Christmas in Cuba: How I spent my holiday vacation!
“Unreal trip! The staff was incredible, the food was top-notch, the entertainment was great and the excursions were a blast! Everyone needs to check out Cuba Cruise! Can’t wait to get back on board!”
This might be the only way to see Cuba. Sail with Cuba cruise on the ship mv Louis Cristal.
Leaving from Montego Bay, Jamaica or Havana, Cuba, we started in Montego Bay.
Arriving a day early to avoid potential weather problems in Toronto we stayed a full resort 5 minutes from the ship.
On boarding the ship we were pleasantly surprised by it's impressive cleanliness, pleasant and numerous hosts and great staterooms.
The ship is small by today's cruiser standards but a perfect size to get in and out of the tight harbors we were to visit first stop was Cienfuegos on the south of the island. We were met with a cheerful and most helpful group of taxis, man powered pedal bike with seat for two and the really popular horse drawn buggies with seats up to six. We had selected one of the many adventures the cruise ship had offered us and went of to see the city on an a/c luxury bus, made in china. A great tour with a walking section so we could get closer to the people.
The people, and most don’t speak English so be prepared to struggle with that one. It doesn't take long however before someone comes along and sorts thing out.
Cuba is safe so you can pretty much go any where in cities or out in the country.
Back to the ship for good food and entertainment with a show featuring mostly talent form Cuba and then some from Canada.
Next day of to a beach then over night to Havana. This city takes a report of its own to cover, but it’s all there. Big city with many churches, parks, squares and historical edifices.
One thing one has to get used to is the number of unused buildings left over from the revolution. When the Cubans who left, they did big time and many homes, offices and buildings were left and are still empty and now in disrepair. Tourist money is being used to rebuild them and this is visible as one tours or walks around.
Old cars. The dinosaurs as Cuban call them. There are not as many as we are lead to believe. There is always a good selection of 50s Chevrolets, Pontiacs, fords and the occasional Cadillac but the most prevalent autos are either from Russia or china. There are also many modern cars from Europe, all over the place.
Next day was at sea to get to know the ship and all its amenities.
Off again after more good food and entertainment to a visit to another new but smaller city, Antilla, where we spent the day in a 53 chev four door sedan travelling the back country to see farms, real cowboys a stop at a cigar factory and a stop to check out a couple of resort hotels. Not our thing, but it was a way to see fabulous beaches and meet more Cubans. Our friendly taxi driver took us to his hometown, his cousin’s restaurant and to his house for coffee.
This is a casual way to see Cuba. No fuss on board, casual dining with great service "no shorts" at dinner but a neat casual environment always. The ship is small enough you get to know many passengers and you will recognise fellow passengers while on shore. We met people from all over the world. People who wanted to see this unique country and enjoy the local population. There weather of course for Canadians was great too,
We over-nighted to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Then wesjetted home that afternoon.
We are just back from a wonderful week on your cruise! This is one of the best cruises we have taken. We are so pleased.
The embarkation/disembarkation was the easiest we have ever had.
The ship's band was outstanding... even compared to those on ships more than twice the size. We can't say enough nice things about the entertainment too. The performers were first rate. The gymnasts were amazing.
Danny, the cruise director, is the greatest. He was friendly and highly organized... and appears to be a great leader for his team on-board. I thoroughly enjoyed the bridge tour he hosted.
The dining room staff were attentive and fulfilled every request from our table with a smile. Some of them are quite talented too. We attended a brief concert by one of the waiters who was an Elvis impersonator. What a voice he had!
We've already told numerous people about your great cruise.
My wife and I have just returned from our Cuba Cruise. Our second in fact and we would do it again. It's a great way to spend a week on board and ashore meeting interesting shipmates and Cuban people. The ship is the right size to get to know your shipmates and the crew. Food was plentiful and well prepared. Are all ship staff as nice as we had on the cruise? The cities we visited were welcoming and the Cuban people happy to see us Canadians.
Thank you for booking one of our best ocean cruises. The staff on the ship were exceptional and the entertainment was outstanding. I can usually skip the entertainment onboard but we never missed anything on this one. Since the cruise is Canadian, the currency on-board the ship was in Canadian dollars, the beer was brought in from Canada, and all the announcements were in English and French - reminded us of home! We were pampered to death for the entire week.
We found Cuba really interesting. It is a strange mix of poverty, and exuberance. The country is now allowing privately owned and operated small business. The streets are teeming with tiny restaurants, stores, and services. The people are friendly, and the streets are safe. ( I felt much safer there than in Jamaica). The street vendors in Cuba take no for an answer without the aggression we have encountered in some other third world countries. In the main cities, the highways are shared with antique cars, sleek busses built in Spain, private buses made of converted trucks, horse drawn carts, bicycle cabs, and donkey carts.
Great trip. Enjoyed the ship, the people, the food and saw a whole new side of Cuba. ...the shipboard experience on the Louis Cristal is also not a resort experience BUT even better, it is a wonderful supplement to the resort experience, either before or after first time or like me, a frequent visitor (Cuba 7 times all different places).
We loved the cruise staff, food and entertainment were great. We booked many shore excursions through cruise line.
We went on the cruise last February and a passenger told us she has been on 17 cruises and none can compare to the Cuba Cruise!! We loved it!! And the staff is the best!