Over the next couple of posts I will be sharing my experience with everyone on my cruise to Cuba. I've been wanting to go to Cuba for a while but was hesitant. Maybe it was because I didn't have the time to plan the perfect Cuba getaway. Maybe it was because there wasn't enough information or all the information I read was conflicting. Some people love it and some people hated it. When my family decided to take a cruise to Cuba I jumped at the opportunity. I mean everything would be planned out and I wouldn't have to worry about anything other than how to spend my days in Havana. Well I started to look things up and found very limited info on this topic as well.
I decided to share my experience with everyone in hopes it will help you plan your vacation to Cuba. Please note if you are from the US be sure to check out the updated rules on travel to Cuba. I went on a people to people visa but at the time of this post that is no longer an option.
We chose the Norwegian Sky for our cruise to Cuba. I have to admit the choice was made for me however I have cruised Norwegian before and even sailed on the Sky before so I had no issues with that decision. We boarded the ship in Miami and it was relatively quick and painless. We checked in, got our Cuban visas and proceeded to board the ship. Once on the ship we had lunch and started our vacation. What is great about the Sky is that is it all inclusive meaning drinks are included. That means wine, beer, liquor, soda and juice. Whether you love wine like me or just drink soda this is a great perk to have.
Our first day in Havana we had no plans. We just wanted to wander and get a feel for what the city has to offer. Being a Hemingway fan my only two goals were to visit two places. La Floridita and La Bodeguita del medio. More about that later.
Getting off the boat was relatively easy. They let people off in groups however either because our ship was not at capacity or people were not getting off we were able to get off at our leisure.
Now I mentioned the Visa in my last post. The process was pretty simple as I chose to do it through Norwegian Cruise Lines. The cost was $75 and all you have to do is fill out a form and elect 1 of 12 qualifying reasons for your visit. I elected People to People. (Please note that this option is no longer available. Make sure to do your research on this before you go). Many people that fly have also said the process is pretty simple as most airlines offer it for an extra fee. The fees range from $50-100. You can also go to the Cuban consulate to get it as well but I am unsure of the process. If anyone knows please share and I will update this post.
We proceeded through immigration where they took our visas, stamped our passports and took a photo. Our information was recorded in their system and we were able to enter and leave as we pleased. It took us about 5-10 minutes each time.
Once we stepped outside our adventure started. As I mentioned above my only itinerary of the day was to visit two of Hemingway's favorite watering holes so we just decided to wander.
After spending a few hours wandering through Old Havana our first stop was El Floridita. Hemingway was known to come here often for Daiquiris and being a Hemingway fan (and a daiquiri fan) I had to give it a try. They were actually super good. Not too sweet. Just the right amount of awesomeness. Not to mention the fact that it was about a million degrees so air conditioning and a cold drink was music to my ears.
After our drinks we made our way back to the ship for lunch and to take a break. The beauty about Cruising to Cuba for me was being able to go back to the ship for a break. We had lunch, a couple of drinks, freshened up and headed back out for some adventure.
Our next stop was La Bodeguita Del Medio. I absolutely loved this place. The story says that Hemingway came here for his Mojitos. It is supposedly a myth. Who knows? I do know that I absolutely loved this place. They had a live band, the mojitos were amazing and it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
For my outfit I kept things comfy with a midi dress from Lord & Taylor. I linked similar here. My shoes are Crocs and I absolutely love them. They are comfy but cute. These have traveled all over the world with me.
Next week I will share more about my adventures in Cuba. Have you been to Cuba? Would you go on a cruise to Cuba?
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