Travel Advisory: On June 4, 2019, the US government announced new travel restrictions to Cuba, effective immediately. As a result, all cruise lines will no longer be permitted to sail to the Caribbean island of Cuba.
Celebrated for its colonial architecture, immaculate white sand beaches, and some of the liveliest people you’ll ever meet, there is plenty to discover on a cruise through the largest island in the Caribbean.
In recent years, more operators have been offering cruises to Cuba, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the signature architecture, fascinating history, and pulsating rhythms of this Caribbean island. Though known primarily for their scenic stretches of powder-soft beaches and startlingly blue oceans, there’s more to Cuba than just sand and surf. Beyond the beautiful beaches lies a land of lush forests, rugged mountains and remarkable architecture that harken back to more opulent times.
Passengers disembarking from a Cuba cruise will set foot in a country that seems to be from another moment in time. Still reeling from the effects of an economic embargo that has lasted for more than half a century, Cuba isn’t nearly as developed as the other Caribbean islands. However, it’s Cuba’s timeworn yet dignified atmosphere that make this country such a fascinating place to travel to, especially by cruise. A Cuba cruise vacation is an ideal way to see this colorful Caribbean country, as it allows you the opportunity to venture out to far-flung islands, and you have the opportunity to visit a handful of ports in several days, which would be an impossible feat to accomplish by car.
When it comes to Cuba cruises, there are three main itineraries to choose from. Cuba cruises of shorter duration do a port stop in Havana either for a full day, or overnight. This allows passengers to partake in at least one full-day shore excursion. A partial Cuba circumnavigation cruise allows passengers to spend more than one night in Cuba. Typically, these cruises make ports of call in Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. Lastly, a full Cuba circumnavigation cruise sets sail around the entire island, making stops at more untouched ports of call, such as La Isla de Juventud, which is home to some of the most beautiful, untouched beaches in Cuba.
It’s easy for Cuba cruise passengers to get swept up in the charms of Havana. Apart from a walking tour of the architectural gem of Old Havana, a typical port stop in Havana could include a classic car tour of the city, an in-depth look into one of the many cigar factories and rum distilleries, or a night out at the famous Buena Vista Social Club. Santiago de Cuba is the cradle of the Cuban Revolution, and the landscape of this exhilarating city is peppered with monuments of the country’s revolutionary leaders. Son -- Cuba’s popular national music -- originated here, and there are many venues where passengers can develop an appreciation for this rhythmic music. Cienfuegos and Trinidad are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are within driving distance of each other. Trinidad is famed for their cobble stone streets lined with pastel-colored houses, while Cienfuegos is known for having a large number of beautifully preserved neo-classical buildings.
December through March is the best time to embark on a Cuba cruise, when the weather isn’t nearly as humid. Although the island’s tropical climate makes cruising to Cuba ideal year-round, from May to October the temperature and humidity reach their peak levels. If you’re able to bear the high temperature and humidity, July would be a good time for a Cuba cruise vacation as you can partake in the lively Carnival festival that takes place in Santiago de Cuba.
*Prices are cruise only, per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses not included. Rates are valid for US and Canadian residents only. Fuel supplement may apply. Savings advertised and Expedia Extras are based on specific cabin types and sailing dates, and may not be available for all cabin types/sailings.