Cuba Cruises

Visit Cuba – 8 Reasons (Luxury Vessels) to Opt for Cuba Cruises

Culturally considered part of Latin America, Cuba, the largest island of the Caribbean, drips with a rich history and live music wafts through the narrow lanes and cobbled streets of Havana. The super-vast island flaunts more than 5,000 km. of pristine coastline, rimmed with exotic beaches. Not to mention, the lush countryside and the glittering turquoise waters. The scenic natural beauty of Cuba has inspired many writers in the past to pen their best creations. Fishing, diving, art gallery, history, vibrant culture, and awe-inspiring beauty have played pivotal ingredients to bring more and more visitors.

Just a mere 90-mile distance from the United States, Cuba makes an amazing vacation hotspot for its tropical settings, lively locals, and many other things. If you wish to visit Cuba, here are 8 best Cruises that go to Cuba to choose from.

Cuba Cruises – Soak in the Vitamin Sea of the Caribbean Region

Marvel at the rugged cliffs, see the towering mountains, relax on the white-sand beaches, and discover vibrant colonial towns reflecting a fascinating history – you are bequeathed all these amazing things when setting sail on a Cuba cruise.

Does ‘cruising’ still mean a vacation in the middle of an ocean to you? If it does, you are not alone.

Although cruising has evolved, even today, a cruise trip means doing nothing but eat, play, and tan. What more could you ask for a perfect weekend?

What if you have never been on a cruise? No worries! Cuba is just the most ideal destination to enjoy a cruise trip.

A Cuban cruise is the best way to avoid the hot climate that prevails all year-round.

What more? You get to take in the bright colors while dancing through the streets of Havana, spend the day at one of the remotest beaches, or tour a cigar factory.

Mainstream Cruise Lines with Strong Interest in Cruises to Cuba

Cruising lets you easily get around the largest Caribbean island with ease – you have a lavish, comfortable home base with upscale amenities and plentiful excursion options. Besides, this can be your typical sun-and-surf Caribbean cruise where you would go on exploring the crumbling colonial buildings and top cities including Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. Here are a handful of topnotch cruise lines that might fascinate you for Cuba cruises.

  1. Adonia (Rebranded as Azamara Pursuit) - Launched in 2001, Adonia, which was handed over to Azamara in 2018 and rebranded as Azamara Pursuit, was designed in such a way that it could sail longer, more in-depth itineraries. It has sailed both as Royal Princess for Princess Cruises and Minerva 2 for Swan Hellenic. It has won 10 awards over the years. Amongst the original features – an elegant library with a faux fireplace and trompe d’oeil ceiling, a sweeping staircase opening grandly into the lobby, and space aft of the sun deck with sweeping views over the ship’s wake – remains the most striking.

Passengers in this cruise ship are mostly well-off stalwarts in their 50s. Talking about the dress code – you need to be in a smart casual during the day. However, when the sun sets, it follows a strict dress code. There are, particularly, three dress codes to be followed – Smart (jacket for men. Happens 4 nights out of 14), Evening Casual (black and white. Happens 6 nights out of 14), and Black Tie (dark suits for men, and for women, posh frocks. Happens remaining 4 nights). It can carry 710 passengers with 300 crew. The ratio becomes 2.37:1.

  1. Pearl Seas Cruises - This has an 11-night Cuba Cultural Voyage that allows its passengers to explore Santiago de Cuba, Havana, Trinidad, El Cobre, Casilda, and Cienfuegos (not in order). Pearl Mist guests relish gourmet cuisine, beer and wine with lunch and dinner, cocktails (every evening), guided shore excursions, onboard lecturers and experts, and more. Guests get two days to traverse around the historic Havana in a classic car, listening to steel drums, and trailing Hemingway.

The 210-passenger ship offers highly personalized service and intimate cruising experience. Apart from Cuba, it offers itineraries to the Canadian Maritimes, the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and New England.

  1. Carnival Paradise - Currently sailing from Tampa to Cuba, Carnival Paradise is one of two cruise ships on this itinerary. Launched in 1998, Carnival Paradise usually sails to the Western Caribbean. It boasts a stunning passenger capacity of 2,052 (although it can travel with more passengers) with many crew members (920). Till today, it has taken up 180 shore excursions. The most standout feature of Carnival Paradise is its friendly service and outstanding entertainment facility. Lots of fun to be had onboard!

Talking about its design, it’s got a traditional one, with most of the action smack right in the middle. This often leads to congestion in the central indoor promenade. The decks are massive and feature Ocean View, Porthole, Balcony, Grand Suite, Extended Balcony Grand Suite, Aft-View Extended Balcony, etc. After spending some lovely time on the deck, head to your cabin – it wouldn’t be a challenge finding your cabin as stateroom hallways are color-coded, making it easy to navigate. The interiors of the cabins are superbly stunning, flaunting 185 sq. ft. with flat-screen TVs. If you are traveling with your family, it can comfortably accommodate 3-4 passengers. The sitting areas are furnished with leather sofa beds and coffee tables.

Carnival is quite notable in the Cuban market for its splashy, Cuba-themed music, salsa dance lessons, lectures, and deck parties.

  1. Variety Cruises - If you believe the Caribbean is made for cruising, you are not wrong. And if you look for evidence, it is all around – in the Caribbean air, the water, and the sand. Variety Cruises is another massive vessel built to conquer the Caribbean water. In partnership with “people-to-people” Cuba program specialist Beyond Cruises, this Greece-based Variety Cruises offer winter and fall sailing. The most preferred itinerary designed between Havana and Cienfuegos is 7-night that traverses through several less-trafficked Cuban locals such as Isla de la Juventud, Maria la Gorda, and Trinidad. You get to meet some of the world-class musicians and artists.
  2. Silver Moon - Just less than 600 guests onboard (596 guests to be precise), Silver Moon makes the newest entry. Newly launched, Silver Moon will mirror her sister ship. It is built on the phenomenal success of Silver Muse and is all set to establish a new era of Silversea. Cabins on the Silver Moon breathtaking designed. To name the most popular ones – Vista Suite, Panorama Suite, Classic Veranda Suite, Superior Veranda Suite, Royal Suite, Grand Suite, Owner’s Suite, Silver Suite, and Deluxe Veranda Suite. All these butler-serviced cabins are equipped with bathrobe, large picture windows, personalized stationery, sitting area, writing desk, vanity, TV, and Wi-Fi.

Once onboard, all guests are equally pampered. Personalized service will be provided. This means, nearly every guest will be taken care of by one crew member. The open-seating dining options are pretty alluring. You will see diversity in dining venues – romantic, casual, and regional delicacies.

What’s more? Guests would avail of themselves complimentary transportation into town in most ports. For entertainment, you will have live music and production shows. The Silver Moon sailing calendar is already out with cruising dates.

  1. Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun) - Comprised of two massive ships Norwegian Sky (2,004 passengers on board) and Norwegian Sun (1,936 passengers on board), Norwegian Cruise Line is an instant hit with cruise aficionados.

When it comes to sailing, Norwegian Sky packs a mighty punch. It is not the newest ship at sea and spoils guests with an array of nonstop activities, a range of dining options and venues, lively lounges, and more. Guests usually halt in Havana for an overnight. Getting into the spirit ashore and onboard, guests just love enjoying Cuban drinks, music, and dishes. The cruise ship has more than 266 shore excursions. Sails from Miami, if it is not visiting Cuba, heads straight to the Bahamas.

Norwegian Sun, built-in 2,001, has refurbished spaces that boast clean, modern design. Guests get to taste a plethora of dining options. Plan your travel routes paring an overnight stay in Havana where you could go around discovering the Cuban markets. It would be awesome if you manage to draw an itinerary with halts in Key West. Shore excursions catch the attention, with performances at various venues including Buena Vista Social Club, Tropicana, and tours of Havana in classic American cars. For kids, the ship has the Splash Academy Kids club-ready (except for late-night activities).

  1. Viking Sky - Get on board and feel like you are in a sumptuous, swanky resort. The public areas of Viking Sky allow you to relax on the long, comfortable couches with lots of books, games, padded chairs, and incredible ocean views. The 930-guest-capacity all-inclusive ship offers fine eating and spacious cabins.  Be it the ship exterior, lanai, smoking area, sports deck, thalassotherapy pool, fitness center, medical center, beauty salon, or spa - every element onboard is thoughtful (keeping the modern travelers in mind).

As per the statistics, Viking passengers are relatively middle-aged or older, with most of them are above 55 – mostly from the United Kingdom and North America. It has a strict rule that says children older than 18 are eligible to sail.

  1. Oceania’s Insignia - Uncover blissful escapes, discover uncommon Cuban history, and immerse yourself in sun-drenched adventures. Oceania promises to offer a very good cruise experience to Cuba.

Size always matters on Oceania’s Insignia. The large ship flaunts a capacity of more than 700 guests. All the awesome guests onboard just love its elegant and contemporary atmosphere.

On Insignia, food is the main event. “The food is a main selling point of Oceania, with excellent, free, French/continental cuisine in the main dining room and two or more (depends on the ship) specialty restaurants (on Insignia, Steak house and Italian). The informal buffet (Terrace Café) is also excellent at noon, but in the evening it serves exotic foreign dishes which you may wish to avoid depending on your tastes,” reviewed one guest. The service is attentive and highly professional. Take a glance at the Grand Dining Room – it’s all sparkling. And yes, the essentials! They are topnotch. Insignia has done 1,603 shore excursions.

Important Note: Since June 2019, the Trump Administration imposed some travel restrictions that have effectively banned cruise ships to Cuba from America. If you are planning a cruise trip, you are requested to check-in with your cruise operator for the latest update.

Best Restaurants to Gorge on Gourmet Cuban Delicacies

Most of Cuba’s restaurants were governed-owned and operated. Things started to change when many private players showed interest and decided to turn the city’s dining games.

Best Restaurants in Havana: Time-defying classics meet the nouvelle Cuban cuisine – Havana brags about a diverse culinary landscape. As your ship halt in Havana for an overnight, why don’t you get around and dine authentic Cuban cuisines at the best eateries?

  • Dona Eutemia: Try out classic Creole dishes (the ropa vieja – shredded lamb, malanga fritters) accompanied by rice, black beans, and salad. The restaurant is nicely tucked into an Old Havana alley.
  • Bella Habana: Set in the upscale Miramar district, the well-known restaurant offers a perfect Cuban cuisine to pamper your taste buds. Enjoy smoked salmon and octopus ceviche in a beautiful backdrop, flaunting elegantly decorated ceiling and walls.
  • Casa Mia Paladar: Are you in love? Looking for a perfect romantic place? Casa Mia Paladar offers lunch, dinner, brunch, drinks, and after-hours.
  • Café Bohemia: Located in Plaza Vieja in historic Old Havana, Café Bohemia is an upscale stylish café dazzling in both an expansive seating area and an interior courtyard. The café majorly serves salads and sandwiches.
  • La Fontana: One of the best restaurants in Havana, La Fontana is a great spot to dine and drink with your best buddies in a different ambiance. Opened in 1995, the restaurant has outstandingly progressed with time. If visiting, a barbecue is a must-try.
  • El Biky: A popular place to savor a perfect Cuban meal, EL Biky boasts an upscale dining room and a casual café. Here, you will pamper your taste buds with the best traditional Cuban dishes. If you love seafood, it has an extensive menu flaunting smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, piquillo peppers stuffed with tuna, and octopus carpaccio.

Taking a cruise tour to Cuba is an incredible way to know what the island country has to offer. However, here are a few things that you need to know before taking your first cruise to Cuba.

Do I Need a Passport to Go On a Cruise?

Yes, you will need a Cuba visa on a cruise if your itinerary has several halts in various cities. When you book your Cuba cruise with an operator or company, apply for your visa with them.

Once arrived in Cuba, you have a plethora of activities waiting – from stepping back in time in Havana to taking in Cuba’s picturesque sandy beaches and from walking along the fortified walls of the Morro Castle to visiting the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Outdoor Activities Beaches


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