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Cruise to Cuba

By HarryTuesday 03rd January 2017

Fancy being one of the first to cruise to Cuba? Empress of the Seas will make history for Royal Caribbean in Spring. It’s time to take a once in a lifetime trip to Havana, Cuba, and step back in time with us!

THINGS TO DO

Cuba is known for its unforgettable nightlife, iconic music and vibrant culture; think brightly-coloured streets, classic American cars, and lots of rhythmic dancing! The island nation is a location people tend to fall in love with from the second they arrive. With beautiful Caribbean beaches and dolphins swimming in open seas, you’ll create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Known for its association with a number of famous figures, Cuba is acquainted with the late American novelist Ernest Hemingway. During the time he spent there, he was moved by his experiences, which heavily influenced his work. Step ashore in Cuba and travel from Finca la Vigia to Cojimar, the fishing village that inspired the Nobel Prize-winning novel ‘Old Man and the Sea’, and feel fully immersed in literature haven!

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Not enough fame for you? Feel like a film star as you whizz by the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in a vintage American car. Built in the 1930s, the hotel is a huge symbol of Cuban identity; famous guests from history include Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and Alexander Flemming – a star-studded line-up! Make the most out of a photo stop at the Plaza de la Revolución. Imagine the look on your loved ones’ faces back home when you pass around the photo of you beneath the huge Che Guevara mural – the words ‘Hasta la Victoria Siempre’, or ‘Always Towards Victory’, emblazoned underneath. You’ll simply never experience anything like a trip to Havana. Soak in the classic, jaw-dropping architecture, mingle with locals, and enjoy a cafecito, or ‘Cuban espresso’ at Café Marina. Put on your dancing shoes and salsa the night away at the famed Cabaret Tropicana Night Club, before catching a whirlwind Latin jazz act at a Jazz Café. There’s never a quiet moment in Cuba! GettyImages-597673659

TRAVEL TIPS

SHORE EXCURSIONS

Fancy yourself on a Cuban shore excursion? Of course you do! Enjoy a specially selected programme so that you don’t miss out on a fantastic trip into the mainland. Take note: In order to go ashore when you are in Cuba, it is vital to buy a Visa and book a shore excursion with Royal Caribbean, due to the strict US/Cuba embargo. You will not be able to leave the ship if you haven’t booked! Find more information here.

SPENDING MONEY

Cuba operates a two-currency system – one for locals, Cuban pesos (CUP), and the other for tourists, convertible Cuban pesos or CUC (pronounced ‘cook’). It is most likely that credit cards will not be accepted and guests should anticipate paying for items in local currency. Guests should check the currency exchange rate prior to their sailing.

WAVE WIFI GOODBYE

Forget your social media accounts when you’re on the island, and leave that email until you get back. The data roaming on your phone will not work, as there is restricted internet access. If it’s urgent, there are over 40 government approved Wi-Fi hotspots around the capital, Havana, as well as other major cities. Crowds of people tend to gather around these hotspots at all hours of the day – with so much to do in Cuba, there really won’t be any need for Wi-Fi!

DRESS CODE

It is appropriate to dress casually in Cuba.  Cotton shirts and chinos/khakis are perfect for restaurants and hotels, and ladies are free to wear shorts and tank tops. No need to worry about covering up!

EXTRAS

  • Drink only bottled water.
  • Due to the tropical climate, wear loose fitting airy clothes, comfortable shoes and a hat.
  • Only a few places are air conditioned; bring a fan!
  • Purchase items only from authorized sellers.
  • It is illegal to buy cigars on the street; other than at approved retail stores as well as to exchange U.S. dollars into Cuban CUCs (Cuban Currency) any place other than at an official CADECA (Currency Exchange Houses) and hotels.
  • Exchange money only at CADECAs (Currency exchange houses) or hotels.

CHECK YOUR SCHEDULE

We know the thought of a trip to Cuba is exciting! Before you make a decision on which cruise is for you, make sure you consider your options. The summer schedule for Empress of the Seas provides holidaymakers with more opportunities to sample the unique Royal Caribbean experience from Tampa, Florida. Two other Royal Caribbean ships, Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas, will offer Caribbean itineraries from the homeport during the winter season. Now you know, it’s go go go!

Impressed by Cuba’s illustrious history and fascinating culture? Take a look at our Caribbean adventures and immerse yourself in a whole new world.

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