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RiverSong

Have You Been On A Cruise To Cuba?

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I was wondering if anyone can help me out with some further advice.  I know more and more Cruise lines are now taking in this destination, and its somewhere me and my partner want to go to but don’t fancy a hotel stay.  Has anyone been on a cruise yet that can enlighten me further.

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I went on one some years ago but not with the bigger lines. Ours was a Louis Crystal cruise company which had hired in a Greek Islands ship and used imported Canadian food on board as Cuban food at that time was not good nor sources dependable. At the time we`d been warned against self drive and we soon saw why. At times poor roads and a lack of signposting meant a mystery trip was on the agenda! Cruising around the ports taking in Trinidad, Cienfuego and others I forget was magical. Cuba is fantsastic and we were lucky to see it before things started to change quite so much and before the crowds got there. Our worst stop was Montego Bay to take on Americans getting around the USA blocks at the time. Stick to Cuba and you`ll have a great time. We were just frustrated not to get more than a day visit at some stops as some of these places really need an overnight to take i the magic. best tip if you are starting fro Havana reject all attempts to put you out at Varadero or in town in the more touristy hotels  near the embassies. get a real downtown one and just take what comes. We stayed downtown  and it was magical sitting on the terrace watching the cars and wandering the streets feeling totally safe. Lovely people ad place - do it£

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19 hours ago, jinky said:

I went on one some years ago but not with the bigger lines. Ours was a Louis Crystal cruise company which had hired in a Greek Islands ship and used imported Canadian food on board as Cuban food at that time was not good nor sources dependable. At the time we`d been warned against self drive and we soon saw why. At times poor roads and a lack of signposting meant a mystery trip was on the agenda! Cruising around the ports taking in Trinidad, Cienfuego and others I forget was magical. Cuba is fantsastic and we were lucky to see it before things started to change quite so much and before the crowds got there. Our worst stop was Montego Bay to take on Americans getting around the USA blocks at the time. Stick to Cuba and you`ll have a great time. We were just frustrated not to get more than a day visit at some stops as some of these places really need an overnight to take i the magic. best tip if you are starting fro Havana reject all attempts to put you out at Varadero or in town in the more touristy hotels  near the embassies. get a real downtown one and just take what comes. We stayed downtown  and it was magical sitting on the terrace watching the cars and wandering the streets feeling totally safe. Lovely people ad place - do it£

Thank you, I really want to go but the other half needs some further persuasion 

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Hi RiverSong,

My wife and I, together with a couple of friends, called into Havana on Marella Discovery 2 as part of their Cuban Fusion cruise.  It was somewhere that was on our bucket list and the call did not disappoint.

Docked from 07.00hrs on Friday 26 January 2018 to 14.00hrs on Saturday 27th, we enjoyed the ship organised "Havana Highlights" half day tour on the first morning, then spent time on our own in town before taking in a super show at Cabaret Parisien in The Hotel Nacionale on the Friday evening (again, ship organised).

The following morning, our friends were driven around in a vintage car, whilst my wife and I strolled the streets and sampled the markets.  At no stage did we feel out of our comfort zone.

A great place to visit.

DavidH 

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Went earlier this year with MSC, Flew out with Virgin from Gatwick and Landed Havana (Direct flight) Stayed overnight on MSC Opera also had the following day to tour.   Havana (Cuba), Philipsburg (St Maarten), St John's (Antigua), Road Town (Tortola), Funchal (Madeira), Cadiz, Barcelona, Genoa  then coach to Nice for afternoon flight back with easy Jet to  Gatwick some 18 nights later.   Bought Visa from Cubaism Ltd 

Edited by pennbank

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I was on the same cruise as David H (Hi David!).  Personally, I was not enamoured with Marella Cruises but I absolutely loved Havana.  You do have to be prepared for the fact that areas of the city are very run down and look terribly poor.  Fortunately, to me that does not degrade a place.  On day one, I walked around a lot of the city (you are docked right on the edge of Habana Vieja - or old town.  I was on my own and carrying camera equipment but felt perfectly safe.  There are also options to tour on a HOHO or in American Classic Cars.

On the second morning (day 2 was a half-day), I walked around the area to the left of the cruise terminal, which is a very residential area and not in the least touristy.  It was a weekend and latin music was coming out of many apartment windows and locals were standing around chatting or going about their business.  Several stopped to talk and were interested to know where I came from and if I was enjoying myself.  They seemed genuinely grateful that you had visited their city.

Havana has a wonderful, wonderful feel & atmosphere.  Small signs of Western 'encroachment' are appearing and I would urge people to go soon before it starts looking like the rest of the World!  I would suggest you do a cruise which stays overnight or one that starts in Havana and gives you the opportunity of a night or two in the city.  There is a lot to see and it is a bigger city than I thought.  I would go again in a heartbeat.

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10 hours ago, afcandrew said:

I was on the same cruise as David H (Hi David!).  Personally, I was not enamoured with Marella Cruises but I absolutely loved Havana.  You do have to be prepared for the fact that areas of the city are very run down and look terribly poor.  Fortunately, to me that does not degrade a place.  On day one, I walked around a lot of the city (you are docked right on the edge of Habana Vieja - or old town.  I was on my own and carrying camera equipment but felt perfectly safe.  There are also options to tour on a HOHO or in American Classic Cars.

On the second morning (day 2 was a half-day), I walked around the area to the left of the cruise terminal, which is a very residential area and not in the least touristy.  It was a weekend and latin music was coming out of many apartment windows and locals were standing around chatting or going about their business.  Several stopped to talk and were interested to know where I came from and if I was enjoying myself.  They seemed genuinely grateful that you had visited their city.

Havana has a wonderful, wonderful feel & atmosphere.  Small signs of Western 'encroachment' are appearing and I would urge people to go soon before it starts looking like the rest of the World!  I would suggest you do a cruise which stays overnight or one that starts in Havana and gives you the opportunity of a night or two in the city.  There is a lot to see and it is a bigger city than I thought.  I would go again in a heartbeat.

Hi Andrew,

Spot on.

Regards from us all,

DavidH

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I`d say have at least 3 nights in Havana. Pick up on the night scene and street music. You can go into one of the smallest cafe bars and have a quiet drink. Suddenly a small musical group will come in and there`ll be a couple of old locals jumping up for a dance soon joined by loads of others. We picked up on a free concert in the Plaza Vieja. I happened to say I`d love to know what the are singing about and a young Cuban girl next to us began telling us the ideas behind and some of the key lyrics of the next few songs until we left to eat elsewhere. I met one chance one Sunday morning. I`d got up at around 7 - no internet working in the lounge (as per usual ) so wandered off into the back streets armed only with my camera and a small amount of money. met a guy with a crazy car who I knew was on the make but had a great chat about his car, his life as part time baseball coach and, after he`d offered me a source of cigars, women for my room ( !!! I told him my wife might not like it)  he said the bar near us offered the best mojitos in town. Unwisely I said why not as the custom  for Cubans was to have one before work! Sure enough the bar was busy with locals having their liquid breakfast before starting work. 2 hours later I`d had 2 mojitos, a local fire water,a discussion on Castro and how things were changing which would have been impossible due to spies  just months earlier before Fidel had stood down and a demonstration of dance and Cuban music styles courtesy pof my host and the bar owners wife. OK he didn`t treat me as he initially said he would (yeah some chance) but me treating him to his drinks as well as my own cost about £5 and it was money well spent. Quite the highlight of my trip. Yes my wife told me I`d been stupid on my return, half cut for breakfast but not once did I feel unsafe.  Lovely people.

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Most cruise lines will overnight in Havana, giving you 2 good days, so if you feel you may need 3 nights you would need to arrive early, or stay on after the cruise which from your comments you may not want to do, though from the information above 2 days would seem to be fine to experience some of the flavour of Havana.

It also seems that the Cuban authorities are insisting that cruise passengers undertake a couple of excursions whilst in port and to satisfy this demand the cruise line may include 2 excursions within the price of the cruise, certainly MSC are doing this, so this also allows you to see a bit of Cuba as part of an organised group before heading off to explore on your own, knowing the comfort of the ship is close by.

We are booked to visit Havana in March 2019 as part of a 7 night MSC cruise departing from Miami, it seems they are using Miami more now and it does give you many more flight options from the UK than flying direct to Havana, with prices for a 'cruise only' starting at around £699 it really is hard to beat and will give us a chance of a glimpse of Cuba before it inevitably changes in the coming years.

I hope you get the chance to go.

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