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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We just returned yesterday, having flown in to Havana and out of Havana (from Miami from/to Dallas). Rather than go in to Montego Bay (not a huge fan of Jamaica, and have been there a few times) and get on the ship, I wanted to go the ... Read More
We just returned yesterday, having flown in to Havana and out of Havana (from Miami from/to Dallas). Rather than go in to Montego Bay (not a huge fan of Jamaica, and have been there a few times) and get on the ship, I wanted to go the Havana route. We got in 2 days early to really see Havana and get a feel for the city. We wanted a smaller ship and one that hit more than just Havana for a day. It was definitely worthwhile and we are very happy we did it. Being from the U.S., we were part of the people-to-people program, which meant that we had different tours (don’t know why) and a couple of different presentations on the ship. The ship stays 2 days in Havana, 1 day at sea going counterclockwise around to the central city of Cienfuegos, then down to Jamaica, then back up to Cuba to hit Santiago, then another day at sea to keep on the way to Havana. We had tours that were part of the cost—in Cienfuegos, in Havana, in Santiago. The buses were really nice and the tour guides were perfect—Cubanacan tour company. English was great, they answered our questions, and did not shy away form tough questions about poverty, the government, etc. It was nice having the drinks as part of the package. There really isn't much of a reason to upgrade to the gold package (the standard is the blue package). The wine was fine, not great. The gold package has some better wines, some better scotch (although my husband the scotch-drinker said that he did not think that Glenfiddich was a premium scotch--it is on the gold package). The ship has a buffet eating area, the Leda, as well as the Amalthia formal dining room. There is also the Olympus dining room, which was not open. There was a variety of food possibilities in the buffet, as well as the dining room. The food was good, not exceptionally wonderful. This did not bother my husband and me since we went on this trip to learn about Cuba, not eating all day. Cienfuegos was interesting, although not that much to see. Still……a nice little tour and time to just sit in the square and soak things in. Better was Santiago………the battle of San Juan Hill, the wonderful Spanish fort/castle that guards the bay there, etc. The rooms on the ship were fine, rather similar to ones we have been on with RC, Celebrity, Princess. The turn on/off on the shower took some figuring out. Nice, small balconies. We were on the port side, and so we faced land all of the time..…..great location. Our cabin 7028 was way at the back of the ship, right in the best area to quickly get down to the restaurants, pool, lounges, etc . Cabins 7029 and 7030 would be great also, although 7030 would be the best because its balcony was the biggest (because of the slope on the back of the ship). Amazingly enough, we had entertainment every night, except for the 1st night (lots of people went to the Tropicana cabaret). The band, the singers, and the dancers were all Cuban-----really good, every night a different 1 hour special—Afro-Cuban music/dances, fiesta, a story about the revolution (that one was a bit of a stretch, though), etc. And the musician/singer duo called Duo Jaleo in the Eros Lounge every night was really good. I did all of the dance lessons (salsa, meringue, mambo, bachata, cha cha) as well as Zumba. Martha, the main instructor, was a blast. Charming, funny, good instructor. Her classes with Cuban music were great. My husband even got in on a couple of the dance classes. All sorts of other 1 hour presentations were going on—documentaries about Cuba, everything about Cuban music and instruments, everything about cigars, how to make Cuban dishes, Cuban drink making, etc. Many of them were put together by our resident Havana-born expert, Dr. Jorge Arocha. I did not go to bingo, to making animals with towels, or anything like that. During those times when there was nothing I wanted to go to, I just hung out with my book reading in a lounge or on the deck, or by the pool. The crew was a head above any other cruise line in being nice and welcoming. Absolutely went out of their way to be helpful as well as just talking about their daily activities. Remember that this ship is small, made for around 1000 people only (although there were probably around 250-350 on it during our stay. I like the size of the ship better than the huge ships with 3000 people and up. The pool is small, but fine for me. Of course, there are some pluses on a big ship—more choices of activities at any hour of the day, a multitude of various kinds of bars, and food entities. If you are the kind of person that needs to have 6 different options of entertainment at any given hour, this is not the ship for you. And also realize that it is an older boat, built in the early 90s. And the ages of the passengers varied from mid-twenties up to eighties, most most being in the 50-60 age area. If anyone is concerned about being from the U.S., I can tell you this was a non-issue. Actually, I think that any danger you hear about are hyped to scare people. Our visas were not a problem getting in/out of the country, and when we went through customs in Miami, they could have cared less about the fact we came form Cuba. Not even a question about opening up a suitcase to look inside. A total nothing. We had no crime perpetrated on us, no dangers we faced, no sonic booms, or anything. Just really nice people who like Americans, and other tourists. I'd travel on this ship again, probably more likely in Greece. If I go to Cuba again, it would be a land tour. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose this cruise for its itinerary which started from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and circumnavigated Cuba, stopping at Santiago de Cuba, Havana, and Cienfuegos. The ship was quite nice, well maintained. The staff was very friendly and ... Read More
I chose this cruise for its itinerary which started from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and circumnavigated Cuba, stopping at Santiago de Cuba, Havana, and Cienfuegos. The ship was quite nice, well maintained. The staff was very friendly and helpful,the food was excellent, and the entertainment was outstanding. The included tours of the three cities, and the drinks package were good deals. The only extra expense was the $149 each cost for the Tropicana Club evening. That was actually worth it! The person-to-person enrichment lectures by a U of Havana historian were very informative. There were also documentary movies about Cuban history and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Americans received a certificate at the end of the cruise, which could be used to satisfy a current US Treasury requirement that travel to Cuba be for educational/humanitarian reasons. The ship was way below its capacity of 1200 passengers. While that is great for the passengers who are onboard, the company deserves more business, considering what a great time we had. I am happy to recommend this cruise. Read Less
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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I selected this cruise because it was offered by Apple Vacations as an authorized People-to-People tour for Americans and it was a smaller ship (since I had never been on a cruise before, the idea of being on a boat with 1000's of ... Read More
I selected this cruise because it was offered by Apple Vacations as an authorized People-to-People tour for Americans and it was a smaller ship (since I had never been on a cruise before, the idea of being on a boat with 1000's of other travelers was not my idea of vacation.) There is a more luxurious (MORE expensive) cruise line that also cruises around Cuba but I'm not one who needs be waited on hand-and-foot so I didn't want to pay for it! For those now worried about too many Americans "ruining" the experience, the guest ratio on our trip was about one-third. Most guests were probably 50+ on our sailing (but there were a few 20 and 30-somethings). No young children on our trip. Our sailing was below the 900ish guest capacity. Maybe only 1/3 full so the staff was not overwhelmed/busy so we took the opportunity to try to have conversations with many of them. We learned where they were from (Bali, Cuba, Philippines, Mauritius and others) and life on a cruise ship for 10 month contract. From the Cuban staff, we learned about growing up and living on the island. There was one full service restaurant not open during our trip (not sure if that was because of low guest count or refurbishment?) but that was OK. We never had a problem getting a seating for dinner. We chose to eat at the buffet for breakfasts and lunches while on-board. Menu changed nightly in full service restaurant. Breakfast buffet was the same every day. Lunch buffet varied slightly day-to-day, including a poolside cook-out one day. Only attended two of the nightly "big show" (Cirque and Caberet) and in my opinion they were surprisingly good considering the ship size. There was an instrumental band that played other times on pool deck and before/after shows which was good. There was also entertainment in the Euros lounge but we didn't participate. Tours for US citizens are included (except Tropicana in Havana). The dancing presentation at the "culture stop" in Santiago was too long in my opinion. Liked having free time to eat/shop/explore between tours in Havana on both bays. Tropicana cost $149 (included transportation, champagne welcome drink, rum and cola)... worth it! Costumes are amazing! Weather was perfect to sit on the back-of-the-ship patio bar anytime of day. That was our favorite spot for great sunsets, cigar smoking, great conversations with other guests and staff! We learned staff is assigned to a specific bar for a week so Emerson, Eka and Jodanys were our bartenders and they took great care of us. All were incredibly kind and friendly (so it was sad for me to leave). The waiters were Sandra, Ilena, Isabella and Alejandro that week and we enjoyed talking with them also. Emerson would get a few hours break from the patio bar and then return to the disco bar for the end of the night festivities (karaoke then dancing). Again, he took great care of us! For breakfast and lunch, we sat on the pool deck where Konool and Pratiksha often took great care of us. Edwin was often the bartender there... and he has a great voice too which we learned at karaoke one night ... and then asked him to join us for a song (or two) other nights. I'm hoping (because it was slow), it was ok for him to leave his post to be part of a guest's duet (GREAT SERVICE!!!) Our housekeepers did a great job too! Sorry I didn't catch there names but I saw them occasionally in the halls in mornings and evenings where they would politely greet me (and I even got a compliment on my outfit one night). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose this cruise because I wanted to visit multiple places in Cuba. My parents took this cruise in March, and loved it. It was my first cruise, so between that and the newness of the Cuba experience, I was not sure what to expect. It ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to visit multiple places in Cuba. My parents took this cruise in March, and loved it. It was my first cruise, so between that and the newness of the Cuba experience, I was not sure what to expect. It was amazing. Let me start out addressing critiques I've seen elsewhere -- yes, it's an older ship and it's small. If you're looking for a Quantum of the Seas type experience, this is not the place to look for it. The whole point of this cruise (at least for American travelers) is the educational experience -- the people to people itinerary for seeing Cuba. This was my first cruise, and I found the size of the ship perfect. It's easy to find your way around, and there are lovely back decks to hang out on as well as a sun deck on the top floor. It is IMPECCABLY clean -- cleaning staff are at work all the time, and the cabin crew serviced my cabin at least twice a day. I had problems with my toilet at checkin and it was fixed within a very short time. We only had about 200-odd people on our cruise between Montego Bay and Havana -- I would guess that went up to 300 or so when people embarked in Havana. (By the way, don't embark in Havana. You'll miss one of the two days the ship docks in Havana, plus, I don't think Montego Bay is all that great. Embark in Montego Bay, and be sure to book Club Mobay for your trip home. After all, you're booking a Cuba cruise, get the whole Cuba experience!) I think the low numbers were partly due to time of year but we were also told that numbers of travelers on this trip was lower this year -- due to the election? Due to terrorism? Whatever the reason, it's a good/bad situation. Good because those of us on the cruise got so much personal attention!!!! I felt bad for the many staff who were just standing around waiting to be helpful -- I am sure it was not fun for them. But they were unfailingly gracious and attentive. It felt like we had our own private cruise! (Shout out to Alina, Zdanek, and Zander!) Lots of space, lots of comfort. A lot of people I talked to at home were surprised Cuba travel is still allowed -- it is! This trip is totally legal, and I wish more Americans would take it. The professor (Dr. Jorge Arocha) who does the lectures is an energetic, smart speaker. I am a college professor, and I really admired his pedagogy and how he framed Cuban history and culture. He emphasized that the questions we ask are more important than the answers -- so true! The food is pretty good: not great, but pretty good and there is always a LOT of it. I mostly ate at the buffet which has a nice outside deck. The sit-down restaurant is also quite nice. There are lots of activities if you want, but also time to just chill (no one is required to attend the lectures or Cuba activities on board, but I highly recommend you do). The at sea days are perfectly times between the three stops: Santiago de Cuba, Havana, and Cienfuegos. If you are American, don't worry about changing money to Euros or Canadian-- you can very easily change USD at every port right off the ship. Even though there is a 10% levy (87 cents to one CUC) I think by the time you exchange your money into Canadian/Euros and pay fees etc there it's not worth it. The excursions were great -- excellent guides and destinations. The first night in Havana, I purchased the extra excursion to the Tropicana from the ship. I think it was a little overpriced, but it was really fun. My point is: don't be afraid to find an excursion of your own for that first night in Havana if there is something that interests you differently. You also will have several hours to yourself in Havana the second day, which is great! Kids will not find this cruise very exciting: there were no kids on my ship (which makes it nice for adults) and I suspect they would not find the historical stuff interesting unless their interests really tended that way and they were teenagers. Age range of passengers: 40+; lots of retirees. I am 50 and made friends with some lovely people my age on the ship. Also: I am not a cruise entertainment kind of person: but the entertainment here completely won me over. The evening shows are utterly charming and so well done by the company! What else...had a facial that was great (yay Rose!) and not really too badly priced for the setting. There is a small but nice fitness center and steam/sauna. I had to pay an 80% upcharge because I was traveling alone. Even so, I think this cruise was an incredible value. And for people sharing a cabin, even more so. I would do this trip again in a minute. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
For our first cruise, we wanted a smaller ship and were very interested in visiting multiple locations in Cuba. We were not disappointed! Excursions in Santiago de Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos were excellent with knowledgeable & fun ... Read More
For our first cruise, we wanted a smaller ship and were very interested in visiting multiple locations in Cuba. We were not disappointed! Excursions in Santiago de Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos were excellent with knowledgeable & fun tour guides. Our week was a 'slow' one on board with only 110-210 passengers. Perfect for getting to know people and superb service everywhere. Chef Jesus in the Leda buffet (and leader of two cooking demos we attended) was the reason why we ate in the buffet for every single meal (except for our night out in Havana when we went to Cafe Taberna). The food was amazing, Jesus shared cooking tips and was always so pleasant. Gaspar, Ritesh, Nadia, Isabelle and Zunami in the Thalassa bar went above and beyond, not only serving drinks but sharing information about themselves and asking questions about where we live in Canada. I don't think they've ever seen anyone drink as many Americano coffees as my husband did on this cruise! We highly recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We liked this cruise because it was a totally Cuban cruise, in spite of the fact that it spent one day in Montego Bay to refuel and load supplies. Most of the other cruises we saw were Caribbean cruised that only spent one day visiting ... Read More
We liked this cruise because it was a totally Cuban cruise, in spite of the fact that it spent one day in Montego Bay to refuel and load supplies. Most of the other cruises we saw were Caribbean cruised that only spent one day visiting Havana. In addition, Crystal is a smaller ship which is great for embarking and disembarking. Our cabin was small but clean and our attendants kept the cabin very clean and were great offering to change our towels various times during the day.The food was good and the entertainment fantastic, among the best compared with Seabourn, Silverseas and Windstar. But what we mainly liked was the great service we received on board from the crew and especially from the Cuban members of the crew and entertainment staff that put on fabulous shows and also gave us great tips for onshore visits. The excursions were good and informative about the Cuban people, their music and arts but nothing exciting. Overall i would rate the ship and the service almost on a par with Seabourn, Silverseas and Windstar but for the cost-value it was definitely a 5 star. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Cabin 6204. We chose this cruse because we wanted to see different cities of Cuba without the hassle of travel and hotel changes. We wanted an all inclusive trip and this was perfect! And the People to People program was of interest to us ... Read More
Cabin 6204. We chose this cruse because we wanted to see different cities of Cuba without the hassle of travel and hotel changes. We wanted an all inclusive trip and this was perfect! And the People to People program was of interest to us and I must say the instructors on the ship were excellent and we enjoyed all of the classes. It made the trip much more interesting. Kudos to Jerry and Jorge for their excellent teaching and information, we now have a much better understanding of the country and it's history thanks to them. We had a junior balcony suite and it was very comfortable. The only thing I would say is bring a 3 way adapter for the one and only 120v electrical outlet to charge multiple devices. If you have European gear and plugs no worries. Not a lot of closet space for long items but you don't need a lot of clothes for the trip anyway. Bath and shower a little tight but it's not a big boat! I would like to say Thank you to all the crew of the Crystal. They went above and beyond in all areas to make this a trip to remember. Thanks to Raphaella for keeping us up to date on tours and tickets, she has a great big smile and was always watching out for us. Raphaella my hair is blond remember! Thanks to Martha for teaching me how to 1,2,3 and boom! I can't dance any better but I look good! Thanks to Mahley my Karaoke Queen from her King! And Vladimir (Stop the bus), thanks for the fun and games. To the cast of the theater and the band all I can say is WOW! You amazed night after night show after show. Your talent is amazing. Thanks to Big Willie and all the dining crew that made every meal an event! To Rubia; Thank you for your beautiful smile and always watching out for us and taking care of us. You were a pleasure to be around everyday. Special thanks to Danny for his never ending energy and flow of information. He was a pleasure to be around anytime of the day or night. He is like the Energizer Bunny, keeps going and going and going! And to the medical crew a special thanks also for their treatment of my minor sunburn, you were wonderful! This was absolutely one of the most enjoyable cruses that we have been on. I would recommend to everyone that if you are considering a cruse to Cuba, based on our experience this is absolutely the one to take to see the country and have a wonderful time. Thanks again to the wonderful team on the Celestyal Crystal, you were wonderful! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We just came back from cruising around the island OF CUBA on the Celestial Crystal and had a blast. The ship may be older, but it is in great condition and spotless!!The staff on this ship is what made this cruise so exceptional. The ... Read More
We just came back from cruising around the island OF CUBA on the Celestial Crystal and had a blast. The ship may be older, but it is in great condition and spotless!!The staff on this ship is what made this cruise so exceptional. The waiters are so attentive, the cabin stewarts eager to please and the entertainment staff are full of energy with lots of activities. Danny, the head of the entertainment is full of energy. Martha is another ball of fire and gets people motivated and interested in participating in the ships activities. We found the food very tasty with lots of selections, and the afternoon tea, well lets say we all came home more than a few pounds heavier! The excursions were informative and well run with excellent tour guides. I loved the Cuban culture and people. You also can't miss the evenings entertainment performances. The Cirque dance group are totally professional and could very well be in Vegas! I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose this Cuba cruise because my husband wanted to go to Cuba and I wanted to go on a cruise. First time for both of us. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. The ship is an older, smaller ship but very clean and well ... Read More
I chose this Cuba cruise because my husband wanted to go to Cuba and I wanted to go on a cruise. First time for both of us. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. The ship is an older, smaller ship but very clean and well staffed. The pool and hot tub were tiny (only 1). But I didn't really go on this trip for swimming. The crew were amazing!! The waiters/bar staff were excellent. This trip included tips but the service was so good that they deserved extra tips! The food in the buffet and the a la cart (Almathia restaurant) was very delicious and plentiful. The bar menu covered many drinks; liquers, wines & beer (can), Spanish coffees, etc, I really enjoyed the rose wine with dinner, my husband preferred the red wine. The excursions were all very good, just remember to bring a water bottle from the ship before leaving. Every excursion did include an alcoholic drink which was nice. Daquiri at Flordita bar in Havana, rum punch in Jamaica, Cuba Libra in Cienfuegos and Rum in Santiago. The entertainment team put on amazing shows in the evening! Danny the entertainment director was so charming and informative. He is from Romania and speaks many languages. He has been with Celestyal Cruises since 2006 I believe. Martha was another standout person on the ship. Very outgoing and enthusiastic! I would recommend this cruise to anyone who would like to see Cuba with everything all included in the trip. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chose this cruise due to price and location. Had a Jr. Balcony Suite. This room had a very poor.. There was a refrigerator in the middle of the closet, thus no room to hang clothes unless they were to lean against the frig. The safe was on ... Read More
Chose this cruise due to price and location. Had a Jr. Balcony Suite. This room had a very poor.. There was a refrigerator in the middle of the closet, thus no room to hang clothes unless they were to lean against the frig. The safe was on the floor had to get down on a knee to use. Then if following the instructions that were with the safe was not the way I was showed how to use the safe. Maybe saw the cabin steward twice the whole week and it was at least day 3 before even knew if room steward was male or female! Had sign in room if left towel hanging then would not change, but changed every time. The trash cans were the ones with step on lids, what a pain. The toilet paper holder was a reach for even me a tall person, the the end of the roll is looped inside the roller!. The front desk could never really answer any questions! The food variety was a little to be desired! The fact that you had to pay to get a hamburger was astonishing and no ice cream outside restaurant without paying. The activities were a joke, no prizes, except you got to keep your answer sheet! We only saw the cruise director when she introduced the shows! They would leave a polish on the hand rails so after you came down the stairs your hands would be black! The way they did the white drink package was totally a mystery as to why it worked the way it did. For every time you ordered a drink they had to scan the card even if you were still in the same location. The excursions were good you just never knew how long they were going to last, The disembarkation was a real joke as you did not know what time you were to depart and when they made an announcement you could not hear ir even setting in a lounge! Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A N/A

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