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I would appreciate any info on the ships tours in Cuba. I am on the Dec 17 cruise out of Miami. Has anyone done any of the tours and if so how were they.

 

Hinda

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We had a great tour to see the Buena Vista Social Club at the Melia Cohiba hotel in the evening. Very fun! We had also booked a farm-to-table tour and lunch, but it was cancelled.

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Posted (edited)
We had a great tour to see the Buena Vista Social Club at the Melia Cohiba hotel in the evening. Very fun! We had also booked a farm-to-table tour and lunch, but it was cancelled.

 

The Buena Vista Social Club performed at the Hotel Nacional. I stayed at the Melia Cohiba last month but there was no show there. I looked at the website - but - I see it goes to various locations.

Edited by ChatKat in Ca.

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We had a great tour to see the Buena Vista Social Club at the Melia Cohiba hotel in the evening. Very fun! We had also booked a farm-to-table tour and lunch, but it was cancelled.

 

When the tour was cancelled did they offer other tours? If they did not what did you do instead during the day?

 

We are going in December and would like to know if there were other tours that were canceled?

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Our Buena Vista Social Club tour was cancelled last month (May 4 cruise). Only other ship tour we did was Birthplace of the Revolution in Santiago. As O tours go, we felt it was hot, long and forgettable, especially the part where we sat in hard church benches in a classroom (many flies, 2 fans - no a/c) and listened to a lecture en espanol ( guides translated) on development. And the part where we stood in the square (no shade) forever waiting for the bus and were beset upon by people begging for money, some with some very contagious looking ailments (disclaimer: not an MD). Very interesting cruise. Looking forward to our next in France/Portugal/Spain though. Jan

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Posted (edited)
The Buena Vista Social Club performed at the Hotel Nacional. I stayed at the Melia Cohiba last month but there was no show there. I looked at the website - but - I see it goes to various locations.

Well, I know where I was when I saw them in December, 2017....in the Havana Cafe at the Melia Cohiba Hotel.....not the Hotel Nacional. We entered the main lobby and sat there amidst the beautiful Christmas decorations before entering the Havana Cafe (which is right next to the lobby) to see the show. They might have changed venues since I saw them, but I know we were at the Melia Cohiba hotel. ;)

 

When the tour was cancelled did they offer other tours? If they did not what did you do instead during the day?

 

We are going in December and would like to know if there were other tours that were canceled?

It wasn't cancelled until we were on the ship. It was kind of a fluke...a water pipe broke at the farm and they were trying to get it fixed so no tour. Only a few other tours were available but we didn't like them, so got $100 obc each in return.

 

It was actually a blessing in disguise because we just walked all over Old Havana by ourselves and had a blast!! After stopping in churches, small local shops, paladars, small museums, talking to people on the street, sitting in a park and "people watching", we ended up in the square where they have all the classic cars and we got a great one hour tour of Havana in a gorgeous pink and white convertible! He even took us back to the ship.

Edited by Go-Bucks!

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Just found this on the Melia Cohiba hotel website:

 

HABANA CAFÉ

 

 

  • Party room with bar, cabaret and dance music.
  • Decorated in a Hard Rock style and reminiscent of 1950s Havana, with motorbikes, vintage cars and a plane and brilliant live entertainment every night with invited guests and the classic Buena Vista Social Club, who invite you to enjoy your best night in Havana.
  • Located on the ground floor with separate entrance.
  • This nightclub with bar and cabaret, independent entrance and located on the ground floor lobby, offers a la carte dinner (9pm to 2:30am). Capacity for 280 diners. Smart dress required.

Must still play there, but maybe not every night.

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It wasn't cancelled until we were on the ship. It was kind of a fluke...a water pipe broke at the farm and they were trying to get it fixed so no tour. Only a few other tours were available but we didn't like them, so got $100 obc each in return.

 

It was actually a blessing in disguise because we just walked all over Old Havana by ourselves and had a blast!! After stopping in churches, small local shops, paladars, small museums, talking to people on the street, sitting in a park and "people watching", we ended up in the square where they have all the classic cars and we got a great one hour tour of Havana in a gorgeous pink and white convertible! He even took us back to the ship.

 

Thank you for the response and the additional information about what you did.

Glad you had a great day!

We are looking forward to our trip to Cuba.:)

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We went on a b2b cruise around Cuba on the Sirena in May and went on a total of 10 Oceania excursions and enjoyed all of them. Our 2 favorite places were excursions to Trinidad (out of Cienfuegos) and El Cobre (out of Santiago de Cuba).

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We went on a b2b cruise around Cuba on the Sirena in May and went on a total of 10 Oceania excursions and enjoyed all of them. Our 2 favorite places were excursions to Trinidad (out of Cienfuegos) and El Cobre (out of Santiago de Cuba).

Great news! We have both of these booked! Thank you for the post.

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We also saw the Buena Vista Social Club when we were in Cuba staying at the Melia Cohiba--but I believe there are several entertainment groups using that name--so there may be a show at the Hotel Nacional which I understand is worth seeing on its own.

 

Old town Havana is very walkable and the Opera house tour is worth taking.

 

The rum and cigar companies are all owned by the government--so no reason to price shop these items--it is all the same. We just bought at the airport so we didn't have to haul them around with us.

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Great news! We have both of these booked! Thank you for the post.

One of the things we enjoyed most about going on all of our O tours was being able to talk with the Cuban tour guides. We learned soooo much about Cuba while we were there, it was truly a cruise we will never forget. I was 7 when Castro took in 1959 over and have always heard just the US side of it. It was very enjoyable to hear "the rest of the story" while we were there.

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Was it balanced? Did they acknowledge the thousands of peasants murdered by Che? The thousands of summary executions by Fidel? The thousands of Cubans still jailed for dissent? The lack of democratic elections? The fact that Cubans cannot freely leave the country? That you need to bring your own sheets and lightbulbs when you are given “free” inpatient hospital care and that the best doctors are paid very little and sold to other Marxist/socialist countries? That the Cuban leadership is extremely well off while the masses are not?

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Was it balanced? Did they acknowledge the thousands of peasants murdered by Che? The thousands of summary executions by Fidel? The thousands of Cubans still jailed for dissent? The lack of democratic elections? The fact that Cubans cannot freely leave the country? That you need to bring your own sheets and lightbulbs when you are given “free” inpatient hospital care and that the best doctors are paid very little and sold to other Marxist/socialist countries? That the Cuban leadership is extremely well off while the masses are not?

 

Of course not! But I may be biased as my husband left Cuba in 1960 as a ten year old...

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Was it balanced? Did they acknowledge the thousands of peasants murdered by Che? The thousands of summary executions by Fidel? The thousands of Cubans still jailed for dissent? The lack of democratic elections? The fact that Cubans cannot freely leave the country? That you need to bring your own sheets and lightbulbs when you are given “free” inpatient hospital care and that the best doctors are paid very little and sold to other Marxist/socialist countries? That the Cuban leadership is extremely well off while the masses are not?

Yes, we heard a lot of that to include their doctors only get paid the equivalent of $35 a month. But we also saw some private businesses starting up and Cubans can now leave the country for a period of time. A lot of things have slowly started to change since Fidel stepped down and, hopefully, change will continue, even if ever so slowly, with their new president in place.

 

But what I also KNOW is that we saw a country that has suffered way too long with the US embargo in place, 59 years to be exact, and it's time to lift it.

 

We also very much appreciated talking with the 10 different tour guides we had the pleasure of meeting, many of whom were under 40 years old.

 

But most importantly we are just glad we were able to finaly visit Cuba and we hope many more Americans will continue to do the same and form their own opinions.

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One of the things we enjoyed most about going on all of our O tours was being able to talk with the Cuban tour guides. We learned soooo much about Cuba while we were there, it was truly a cruise we will never forget. I was 7 when Castro took in 1959 over and have always heard just the US side of it. It was very enjoyable to hear "the rest of the story" while we were there.

We had the same experience! I thought we would find sad people living miserable lives in a communist country, but that wasn't true. The people we talked with were happy with their lives but just wished they were allowed to travel outside their country.

 

I also found out about "the rest of the story" when in Northern Ireland and after watching the PBS documentary about Vietnam. Most of grew up just knowing what our media told us. Apparently the "fake news" has been around for a long time.

 

Not starting a political argument....just sharing my personal opinion. Please do not flame.

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We had the same experience! I thought we would find sad people living miserable lives in a communist country, but that wasn't true. The people we talked with were happy with their lives but just wished they were allowed to travel outside their country.

 

I also found out about "the rest of the story" when in Northern Ireland and after watching the PBS documentary about Vietnam. Most of grew up just knowing what our media told us. Apparently the "fake news" has been around for a long time.

 

Not starting a political argument....just sharing my personal opinion. Please do not flame.

There always seems to be another side to what we in the US get from our mainstream news. Just have to go out of our way to dig and find it. Just the way it is.

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The U.S. embargo is not the primary cause of Cuba’s economic problems. Look at Venezuela and Argentina, for example. And the U.S. would not lift the embargo even under Obama, because of the lack of human rights in Cuba.

 

 

If the people are all so happy, why are they prohibited from emigrating there without government approval? Why does no one emigrate to Cuba? Reminds me of my trip to the Soviet Union in 1972. We will enjoy going to

Cuba but the propaganda is mostly coming from Cuba and its allies, here and abroad. Are you aware that Fidel apologizes in The Atlantic Magazine for instructing Khrushchev to nuke the U.S, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962? Google it; verified. Shatters the leftist romantic notions about him...,

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The U.S. embargo is not the primary cause of Cuba’s economic problems. Look at Venezuela and Argentina, for example. And the U.S. would not lift the embargo even under Obama, because of the lack of human rights in Cuba.

 

If the people are all so happy, why are they prohibited from emigrating there without government approval? Why does no one emigrate to Cuba? Reminds me of my trip to the Soviet Union in 1972. We will enjoy going to

Cuba but the propaganda is mostly coming from Cuba and its allies, here and abroad. Are you aware that Fidel apologizes in The Atlantic Magazine for instructing Khrushchev to nuke the U.S, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962? Google it; verified. Shatters the leftist romantic notions about him...,

The bottom line for us is that we were impressed with the people we met and hope one day the embargo will finally be lifted. Fidel has come and gone and is now dead and buried. They have a new president and are trying to move forward and we're rooting for them. Yes, their government isn't perfect. Whose government is? But the embargo is helping no one except for maybe China.

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We had the same experience! I thought we would find sad people living miserable lives in a communist country, but that wasn't true. The people we talked with were happy with their lives but just wished they were allowed to travel outside their country.

 

I also found out about "the rest of the story" when in Northern Ireland and after watching the PBS documentary about Vietnam. Most of grew up just knowing what our media told us. Apparently the "fake news" has been around for a long time.

 

Not starting a political argument....just sharing my personal opinion. Please do not flame.

 

Reading this thread with interest. Feel the same way as most and I made the mistake of voicing my opinions on the TA Cuba forum and got blasted by a bunch of non-Americans who apparently think Cubans have a great life and their problems are all the fault of the US. 🤷*♀️

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The bottom line for us is that we were impressed with the people we met and hope one day the embargo will finally be lifted. Fidel has come and gone and is now dead and buried. They have a new president and are trying to move forward and we're rooting for them. Yes, their government isn't perfect. Whose government is? But the embargo is helping no one except for maybe China.

Their new government is no different than the old one. Just the names are changed, not the policy. Same as most of the communist governments thru history. Hope it changes one day. :(

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I think you all need to take a closer look unblinkered at what is happening in Cuba, we certainly did. After spending four days on private tours with local guides that worked for themselves NOT the Cuban government, so we can honestly say we had unbiased views from them.

We used taxis and restaurants that again were privately owned.

 

The country is changing..... not as fast as they probably want but the other side of the coin is locals don’t want quick fixes or to follow other countries in ways they might come to regret, plus more change was announced last week. Most of what Fidel had put in place is being revoked by Raul.

 

 

There is much investment in training youngsters to have skills that will help put the country back in its feet whilst preserving its beautiful buildings. Education and health care is better than many western countries!

The cruise ships going are helping greatly, the money is being spent on renovating the buildings in Havana , child care and building care homes for the elderly.

What You also need to look at is what they had before Castro it was a lot worse.

But as generations change people forget hence why the current generation want change.

 

Everyone we met was friendly and happy.....can that be said of our countries? So maybe they have a lot of things right? I certainly think so

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Makes me happy to hear that you can see progress! We didn’t have as much time there but used local tour operators , restaurants and taxis also and did a little shopping with local artists so hoping that every little bit helps with their quality of life.

I want to go back and see some of the other parts of the island and spend more time.

I can’t get Cuba out of my head since returning last week.

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I think you all need to take a closer look unblinkered at what is happening in Cuba, we certainly did. After spending four days on private tours with local guides that worked for themselves NOT the Cuban government, so we can honestly say we had unbiased views from them.

We used taxis and restaurants that again were privately owned.

 

The country is changing..... not as fast as they probably want but the other side of the coin is locals don’t want quick fixes or to follow other countries in ways they might come to regret, plus more change was announced last week. Most of what Fidel had put in place is being revoked by Raul.

 

 

There is much investment in training youngsters to have skills that will help put the country back in its feet whilst preserving its beautiful buildings. Education and health care is better than many western countries!

The cruise ships going are helping greatly, the money is being spent on renovating the buildings in Havana , child care and building care homes for the elderly.

What You also need to look at is what they had before Castro it was a lot worse.

But as generations change people forget hence why the current generation want change.

 

Everyone we met was friendly and happy.....can that be said of our countries? So maybe they have a lot of things right? I certainly think so

Well said!

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Shatters the leftist romantic notions about him...,

Picking myself up off the floor from laughing so hard! I'm about as far right of a leftist as you can get! :')

 

But I enjoy talking to locals wherever I go and get a feel for their lives and thoughts. I was sharing that.

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Posted (edited)
I would appreciate any info on the ships tours in Cuba. I am on the Dec 17 cruise out of Miami. Has anyone done any of the tours and if so how were they.

 

Hinda

Yes. We just came back from an 8 day cruise to Cuba on Sirena. First time sailing with Oceania, and first time to Cuba. The shore excursions were excellent, but expensive, IMO. Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, and Havana. We walked around on our own in Havana on day 2. Cuba is very safe to walk around on your own day and night. I enjoy interacting with locals, and Cubans are friendly, warm, and welcoming towards Americans, which we are.

Enjoyed the cruise and Cuba so much, that we booked Cuba for 2019.

Enjoy your cruise. :)

Edited by Kingofcool1947

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Posted (edited)
Yes. We just came back from an 8 day cruise to Cuba on Sirena. First time sailing with Oceania, and first time to Cuba. The shore excursions were excellent, but expensive, IMO. Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, and Havana. We walked around on our own in Havana on day 2. Cuba is very safe to walk around on your own day and night. I enjoy interacting with locals, and Cubans are friendly, warm, and welcoming towards Americans, which we are.

Enjoyed the cruise and Cuba so much, that we booked Cuba for 2019.

Enjoy your cruise. :)

 

Forgot to add, all ship sponsored tours. We went to an inspiring cultural music presentation in Santiago de Cuba, went to a Music and Artist tour in Cienfuegos. Met some very talented young musicians and artists. In Havana we did a walking tour of Old Havana, and a night tour of the Tropicana Night Club Show. Fabulous if you like that kind of Las Vegas type show. Price includes a guided bus tour of the neighborhood, the transportation to Tropicana from ship and back. Show includes a complimentary cigar, beer, wine, or soft drink, snacks for all guests. Bottle of rum for each 2 guests.

Enjoy.

Edited by Kingofcool1947

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I would appreciate any info on the ships tours in Cuba. I am on the Dec 17 cruise out of Miami. Has anyone done any of the tours and if so how were they.

 

Hinda

 

Hello Hinda,

Nice to see you back on these boards.

We are on the Cuba/Sirena cruise for 12/27.

 

Meme & Joel

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Just found this on the Melia Cohiba hotel website:

 

HABANA CAFÉ

 

 

 

  • Party room with bar, cabaret and dance music.
  • Decorated in a Hard Rock style and reminiscent of 1950s Havana, with motorbikes, vintage cars and a plane and brilliant live entertainment every night with invited guests and the classic Buena Vista Social Club, who invite you to enjoy your best night in Havana.
  • Located on the ground floor with separate entrance.
  • This nightclub with bar and cabaret, independent entrance and located on the ground floor lobby, offers a la carte dinner (9pm to 2:30am). Capacity for 280 diners. Smart dress required.

Must still play there, but maybe not every night.

Yes - it has more than one venue. I had edited my post. It was a highlight of my time in Havana as was wandering the area called Old Havana

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Hello Hinda,

Nice to see you back on these boards.

We are on the Cuba/Sirena cruise for 12/27.

 

Meme & Joel

 

 

Nice to hear from you. I sent you an email.

 

Hinda

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We are going to Cuba for four days of the Sirena, Oct. 10 cruise, and I am sure we will enjoy the Cubans we meet. We are looking forward to the experience, That being said, any Cuban who is caught complaining about their government will no doubt end up punished severely, perhaps residing in their version of a gulag. As tourists, we are all experiencing to some degree the Cuban version of a Potemkin Village.

 

To reiterate, if Cuba is so wonderful why are Cuban-Americans not returning to reside there and why are Cubans prohibited from emigrating freely to other countries? The very friendliest and happiest people we have encountered were in a free democratic nation not very far away: Costa Rica.

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If you want to visit a country ruled by a dictator, just stay here.

 

You really need to talk to people that actually have lived in a true dictatorship!

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You really need to talk to people that actually have lived in a true dictatorship!

 

Or see it yourself. Definitely eye opening to talk to the locals about the restrictions they live with. They are hopeful that change is coming but it can’t happen soon enough.

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I would appreciate any info on the ships tours in Cuba. I am on the Dec 17 cruise out of Miami. Has anyone done any of the tours and if so how were they.

 

Hinda

 

It just breaks my heart to see people talk about cruise ship excursions when going to Cuba.

 

Do private tours ... the money goes directly into the Cuban people's hands/pockets! NOT the cruise line.

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We are going to Cuba for four days of the Sirena, Oct. 10 cruise, and I am sure we will enjoy the Cubans we meet. We are looking forward to the experience, That being said, any Cuban who is caught complaining about their government will no doubt end up punished severely, perhaps residing in their version of a gulag. As tourists, we are all experiencing to some degree the Cuban version of a Potemkin Village.

 

To reiterate, if Cuba is so wonderful why are Cuban-Americans not returning to reside there and why are Cubans prohibited from emigrating freely to other countries? The very friendliest and happiest people we have encountered were in a free democratic nation not very far away: Costa Rica.

 

Cuban government/rule is NOT wonderful. The Cuban PEOPLE are wonderful. I LOVED my cruise and experience last year. The people were amazing. I never felt so safe travelling alone (I'm a 55 year old female who travels alone).

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I don’t disagree. And the Cuban people are extremely tolerant, obviously, since there have never had free elections or the freedom to travel. Or freedom of speech; any Cuban who complains likely ends up in prison.

 

In that regard, PatriciaF, thank you for responding appropriately to SeaBand’s laughably hyperbolic one-liner....

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...any Cuban who complains likely ends up in prison.

Our guides and other locals who we met were honest with us about life in their country and didn't sugarcoat their answers. Must not have been afraid of prison. ;)

 

Did the Cuban locals who YOU met say that if they complain they'll end up in prison??

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The dissidents and Cuban Americans support the embargo. It will be lifted with human rights concessions that the “new regime” is unwilling to make. The new president is an unelected Castro acolyte Marxist. Please do some research. Beware of Potemkin Villages...

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