Recently two of our Creative Vacations travel consultants traveled to Cuba to experience the previously “forbidden fruit” of the world for travelers from the United States.
Taking two different types of cruises, Willa and Michaela both ventured to the land that time seems to have forgotten, but is wrapped in beauty and culture!
Willa – Fathom Adonia April 2017 Miami – Havana (2 days) – Cienfuego – Santiago de Cuba
Our trip was a full immersion and “People to People” cruise. This type of tour gives you an in depth look at how the people of Cuba live. The opportunity to experience their day to day lives, their history, the beauty of the land and culture, before it becomes “Americanized.” This trip was something we would do again in a heartbeat!
The culture of Cuba is like no other – they have so little, yet are so thankful, happy and full of hope. The island has so much history - most areas are very old, and with the economy being so poor, the buildings are almost all in desperate need of repair.
The music (there is music everywhere!), dancing, art - there was just so much to see and do, we couldn’t get enough. All the while, we felt extremely safe, whether it was wandering the streets and exploring or riding in one of the old cars for a guided tour (which we strongly recommend!) The driver for our tour gave us the opportunity to stop and explore or take pictures, all the while filling us in on the history of each landmark. The arranged tours (which are part of the requirement to visit Cuba) were wonderful, and overnighting in port on the ship gave us the chance to experience the food and nightlife, combined to give the true feel of experiencing life in Cuba.
This is truly a trip to remember, and one anyone interested should make before the true beauty is replaced with a more “touristy” feel!
Michaela – Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Sky May 2017 Miami – Havana (2 days) – Great Stirrup Cay
Our cruise was a family cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday!
After departing Miami and sailing overnight, we arrived in Havana! As required, we departed the ship for our tour. After our first stop we had a couple of block walk back to the bus. The buildings are surreal, we were so struck by the architecture. Historic beauty and old world style, stuck in an island paradise time warp. The doorways, the tiles, the details.
There was live music, shops and courtyards to take it all in. Add in the friendly people and it was not only breath taking, but felt completely safe.
One advantage of cruising with Norwegian is their kid’s club. We were able to check the kids in for a fun and exciting night, and then leave the ship for “date night” in Havana for my birthday! After more wandering and sightseeing we ended up on the Malecon, watching the people and cars. After a while we walked back the other direction and ended up at the bar in Dos Hermanos, enjoying a few drinks and the live music (did we mention it is everywhere?)
Our second day in Havana did not disappoint. We decided on a guided tour and found a super friendly and knowledgeable guide driving an old Packard and we were off. He focused on our requests and helped guide us to the sights we wanted to see most. Well worth the time and money to see Cuba this way! There are no billboards, no giant burger joint signs, no mega stores or coffee chains. This was the Havana we wanted to see, before the Americans bring all the commercialized things to this beautiful city it seems time has forgotten.
Another day over, back to the ship for a private island beach day and then return home.
The latest life changing adventure is in the books, now where to next?