?s Re: Crystal's People to People Activities

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#1
St. Louis, MO, USA
4,544 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Hoping someone who has sailed to Cuba on the Celestyal Crystal and participated in the People to People activities can answer a couple of questions.

How early in the morning were you required to begin tours with this program?

Were you REQUIRED to show up at all of the on board lectures, talks and events in the People to People program? (For instance, if it's a sea day and you decide you do not want to go to a talk organized by the program, is it o.k. if you just want to hang out on deck in a lounge chair instead?)

What if there is an off-ship tour and you simply don't care to participate in that particular tour? I'm sure we'll be very interested in most of the program but . . .?

Thanks for any experienced replies!
#2
St. Louis, MO, USA
4,544 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Just found my original post at the top of this page (?) although no one had replied so far. Hoping that since the cruises to Cuba are about to resume as the ship has come out of dry dock and back to this side of the world, someone will report back and hopefully reply!
#3
Texas
341 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Interested in this too. I'm hoping as more people take the cruise and return we'll get some information.

I'd like to know more or less the timing of the included excursions in Havana in order to plan other activities there.
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#4
St. Louis, MO, USA
4,544 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
If you go on the My Cuba Cruise website you can find the excursions that are INCLUDED for those on the People to People program. While they don't tell the exact times the tours depart or return, they do mention one in one of the cities (I have forgotten which but it's either Cienfuegos or Santiago de Cuba) that departs at 8 a.m. - UGH. It's easy to tell if a tour is in the morning or afternoon and on which day it's on. (Like the first or 2nd day in Havana.) On the first day in Havana it mentions a morning tour, then that you can have lunch on your own or return to the ship, then apparently there is another tour or activity for the afternoon. The following day I THINK there is a "ride around" tour that leaves mid-day. Don't quote me on that but have a look at the site. It mentions seeing Hotel National and some other famous one, plus other things, but never says you get to go INSIDE them. Some say you can opt out of a tour and I have heard from people who have done the cruise and say you can, but I also think it's discouraged by the program. I was hoping to book a driver and just go see the Vinales area for a day. However, I'm not even going to try now. Getting the whole day free is just too uncertain.

Good luck!
#5
Cape Coral, FL, USA
405 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Originally posted by mlbcruiser
Hoping someone who has sailed to Cuba on the Celestyal Crystal and participated in the People to People activities can answer a couple of questions.

How early in the morning were you required to begin tours with this program?

Were you REQUIRED to show up at all of the on board lectures, talks and events in the People to People program? (For instance, if it's a sea day and you decide you do not want to go to a talk organized by the program, is it o.k. if you just want to hang out on deck in a lounge chair instead?)

What if there is an off-ship tour and you simply don't care to participate in that particular tour? I'm sure we'll be very interested in most of the program but . . .?

Thanks for any experienced replies!
Just got back Friday. We skipped most of the tours and basically all of the lectures and just did our own thing. We were still issued our "People to People Program Certificate" on the last day of the cruise (along with every other American on the ship). So don't worry about doing your own thing.

One word of caution: Plan your full day excursion in Havana for the FIRST day. On our second day they cut our port time short by 4 hours and we left at 1pm instead of 5pm! (There was an MSC ship sitting outside the harbor, waiting for our berth).

Also leave your snorkel gear at home. They are not allowed to throw the anchor on the coral in Port Francis anymore, so they'll announce the day before that the port is CANCELLED. You'll have an extra sea day instead. Wonder how long it'll take them to change the itinerary on their website.
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#6
St. Louis, MO, USA
4,544 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Thanks, nansi. I just read the review you posted. I have to make final payment within the next couple of days and certainly plan to at least ask what is expected regarding any other beach-type stops. I can understand why they don't want ships anchoring in coral, but surely the Cuban govt. knew from the start that the coral was there, so ???

I had wanted to go to Vinales one of the days, but think we'll have to save that for another visit to Cuba. Do want to visit SOME of the places the P2P tours go, but probably not ALL of them.
#7
2,270 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by mlbcruiser
Thanks, nansi. I just read the review you posted. I have to make final payment within the next couple of days and certainly plan to at least ask what is expected regarding any other beach-type stops. I can understand why they don't want ships anchoring in coral, but surely the Cuban govt. knew from the start that the coral was there, so ???

I had wanted to go to Vinales one of the days, but think we'll have to save that for another visit to Cuba. Do want to visit SOME of the places the P2P tours go, but probably not ALL of them.
If you take the optional Vinales tour with the cruise ship please let me know how it was. Husband really wants to go but don't know if it is really what he is hoping for.
#8
St. Louis, MO, USA
4,544 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Emma's Nanna, just wanted to tell you we did not visit Vinales. There was an excursion listed, I think, but many or most excursions didn't seem to "make" as there weren't enough people. I don't even know if the Trinidad one had enough. However, there is a travel agency located in the cruise terminal, just before you walk outside. It's small, but you will see it as it has ads, etc. I'm sure you can likely arrange things through them,but I'm not certain if you'll be able to go that far. Unlike initially announced once the Punta Frances stop was removed from the itinerary, we did not stay in Havana until 10 p.m. the 2nd day. Just until 5 p.m.

For anyone else who reads this thread wondering about the People to People program . . . .I heard something in a talk about how you are supposed to take part in at least 4 things. (I think this includes tours, onboard presentations, etc. However, no one is taking a roll call at anything and you can skip an included tour, not attend the talks, and so on. Of course, if you do some of these things you will get more out of your trip. Or at least arrange some tours on your own so that you will. Lots to learn!
#9
Cape Coral, FL, USA
405 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
I can't remember where I read this (on the Legendary Journeys thread maybe?) but someone posted that they never left the first port in Cuba (Santiago? or Cienfuegos?) the entire week. They were offered a bus to go to Havana (3 hour ride)! The didn't know what the reason was (the trip was in Jan. if I remember) because the weather was good. If I can find the post, I'll paste it here. In the meantime, has anyone else read this??
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Nancy

8/2000 RENAISSANCE R3 (French Polynesia)
4/2002 NCL SS NORWAY (E Carib)
12/2003 NCL SUN (W Carib)
3/2005 HAL ROTTERDAM (Panama Canal)
12/2005 RCCL RADIANCE of the SEAS (SE Carib)
5/2006 CELEBRITY MERCURY (Alaska)
7/2006 NCL DAWN (Bermuda)
11/2007 HAL STAATENDAM (New Zealand/Australia)
5/2010 HAL NOORDAM (repo FL-Mediterranean)
10/2010 NCL EPIC (W Carib)
4/2014 NCL SUN (So Carib)
10/2015 Sinorama GOLD 8 (Yangtze River China)
6/2016 NCL GETAWAY (W Carib)

11/2016 CELESTYAL CRYSTAL (Cuba)

#10
2,270 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by mlbcruiser
Emma's Nanna, just wanted to tell you we did not visit Vinales. There was an excursion listed, I think, but many or most excursions didn't seem to "make" as there weren't enough people. I don't even know if the Trinidad one had enough. However, there is a travel agency located in the cruise terminal, just before you walk outside. It's small, but you will see it as it has ads, etc. I'm sure you can likely arrange things through them,but I'm not certain if you'll be able to go that far. Unlike initially announced once the Punta Frances stop was removed from the itinerary, we did not stay in Havana until 10 p.m. the 2nd day. Just until 5 p.m.

For anyone else who reads this thread wondering about the People to People program . . . .I heard something in a talk about how you are supposed to take part in at least 4 things. (I think this includes tours, onboard presentations, etc. However, no one is taking a roll call at anything and you can skip an included tour, not attend the talks, and so on. Of course, if you do some of these things you will get more out of your trip. Or at least arrange some tours on your own so that you will. Lots to learn!

Thank you for reporting back. I was suspicious about them leaving at 5 instead of 10. On a cruise ship time table site it shows the ship leaving at 5, not 10 as Celesyal is saying. I don't believe any of the bookings have stayed until 10. There have been reports that folks were told they had to leave at 5 due to port congestion or some such thing. I feel they know it is 5 and they are not being truthful.
What makes me nervous is the schedule is only up until June 2 and my booking is for June 9.
#11
2,270 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by nansi
I can't remember where I read this (on the Legendary Journeys thread maybe?) but someone posted that they never left the first port in Cuba (Santiago? or Cienfuegos?) the entire week. They were offered a bus to go to Havana (3 hour ride)! The didn't know what the reason was (the trip was in Jan. if I remember) because the weather was good. If I can find the post, I'll paste it here. In the meantime, has anyone else read this??
I did read this somewhere on here. I think it was a one time thing but have no idea why.
#12
Germany
14,058 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by EmmasNana
Thank you for reporting back. I was suspicious about them leaving at 5 instead of 10. On a cruise ship time table site it shows the ship leaving at 5, not 10 as Celesyal is saying. I don't believe any of the bookings have stayed until 10. There have been reports that folks were told they had to leave at 5 due to port congestion or some such thing. I feel they know it is 5 and they are not being truthful.
What makes me nervous is the schedule is only up until June 2 and my booking is for June 9.
We left at 10 pm (Jan 24th). Anyway we weren´t really able to use the extra time. We boarded in Havana so the muster drill was on the second day at 6 pm so we had to be back onboard by that time. Then dinner at 6:30 pm and we went to the show after dinner. We left a couple of minutes early. The show ended shortly past 10 pm and we were already outside the harbor channel.

steamboats
#13
2,270 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by steamboats
We left at 10 pm (Jan 24th). Anyway we weren´t really able to use the extra time. We boarded in Havana so the muster drill was on the second day at 6 pm so we had to be back onboard by that time. Then dinner at 6:30 pm and we went to the show after dinner. We left a couple of minutes early. The show ended shortly past 10 pm and we were already outside the harbor channel.

steamboats
Oh, this leaves me hopeful we will stay until 10. Too bad you weren't able to make use of the extra time. I'll bet leaving from Havana in the evening was beautiful.
#14
Florida
200 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
We were on the 2/10 cruise and embarked in Montego Bay. During our two day stop in Havana, the ship left Havana at 10pm on the second day. I guess it must change depending on what other ships are in port.
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#16
Northern NJ
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Joined Aug 2001
We were on the 2/3 sailing from Montego Bay and we also left the second day at 5. Saw the pearl mist waiting to pull into our berth.


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#17
VA, MD & FL
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Joined Apr 2006
On 15 Aug 2017 Crystal stayed docked in Havana until after 9:30pm (all aboard time). Perhaps left a few minutes before 10pm - not unusual to leave a little early if everyone is aboard.