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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We left for our cruise about four days after the executive order that trips to Cuba are no longer allowed. NCL took a while to announce what our new itinerary would be and what our discounts would be, but we were very pleased with the ... Read More
We left for our cruise about four days after the executive order that trips to Cuba are no longer allowed. NCL took a while to announce what our new itinerary would be and what our discounts would be, but we were very pleased with the information when it was announced. We were originally supposed to do Cuba overnight, a day at sea, then Great Stirrup Cay. They replaced the Cuba days with Freeport and Nassau. We have cruised royal and Disney several times each, and this was our first NCL trip. We selected it for Cuba, but were determined to make the best of the trip regardless of the change. The ship itself was small, which we were expecting. The decor was nice and not garish. The layout to get to the Crossings dining room was awkward but we eventually got the hang of it. The feel was relaxed and the crew was very friendly. Our room was small. We were expecting that, being spoiled by DCL's larger rooms but we had forgotten just how small inside rooms were on other lines. We had to shift the bed about 1" every night so I could get around the cabinet without getting my leg stuck. The decor was nice, the room was clean. We were in 0138, which is right below the teen club. That was a mistake. It was very loud and there was a clunky noise or scraping noise seemingly 24/7. The dining was perfectly acceptable. We rarely do specialty restaurants and did none on this trip. I was disappointed that the sit-down lunch offered the same menu every single day. There were not enough things there that sounded good so we ended up doing the buffet which isn't our favorite but there was more to choose from than we could possibly eat so it was fine. The pretzel buns are AMAZING I am going to try to make some at home. The beef dishes were good. I found most of the soups to be very overly salted. I thought the freestyle dining was amazing, and I wasn't expecting to like it. Seating was fast, the restaurants were nice, we liked the privacy as well. The food itself seemed comparable to both DCL and RCCL and we were happy with that. Snacks in the casino were fun to try late at night as well. The breakfast buffet was really repetitive, but there was enough to select from so again it was fine. We found the sushi bar late into the trip. The service there was excellent and we had never had sushi before. We really enjoyed the spot. The view was nice, the bar was quiet and friendly. It really was a very nice space to spend some time. The main shows on the Sky were quite cheesy. Props to the cast they really did put in a lot of energy and effort. DH and I were both theatre majors and enjoy shows but these were not our style. The audience was very well mannered and the cast was really talented. We tried a couple of the group games and those were fun as well. The trivia looked fun from afar. We did not do the outdoor activities because they really aren't our style. I peeked in at the movies and those seemed like fun also. Quiet and relaxing. The bingo game we went to was a good time as well. The staff did a good job of keeping things fun. I do prefer more enrichment type activities, there was very little of that offered on this type of trip and on this ship. Our cabin steward was very prompt and did a good job. We only saw him two times but he always remembered our names and was very friendly. The convenience of the onboard account info being on our app was incredible. I wish the venue hours were in the app as well as the scheduled activities. The food service staff were always friendly, but not all were attentive. It just depended on the evening. We did three ports. Freeport was BEAUTIFUL. DH chose a sailing excursion and it was hands-down the most beautiful day we've ever had in port. Our second stop was Nassau, which is always our least favorite. We did a snorkeling tour and felt like we were cats being herded but the snorkeling was good. Great Stirrup Cay was a great little private island. We don't enjoy beach days much but do love to snorkel. There wasn't a lot to see, but it was calm, sunny, the equipment was clean and in good shape, and we really did enjoy ourselves. Even with a smaller ship, and a short Bahamas itinerary, we've decided that NCL is a great fit for us. We enjoy excursions and taking it easy, and even though there are lots of activities offered, there's a lot of opportunity for just kicking back and relaxing if that's your style. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I got this cruise playing MyVegas so only had to pay port fees. We found out 6 days before we sailed that we would not be going to Cuba. We were disappointed but we were also going on vacation so just adjusted our plans. We did have to ... Read More
I got this cruise playing MyVegas so only had to pay port fees. We found out 6 days before we sailed that we would not be going to Cuba. We were disappointed but we were also going on vacation so just adjusted our plans. We did have to fly to Fort Lauderdale which took 30 hours due to storms in Atlanta. Spent Sunday at a hotel. Left the hotel and in less than 1 hour we were on the ship. It is a smaller ship, it did seem like some people cancelled as it was not very busy. Our cabin was fine. Always clean and cute towel animals. Crew were always friendly and helpful. Saw crew members cleaning the halls and other areas also. Food was good, as were the drinks. Drinks were very strong which surprised me. Used to all inclusive at which are not strong at all. Stayed on board in Nassau, really enjoyed CocoCay. We did have a really good time on this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Port of Tampa was very easy port to get into and park. We had Priority Boarding went great on the ship and eating lunch in 10 min. Carnival Paradise is a smaller ship but has all the upgrades and easy to get around lines were very ... Read More
Port of Tampa was very easy port to get into and park. We had Priority Boarding went great on the ship and eating lunch in 10 min. Carnival Paradise is a smaller ship but has all the upgrades and easy to get around lines were very short every time. The food was the best that we have had on our last few cruises, it was good very good. The staff was very efficient and the ship was always clean and well maintained. Had an elevator go out but was fixed in one day. The only complaint we had was the same as all our resent cruises. Carnival need to be able to figure out the Dance Club. Either the club was not open or the music was for young people all the time. I would think that the cruise line could look at the age of the cruisers and play music that we can relate to. We understand playing music to all age group. We are smokers and this club is one of the three areas on the ship we can smoke but we either run into a locked door or the music is not something we like, and the DJ will not play music on request at all, if he does not like what you are asking for. Over all we had a great cruise and always recommend Carnival Cruise line to our friends Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We liked the idea that in 7 nights there was only one full sea day with a 30 hours as our last stop in Havana. Havana was the highlight of the itinerary and probably the best port to visit in the Caribbean. The ship docks in the harbor ... Read More
We liked the idea that in 7 nights there was only one full sea day with a 30 hours as our last stop in Havana. Havana was the highlight of the itinerary and probably the best port to visit in the Caribbean. The ship docks in the harbor and it's steps away from the old town galleries, bars and restaurants. The people are very entertaining and welcoming without being overwhelming. Although there is poverty there is no begging and we never felt unsafe. Fellow pax, whose Cuban from Miami, went out with a bunch of gold necklaces and bracelets without fear. Some American pax on a photography adventure, having been there previously went with their expensive equipment without worry. We enjoyed great lunches at about US$60. 2 daiquiris and 2 national beers were $10. The National Hotel terrace should be on everyone's itinerary. There is a HOHO bus that you should use to get acquainted. Armonia is an older ship without grand interior spaces. It has a long pool deck and the loungers and pools did not seem crowded. The entertainment team was energetic and the productions were entertaining. Food was good but not impressive. We had open dining on the Fantastica package. Our servers, Francis and Pravesh were very professional friendly and attentive, excellent team. We Booked about 5 days prior and got an UG from Balcony to suite. We had the basic drink package of up to $6 included. It was good for my partner as he doesn't drink. I UG to premium package and probably broke even since we were in ports for so many days. Either package included water and gelato, I think only mine included espressos and Red Bull and top shelf liquor, some of which got scarce at certain bars. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The ship is obviously older and doesn't have all the bells and whistles as a new big ship. That, being said, the ship is beautiful and well maintained. We have never been on any ship with such outstanding service all around. The food ... Read More
The ship is obviously older and doesn't have all the bells and whistles as a new big ship. That, being said, the ship is beautiful and well maintained. We have never been on any ship with such outstanding service all around. The food was fantastic is the dining room and the wait staff and maitre d's were always on top of everything. Even the Captain and his executive staff were always around, visible, friendly, and very approachable. For the affordable price we paid, this may have been our best cruise yet. The ship is small and easy to navigate. We have never been on a ship where the boat arrives early to the ports, giving us extra time to explore. The ports, Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and most of all, Havana are all excellent. Havana was clean, safe, friendly, welcoming, and amazingly fun. The overnight there afforded us a memorable walk and an unforgettable night. We want to go back to Havana someday. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to go to Cuba and I had always loved RC. However, this was the a terrible ship. The smell of sewage was overwhelming. During the disembark the crew blamed the smell on Keywest. If I weren't a local Floridan I might have ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and I had always loved RC. However, this was the a terrible ship. The smell of sewage was overwhelming. During the disembark the crew blamed the smell on Keywest. If I weren't a local Floridan I might have believed them. Also, it didnt explain the gut wrenching smell on the 4th floor at sea. The room was a interior nightmare. The ceiling was multi-colored stained old smoke room. The Anniversary package we purchased was late and left a lot to be desired. The AC was broken , except for 1 night out of 5. The bathroom , had old scum on the walls and the previous guest hair hanging from the shower head - upon arrival. The carpet was definitely in need of replacement. The door handle to the bathroom had several screws sticking out - that took the crew 3 days to repair. Into say the room was a let down was completely and understatement. The whole room needs a scrub down and new paint The ports were excellent . Keywest, cozumel and Cuba. The excursions we had to cancel because of running late / lack of information were quickly resolved and the staff were very helpful. The pool bars and staff were overwhelmed and it showed. The crew is usually upbeat and get the party started. Unfortunately, this crew looked over worked and stressed. They weren't going out of their way to show a smile or make you feel important. The wind jammer had standard cruise buffet food. The only happy person was the washy-washy young lady. They guarded the ice cream machine with the smallest cones, I'd ever seen. My poor boyfriend resorted to getting two at a time. The main dining room was just blah... the crew again looked stressed and asked me to give a positive review. Just kinda hoped for more since I'm a seasoned cruiser and this was my boyfriend's 1st cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are Diamond members on RCCL and have been on the Majesty four times. Time has taken it's toll as the ship "celebrated" it's 27th birthday during our cruise. Our inside cabin was tiny but it's been a long time ... Read More
We are Diamond members on RCCL and have been on the Majesty four times. Time has taken it's toll as the ship "celebrated" it's 27th birthday during our cruise. Our inside cabin was tiny but it's been a long time since we had an inside cabin. I just know insides on the larger ships are noticeably larger. We loved the food for dinner and our wait staff..the real highlight of the ship. Food in the Windjammer was up and down. The burgers, hot dogs, scrambled eggs and sausages were luke warm at best. The seats on the sides in the theater were worn and not comfortable and the drink holders did not accommodate the glasses..so you had to hold your drink the entire time. The hallways and public areas need some serious renovation. The captain even said the Majesty (and the Empress) might have been sold if it wasn't for their ability to fit into the Cuban ports. This was our last cruise on the Majesty. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go visit Cuba and Key West with my husband. Carnival has found a way to nickel and dime you even when you pay for all such as drink package. No bartenders except in serenity that were eager to serve you. Anton was awesome and the only one to come back and keep us happy. All other bars you had to go to them and wait! Since they do automatic gratuity you get poor service. Food was ok....best thing was guys cheeseburgers. Tiny cups for water. Soda was flat that was part of my drink package. Not much entertainment during the day. Comedy shows were pretty good. One pool for whole ship. Definitely outdated even though it says remodeled in 2019. Would not recommend. Budget vacation/ budget ship! Very disappointed. We bought alcohol and was told by airport that cruise ship should have given us a bag for carrying it on plane-nope didn’t happen so we lost alcohol at security. Mel the cruise ship director was kind of rude. She didn’t have great things going on to engage cruisers. We could have visited Cuba on Tuesday and spent more time in Key West. Went on Monday to Cuba and all Museums are closed on Mondays...... Had to pay a $75/pp visa to go to Cuba. Our room attendant did a great job! Greeted us by first name every time we saw him! Asked me what I wanted done on a daily basis whether I needed more towels etc. he was always smiling!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary which included an over night in Cuba. We did the 7 day cruise. For starters, embarkation, was smooth with the exception of security in Miami. I had outside food with me and one guy said it ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary which included an over night in Cuba. We did the 7 day cruise. For starters, embarkation, was smooth with the exception of security in Miami. I had outside food with me and one guy said it was ok to go through with it. Then someone else stopped me and said I couldnt go through with it. We told her the other guy said it was ok, they went back aNd forth,then let me get theough with my food only to have someone else come again and say i couldnt. Get it together people yes or no. I got annoyed and threw it away. Everything else went smoothly. The crew was awesome. They interacted a lot with the cruisers.They were entertaining and put on a good show. We went to three shows and we enjoyed each one. Don't expect Las Vegas quality but it was still fun and entertaining. There were other activities like bingo and trivia. Linking room card to credit card was easy via a kiosk located on two decks. No lines. For us the music was excellent. We love salsa, merengue,bachata and there was plenty of that. Ports of call were amazing especially Cuba. No issues with disembarkation except Disembarking in Cuba took a little longer than expected. Money exchange was quick and easy at the port in Cuba. My least favorite thing was the food. We ate at the main buffet and mdr. Food was just ok. Edible. The pizza and burgers were pretty decent by the pool area. Pizza is ItaLian style not Amercan style. Which I enjoyed but wished there was more selection,toppings. One other thing I didn't like was the smell in the bathroom (balcony cabin deck 9). It wasnt always there but sometimes when toilet lid was open it stunk and shower was extremely tiny. I don't know how a bigger person can fit in there. But overall we enjoyed our cruise and would cruise on Armonia again. Service was excellent. Thank you Armonia. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and ... Read More
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and generally expect some hiccups when traveling by air, boat, or car. I would describe myself as pretty tolerant and not difficult to please. We cruised from Miami on the MSC Armonia on 4/2/19. I booked this cruise and paid in full in January 2018 and we chose the Fantastica package based on the offers with it (drink vouchers, free room service and room choices). I booked directly with MSC by phone. We choose room 7055 with the category of ocean view. Embarkation was fast and smooth. I was impressed we had very little wait time and were on our ship quickly. We were told our vouchers for drinks would be in our stateroom. Staterooms were available by 1:30 pm. That where the disappointment started. No drink vouchers in the room. Our room was very tiny. That is ok, we don't spend much time there. The problem is our ocean view window was in actuality an obstructed view. Clearly the deck plans and category is listed (and priced) as ocean view (indicated on the plans as dark green) and not an obstructed view. Armonia has installed a large net off the bottom of the 8th floor that extends down and across our entire view from our room on the 7th floor. It was clearly there for a long time. I will try and attach picture. This net made it impossible to take any pictures from our window. The bed was large and comfortable. The shower was ridiculously small, with a shower curtain that "sticks" to your body when you shower. The hair dryer was useless, not enough power to dry your hair so bring your own. Those small issues we ignored. The room view I was unhappy with so we went to the desk to voice our complaint. We initially had a long line, but a guest services agent asked us in line what she could do to help. We gave her our issues with not receiving drink vouchers. I had called about this with MSC the day before departure. My fantastica experience was supposed to include 12 vouchers per person. I guess they are discontinuing these on 3/31. Well when I purchased it was advertised. It also was clearly listed on my eticket I had just printed a week before departure as "included in your cruise". I showed this to the first agent we talked to. Her name was Nadia. She said she would take care of the issues and check back after 6pm. Long story short it took 2 days to get the drink vouchers and MULTIPLE trips to the front desk where we had to explain all over again what the issues were. First you get met by a blank stare, then "I don't see any of these issues documented", then the longer you stand there they "find it", and tell you "to come back later, another day, no rooms left etc. It took 4 days and multiple trips to come to a conclusion. At one point on day four just as we are about to leave ship for port we were contacted and told we could move to another ocean view room 7001. Thankfully I insisted on seeing before packing everything up. After waiting 40 min for someone to open the room for a look I discovered this new "ocean view room 7001" didn't even have a window in it. No door to outside, it looked just like an interior room. What a waste of time. Eventually they offered 100.00 in compensation credit. We balked because I already knew the obstructed view rooms were 100.00 less per person. I paid 200.00 more to get that ocean view that really wasn't. By that evening on day four we were told that they would compensate 200.00 total for our cabin. We were told multiple times the ship was full and no other rooms available but met a couple who told us on embarkation that they were asked if they would like to upgrade to balcony rooms. I feel we were lied to multiple times and put off in hopes we would just give up. Our rooms was kept spotless by our steward. We appreciated that. The shows I saw prior on this forum were rated as poor. We actually really enjoyed them. The acrobats and entertainment were amazing. The bands in bars and public areas were frequent and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the variety night by the crew. The pool was clean and temperature comfortable. The hot tub was a disappointment as well. There were two onboard. They held 4 people each for a ship of 2000 that was not sufficient. The last two days on board one hot tub was drained and never refilled. We did not buy any MSC excursions. We purchased our own directly from a vendor before departure. We took an old car tour while in Cuba. There is paperwork you have to fill out in advance for Cuba. You do have to pay 75.00 pp to get a visa to be allowed to disembark in Cuba. We enjoyed Cuba very much and were overnight in that port. Some confusion on if cigars are allowed back into the US. Law says yes but I saw a couple stopped when boarding by the Cuban officials telling them they were confiscating them because they were not allowed. Money is easy to exchange as soon as you get off the ship in the terminal. You can change it back again if you have any left over. Cozumel with spent the day relaxing at Chankanaab Park. 12.00 for two people in a cab to get there. Cab drivers like to gouge and charged the same ride back 15.00 for two people. Grand Caymen we spent the day at Royal Palms beach club. 2.00 entrance fee pp. 5.00 pp taxi ride there. Very nice beaches there, but you will pay 15.00 for a chair and 15.00 for an umbrella. Now, the food. I am not a picky eater. My husband is. But even I felt the food was very poor in the buffet in particular. It was often seen two days in a row. The food choices were not huge. The buffet items were often empty. The carved meats were doled out in the size for a child. The breads were good. The pizza was excellent. The grill was the staple for my husbands cruise. The dining room was better, but not a huge menu either. The service in the dining room was excellent. The buffet area was too small for the number of passengers. It was always crowded and hard to find a seat and if you did the table was dirty and you had to wait for someone to wipe it off. The staff in there seemed overwhelmed most times. We never got a visit asking for drink orders in the buffet area unless we sought one out or went and got it from the bar ourselves. Once I got a waiter for a drink on the pool deck when I stopped one. Otherwise, we had to go to the bar and get our own drinks. Other ships I have been on have multiple wait staff walking around getting orders on the pool deck. The fantastica package says free room service. Literally the only thing free with that was 3 sandwiches, 2 salads, 1 soup, cookies, brownie, fruit plate or continental breakfast. I ordered mild and cereal and my milk cam heated up in a teapot. ? The full breakfast and dinners came with additional 7.95 service charge. I didn't use it. Not sure why fantastica has "free room service" on their offer. There does not seem to be many public bathrooms on board and those we did use were not kept clean frequent enough. The most used ones definitely smelled like urine. Sinks not kept tidy and papers on the floors. Disembarkation was smooth and quick, we carried off our own luggage. All in all the ports and entertainment we enjoyed. I will not cruise with them again, due to the issues that took too long to resolve. There is no reason to book a higher level experience if they do not deliver on the benefits. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Our cabin was very clean and comfortable. "Jake " was our stateroom attendant, and he was very accommodating. He made us a monkey to hang in our room. We love the "freestyle" cruise idea. The drink package was ... Read More
Our cabin was very clean and comfortable. "Jake " was our stateroom attendant, and he was very accommodating. He made us a monkey to hang in our room. We love the "freestyle" cruise idea. The drink package was great, except water was not included. That should be included no matter what package you choose. We received flyers promoting massages. However, when we checked out the prices at the spa, we were told our information was not correct. The spa charges were higher! That was disappointing! Our dining experiences in the "Crossings" and "Palace" rooms were very nice. However, we were not served any lobster. And, our beef strips were fatty with a lot of gristle. Our waiter, Bryan Wilson, was a delight! He was upbeat and very attentive. Our Key West excursions had to be cancelled due to arriving later in the afternoon. We left the cruise ship after 5:00 and had to be back onboard by 9:30 pm. Our number one complaint was the LBGT people reserving the best bar and lookout area at "Spinnakers" for their private parties! We were there twice and our party of eight was asked to leave! THAT IS NOT RIGHT! With over 2,000 passengers onboard, how did this group manage to block the straight guests and why? More entertainment was needed in the "Stardust Theater." Our favorite bartenders were Anita and Giselle. And, our best waiter around the pool deck was Anthony Mendoza. He was exceptional and always smiling! We booked our Cuban excursion through "Trip Advisor." We did the "I Love Cuba Tour" where our guide, Damien, used one of our SD chips and he took photos for our group while visiting the sights. We were in an air-conditioned van for 3-4 hours, then we were in a 1956 Buick convertible for another 1-2 hours. We topped off the tour with a stop at "Casa Fuster" and then a cigar and rum store. This cost half of what NCL was charging! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a couple from Puerto Rico 63/58 y/o, 38 cruises and counting. After reading negative reviews we were worried, but the itinerary with two days in Cuba was perfect. It was one of the best cruise experiences we’ve ever had. If ... Read More
We are a couple from Puerto Rico 63/58 y/o, 38 cruises and counting. After reading negative reviews we were worried, but the itinerary with two days in Cuba was perfect. It was one of the best cruise experiences we’ve ever had. If the ship and gourmet dining is your thing, find something else. If overall value and cruise experience is for you, MSC Armonia won’t disappoint you. The ship: clean and beautiful. The cabin: standard - the shower area is one of the smallest we’ve ever seen. Food is good to excellent. Dining service and ambience is good but noticeably second-rate. Entertainment and Activities: close to the best we’ve ever experienced. Excellent bands, musicians and shows. The entertainment team was full of life. Pool parties: the best and loudest, with a heavy Latin Caribbean touch. Beer $7, drink $9 Roatan: taxi 20 min to West Bay beach $4, ask for a hotel/bar with clean bathroom. Costa Maya: taxi 20 min to the beach $4, Tipsy Turtle Restaurant, clean bathroom, $10 includes chair, umbrella, snorkel/mask, beer $3, drink $5 Cozumel: shopping and Senior Frogs crazy party La Havana: a fascinating world in itself. Did not book any excursions on the ship (as warned), just walked out. Took new taxi for a long ride around the city $40 2hrs+, Old 1958 taxi to the Spanish fort areas $30 1/hr, Show El Guajirito with live 10-piece Latin band, $60 with food and 3 drinks, wonderful. Small bars with music at 2am, back to the ship on a taxi bike and it felt very safe. Embarkation/Debarkation: a breeze, got lucky because we left on Monday and returned on Tuesday, low cruise traffic days. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Many people have criticised this ship, I say trust website’s summary ... more accurate than the negativity, of which there is so much we almost didn’t go. Given it’s one of the few with a Havana stopover we decided to go, and I’m ... Read More
Many people have criticised this ship, I say trust website’s summary ... more accurate than the negativity, of which there is so much we almost didn’t go. Given it’s one of the few with a Havana stopover we decided to go, and I’m glad we did. Not the most modern ship but the facilities are good, the staff helpful and kind, the cabins very comfortable and clean, the dining areas painstakingly cleaned several times times a day, and although the food was hit and miss some of it was actually very good particularly lunches with lots of healthy options like fresh and crunchy salad. This is a budget cruise and you get what you pay for. So I’d say almost 10 out of 10 for value for money and a great cruise itinerary. Favourite place we’re the stern decks, very peaceful as main pool deck could be a little noisy. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because I wanted something quick, I've never been to Cuba and I wanted to see the newly renovated ship. The ship looked nice, the spa was great, the Stardust looked amazing, and the seats were comfortable but ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted something quick, I've never been to Cuba and I wanted to see the newly renovated ship. The ship looked nice, the spa was great, the Stardust looked amazing, and the seats were comfortable but definitely could have used more legroom. The stateroom bathrooms were not touched, and I believe my shower was broken, the water was boiling no matter how I adjusted it. We had a room on deck 10, with a balcony. On most of our other cruises we leave the balcony door cracked to hear the waves. Around 4am, the crew must clean the deck above us because all we could hear we're chairs scraping across the deck, then an hour later they scraped back across. This happened every morning at the same time. We could hear it just as if we were on the deck with them, it was quite the alarm. We also had a party on the deck above us every night playing music until about midnight, and then could hear people talking until about 1am. We could not wait to get home to get a good night sleep. We love cruising, and already have one scheduled for next year, and the next two years after.. but this was quite possibly the worst the wife and I have ever been on. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I’m a “Diamond Plus" member with RCL. The opportunity came up to visit Cuba, and it has always been on my bucket list. Having recently retired, I added this to the list of future cruises I booked with the cruise line. We were ... Read More
I’m a “Diamond Plus" member with RCL. The opportunity came up to visit Cuba, and it has always been on my bucket list. Having recently retired, I added this to the list of future cruises I booked with the cruise line. We were told we could start embarcation at 11:30, but a representative came out and told us that there were going to be delays letting us onboard as the ship "wasn't ready to receive us yet." I found out later that this was the first day it had been our from drydock. Let me start by saying if this had been my first cruise with RCL, it would have been my last. The ship was in such disrepair. The first issue was the pool. The water was green and they covered it with a net so no one could use it for the first two days, and the hot tubs were empty. When we went to use the gym, three of the seven treadmills were out of order and there wasn’t enough equipment to satisfy the demand, so we opted to use the walking deck. This was partially closed off so there was mixed direction because everyone had to turn around and go in a different direction. This resulted in chaos on the deck as joggers tried to dodge the casual walkers going in both directions. We wanted to enjoy a soft-serve cone, but the machine was tagged (just like the treadmills) with a "Out of Order" sign. We had breakfast in the Specialty restaurant CHOPS. When I ordered my eggs benedict, the egg yolks were solid. I ordered an omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers and cilantro, and I received an oil laden omelet with tomatoes, spinach, and onions. While waited for our meal, we observed the paint peeled from the ceiling and beams, as well as missing ceiling tiles. When we went into the Windjammer to get coffee, there were no coffee mugs or soup bowls. We had to hunt them down. In some areas of the the ship, you could smell chemicals, as it was still undergoing renovations such as painting, and carpet removal/replacement. In the hallway where our cabin was located, the halls were extremely hot because the contractors left the doors to the workrooms open and all the heat from there filled the hallways. Certainly not conditions for anyone to be working in, so I understand why they left the doors open to let some of the heat into the hallways. As for our Cabin, it was very tight! You couldn't walk around the bed as the end of the bed was abutted against a small table that held the TV. The location was not desirable, and I'm not sure how we ended up at the front of the ship, when I specifically stated we don't like the front of the ship, we prefer the middle or back. With that being said, we were located directly beneath the theater, so twice nightly we were entertained with the noise of the performers dancing on the floors over our heads. If that wasn't enough to irritate someone, there was the added feature of the anchors going down which rattled our cabin and filled it with noise. Every time we got underway, our room rattled and roared as well. (This wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't get underway at 1:00 a.m. or if it occurred when we weren't in the room) When we ordered drinks from the bar, we asked for a MasterCard (a red and yellow drink) but the bartender used coconut instead of mango when he made it. We had to stand there and watch him the second time to make sure that it didn't have coconut and sure enough, he almost did it again! We booked two tours, but one was cancelled before we even got on the ship. I suppose you could say it was a blessing because the tour that we did book, was a huge disappointment. We were led by a guide about three blocks from the ship to a local restaurant (we walked there), and we sat in a group table. We were served two drinks each (mojito, and cuba libre), and an appetizer (four slices of coldcuts, and cheeses, and shredded carrots and lettuce). There was a band playing in the restaurant - one that Simon Cowl would very quickly shut down - and a couple of dancers. All of this came at the bargain price of over $200/couple. WHAT???? SERIOUSLY!!! This was so bad, that everyone left within an hour. The tour was supposed to start at 9:00 and end at 12:00, but no one was there when we walked past it at 11:00. When we walked out, we went across the courtyard to another restaurant that had a band playing. We ordered two drinks each and an appetizer and the total (including tip) came to $35.00. What a mark-up. If anything, this was an important lesson in NOT BOOKING with the cruiseline for tours in the future. We went for dinner the next night in the same neighborhood and had a lobster dinner and drinks, and the total came to $34.00. (Lobster was $12/plate and drinks were $2.50 ea. (Again, mojitos and cuba libre). Overall a huge disappointment and completely missed all the marks for the amenities that we use while traveling and not what we’ve come to expect from. RCL Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
So we wanted to visit Cuba and thought a cruise would be a stress free way to experience it. While Cuba was great, the cruise part was horrible. The ship had just gotten out of dry dock and was clearly in no way ready to sail with ... Read More
So we wanted to visit Cuba and thought a cruise would be a stress free way to experience it. While Cuba was great, the cruise part was horrible. The ship had just gotten out of dry dock and was clearly in no way ready to sail with passengers. When we first arrived, there were rust stains on our carpet in our state room from the sprinkler, things were dusty, the closet door was off the hinge, our hot water and water pressure didn't work, some drawers didn't open and some did but were old and rickety. There was even an exacto-knife blade left in one of the drawers. Our balcony floor had some sort of grime on it to the point that we didn't even want to step foot out on it. They corrected the stain and water pressure situation. That night however, at about midnight, we began hearing banging and noises that sounded like hammering that went on until 4 in the morning at which time loud moving of table and chairs began. Sure enough, there was a construction crew working in the middle of the night on the pool deck immediately above our cabin. This went on for 3 nights in a row, despite being told it would not happen again. Even when that stopped the 4th night, we would continue to hear the moving of the table and chairs when the cleaning crew began around 4a.m. We go no uninterrupted sleep the entire time! At one point we began to smell very strong sewer stench that went on for two and a half days. There was a maintenance crew working on pipes during that time so clearly there was a problem. We heard from several people that their toilets overflowed and one lady said her hair dryer even caught fire! The entire ship is very dated, with cabinetry in the cabins that don't work, stains on apolstry, musty smells in many areas of the ship, no shade on the pool deck, pool not even filled or working the first two days. The staff did the best they could with a horrible situation and the food was actually quite good. The ship itself was beyond horrible and Royal Caribbean should be ashamed of themselves to send it off in this condition. It absolutely reflects on the quality of this corporation and we will not longer give them our business. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Beautiful ship with large cabins and plenty of public spaces to get away. Lots of restaurants, but food choices were somewhat limited. Like most cruises, there were minor issues along the way, but we really enjoyed this cruise. ... Read More
Beautiful ship with large cabins and plenty of public spaces to get away. Lots of restaurants, but food choices were somewhat limited. Like most cruises, there were minor issues along the way, but we really enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation seemed a bit disjointed with multiple stops. Staggered times based on suite category meant no big lines and cabins immediately ready. Our boarding opened at 2:00 pm. Don’t get too comfortable unpacking and miss lunch as the hours are limited. Welcome champagne glass and a full bottle waiting for you in the suite. We toured and photographed the ship after lunch. Disembarkation went as scheduled with full room service breakfast available (a rarity on most lines). Out of the cabin by 8:30 am, we waited until 9:15 for our group to be called right on time. Uber for two to FLL was less than $12 + tip. Why would anybody spend more for a bus transfer? Ship. So much room throughout the ship that we often asked ourselves, “Where is everybody?” Like many newer ships, this ship has the plethora of quiet places to “hide out.” Lots of elevators and stairs made it a snap to get around. Service and Amenities. Mostly what I would expect for a luxury cruise line. All-inclusive alcohol and wine flowed freely. Water, iced tea, and juice at the gangway with cold washcloths back on the ship. Friendly staff always greeted guests in passing, but don’t expect them to remember your name like they do on much smaller ships. Bulgari toiletries. All the toys in the cabin except binoculars. (I bring my own anyway.) No fresh flowers or fruit in our cabin. Clientele. Most people we met were very experienced cruisers. Some were avid Silversea clients, but quite a few were on their first Silversea cruise. A fair number of Brits. The clientele age was more varied than we expected. We quickly made friends with a lot of interesting people and enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. This is not a ship for kids, although the one 5-year old girl onboard got a lot of attention. Entertainment. Six singers and dancers did all the shows, including their solo acts. Other musicians also onboard for piano music, etc. Enrichment activities. Ira Feldman was our destination lecturer. He was very informative and approachable. We didn’t spend time doing most of the other cruise trivia, bingo, bridge, etc. We like doing puzzles and this ship could use a better location than the card room for that purpose. Restaurants. Very different arrangement than many other cruise lines and we were quite confused when trying to make pre-cruise online reservations. I’ll try to provide the information I wish I had before boarding. There is a cluster of four restaurants on Deck 4. Atlantide is the closest thing to a main dining room and doesn’t require reservations unless you have special requests. Menu only changed slightly once during the cruise. Indochine is similar with an Asian menu, but we never went there. Seishin (Asian) and LeDame (French) are the small, premium restaurants that are pricey and small. Hot Rocks (aka The Grill) is outside on Deck 9 by the pool. For lunch they serve burgers, but for dinner you cook your own food on a hot stone. Just upstairs overlooking the pool is the pizza restaurant Spaccanapoli. It’s not really a dinner restaurant, per se, but it does have a dinner menu if you want pizza. La Terrazza is the buffet converted to a sit-down Italian restaurant in the evening with both indoor and outdoor seating. Surprisingly, it had some of the best food on the ship, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Finally, Silver Note is a nice restaurant on Deck 8 that transitions into a piano bar with dancing at night. Menus vary by restaurant, not by day, so the idea is to try the different venues if you want variety. Finally, Arts Café is a gem of a place to get snacks next to Silver Note. That is where they serve afternoon tea with scones, cake, sandwiches, etc.. Unfortunately, the amazing cakes are replaced with only chocolate after dinner. It’s a good place to get an after dinner drink. The biggest critique I have is that afternoon post-shore excursion food was limited. Waiting an hour to get a burger from The Grill or room service just doesn’t cut it when you have been walking all morning and you are starving hungry! The simple fix would be to provide more substantial food (e.g. sandwiches, sushi, fruit, cookies, etc.) at the Arts Café during the entire lull period between lunch venues closing and dinner venues opening. Food Quality and Service. We were disappointed in the quality, variety, and availability. Although we had a few excellent meals, most were just average, which was disappointing for a luxury cruise line. Appetizers were typically the best part of the meal. Our lobster tails were overcooked. Steaks were not very tender and often undercooked. Lots of good fish choices, so we ate a lot of fish. Service was too often painfully slow, sometimes taking 2 ½ hours for a three course meal. What is it about some ships and the timing of the coffee? I like to drink my coffee with dessert, but the coffee usually came 15 minutes after dessert was served and long gone. Our last dinner onboard at La Terrazza was the best food and service of the cruise. Dress code. Two formal nights and five other nights requiring jackets for men. I would prefer more nights of “country club casual” or a dress code based on restaurant venue. Wearing formal clothes or even a jacket to an outdoor pizza restaurant didn’t make sense. Internet. Finally! Free, unlimited internet. Still ship-slow and sometimes difficult to get a good connection, but at least you are not being billed for every minute. Upgrades to higher speeds and more devices were available. Self Service Laundry. With machines on every floor, we were actually able to find open machines on a sea day, which made quick work of the laundry we needed washed. Free with a confusing soap dispenser. Machine instructions were practically non-existent and also perplexing. It didn’t help that the machine labels were German and the water temperatures were degrees Celsius. Cruise lines could really help out their guests by providing no-nonsense guides in English with recommendations about which of the 14 cycles (from 20 min to 3 hours) works best for most clothes. Spa & Fitness Center. Lots of treatment rooms. We enjoyed the Thermal Suite, which was an extra package price and limited access. Silversea could take a tip from Oceania and provide free Gatorade. Smoking. This was one of our main reasons for not sailing Silversea earlier. It is now reasonably restricted and the occasional whiffs of smoke from a designated smoking area did not bother us much. Ports. Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos, Havana, Bimini. Most people were on this cruise to see Cuba. Almost everybody went ashore to get a chance to see it firsthand. We invested heavily in shore excursions primarily because we didn’t know what to expect in terms of access and meeting the U.S. requirements to visit Cuba. All the Cuban tours were operated by Havanatur and transportation was provided on relatively new Chinese buses with toilets (an amenity you will appreciate in Cuba where every bathroom has an attendant with their hand out for a tip). Our shore excursion guides were all high quality. Everything was on time and the three sea days were a welcome respite from touring. An unexpected extension to our time in Havana allowed last-minute shore excursions to the nightclubs and shows. Friends we met through Cruise Critic were able to book their own independent tours, but we did not have the time to do all the advanced research and booking. Tenders. This was the first Silver Spirit itinerary to Cuba so there were many learning opportunities. Particularly problematic was the tendering service. Some of the tender rides were 35-45 minutes, but this was not entirely Silversea’s fault. Even this relatively small ship was not allowed to get close enough in some of the ports to have reasonable tendering times. This caused several of us to miss evening plans in Santiago because we could not get back to the ship in time to go back for the evening shows. Havana was the only port where we used a dock, which was a real luxury after all the tendering. The one big misstep was in Bimini, where bad management of tender rotations caused an hour wait that made several of us miss our afternoon shore excursion. The ship staff accepted full responsibility and refunded our ticket prices, but it was disappointing. In summary. We’ve never taken a perfect cruise, but expectations can be high for luxury cruise lines like Silversea. However, after 18 cruises on a variety of lines, this cruise makes our top 3, with Regent and Azamara. We loved the location and size of our cabin. Now that we understand the system, we will make better dining choices next cruise. Cuba is a must see and we will be back in the future to see the progress. Overall, we really enjoyed this cruise and will be back Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa ... Read More
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa area which included the sauna, steam, snow room, cold pool and thermal pool with heated lounges chairs was an added bonus as there is not a charge to enter and use the Thermal spa like other cruise lines. The fitness center was well equipped as well. The pools were nice and nothin seemed crowed - not sure the ship was at 100% capacity. They had a nice smoking area on the top deck, which had plenty of seating and was not near any major public area such as the pools or dining areas. The ship was clean and the crew were in constant maintenance mode during the cruise. The staff were wonderful and we managed to have a few waiters that were special in that they remembered us and knew what we drank and were attentive, of course a little tip didn't hurt but was well deserved. The entertainment could be a little more varied especially in the main pool area to include so Top 40 tunes for some of the younger crowd, I had expected some latin music since this was a Cuba and Caribbean Cruise but none. Minus a casino more activities maybe would have been nice other than card and board games. Overall a very relaxing cruise even though we were unable to make our stop in Santiago Cuba due to weather. I booked another cruise while on board so overall pleased with the experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was my first cruise and last. Truthfully I am the type that enjoys this however want to say the staff was extrely good. From the bars to the table. A gentleman was st my table and he had issues with his meal and was immediately taken ... Read More
This was my first cruise and last. Truthfully I am the type that enjoys this however want to say the staff was extrely good. From the bars to the table. A gentleman was st my table and he had issues with his meal and was immediately taken care of. The captains on the floor was contumely checking over the floor. I enjoyed the food and it was nice not great. Many season cruisers complained. The room with the window was ok and I felt like I was in a trailer. Will say the bed felt wonderful and I slept great in it. If u want to drink alcohol then buy a package u will be glad u did. Rather lots of confusion getting to different ports. Mostly u get what u pay for. I most enjoyed Cuba. Not much reason to go to Jamaica. I did enjoy cosemel and there were nice shows Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant ... Read More
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant at first, seeing that Viking had changed the itinerary on folks that booked in 2017 from Havana to Cienfuegos, but figured the team had it sorted out. Unfortunately, from the start we had trouble. Our airport pickup wandered away, leaving six of us who had just red eyed into Miami confused - they left the baggage area once the bags started coming, leaving us wandering until we found them quite far down the hall. Despite our stickers and luggage tags, we had to search for our rep, rather than him finding us (in Paris, our rep was there in uniform and took initiative to round up his charges, not the other way around). When we were dropped off at port, we were literally dropped off - no instructions, no guidance. An elderly woman in our group was jostled and fell to the ground. Finally, one of our fellow passengers found the correct entrance and led us in. The ship is lovely, if starting to show some wear, and the staff was delightful and polite and not too talkative. The hydrotherapy pools were spacious and stunning, especially for a ship of this size. We sometimes struggled to get drinks refilled at meals, so we started requesting two at a time so we wouldn’t be parched midway through a meal. For a larger ship than their river cruises, there was less variety in food choice - the seated restaurant and the buffet mirror on another, and since the specialty restaurants booked up fast, you essentially had the option of being brought your food or grabbing it yourself without much change in the menu. The river cruises have a small cafe that you can get American fare at, while their restaurants serve local specialties and more upscale dishes. Our free walking tour in Cienfuegos was one of the worst tours I have been on - the guide wouldn’t let us shop, he made us stand in the street as beggars circled us tighter and tighter (making me more and more nervous) while he talked about the largest travel agency in Havana (it seemed an odd thing to focus on when there was art and cigar shops and historic buildings surrounding us), and was angry people weren’t paying attention to his next long story about the optometry shop as we shifted uncomfortably in the street. At the cigar rolling demonstration, we were hustled out before we could buy anything - which made me incredibly uncomfortable when the shopkeepers had hosted us so kindly. We toured a hotel lobby, which ate into valuable time we could have been at an actual historical building. Being from Nevada, I know hotels. I don’t know 19th century Cuban mansions like Ville Palais, which we had only ten minutes in since we spent a valuable twenty minutes in a generic Hilton-like lobby instead. When we returned to the city center, it was after six and shutting down - stands were closing, shops were shuttered, and it was twilight - tourist time was obviously over. So we returned to the boat. Our Havana excursion was amazing, and the saving grace of our trip - the tour guide Jenny knowledgeable, focused on education and information and not her personal stories. The Hemingway House was closed (note, it’s always closed on Sundays, so why no one notifies us until the day before was concerning on Viking’s end and likely caused a scramble for the poor guides), so she arranged for a ride around Havana in the old school cars, which thrilled us all. She was honest about life in Cuba, and answered all of our questions on income and housing, and introduced us to multiple vendors and shops, even making sure we got proper change. This was the Viking experience I had been expecting and hoping for. Since Havana was a whirlwind of colors and sounds, we were excited for a low key day In Cienfuegos the following day - unfortunately, since the tender boats take 20 minutes each way, and everyone had to be back on the boat by noon, we didn’t get up in time to leave the boat on our third half day (our Havana day was over 13 hours with lots of walking). Which was heartbreaking when we found out that our second port stop at Santiago de Cuba was canceled due to wind. Santiago de Cuba was founded in 1515, and was something I was looking forward to so much. Being from out West in Nevada, we think somethings historic if it’s from the 1950s! But we were sure Viking would make it up to guests. We became less sure when they excitedly announced a bean bag toss to keep us occupied as we sailed past Santiago de Cuba. Okay, I thought. They’re getting things together. They need a little time. Surely the top cruise line in the world would not offer a simple bean bag toss as substitute for 50% of the Cuba port sites. Well, they also offered a trivia competition. And they also heavily suggested you pay extra fees for wine tastings and spa treatments to keep yourself occupied on a day that Viking had promised to entertain us with a port stop and free tour. My husband and I are in our 30s, and Viking cruises mean we go less often and pay more ($2,800/each in this instance), but our experience in Paris was so rosy, we pledged to be Viking customers exclusively. Having a major stop cancelled and cornhole substituted seemed laughable, and I again gave Viking the benefit of the doubt. I emailed our Viking rep, sure that something was in the works - a partial refund or credit towards our next cruise, or even a shipboard credit since they were pushing pricey services for entertainment in lieu of the port stop. Fred told me to email customer relations since he couldn’t do anything once we were on the boat. 24 hours after emailing, and 28 hours after the port cancellation, I have yet to receive an acknowledgment of my email, and my hope for a decent resolution is just about gone. To have such vastly different customer service experiences has led me to fear our stellar service in Paris was luck of the stars, and not Viking’s usual protocol. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this cruise because you will pay premium price for average service and may not even see 50% of promised ports - and Viking will offer a game of bean bag toss as the only consolation to a lost day in Cuba. Oh, and trivia. Our 2015 Paris cruise was during the terrorist attacks - Viking stepped up to the plate in 2015 and arranged alternate excursions when we were unable to get back into the locked down city, and a staff person came to speak with us individually about safety and ensure our comfort. I’m surprised they were able to handle a very unexpected, very alarming event on the fly on that cruise, but the only solution they had for inclement weather on this cruise and a cancelled port was a bean bag toss. Oh yeah, and a trivia game. I would not recommend this cruise until Viking has figured out the Cuba logistics. From reading the other reviews, this isn’t one of Viking’s strong itineraries despite multiple years, and doesn’t appear to have the same level of professionalism and service found in their river cruises. I’m not sure we’ll do a Viking cruise again, considering the high cost and poor customer service our Cuba trip has highlighted. I expected to be a Viking customer for the next 70 years after Paris, but am beginning to realize they’re just like any other cruise line - all about that cash. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We found this trip at a great price on Vacations to go. We chose Silversea Silverwind because it was going to Cuba. We had never even heard of Silversea and were excited to enjoy this trip. We went with a group of 8 friends. We flew to ... Read More
We found this trip at a great price on Vacations to go. We chose Silversea Silverwind because it was going to Cuba. We had never even heard of Silversea and were excited to enjoy this trip. We went with a group of 8 friends. We flew to San Juan and were familiar with their port and were curious as to which slip/dock we would be loading on to. We were in walking distance to the pier and grabbed our luggage and found them right away. Here we go. So excited. It was real simple getting on and off. We loved the ship. A little bit dated but I still loved it. Silverwind is the oldest in the fleet. It was easy to get around. With it only having just under 200 passengers it was very intimate. Our cabin was perfect for us. The only struggle I had was plugging in the hair dryer. The clock radio was plugged in to the only socket on the vanity. It was hard to plug in the dryer cause it was too close to the wall with only one way to plug it in I was concerned it wouldn't work. There are 2 other plugs on the desk for charging phones. No plugs hy the beds. There were however European plugs that if we had known would have brought conversions. The bath room has a small tub/shower. The bed was so comfy better than I had ever had on any of my other cruises. Our balcony was great. The price of the cruise included the drink package and our butler would bring any bottle of choice to our room The dining was spectacular. There were 4 restaurants to choose from. The Grill is up on the pool deck, for lunch you could order sandwiches, wraps, or burgers. For dinner you needed to reserve a table and their menu of many wonderful items to choose from. We got to cook our main meal on a hot lava stone right in front of us. The laDame was the French cuisine. This one is an extra fee but well worth it. Make sure you leave 2 to 3 hours for this one. The main dining has all the wonderful foods you could dream of. LaTassra for breakfast and lunch had a buffet. Nicly furnished with a variety of foods. Also need to make reservations for dinner. The main dining was also wonderful. Every evening, each restaurant served the featured red or white wine if you wanted. The activities are minimal. The ones we did participate in were great. Entertainment was spectacular. The Voices of Silverwind were awesome. The on board credit aloud us to do shore excursions and what a treat it was. We did the panorama tours of both Santiago and Havana which were very interesting. There were no children aboard this ship. There would be nothing for them to do accept swim. We had the shipwreck snorkeling in Bimini and were disappointed when it took us 45 minutes to tender in and 1 hour to tender back out. Not enough time to do any looking around really disappointed in that. We had some rough weather a couple of nights and with this ship being small we got tossed around some but I expected that. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I was kind of worried after reading some of the past reviews so I was happy when I found out that the sky was returning from dry dock and that all the public areas had been refurbished to be like all the other ships. Unfortunately this ... Read More
I was kind of worried after reading some of the past reviews so I was happy when I found out that the sky was returning from dry dock and that all the public areas had been refurbished to be like all the other ships. Unfortunately this caused a delay when trying to embark. We had a 10:00 check in time but we’re not able to board until 3:00. It was a mess. We ended up grabbing an Uber into Miami for lunch which was fun but an unforeseen expense. While stitting in the terminal with ALL of the other cruise guests waiting to embark we quickly realized this was a 55+ crowd and we are all around 30. When we finally got on the ship everything looked great and smelled brand new! We got drinks and headed to the deck. The drinks were good for being included but it did take a long time to get another. Lines at the bars were long and staff was very overwhelmed by all the drink orders. We got a balcony stateroom. It was small. The smallest I’ve ever been in on a cruise but it served its purpose. The shower was tiny with not a lot of water pressure. The bed was okay but had a large gap down the middle where the beds were pulled together. There was only one regular outlet in the room but we made it work. The bedding was comfortable and clean and there was enough room in the closet for us to unpack. The balcony was nice. I thought the food on the ship was really good for cruise food. We ate at the buffet and all the specialty restaurants. The only issue was the service was very very slow like at a snails place. Sometimes it would be an hour before we’d get appetizers or our meal. We really loved the new sushi place. Sake was included in the drink deal! They opened a brand new Starbucks the third day we were on the ship. People we excited but it was a disaster. None of the people working there knew any of the drinks. I opted for a regular ice coffee and it was fine. We didn’t find much to do on the ship. We’re used to the larger ships with constant entertainment so we spend a lot of time by the pool drinking. We took some dance classes, played bingo, gambled a little and saw the magician and the comedian a couple nights. Our ports were amazing Keywest is always a blast and Cuba was an amazing experience. Having the overnight there gave us a chance to experience some nightlife which was cool. We didn’t get to go to stirrup cay because it was to windy for the little boats to take us there. This was extremely disappointing as it took the beach out of our vacation and made us have two days at sea on a ship that barely has enough activities for one. I probably won’t ever go on the sky again but I think if you can get a really good deal and love to just lay by the pool and drink with hundreds of other older adults this is a good choice for you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our tenth cruise and second with Oceania. We were on the Riviera last year and had a wonderful time. Much to our delight this cruise was even better than the previous one. For us, as good as the ship itself was and all it had to ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise and second with Oceania. We were on the Riviera last year and had a wonderful time. Much to our delight this cruise was even better than the previous one. For us, as good as the ship itself was and all it had to offer, the best part of the cruise was the people. We met so many amazing people on this cruise and had a delightful time with them from the minute we boarded to the moment we left. We’ve been on the big ships in the past, but we much prefer the size of the Riviera. We find it's a little more intimate, with a sense of community when the ship is not a floating mega-city! Also, and I don’t mean to sound like a stuffy snob, but the type of people that cruise with Oceania appeal much more to our age and tastes than some of the other cruise lines. As so many others have noted, the food is outstanding from the main dining room to the specialty restaurants to the Terrace Café buffet. The buffet selection was as good as any of the other restaurants. Beyond the buffet's amazing selection, what also appealed to us about the buffet was that we don’t touch the food – it is served to us and as a result it is so much healthier. Speaking of healthy, we loved the fact that every morning we could get fresh veggie juice just like we have at home. In all the restaurants there were all sorts of healthy eating alternatives. The room was cozy but large enough. The storage space was adequate. Of course, we loved the balcony where we spent a lot of time enjoying our books and having a drink and taking in the gorgeous views. Even the bathroom was great. It was roomy and we loved having a tub. As for the entertainment, we’re not big on the song and dance shows, but we do love comedy, and on this cruise standup comedian Tom Drake was featured. He did two hysterically funny shows as well as a workshop on comedy. We were very happy with the ports we went to this year. The ports were Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Barts. The stays in the ports for the most part were all day so we never felt rushed. Most of the excursions we chose were good – some better than others. St. Kitts was probably our favourite. We loved the beach and the drive there was breathtaking at times. Beach day at Aruba was great. We visited a lovely beach with lots of shade which we appreciated, and there was very good snorkelling there. We not impressed with the Spice Beach club excursion on Bonaire. It wasn’t much of a beach, but the snorkelling was good. There was only one port we didn’t visit, St. Barts, because we would have had to tender there. We don’t like the tenders that Oceania use. They use their lifeboats, and they are just too rocky. We had a bad experience on one last year and decided to avoid it this year. We found more than enough to do on board – trivia, miniature golf, shuffleboard, cooking lessons, (okay we’re 65, what do you expect!!) The staff was top notch. Everyone from our cabin attendants to the severs in the restaurants to everyone else on board were helpful, courteous and friendly. I should also point out that on this cruise we had the best cruise director ever. Her name was Dottie and she was by far the best Cruise Director we have come across in our ten cruises. She connected with the guests so perfectly. She was always bubbly, funny and just downright nice. Embarkation and debarkation was unbelievably smooth and quick. We hope to go on another Oceania cruise next year. We understand that the Riviera is going to be getting a little refurbishing. We did see some people complaining in previous reviews that the ship looked a little worn. We thought the ship was totally charming. We had no complaints about the appearance or performance of the ship. Hopefully we'll see what is new next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 1st cruise in 14 years, and we have been intrigued by Cuba for even longer. As new empty nesters and not yet retired, costs still are kind of a thing. Some of our choices reflect some effort at economy, which we found is ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise in 14 years, and we have been intrigued by Cuba for even longer. As new empty nesters and not yet retired, costs still are kind of a thing. Some of our choices reflect some effort at economy, which we found is achievable even on Azamara. Our past cruise experience had been on 2,000+ passenger behemoths; part of this review relates to the (first for us) small ship experience. For economy, we flew to Miami early on departure morning (a decision we'd like to have back as we were gambling with winter weather up north). Our Deck 6 midships cabin had an obstructed view through the window. We felt little ship motion, no vibraiton and we were well-insulated from public space noise by other cabins. The obstructed view meant a savings, but we could see well enough for us. We love the (little) R ships and we felt seeing the same staff and passengers lent a sense of collegiality and hominess. Sometimes some passangers might feel the activity selection was insufficient for their tastes - whether this is a legit concern really needs to be weighed in terms of cruise demographics. Our school-year sailing to Cuba meant that the average passenger age was about 66, with a pretty tight standard deviation. In our mid and late 50s, we were decidedly among the youngest on board. Now and then, all of the programmed activities were for an older age group. We were happy enough on our own, but not everyone would be. Azamara pays attention to the details. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze and the food was outstanding. We did not do the upgraded restaurant or drink options; we are foodies and still do not feel it necessary as the food in the main dining room was great. Here is an interesting and important observation about food during dinners too: portions are modest and gluttons will be disappointed. To us that was fine, but might not be for everyone. There always is the buffet option, with rotating regional specialities each day. All you can eat there, but it lacks the ambience of the main dining room. Along this same vein, there only was a midnight buffet one light with late-ending nighttime shore excursions. Otherwise, no. Fine with us too. Another nice thing about the dining room was this: no assigned seats or times. You come when you want. If you like your waiter and remember his/her name, you can ask for that section but need not. The tables are close enough to strike up conversations with neighbors if you want, but one need not. We have recollections of assigned seats on other cruises with incompatible table-mates; we like Azamara's solution. Room service was included and perfect every time we used it (for coffee in the mornings). Tips are included in your fare; we tipped our room stewards and waiter anyway. Service from absolutely everyone was top-notch. We did the shore excursions sponsored by the cruise line and generally were very satisfied. Mind you, Cuba is new to tourism and Azamara is new to Cuba. Some growing pains were inevitable and showed. Overall, we feel we really learned a lot about the Cuban people and culture, which is why we went. There was one child on the boat, under the age of 20. She was two years old. This is not a cruise for young families or children. The boat simply is not equipped. We knew that and were happy. We definitely would go again on Azamara, on an R-ship (we love the smallness) but might do something a bit more tourism-experienced than Cuba next tme. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We are seasoned cruisers, are used to the mega ships, but we wanted a little getaway cruise to break up the time, and I’ve been wanting to go to Cuba. In researching, I found that this 6-Night cruise in January, which was the month we ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers, are used to the mega ships, but we wanted a little getaway cruise to break up the time, and I’ve been wanting to go to Cuba. In researching, I found that this 6-Night cruise in January, which was the month we wanted to travel, was an excellent value, so we went with the Owners Suite. After booking, I realized that Empress of the Seas used to be Nordic Empress, which we sailed on in 1997! Now I had become quite skeptical, but kept an open mind. Thankfully, the weather held out for us, because prior to our departure week, there were several itinerary diversions due to weather. It’s been ages since I’ve cruised out of Miami, but it was so smooth and organized. And luckily for us, because there was damage to a pier in Key West, we were informed several weeks earlier that we were now stopping in Havana, replacing Key West. I was absolutely thrilled! What a bonus that was! We have been on several sailings where the tables were turned, and we missed a stop we really wanted, and this just made the cruise that much more special. Upon boarding the ship, I was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was! I couldn’t understand why it has gotten so many terrible reviews, other than some guests may not have ever sailed the smaller ships, and could only compare Empress to the mega ships. The service was exceptional! Everyone in every area was so welcoming towards us. The ship is the oldest and smallest, but it was a breath of fresh air. It was wonderful not waiting in lines for any activity, show, or at a bar. Our suite steward went above and beyond, as did our dinner servers, each and every night. The Owners Suite was wonderful, with a delightfully large balcony overlooking the front of the ship, it was amazing! The suite itself was not huge, but certainly large and spacious enough for two people.The Loyalty Ambassador onboard made sure everything was taken care of, not only for us, but for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed our three ports of call: Havana, Cienfuegos, and Grand Cayman. We did two shore excursions in the Cuba ports being novices there, but now that we’ve gone, our next cruise to Cuba, we will venture out on our own. It was so easy getting around and conversing with the locals, we have mapped out what we will do next time. Back to the locals, I found them to be so engaging, easy to talk to, and friendly. Havana is such colorful a city, I highly recommend it. Cienfuegos is a bit more primitive, but the tours will take you out to the beautiful countrysides. The shopping there is limited, but I found the little stalls near the ship had the best little remembrances at better prices! In Grand Cayman, we just walked around, shopped, stopped at the Paradise Grill overlooking the water, it was wonderful, and one of the best days just hanging out, relaxing with a beverage, enjoying the scenery. The shows on the ship were okay, we went to more than we usually do, as we aren’t real show goers. We also went on the Bottomless Galley Brunch which was by far, a highlight of the week, and I highly recommend it. This cruise was one of the best trips ever, I can’t stop thinking about it and how much we enjoyed it! Read Less

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