This was the inaugural cruise to Cuba for this ship and this cruiseline.. Having cruised on this ship with it's Great Lakes Itinerary, we were anxious to be a part of the "cultural exchange" experience being offered with this Cuba cruise.
First off, we were very impressed with the entire staff on this ship. Everyone was extremely helpful and friendly. In just a short time, we all seemed to know one another by name.
The included excursions were, for the most part, outstanding. A couple days, the time seemed to run a bit long, and everyone was exhausted by the time we got back to the ship, but the excursions were very rewarding.
The only negative we could see, was that two travel agencies had each booked a number of cruisers on board, and provided a "coordinator" with the group. It became apparent, that these two groups had a "preferred" status - always seemed to have info prior to the remainder of the cruisers, were always the first groups to arrive at the events and got the choice seats for viewing and listening, etc.
Also on board was a Victory Cruise Lines director of programs and entertainment, and with that director was a party of 12 people. This party had an "entitlement" approach to much of what was taking place on the ship. For instance, we were to meet up with another couple we had met on board, and have dinner at the deck 4 Cliff Rock Grille. That couple had gone early to the Cliff Rock Grille, and taken a table in "open seating" at the rear of the ship that was quiet and out of the way, and one that provided a very nice view. After being there and ordering their wine to go with dinner, and while waiting for us to join them, they were asked to move to another table. They were told that in spite of the open seating policy, this entitled group of 12 wanted that particular table and the adjoining ones with the best views, for their group dinner. When we arrived and learned of the situation, we encouraged them to join us and leave the Cliff Rock Grille, and take our dinner in the MDR on deck 1. As it turns out, that group of 12 had done some similar thing to this couple on the first night of the cruise.
The guest speakers on the cruise were quite varied, and most provided a "treasure" of information. All guest speakers had accommodations on deck 4.
Cabins were quite small, with just two people we were alway in one another's way. The beds were great, the cabins clean, the bathroom adequate. The A/C was either on or off, there was no way to adjust for a continuous comfort zone.
Included a trip to "bay of pigs".