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Review Crystal to Cuba from Montego Bay, Feb 17-24, 2017


TexSea
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Just returned from a wonderful cruise on the February 17-24 sailing leaving from Montego Bay. User steamboats review before our trip (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2453885) really helped us out on what to expect. And I completely agree with Wanderlost's review of the sailing just before ours, http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2459757. Crystal was the smallest ship I've sailed on. It was really pleasant to be able to get anywhere very quickly. With fewer people, you ran into newly met friends more often and the ship's staff recognized you around the ship.

 

I've scanned in the dailies, wine list, and some miscellaneous paperwork. You can download the PDF at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/67289472/CelestyalCrystalCubaFeb172017.pdf.

 

We were in one of the new junior balcony suites, Cabin 6210. Overall it was pretty good and we enjoyed having the balcony. The cabin attendant and her assistant were very good and met our constant need for fresh towels. The bed was firm, but comfortable. Twice we had some plumbing issues (shower that wouldn't drain and flooded the bathroom, brown water) but someone came to repair once notified. There seemed to be several plumbing issues around the ship as we saw blowers in the hallways for a couple of days. But for the age of the ship, that's understandable. If using the in-room safe, be sure to read the instructions throughly before starting the process to avoid a call to reception. ;-)

 

The bathroom had hardly any storage, so I was glad we brought our hanging toiletry kits. Looking at the pics from steamboat's review, our bathroom was arranged differently and had very little shelving. The closet storage was oddly arranged. The refrigerator was put in the closet and took up a lot of hanging space. See pictures below. Nothing that was unworkable but we laughed the first day that we brought way too many clothes. We sent a few items out to the laundry and they were returned the same day, nicely pressed and clean. IMG_3857.jpgIMG_3858.jpgIMG_3859.jpg

 

The food was good in the buffet and MDR. As a vegetarian there were usually a couple of choices in both areas. The Indian curry for dinner in the MDR was particularly delicious.

 

The bar service I thought was good throughout the ship. Soon after sitting down a waiter was there to take your order. We did upgrade the included Blue drink package for $10/day so we could order anything we wanted. I'm definitely glad we did as we enjoyed the Tattinger champagne and the fresh squeezed orange juice daily as well as trying all the rums. As noted in another review, the drinks were not strong at all. A few times I was able to get around this by ordering a cuba libre with a can of coke and the Havana Club 7 year. They brought a glass of ice with the rum and the Coke on the side. That way I could add the amount of soda appropriate to the rum.

 

Danny, the cruise director, truly was one of the best CDs I've ever seen. He seemed to really enjoy his job. The main shows each night were good, yet a little repetitive, and worth going to every night. The main lounge had TERRIBLE sightlines. So get there at least 30 minutes before a show starts if you want a clear view.

 

The included US citizen excursions were well-planned and informative. The visits to artists communities were appreciated by us since it was something off the beaten path, so to speak. The only downside was that these were bus tours so all the bus tour negatives were there: slow people, late people, getting on/off the bus, etc. Unless you go out on your own there's no way to avoid that. We had signed up to do the Havana tour by old car, but we were the only ones to sign up so it didn't happen. However, due to an odd set of circumstances we were able to do a similar tour at the end of the first day for 30 CUC per car.

 

The sail in and sail out of Havana was wonderful. Be sure to be out on deck to see it. We were supposed to leave Havana at the new 10:00 PM time, but left at the old time of 5:00 PM. They didn't announce this until the daily program came out the night before, so we had to rush through the things we wanted to do the second day after the morning tour.

 

I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions. The whole trip was fantastic and if you are thinking about going, but unsure, just do it. You won't regret it.

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Thanks, TexSea! Sorry to hear that you had to leave Havana at 5 pm. But I think that?s Cuban... sometimes they are allowed to stay, sometimes not... Maybe there was another ship coming in...

 

Danny is really great!! We enjoyed him very much too.

 

steamboats

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Thanks for your review. We leave a week from Friday and I'm very excited. A question about the tour by old car for 303 CUC...Were there people on the street or at the pier offering these? Or did you find it another way?

 

Thanks again for posting your review.

 

Jo Ann

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Thanks for your review. We leave a week from Friday and I'm very excited. A question about the tour by old car for 303 CUC...Were there people on the street or at the pier offering these? Or did you find it another way?

 

We found the car another way. The four of us were put on a tour bus that was filled with a group tour with their own group leader. The group leader was arranging a taxi tour and asked if we wanted to come along, which of course we did. We just paid the taxi driver directly the 30 CUC and tip. Unfortunately, none of us can remember the name of the company. I looked at our pics and they only have generic taxi signs on them.

 

There are cars waiting by the terminal that you can negotiate with and hire on the spot. Before we left on the trip I was going to contact http://www.oldcarshavana.com/english and http://www.havanavintagecartours.com/booking-and-rates because they had good reviews on TA.

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Thanks, TexSea! I'll check into those links.

 

Jo Ann

 

 

 

We found the car another way. The four of us were put on a tour bus that was filled with a group tour with their own group leader. The group leader was arranging a taxi tour and asked if we wanted to come along, which of course we did. We just paid the taxi driver directly the 30 CUC and tip. Unfortunately, none of us can remember the name of the company. I looked at our pics and they only have generic taxi signs on them.

 

There are cars waiting by the terminal that you can negotiate with and hire on the spot. Before we left on the trip I was going to contact http://www.oldcarshavana.com/english and http://www.havanavintagecartours.com/booking-and-rates because they had good reviews on TA.

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  • 1 month later...
Just returned from a wonderful cruise on the February 17-24 sailing leaving from Montego Bay. User steamboats review before our trip (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2453885) really helped us out on what to expect. And I completely agree with Wanderlost's review of the sailing just before ours, http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2459757. Crystal was the smallest ship I've sailed on. It was really pleasant to be able to get anywhere very quickly. With fewer people, you ran into newly met friends more often and the ship's staff recognized you around the ship.

 

I've scanned in the dailies, wine list, and some miscellaneous paperwork. You can download the PDF at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/67289472/CelestyalCrystalCubaFeb172017.pdf.

 

We were in one of the new junior balcony suites, Cabin 6210. Overall it was pretty good and we enjoyed having the balcony. The cabin attendant and her assistant were very good and met our constant need for fresh towels. The bed was firm, but comfortable. Twice we had some plumbing issues (shower that wouldn't drain and flooded the bathroom, brown water) but someone came to repair once notified. There seemed to be several plumbing issues around the ship as we saw blowers in the hallways for a couple of days. But for the age of the ship, that's understandable. If using the in-room safe, be sure to read the instructions throughly before starting the process to avoid a call to reception. ;-)

 

The bathroom had hardly any storage, so I was glad we brought our hanging toiletry kits. Looking at the pics from steamboat's review, our bathroom was arranged differently and had very little shelving. The closet storage was oddly arranged. The refrigerator was put in the closet and took up a lot of hanging space. See pictures below. Nothing that was unworkable but we laughed the first day that we brought way too many clothes. We sent a few items out to the laundry and they were returned the same day, nicely pressed and clean. IMG_3857.jpgIMG_3858.jpgIMG_3859.jpg

 

The food was good in the buffet and MDR. As a vegetarian there were usually a couple of choices in both areas. The Indian curry for dinner in the MDR was particularly delicious.

 

The bar service I thought was good throughout the ship. Soon after sitting down a waiter was there to take your order. We did upgrade the included Blue drink package for $10/day so we could order anything we wanted. I'm definitely glad we did as we enjoyed the Tattinger champagne and the fresh squeezed orange juice daily as well as trying all the rums. As noted in another review, the drinks were not strong at all. A few times I was able to get around this by ordering a cuba libre with a can of coke and the Havana Club 7 year. They brought a glass of ice with the rum and the Coke on the side. That way I could add the amount of soda appropriate to the rum.

 

Danny, the cruise director, truly was one of the best CDs I've ever seen. He seemed to really enjoy his job. The main shows each night were good, yet a little repetitive, and worth going to every night. The main lounge had TERRIBLE sightlines. So get there at least 30 minutes before a show starts if you want a clear view.

 

The included US citizen excursions were well-planned and informative. The visits to artists communities were appreciated by us since it was something off the beaten path, so to speak. The only downside was that these were bus tours so all the bus tour negatives were there: slow people, late people, getting on/off the bus, etc. Unless you go out on your own there's no way to avoid that. We had signed up to do the Havana tour by old car, but we were the only ones to sign up so it didn't happen. However, due to an odd set of circumstances we were able to do a similar tour at the end of the first day for 30 CUC per car.

 

The sail in and sail out of Havana was wonderful. Be sure to be out on deck to see it. We were supposed to leave Havana at the new 10:00 PM time, but left at the old time of 5:00 PM. They didn't announce this until the daily program came out the night before, so we had to rush through the things we wanted to do the second day after the morning tour.

 

I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions. The whole trip was fantastic and if you are thinking about going, but unsure, just do it. You won't regret it.

 

TexSea,

Thank you for your great review. Lots of helpful information and pictures. I'm interested in reading the dailies, but I can't get the link to the pdf to work. Could you please recheck the link. Thank you.

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TexSea,

Thank you for your great review. Lots of helpful information and pictures. I'm interested in reading the dailies, but I can't get the link to the pdf to work. Could you please recheck the link. Thank you.

 

Here you go. Thanks for letting me know. Dropbox changed their public links so it no longer worked. Hope this helps and have a great trip!!

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v2zz6qn71swl7hy/CelestyalCrystalCubaFeb172017.pdf?dl=0

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