneys for breakfast and lunch - quiet and good food. There are not that may suites, so there are no crowds. 2. If you are young, book the cheapest room you can and enjoy a great deal. You will have delays getting on and off the ship - but who cares at that price. 3. The bars and bartenders are great - really as good as Crystal - which is saying a lot. There is a good selection of liquor - especially for vodka drinkers. You can have your fill of Russian Standard, Stoli, Ketel etc. The best scotch is red label - which is not that great - note to Norwegian you should upgrade that to black label. Bottled water and soft drinks are not included - hint to Norwegian to change this. Better to charge a little extra and make it all in. 4. The ship is old - typical for the 3 and 4 day runs from Miami and LA. I was in cabin 0064 at the stern on deck 10 and there is vibration and odd noises especially when docking (the engine sounded like it needed a tune up). Right above me was the buffet dining area and you could hear the chairs being moved around and set up each morning. So get a suite below deck 10 if you can. The bed was comfortable - as were the pillows. The cabin was small for a suite - again typical of the older ships. Note, that the Sky was originally a Costa ship so most of the plugs are European. If you have an adapter or European phone charger - bring them. 5. This is a PARTY ship. The median age is well below 35 which, when mixed with a good open bar that rivals Silversea, Crystal, Seabourn etc. means good times for all. 6. Cuba is just like you expect it to be. Follow the suggestion of the other reviewers and book a private guide ahead of time. You can also get a private guide on island, but have a good conversation with him or her ahead of time to make sure the English is as good as the initial "hello, how are you" pitch. The cars are wonderful. Do, get a guide at night and go to the famous bars - but you can skip the Tropicana. The ice looked safe and there appeared to be no ill effects on passengers, but you can always bring a mini cool pack and carry ice from the ship and order the rum neat at the bars. You can walk and explore the old town from the ship without a guide - it's save. Actually, thre is very little crime in Havana due to a lack of guns and drugs. 7. Avoid the cruise itinerary that stops at the private island if you can - hot and lousy snorkeling - few fish. 8. The food at the buffet is just "plain Jane" - but perfectly good. There is a soft serve station that is popular. They have a full selection of condiments - A-1, plenty of yellow mustard etc. - unlike Celebrity where you have to climb to the hamburger stand to find yellow mustard. 9. The gym is only ok. There is one set of free weights which are a mix of various different sets. There are plenty of treadmills - but very little other equipment. Norwegian, for a very minor cost you could upgrade this and make it an even better cruise for the young crowd. 10. The casino is good - plenty of table games and 3-4-5 odds craps. The slots are older - no "Buffalo Gold" or the other current popular games - but good enough. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My wife and I chose this cruise as a lifetime opportunity to visit Havana, Cuba. We enjoyed the shipboard activities as well as the two excursions purchased from Royal Caribbean. The Tour Guides on the Walking Tour of Havana and The Best ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise as a lifetime opportunity to visit Havana, Cuba. We enjoyed the shipboard activities as well as the two excursions purchased from Royal Caribbean. The Tour Guides on the Walking Tour of Havana and The Best of Havana Excursions provided a great deal of information on the sites visited including historical and cultural information. Using the information we obtained during the excursions, we would not mind taking the cruise again and exploring Havana on our own. Embarkation went very quickly. Debarkation was very organized and went quickly. All passengers getting off the ship needed to go through Cuban Security and have all their belongings go through an X-ray scanner before and after obtaining passport stamped by Cuban immigration personnel. Food in the Main Dining Room, The Starlight Dining Room, was very good. Food in the Informal Dining Room, The Windjammer Cafe, was very good if you wanted to eat quickly. The Nightly Shows were fantastic. The Empress of the Seas may be a small ship, but it has a great spirit and heart due to the dedication of the ship's staff and crew. One recommendation for Royal Caribbean would be to add authentic Cuban dishes to the menus and food offerings to give the passengers additional exposure to their Cuban experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I have always wanted to go to Cuba. It was amazing! the only thing was that we arrived at Havana and couldn't get off the ship until 3pm - that's half of a day wasted on the ship. that left barely anytime to be able to ... Read More
I have always wanted to go to Cuba. It was amazing! the only thing was that we arrived at Havana and couldn't get off the ship until 3pm - that's half of a day wasted on the ship. that left barely anytime to be able to hand out at an actual beach which was very far away. Boleros was the best place to hang out. The bands were fantastic. the Jazz band was also amazing! the other thing that bothered me was the DJ- DJ Sherron. Every time we asked him to please play something else or a request, he either didn't, or gave attitude. then at one point he said that when people come on cruise ships, you dance to whatever is playing, not taking any requests. Ok? I paid to come on this cruise to listen and dance to whatever the guests want, not what the DJ wants. No wonder one of the nights there was absolutely noone on the dance floor. Other than that, the cruise director and the staff were great. The mustache guy playing the saxophone was literally a talented character who made everyone laugh and really enjoy the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We wanted to visit Cuba ,we found the food very good ,but was surprised that to have a fillet steak and other items we had to pay extra ,after the price we paid for a mini-suite for a 5 night cruise i thought it was over the top ,also the ... Read More
We wanted to visit Cuba ,we found the food very good ,but was surprised that to have a fillet steak and other items we had to pay extra ,after the price we paid for a mini-suite for a 5 night cruise i thought it was over the top ,also the drink prices were well over the top ,compared to the other cruise lines we have been on this year ,but we must say the waiter service we had from Anthony and John were excellent , the cruise tours we took one to the Tropicana was very good ,but one and three quarter hours for the show was a bit too long Our 7 hour tour around Havana etc we found our tour guide Robert was not very good with his English and was difficult to understand sometimes ,the driver was very good and helped us on and of the coach.The lunch that was provided on our tour was very good . Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Quick get-away to Cuba, before things change here in the STATES. Could have spent more time in Havana. Very friendly people, don't necessarily book Old Havana tour on board. Use the friendly Cuba people, who knows the building ... Read More
Quick get-away to Cuba, before things change here in the STATES. Could have spent more time in Havana. Very friendly people, don't necessarily book Old Havana tour on board. Use the friendly Cuba people, who knows the building & town history very well. Free-style dining is excellent, and food was good. However NO lobster. Be careful for the 6A Oslo deck, NO ELEVATOR to this deck. You must do 20 steps up to deck, and 12 steps down again to deck 6A to get to your room. Cruise ship is starting to show its age. Pictures in the Palace Dining room are faded, the couch in the rooms, the arms are worn. The CROSSWINDS dining room smells like stale smoke. One good thing is they use name brand liquor for the drinks. Not much variety on the buffets in reference to hot food, sandwiches are pre-made, along with the hamburgers & hot dogs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because of the Cuban experience and it was every thing we hoped for.Our 1st day bus tour gave us an overview of the city. We then went to the Tropicana nightclub. Wonderful show and you can see its influence on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Cuban experience and it was every thing we hoped for.Our 1st day bus tour gave us an overview of the city. We then went to the Tropicana nightclub. Wonderful show and you can see its influence on the Vegas shows. The following day we took a walking tour of Havana which was positively amazing ! The ship, cabin and food were very good. Most of the service people were wonderful, our cabin steward, Jaime, was outstanding from the towel displays to our room's cleanliness.We traveled with a group of people and we were always able to find dining options that suited everyone. Because of this fact, we did not partake of the entertainment on board. The stop at Great Stirrup Cay was very nice, nice relaxing end to a beautiful cruise. We also appreciate the fact that we could go back to the ship whenever we were 'sunned out'. We also liked the fact that this cruise was alcohol inclusive, no surprises at the end. We would definitely travel again on Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise primarily for the Havana stop and it didn't disappoint. Havana's historic area has been restored wonderfully and it's amazing to see all of the old cars, see the mosaic neighborhood (which was probably ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the Havana stop and it didn't disappoint. Havana's historic area has been restored wonderfully and it's amazing to see all of the old cars, see the mosaic neighborhood (which was probably my favorite), see the historic buildings, and drive around a little. We used a non-ship tour and our tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable, and a terrific English speaker. The only real problem we had was that the ship was just too hot a lot of the time; our cabin was nice and cool but many of our large group had cabins that were too hot, and the large communal areas (in particular the dining room and theater) were just too hot. They really need to upgrade the air conditioning on this ship (of course, the weather was really hot the days we were out, too, but this is the Caribbean). Our waitress was top notch and the entertainment on board was good. I definitely enjoyed going and would recommend it as long as you don't get too uncomfortable when it's hot. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Although much can't go wrong when cruising, this trip became a nightmare when my kids were unhappy. They were not able to use their sea pass cards due to an error that guest services could "not" figure out. They didn't ... Read More
Although much can't go wrong when cruising, this trip became a nightmare when my kids were unhappy. They were not able to use their sea pass cards due to an error that guest services could "not" figure out. They didn't even offer to accommodate us with some sort of a complimentary pass for the arcade or anything. They just said that they were working to resolve problem but we never heard back. The ship had very little to do for 13 year olds!!! The Keys was rather boring unless you want to shop in 95 degree weather. Cuba was an amazing experience to see. I felt like I was in a movie set the entire time :) I would return in about 5-10 years just to see the improvement. Cozumel was a blast. Catamaran ride on the "FURY" was great!! Wouldn't choose anyone else. Very entertaining and accommodating to adults and kids. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise for the Havana stop. We wish we had more time there but by booking a private 1955 Buick convertible, we were able to see more without waiting for buses to load and unload at each stop. We have sailed with RCCL since ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Havana stop. We wish we had more time there but by booking a private 1955 Buick convertible, we were able to see more without waiting for buses to load and unload at each stop. We have sailed with RCCL since 1976 so, for us, the ship was a delightful gem. Not without its problems though. The Chefs Table, which is a 3 hour, 6 course fixed menu is not the place for children or,vegetarians (who were our table mates). We were then informed that the only other "upscale" choice, Chops Grille, not only allows children, but encourages them by allowing them in with no charge. Not the kind of experience we expected when booking. The lack of a Diamond lounge was a bit disappointing but the Diamond breakfast was a nice touch. This cruise was port intensive so we didn't partake of onboard activities much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My husband and I chose this cruise since it looked like a nice way to see Cuba and, as Florida locals, we love Key West and Cozumel, and Tampa was very close and convenient to where we live. The ship is SMALL. No surprise here, but ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise since it looked like a nice way to see Cuba and, as Florida locals, we love Key West and Cozumel, and Tampa was very close and convenient to where we live. The ship is SMALL. No surprise here, but seriously, for younger active people--you can only eat and drink so much. We were definitely twiddling our thumbs quite a bit. Our stateroom was a standard size window room. Normal amenities in the rooms. However, the a/c was terrible. It was either freezing or hot--no in between, and you did not get a choice, as the thermostat inside our room did not do a thing. So during the night, you'd freeze for a bit, then boil for a bit. Back and forth. Dining was a bit disappointing. Chops has essentially the same menu every night, so there's really no reason to eat there more than once... and it has almost the same food that is in the Starlight main dining hall. Other cruises that we had been on had wonderful French or Italian foods in their fancier restaurants... not this one. But the food everywhere was good. Entertainment and activities, not really much to choose from. So bring a very good book. Schooner's bar had the best bartenders. The pool bar did not. And the coffee shop inside Boleros was wonderful! I would not have survived without those nice ladies making such delicious espresso drinks. Service--all of the staff was very friendly and nice. Ports of call and shore excursions... Prior cruises, we arrived in port around 8 a.m., left port around 5-6 p.m. Did not work that way on this cruise. Very random. So we arrived in Havana early morning--like visiting Bourbon Street in the morning. Nothing was open. We did the walking tour, and our tour guide was awesome. We sampled Cuban rum, coffee, and cigars, as part of our tour. In Cozumel--we arrived at port around 1 p.m., after our excursion it was 8 p.m. and the shops were all closing down so we did not get to explore at all. We did the catamaran, snorkeling, and private beach adventure. The weather was perfect, water was crystal clear, and the tour guides are nice. And in Key West we just did our own thing. Overall, a nice vacation. But next time, I will definitely chose a newer/bigger ship with more things to do when not at port, and I will also take a much closer look at future itineraries. I felt we were definitely on the ship entirely too much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this ship because of the Cuba itinerary. We had a wonderful experience. It is a refurbished, older, smaller ship but they did a very nice job. We knew the rooms would be smaller but it was nice and clean. The staff was great - ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the Cuba itinerary. We had a wonderful experience. It is a refurbished, older, smaller ship but they did a very nice job. We knew the rooms would be smaller but it was nice and clean. The staff was great - friendly and helpful. We enjoyed the cruise director. You get to know more people on a smaller ship. I have cruised 33 times and the food on this ship was very good. The pool is small but we never felt crowded except the one cruising afternoon. The theater never felt over crowded. They even served lobster tails one night. The larger ships have done away with that tradition. We wanted a "do over" because we enjoyed the week so much. They encourage people to exchange currency in Cuba but we found it was not necessary (you cannot exchange it back). The tours were very nice - all new and nice buses. Those who went out at night felt very safe. We felt like the people were happy to have us there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas 5 Night Cruise from Tampa, Key West 2 Days Havana, return to Tampa second week of August 2017. Arrival to port. Our port arrival time was 12-3pm. Our friends arrived at 11am, checked in and ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas 5 Night Cruise from Tampa, Key West 2 Days Havana, return to Tampa second week of August 2017. Arrival to port. Our port arrival time was 12-3pm. Our friends arrived at 11am, checked in and waited until the ship opened shortly before 12pm. We arrived at 12pm, waited in line for 15 mins or so and were on board by 12:20pm. The onboard restaurant did not open until 12:30, so we waited. It was chaos in the dining room!! Everyone trying to eat at the same time. It gets better after that first meal. The ship is an older smaller ship. They pulled it out of retirement after 8 years just for the purpose of cruising to Cuba in 2017. They only started in 2017 and are learning as they go (customs requirements, timing, etc etc). We arrived in Cuba around 1pm on Wed, stayed the night in port and didn't leave until 8pm the next night. 5 night cruise was around $1,100 each plus excursions and the $75 visa. They make it easy- just fill out simple paperwork! No worries. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months remaining and you are good to go! Onboard: Attend the Cuba informational presentations. Lots of great tips! First presentation on Cuba was the morning before you get off the ship in Key West. -We ordered coffee room service on the ship each morning. No extra charge unless you order a full breakfast, then its $7.95 per room. Then we would go to the Windjammer for breakfast after we showered. We went each evening to the Starlight Dining Room for a sit down dinner. Nice to relax. Unbelievable staff- Prakash, Sydeny, and Sang. I had to have special bread (no gluten) and they would warm it up each night and also take my order for the next night! 
 Rooms -we stayed on the 4th floor middle of the boat, with a big ocean view window. We only aleep and change in the room, so a balcony upgrade doesn't seem worthwhile for us. Our room was rocky not AT all! I am prone to motion sickness and had no problem! Rooms come with hair dryers, hand soap and and liquid shower soap. The ocean view is nice and you can have the bed made as two singles or a double/queen. Our room attendant Dwi took good care of us. One tip: our friends got a room next to ours and it had bunk beds. Even folded up they were awkward and hard to maneuver around. If there are just 2 of you in a room, may be good to ask about room set up when you book. -Walking deck is on the 6th floor, as well as it being a great place to sit and watch the ocean (or a few dolphins swimming along side).
 Eating on board -Windjammer is the main cafeteria on 10th floor. Open at all 3 meal times. Good selection. Deserts and bread are marked gluten free, but the other dishes are not and it would be great if Royal Caribbean could indicate. It takes several minutes for them to find the chef to ask, so you usually just skip anything questionable. -Starlight Dining room is the sit-down dining location on floors 4 and 5. We ate dinner there every meal. You can make a reservation or just show up! Also you can order 2 apps or 2 deserts if you really want something else or are hungry! -Chops Grille was the onboard upgrade restaurant. We did not try it out. -Bolero is the coffee shop. Good coffee! Lattes, espresso, etc. 
 Key West: Best Key Lime pie we tried was Kermits. Much more tart and tasty than the Key Lime Pie shop. Both offered gluten free pies, slices and the chocolate dipped frozen bars! The Kayak excursion was very fun. We had done it before and enjoyed cruising thru the red mangrove trees. Four Manatees swam under our kayak! Amazing. They ask for a tip at the end. We gave $15 for 2 people. The entire tour takes 3 hours in total, including 30 mins to get there in a van and about 20 mins back. We all got a little wet (damp) on our bottoms in the seats due to paddles, but we were ok and not wearing swimsuits- not needed. We had LOTS of sunscreen and good hats. You will need them. Some of us even wore long sleeve UVP shirts. It is easy if you have kayaked before, but moderate if not or you are not in great shape. Everyone seemed to be ok in our group of 23 and we had a mix of old and young and non-kayakers. Some of us wore sandals and some tennis shoes. You really should not get your feet wet at all. We did not need mosquito spray. General suggestion to bring a cheap emergency poncho. We bought one at CVS for $2.99. We did not need it in Key West, but were warned to bring it in Cuba in case and we did use it there one afternoon!
 Drinks: Unless you drink a lot, the beverage package is expensive! Best deal was waiting till day 2 when they offered 10 drinks for $59.99 
 Tours in Cuba Panoramic Bus Tour -Whole experience from meeting till finish took 5 hours. So, they have you meet onboard at 1:30 (same time as the ship comes into port). You wait there some, then you have to go through customs and wait on your bus (nice air conditioned bus, with toilets (note that if you wash your hands, it has blue water!), but again, the bus was very nice and even had Michelin tires. Tour makes several stops, cigar factory shop and rum tasting. They also stop at the Fortress and a mosaic artist place (name?). Worth the price. Relaxing and very informative.
 Old Havana Walking Tour -Different sites than Bus tour and more intimate details about the city and Cuba. Guides speak pretty good English and will answer about any question you have. They said they get to keep their own tips and do not have to give to the government except taxes (Cuban government is their employer). TIP: take toilet paper with you on walking tours or just for walking around. Many places do not offer. Those that do have ladies supplying it for tips (so you will need small bills and change- they prefer CUCs)
 Tours in old American Cars -we almost considered these, but they were $300 and turns out it was very very hot and there is NO air conditioning. One tip we have if you atill want to ride in an old car: take a $10 taxi ride somewhere and you can ride in one of the same cars and get some pictures! Just ask for the car you want. Also, the owners of the cars like a tip to look or take pictures of their cars. Very expensive to keep maintained and running I assume. We rode in a 1955 Buick convertible. 
 Many people told us they booked individual tours. We did not but they seemed to appreciate. 
 Food in Cuba -I am a foodie, who will eat almost anything (but gluten) and I have to say I did not find any restaurant or food I liked during our brief 2 day stay. And if you are there all day, there are very few places to find a snack. Seriously, it is hard to believe but they do not have snacks like we do..chips, nuts, bars etc. All we saw were homemade street churros, packaged ice cream and a locally made crackers. Thank goodness we had nuts with us! I even tried to find a small grocery and what they call a grocery was just barren by U.S. standards. Very little food at all! Like 20 or 30 different items. They would not believe the American abundance. 
 Money exchange -we brought Canadian dollars (0.76 CAD to every CUC )and also some dollars (0.87 USD to every CUC) we heard there was a 10% penalty for exchanging USD and there is). Here are our rates. Note to always keep the CUC- not the old Peso. The main place just after Customs is best to exchange. Some locals will ask to do a one for one exchange for dollars (good deal if you are leaving and have leftover CUCs!)
 Shopping in Cuba -cigars range from 5 CUC to 20 CUC each. The Cohiba brand is one of the most expensive. My Dad says the 20 CUC Cohiba cigar i brought him was smooth and very good. -Rum is not expensive. 6-12 CUCs on average per liter. Small quarts sell for 2-6 CUCs. Legendario is supposed to be nice, but there are many choices. -Coffee is about half the cost of American coffee. Some good brands are Cubito, Serrano and others. I bought some Regil brand coffee in the green bag recommended by local- excellent! 
 T-shirts * not much to choose from in Cuba. We bought ours on board. They have a few "but 2 for $20" deals during the cruise. Go early to get your sizes and look the shirts over good for sewing errors and stains! We found one or two. They do not have many cuban souvenirs on board however, so other things need to be purchased on shore. Local Cuban Market -there is a big market in a warehouse just a 10 minute walk along the ocean to the left as you exit the cruise ship terminal. Can't recall name, but right on the ocean. Lots of art and tshirts, etc. Once you saw 4 or 5 booths, the next 50 looked similar. 
 Gifts for locals * i read somewhere that locals appreciate American things. I also read things are hard to get. I brought an opened pack of matchbox cars and little miniature dolls to hand out to boys and girls I met. I also heard bicycle parts are hard to get, so I brought a few tubes and a small pump. I felt like I didn't gave enough. Some folks said some local ladies asked them for soap or toothpaste. Other gave out snacks. You will not regret any small thing you bring. Getting off the boat back in Tampa: * you can walk off as soon as allowed if you carry your own bags. We lined up a few mins before 7am and were off by 7:15am. They have coffee, water and juice there for you. We had a 10:30 flight and had no problem getting a taxi for $25. The shuttles are $8 per person, so taxi only better if you have 4 people. Uber to the port upon arrival was about $5-6 cheaper. Not a huge savings. All you need leaving the boat is your seapass card, then your passport thru customs * If in no rush to catch a flight you can leave your bags outside your door the night prior and enjoy breakfast in the Windjammer restaurant. 
 Some thoughts in passing. I wish I had read more about Cuba before I went, but glad I attended the informational presentations. I now want to go back home and read up! I would like go back some day and see more of the island than just Havana.  Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this trip because it was an opportunity to see Cuba, before new development, commercialism, and other factors change the setting. Boarding the ship was a chaotic mess. While the lines were organized by platinum, gold, and ... Read More
We chose this trip because it was an opportunity to see Cuba, before new development, commercialism, and other factors change the setting. Boarding the ship was a chaotic mess. While the lines were organized by platinum, gold, and other passengers, which should have helped with the crowds and check-in. It seemed that passengers from all lines were allowed to check in based on the whims of cruise staff who were presumably monitoring the lines. There was no explanation given to passengers in the gold or other lines that those in the platinum line were to be given priority, which no doubt frustrated those in those two lines. Once boarded and underway, I most enjoyed seeing the eclectic architectural styles, learning that Havana is a UNESCO heritage city, interacting with our tour guides who were engaging and knowledgeable, and just roaming the streets and people watching. On-board, watching, laughing, and chatting with your absolutely fabulous cruise director, Carlos, was the highlight. What a talent - quick witted, outgoing and caring, funny, and a wonderful entertainer/singer! The service in our room (4619) and at our dinners (Xioalu and Rayen) was outstanding. Big smiles, taking time to chat with us, and always, always helpful, our direct experience with these staff members was top notch. Despite these wonderful experiences and memories, the cruise will unfortunately be tainted by the stench from the malfunctioning plumbing. Day and night in the hallway and in our room, there was a noticeable odor. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Very enjoyable. Dining room service was good, buffet was not. Ship was clean and staff was attentive. Other guests seemed to enjoy themselves.. Alcohol was included, but there was never a time where I saw sloppy, fall down drunken ... Read More
Very enjoyable. Dining room service was good, buffet was not. Ship was clean and staff was attentive. Other guests seemed to enjoy themselves.. Alcohol was included, but there was never a time where I saw sloppy, fall down drunken behavior. My cabin was comfortable and enough room for two without getting in each others way. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this cruise line. Our room steward was polite and welcoming. Our room was kept clean and tidy. There could have been more activities. Only complaint is the muster drill. You stand for 30 minutes waiting for it to begin. This gets frustrating due to the heat and I started feeling sick due to the rocking of the ship. Passengers were starting to get agitated while waiting. I would recommend it to family and friends. Cuba was a very different experience. It was informative. The people were welcoming and willing to share their life experiences. I gave gifts of soap, lotion, compact mirrors, and a postcard of NYC. The locals were very appreciative. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise for the opportunity to see Havana, Cuba, and the fact that we stayed overnight. We were pleased with our Tropicana Nightclub experience and with most of our Havana tours. However, our first tour left 1/2 hour late ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the opportunity to see Havana, Cuba, and the fact that we stayed overnight. We were pleased with our Tropicana Nightclub experience and with most of our Havana tours. However, our first tour left 1/2 hour late because we were waiting on people. This caused a delay in all of our other stops and also caused us to return back to the ship about 1.5 hours late. This caused us to essentially miss dinner since our Tropicana meet time was about 45 minutes after we returned. Be sure to book a tour or take a vintage car taxi to the main cemetery in Havana. The monuments there are extremely impressive and beautiful. We also appreciated having a specific tour guide in the cemetery to point out more specific points of interest and their history. We also loved seeing the ceramic neighborhood that was inspired by Gaudi. The vintage cars were private taxis that were available for hire. However, there were many newer European, Japanese and Russian cars as well as brand new tour busses. My wife's lactose intolerance was handled perfectly by the wait staff. She was given the next day's menu so that she could review her choices with with our head waiter so that her choice could be prepared without milk or butter. We really enjoyed the cruise entertainment. Comedian Rodney Johnson had the crowd in stitches during his early performance. We were at the Torpicana and could not see his adult only performance. The singers and dancers were very talented and their performances were very well choreographed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
A visit to Havana, Cuba had been on our "bucket list" for a while and Royal's 5-night to Havana really seemed to check all our boxes. This is not a cruise for those looking for high-end shopping experiences or beach ... Read More
A visit to Havana, Cuba had been on our "bucket list" for a while and Royal's 5-night to Havana really seemed to check all our boxes. This is not a cruise for those looking for high-end shopping experiences or beach parties. This is a very real people-to-people opportunity and gave us a great overview of a country that we forbidden to visit for so long. We really enjoyed our general overview tour to give us a flavor of the city. We followed it with a visit to the Tropicana Club that evening and finished the next day with an 8-hour in-depth tour of the city, including the Hemingway house, a beautiful cemetery, lunch at a government-owned restaurant, and ended with a visit to a large market. Of course, there was time for a visit to a cigar factory for the required cigars and rum purchase. We left exhausted and completely pleased with our visit to Havana. As far as the dining experience, it was interesting to us that, for the first time on our more than 20 Royal Caribbean cruises, there was a dinner menu of local food. The Cuban menu offered new choices that were well presented and very good. Of course, for the wary diner, the standard choices were there as well. We have traveled in many parts of Europe with Royal and often wished that more local cuisine would be featured, so we were happily surprised. Empress is the smaller ship in Royal's fleet, so some things were smaller than usual. The Schooner Bar was quite small, but was always a good place to gather after dinner to find interesting people to talk with about their day's adventures. There is no solarium on this ship, so you need to be quick to find any chairs in the shade. The days in Havana were so busy that we never had any time to be poolside, so that was not a real problem. There is a beautiful viewing opportunity in the 9th deck library area. Large floor-to-ceiling windows that offer wonderful views in a much quieter atmosphere. If you have the chance, we strongly recommend the Tropicana nightclub experience. We paid the extra for VIP tickets and sat center stage, up front. Sure the acts are a bit over the top, but the entire experience is exactly what Havana was in its heyday. The dancers (both male and female) are gorgeous! They give you a bottle of rum for four people to share and a can of cola apiece. Our table had a great time, and we did not even know the other couple. Everyone is from the ship and we were all there to have a good time. It was wonderful! All said, we probably won't be returning to Havana anytime soon because we really felt like we had seen the highlights, including the old cars. It was thrilling to be there, but like so many of the Caribbean islands, the poverty of the people and the condition of the buildings was a little overwhelming. It was absolutely something to see and we strongly recommend this trip to anyone who is really interested in expanding their horizons in a country that was closed to Americans for so many years! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I really enjoyed Havana. It was unbelievable. The ship, however was not as great, it was good though. I did like the smallness of it as it was easy to get around. The room steward was awesome as was the wait staff in the MDR. The food was ... Read More
I really enjoyed Havana. It was unbelievable. The ship, however was not as great, it was good though. I did like the smallness of it as it was easy to get around. The room steward was awesome as was the wait staff in the MDR. The food was better than the last several RCCL cruises I've been on but don't count on being able to eat at any time. Not much for snacking and wasn't very good when they did have something. Ship shuts down early. Smaller menu than most in MDR too. Not many choices. The staff was above and beyond of previous cruises. As for kids club, one small room for all kids, as there aren't many. My daughter usually loves to live in them but not so much here. They did their best. I got her a game center card, Horrible to actually get it working, took many times and little to do once accomplished. Very disappointing for her. She usually loves the pool but only 1 and very small :(. She only went a couple of times. She was happy to spend time with me. Casino had NO Smoking which was a plus, wish all were like that. When I was there, no action on any tables and a few playing slots. Not much fun. Activities were almost NON-Existent. Pretty boring at times. Could not do more than a day at sea on this ship. We bought the Voom,Internet package, but it didn't work most of the time, complained about it and the person in charge made excuses, no refund. Upset about that as expensive as it is and he wouldn't even check it out which tell me they know it's horrible. Save your money there. I would do this again just for Havana, not for anything else. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click