By Dominic Soave
Would you like to explore Cuba and experience the diversity of its riches like no other traveller before you? Cruising on Cuba Cruise offers a unique opportunity to experience the history, landscapes, and culture of Cuba in a comfortable and seamless travel environment. It really is the best of both worlds.
Cuba Cruise has worked closely with local tourism partners in Cuba and has created one of the most in-depth and exciting ways to travel to this enchanting Caribbean island. Docking at a new port every day, travellers can marvel at fabled colonial cities, wilderness nature preserves, and of course, some of the most beautiful beaches in all the world.
The cruise has daily shore excursions using only the best local guides and operators, ensuring vacationers are exposed to the most authentic sights, sounds and flavours of Cuba. In addition to the amazing UNESCO world heritage sites, national parks and preserves that Cuba offers, travellers will also experience the best luxuries onboard the 48 stateroom ship, MV Louis Cristal. This unique vessel sports a yacht-like modern design and an array of impressive amenities such as spacious staterooms and suites, elegant lounges and restaurants, a casino and open promenades.
The ship’s first port is one of the great historical cities of the world: Havana. The ship sails at sunset out of the harbour and past the magnificent colonial-era forts that guard the entrance. It is truly a breathtaking experience.
We then have one night at sea while enjoying world-class food and entertainment and preparing for the next port of call, Holguin and Antilla.
Christopher Columbus discovered this region in 1492 and declared it to be “the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes.”
Holguin is famous for some of Cuba’s most beautiful beaches and a stunning countryside. Passengers can explore the isolated La Mensura National Park, hike the UNESCO biosphere of Cuchillas de Toa, or the Guayabo waterfalls plunging 200 meters....
Antilla had never seen a cruise ship until the MV Cristal stopped here on her maiden voyage. So happy was the town mayor that he declared a holiday for everyone in the city. People came out and lined the streets to see us arrive.
The ship then heads to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, one of the most interesting and historically significant places in Cuba. Santiago de Cuba is the island’s center for Afro-Cuban culture and a key to Cuba’s unique personality. Entering the spectacular port through the channel and seeing Santiago sprawl out on the mountainside is a site one does not soon forget.
From Santiago de Cuba the ship then makes its way to Montego Bay,Jamaica, for its second embarkation point. This is unique in that passengers may embark the cruise itinerary in two different countries, making it easy for visitors to create a trip that suits them and their flights. With passengers arriving during the middle of the cruise for some it means an exciting new group of eager passengers to meet and experience. Next stop includes the world-class and historical cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
Winding through the entrance to the bay, passengers are greeted with the far-off image of gleaming and modern Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos is a stunning city with modern amenities, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and welcoming public. The cruise offers many different excursions here, both historical and cultural, as this city and Trinidad offer so much.
The last stop for us was the incredible and secluded beach of Punta Frances on the Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud). The MV Cristal anchors just off the island and passengers transfer to the beach at Port Frances. This is a glorious beach of pure white sand surrounded by crystal clear warm waters—perfect for snorkeling.
We enjoyed a beach barbecue in the sunshine and listened to live music provided exclusively for passengers. I was excited to find out that while enjoying the sun and sand of this private beach, the ship’s waiters wandered the beach to offer us drinks! What a great day!
Then we were off to the final stop back in Havana.
This was an incredible experience and one that I am sure many passengers will enjoy. It allows one to see the beauty of Cuba and its people while enjoying the luxury of the ship. Every day when you wake up you get to see a different part of Cuba. The only downside was that we wanted more!