Jump to content
paumarier

Just returned from Sirena to cuba

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

My husband and I just returned from the Cuban Charisma cruise on the Sirena. It was wonderful! The ship was luxurious, clean, well maintained and in excellent condition. We had the penthouse suite and it was a little smaller than we are used to for this type of suite but it was very comfortable. There was more than enough storage and we didn't even need to use it all. The bathroom was very small, but the walk-in shower was aprx 3.5 feet by 5 feet so it more than made up for the rest of the small room. The bed was very comfortable and actually the whole suite and deck were very comfortable.

The food was excellent in every restaurant. We had 2 wonderful meals in the Red Ginger, one very good meal, the Cuban dinner, in the Terrace Cafe, and 3 wonderful meals in the Main Dining Room. But the best was the Tuscan Steak. The best meals of the cruise were at this specialty restaurant. From the olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings, to the fabulous menu, to the extremely attentive staff, everything was perfect. We had 2 reservations there but could not get a third as they were fully booked. So we ordered a dinner from there and our butler served us in a very romantic setting in our cabin on our last night onboard.

We cannot say enough about all the staff. From our butler, Lincoln, to housekeeping, restaurant staff, bar staff, cruise staff, just everyone we came in contact with, even if it was just a hello while passing in the hall, was friendly, smiling and always asking if they could do something for us.

The only problem we had was with the wifi. We could barely get on, or even stay on. It certainly did not ruin our vacation but we would have liked being able to use it more that we were able to.

 

We were truly pampered. It was an excellent first cruise on Oceania. Our next cruise is in April 2019 and we cannot wait!

Edited by paumarier
forgot to add something

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report. We are on the October 26 sailing and it will be our second Sirena cruise.

Did they bring any local entertainers on board?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They had Sandy Cares who was the speaker on board for all things Cuba. We enjoyed all of her talks. Some were about Cuba before and after the revolution, about the ports we were going to, and a final talk about bananas which was very entertaining because we did not know how big a part bananas played in the Caribbean.

 

They had a string quartet that played several times throughout the ship. There was a concert pianist. And there was a singer and a magician but we didn't either see them.

We would have loved more enrichment talks about different subjects. We find those more enjoyable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your notes; glad you enjoyed it.

 

How many enrichment talks were there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They had Sandy Cares who was the speaker on board for all things Cuba. We enjoyed all of her talks. Some were about Cuba before and after the revolution, about the ports we were going to

I agree....Sandy's talks on our Cuba cruise on Insignia were very good....I learned alot about Cuban history that I didn't hear in school.

 

I did have to chuckle at your comment about the "small bathroom" in a PH suite....if you didn't get a chance to see the bathrooms in all cabins below a PH then you'd be shocked....their showers measure 2' x 3' and the entire bathroom is 3' x 6'! THAT'S small. :')

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was also on this one,,,did enjoy much of above posters comments. Love the lecturer,,funny but informative. First time on this ship,,,loved it all,,,ex. the lack of tub in PH.Which I have commented on before in other threads. Will no longer book at ships without tub,,found shower floor slippery and door in poor postion to adjust water temp.before entering.

 

Things I wish O would have inc. ....doorbell. Those of us with poor hearing can easily miss they light tap made by staff...have been walked in on  many times and embarassing for all inv. Then,,,make it possible to reserve 2 times in one rest,,,and none in another. Don t care for Red Ginger and would prefer two in Tuscan .

 

Cuba was interesting in historical places,,but so sad to see poor people and worse street animals. Glad I went there, but never to return,,,had a few run ins with people re. prices. Quoted one thing and after wanted MORE.Rest of residents very kind tho.Socialism not working well there ,,it seems. Santiago the worst,,had many beggars approach us and felt uncomfortable and sad. Even O Guides has words with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, alexandra cruiser said:

Things I wish O would have inc. ....doorbell. Those of us with poor hearing can easily miss they light tap made by staff...have been walked in on  many times and embarassing for all inv.

Maybe ask if they have some system for hearing impaired  ?

 

Cuba was interesting in historical places,,but so sad to see poor people and worse street animals. Glad I went there, but never to return,,,had a few run ins with people re. prices. Quoted one thing and after wanted MORE.Rest of residents very kind tho.Socialism not working well there ,,it seems. Santiago the worst,,had many beggars approach us and felt uncomfortable and sad. Even O Guides has words with them.

 

Write to your Congressman  & have the trade embargo lifted  so they can get supplies

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, alexandra cruiser said:

I was also on this one,,,did enjoy much of above posters comments. Love the lecturer,,funny but informative. First time on this ship,,,loved it all,,,ex. the lack of tub in PH.Which I have commented on before in other threads. Will no longer book at ships without tub,,found shower floor slippery and door in poor postion to adjust water temp.before entering.

 

Things I wish O would have inc. ....doorbell. Those of us with poor hearing can easily miss they light tap made by staff...have been walked in on  many times and embarassing for all inv. Then,,,make it possible to reserve 2 times in one rest,,,and none in another. Don t care for Red Ginger and would prefer two in Tuscan .

 

Cuba was interesting in historical places,,but so sad to see poor people and worse street animals. Glad I went there, but never to return,,,had a few run ins with people re. prices. Quoted one thing and after wanted MORE.Rest of residents very kind tho.Socialism not working well there ,,it seems. Santiago the worst,,had many beggars approach us and felt uncomfortable and sad. Even O Guides has words with them.

The “privacy please” note on the door will do the trick of keeping housekeeping at bay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, alexandra cruiser said:

Things I wish O would have inc. ....doorbell. Those of us with poor hearing can easily miss they light tap made by staff...have been walked in on  many times and embarassing for all inv. Then,,,make it possible to reserve 2 times in one rest,,,and none in another. Don t care for Red Ginger and would prefer two in Tuscan .

 

 

I'd recommend locking the deadbolt whilst en déshabillé  😉

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good tips,,but I often forget ea time I come to cabin to put on deadbolt or privacy sign.Also, in AM we order room service and phonecall not always given prior,,so need to hear when there.Small concern,but when upgrading,,,may consider.

Yes, embargo lift would help,but only receive LOW wages too.lEven with all the benefits. They ALL said they d LOVE to come to America,by the way.A PhD was a guide,said he got $28.00 a mo..and one fish cost $8.00,,as an example.Did this work because pay was GREAT,,,plus tips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We learned a lot about socialism and communism from our tour guides. Very sad. Isn't it ironic that after Fidel Castro died, his estate was valued at over $900 million dollars! Keep your people starving and put all the money in your bank account. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, paumarier said:

We learned a lot about socialism and communism from our tour guides. Very sad. Isn't it ironic that after Fidel Castro died, his estate was valued at over $900 million dollars! Keep your people starving and put all the money in your bank account. 

 

Which is but one of the many reasons we have no interest in visiting Cuba until it is truly free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We didn't go for the government. We went to meet the people. We met and supported many locals by going and spending money with them which they truly appreciated and needed. We did not go to even one government owned restaurant, bar, store or hotel so we did not support the government. The scenery is beautiful and the people are lovely, friendly and very curious. There's always two ways to look at things.

Edited by paumarier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will be going on the trip January 3rd.  Can you tell me what money they take in Cuba?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, spindrift said:

Will be going on the trip January 3rd.  Can you tell me what money they take in Cuba?

you can buy CUC  at the port

some will take USD   but  better to buy some local currency at the port

BTW you will be charged a surcharge for USD of 10%

If you have any Ruro or GBP from other trip maybe exchange them for CUC instead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you LHT28.  I do have quite a few Euros from a trip a couple months ago.  Great idea.  Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canadian dollars work well too. Interestingly, however,  we were able to convert our leftover CUCs into dollars at the Santiago currency exchange office at the shipdock with no 10% penalty. Neither that office nor the banks had any Euros, so it was dollars or nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had read from past posts that MOST will take american dollars,,,and found it to be TRUE.Did not change any money, and all took it gladly.From small markets,to horse and buggy,to O tips on buses,etc. In all the 3 ports we went to,had NO problem at all.In fact, seemed glad to have it.But you will get change in CUC,,so bring small bills.GLad I didnt waste my time or money,,just a HINT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/22/2018 at 5:54 PM, spindrift said:

Will be going on the trip January 3rd.  Can you tell me what money they take in Cuba?

First time I had dollars now I bring euros.  Much better rate. I sat in several bars and restaurants  eating. Found better food there.

 

hate to say it but pack tissues for bathroom. Some had no soap.carry tissues,sanitizer etc for day trips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you brought up bathrooms,,,ugh,,,I ended up using bus one. Tried the ones avail.on O tours and AWFUL..Tried 2 on different days, and just AVOID them.The worst was tour when we heard a great choral group,,feel so bad for the people that MUST use them daily.Asked guide and said,,,sadly, its common.

Also, no AC in most locations,so dress acc.I m from FL and felt right at home.EVen with warnings on ship,,,many had probs with it. One bad one was on tour where cuban band perf.in bar,,with dancing. So now you know

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, alexandra cruiser said:

Since you brought up bathrooms,,,ugh,,,I ended up using bus one. Tried the ones avail.on O tours and AWFUL..Tried 2 on different days, and just AVOID them.The worst was tour when we heard a great choral group,,feel so bad for the people that MUST use them daily.Asked guide and said,,,sadly, its common.

Also, no AC in most locations,so dress acc.I m from FL and felt right at home.EVen with warnings on ship,,,many had probs with it. One bad one was on tour where cuban band perf.in bar,,with dancing. So now you know

I survived   on a 10 day land tour. i also have been by ship twice. you just get over it or look for a hotel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×