Set sail to this picturesque Caribbean island, famed for its striking colonial architecture, magnificent powder-soft beaches, and fascinatingly diverse culture.
With miles upon scenic miles of white sand beaches, beckoning Old World architecture and majestic mountain ranges, Cuba is quickly becoming a popular vacation destination, and one of the best ways to explore this vibrant Caribbean island is with a Cuba cruise.
Very little has changed in Cuba in comparison to neighboring Caribbean islands, due in large part to an economic embargo that has lasted for more than half a century. As a result, passengers disembarking from a Cuba cruise will notice that some of the major cities, such as Havana, appear to be stuck in a time warp: the colonial architecture, though visually stunning, are in need of repair, while antique Fords, Buicks and Pontiacs are easily spotted cruising the streets in clouds of smoke. However, these storied surroundings are what make Cuba such a fascinating place to visit.
On a Cuba cruise vacation, passengers have the opportunity to venture out to far-reaching islands and to explore a few cities in the span of several days. Nearly all cruises to Cuba incorporate a port of call in Havana, Cuba’s capital. In this captivating city, passengers can stroll through the cobblestone streets of Old Havana and admire its colonial buildings, tour a fully operational cigar factory, or enjoy an evening out at one of the city's many live music venues. Another city passengers often visit during their Cuba cruise is Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city in Cuba after Havana. Here, passengers can tour historic rum distilleries, explore the UNESCO-recognized Baconao Biosphere Reserve, or simply bask on the shores of one of the many beautiful beaches. Cienfuegos is another port of call made by some cruise lines, and in this charming waterfront city, passengers can take an excursion to the stunning El Nicho Waterfall, stroll through the swanky Punta Gorda neighborhood to take in the beautiful neoclassical buildings, or spend some time in the turquoise waters snorkeling, sailing or swimming.
Most cruises to Cuba incorporate a port stop in Havana either for a full day or overnight so passengers can partake in at least one full-day shore excursion. Typically, these shorter Cuba cruises incorporate a port of call in either Mexico or the Caribbean as well. For longer duration Cuba cruises, passengers can opt for a partial Cuba circumnavigation cruise, which make ports of call in Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. If passengers are keen on doing a full Cuba circumnavigation cruise, these itineraries will sail to more remote ports of call, such as La Isla de Juventud.
The best time to go on a Cuba cruise is from December to March, when the weather is delightful and rain is sparse. From May to October the temperature can reach unbearable levels, but if you can withstand the heat and humidity, try to book your Cuba cruise in July so you can be a part of the effervescent Carnival festival that occurs every year in Santiago de Cuba.