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KimberlyC

AMAZING HAVANA TOUR - Review of FERTOURS

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We had a group of 11 adults (who refused to do any adulting) traveling on the Majesty of the Seas to celebrate my bestie’s 40th Birthday. Since she cares more about experiences than material things, my gift to her was a group tour in Havana on January 31, 2019.  I did a lot of research, especially here on cruise critic reading reviews/suggestions (thanks to all for those), so now I’m sharing our experience. It was amazing!

 

I booked a tour with Fernando at  FERTOURS. From the onset he responded to all of my inquiries. He provided a detailed summary of what our tour for 11 would include, but stated we could certainly customize it. He quoted a very fair price in my opinion. He also confirmed our arrangements shortly before our departure inclusive of a photo of our lead guide, his name and number as well as a map to our meeting location just a short walk from the terminal (where the cars could park).  This was great because I suffer from some serious planning OCD!

I requested 4 vintage cars including a convertible for the birthday girl and 3 sedans. Fernando did not disappoint!  Our Birthday Princess had a pink Chevy convertible to ride in for the day and I’ve never seen her so happy!  

 

Simply stated, our guides were the best! We had 4 cars each with a driver  (including one English speaker) plus 3 guides, Mikey, Yosvan and Wendy! Now keeping track of 11 adults (many of whom are car enthusiasts from Detroit and as I mentioned these people refused to do any adulting) is like herding CATS! Our group actually had a VIP escort off the ship (that’s a long story for another time that can be filed under ship review), but in the spare hour + we had before our tour began I thought for sure at least 2-3 would run off to chase stray dogs or whatnot and would go missing for hours only to be found sunny side up in some bar later on. Oh I have photos of a Chihuahua wearing a hat and sitting on the head of one of guys in our group, so I’m not exaggerating. But our fabulous guides constantly counted all the little ducklings for me and nobody got lost despite the fact that we all kept hopping into different cars at every stop in order to experience them all. Winning!!!

 

We saw everything we planned to see and then some! There was a stop at the rum and coffee factory where we enjoyed flaming coffee and sampled many kinds of rum - such a treat! Our guide Mikey was even kind enough to carry my heavy bags of rum for me. Yeah I brought back a bit, but just FYI while customs didn’t care, the UPS in Fort Lauderdale won’t ship alcohol. So the rum had to get bubble wrapped and put in the suitcase while the dirty laundry is being shipped back to Detroit. Priorities!

 

Did I mention how fabulous our guides were? During a stop to see Cuban artist Jose Fuster’s artwork (highly recommended) our guide Yosvan even gifted our birthday princess with a personalized souvenir. Just WOW... so thoughtful and unexpected! Another highlight of the day was the restaurant we had lunch at! Not only was the food delicious, but our guide Mikey arranged for the entire waitstaff to sing happy birthday with a slice of cake!

 

Our guides continued to go above and beyond for our group and the tour ended up being about an hour longer than quoted. Our guides even arranged transportation (last minute) for those of us who had decided we were going to change and head out to the Tropicana for dinner and the show. While we had not requested it, my significant other had mentioned his desire to ride in a ‘57 Chevy, and to our surprise Mikey had one waiting for us as we set out for the evening! He even made sure we knew how to get to the souvenir market the next morning. 

 

I’ve booked my fair share of private tours over the years (since I’m not a fan of being herded like cattle on overpriced ship tours) and this tour ranks right at the top! I’m so grateful for the recommendations and I now I highly recommend FERTOURS. Our birthday princess and all of our non-adulting ducklings had an amazing day we will never forget!  

 

 

07C624E5-E53F-4A06-8166-1ACFA03B7147.jpeg

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Thanks so much for the review.  We are going on the Majesty Thursday, stopping in Havana on Friday and have booked the tour with FerTours - can't wait.

 

Couple of questions:  How much did lunch cost?  We will probably want a few drinks with our meal - we don't want anything too fancy, but good local Cuban food.  Do you remember the name of the restaurant you went to?   Any other things that we need to see?  How much (if you don't mind my asking) did you tip the guide and driver - the boards are not very helpful there.  We are actually thinking about going to some sort of show at night - was there anything else offered or had you already done your homework? Need to bring home some rum (we live in Florida, so no dealing with TSA) - did they have "regular" size bottles or smaller ones (I'm not much of a rum drinker, but would like to try some so the smaller bottles would be better).

 

Thanks again for any information/helpful hints

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Our bill at the BuenaVentura restaurant we went to was $388 CUC for 11 people including the 10% gratuity that was added although we gave additional tip. They provided us with one bill and we all just kind of pitched in so I can’t say exactly how much mine cost, but I can say that we ordered appetizers and plenty of drinks were flowing.  Fernando had stated about $20 per person, but if you plan on drinking a beverage or 2 and having an appetizer I think $40 per person is more realistic. 

 

 They did have small bottles of rum, and the place that we went to will let you sample for free.  I did tip the guy pouring the rum samples a few CUC’s. 

 

I tipped our guides $50 each and our drivers $20 each. Now that’s total about a 46% tip, but I just looked at the timestamps from some of my photos and we actually went and hour and a half over our quoted tour in addition to the fact that our crazy group was so large and the guides provided extras. In addition to the personalized gift, my significant other mentioned to our guide Mikey that his daughter only wanted currency for a souvenir and without hesitation Mikey literally opened his wallet and handed him 2 different Cuban pesos (not CUC that we tourists must use) as a gift. They were very generous people despite the fact that they earn so little. For example, a dentist earns about $70 per month there. 

 

I recommend you ask for plenty of $1 CUC coins because even though I did research and brought toilet paper, the government does not pay to keep restrooms clean even in government buildings. Ladies pay rent to the government, and will insist you pay to use the restrooms they clean.  I did not use the restroom at the restaurant, but my friends did and it had toilet paper with no attendant.  Even the restroom at the Tropicana has an attendant. They expect a small tip.

 

Our guides really made the experience fabulous for us. They are great people we all plan to keep in touch with via Facebook. 

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Oh as for the show, there are a few and some I was told are less expensive than the Tropicana (the most well known) and also a great experience, but we booked the Tropicana online in advance for those who wanted to go. We were able to pay in advance via credit card on the Tropicana website, so they must run that through Miami. Dinner and the show was $115 per person.  Dinner started at 8 PM and the show started at 9:30 PM. For $5 you can take all the photos you like including photos afterwards with the dancers.  Guests were invited to go up on stage and start dancing, and our group did. The ship was charging significantly more although that included bus transportation. We did pay for our own vintage cars to take us there and pick us up which cost about $20 CUC per person plus $5CUC tip.  I was exhausted when we got out around midnight and headed back to the ship, but my friends had their drivers take them to the street with the bars close to the ship terminal on the way back. They felt rough in the morning, but the drivers Mikey arranged for them got them back safe and sound. 

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Fertours, THE BEST EVER!,  people, look no further if you want a first class experience.  We were only two on our two day and one night tour of Havana.

First of all let me tell you about Fernando the owner.  He always answered every question promptly.  I even referred a couple before we went to Havana and they were very pleased.  So, we had a little blip first morning.  My fault also.  Fernando and I never noticed that my confirmation day was wrong.  I was so impressed, one of his other guides handled  everything even though she was to do a tour herself.  She would not leave us until another guide was sent promptly to us.  Her people were very understanding and off they went once our replacement guide and driver showed up.  It was all handled very professionally.  I don’t know who our guide would have been but the gentleman and driver that were with us for two days, we hit the jackpot.  Such nice men.  We asked them to join us as our guests for lunch.  What fun we had and what outstanding food.  We were gifted with a cigar and a glass of excellent rum.  I had a Coke too so Rum and Coke, great way to end the meal.

We went to the indoor market and there was our dear guide carrying the 3 paintings we bought.  It’s always good to have a man around.  We finished shopping and with a quick call our car was out front for us.  Back to the ship to freshen up for the evening at the Buena Vista Social Club.  What a better choice then the Tropicana.  It was the old time Cuba.  Once again we asked our guide to be our guest.  I felt like we were with our good friend.  

Next morning we met right across the street from the ship for our tour of Old Havana.  After that we were going for a ride in a pink convertible.  It rained!  Well no convertible but we still did everything we had planned.  We were back to our ship exactly when we requested.  I get nervous about that so left plenty of time.

We departed Havana with new friends, not just some tour guide.  I have recommended many of my friends to call Fernando at Fertours.  You should give him a call too.  I’m very fussy and have high standards, we were certainly not disappointed in any way.  Thank you so much Fernando.  We will be back!

please reach Fernando at http://fertours2havana.com/.  

Email.   fertours2@gmail.com

 

 

 

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We’ll be using FerTours in less than 3 weeks and very excited to see Havana.

 

1) When you booked your tour, was it a tour from their menu on the website ?  What was the name of it ?

 

2) How long before your cruise did you get the name and photo of your guides and drivers ?

Edited by Luckiestmanonearth

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On 2/3/2019 at 10:58 AM, KimberlyC said:

We had a group of 11 adults (who refused to do any adulting) traveling on the Majesty of the Seas to celebrate my bestie’s 40th Birthday. Since she cares more about experiences than material things, my gift to her was a group tour in Havana on January 31, 2019.  I did a lot of research, especially here on cruise critic reading reviews/suggestions (thanks to all for those), so now I’m sharing our experience. It was amazing!

 

I booked a tour with Fernando at  FERTOURS. From the onset he responded to all of my inquiries. He provided a detailed summary of what our tour for 11 would include, but stated we could certainly customize it. He quoted a very fair price in my opinion. He also confirmed our arrangements shortly before our departure inclusive of a photo of our lead guide, his name and number as well as a map to our meeting location just a short walk from the terminal (where the cars could park).  This was great because I suffer from some serious planning OCD!

I requested 4 vintage cars including a convertible for the birthday girl and 3 sedans. Fernando did not disappoint!  Our Birthday Princess had a pink Chevy convertible to ride in for the day and I’ve never seen her so happy!  

 

Simply stated, our guides were the best! We had 4 cars each with a driver  (including one English speaker) plus 3 guides, Mikey, Yosvan and Wendy! Now keeping track of 11 adults (many of whom are car enthusiasts from Detroit and as I mentioned these people refused to do any adulting) is like herding CATS! Our group actually had a VIP escort off the ship (that’s a long story for another time that can be filed under ship review), but in the spare hour + we had before our tour began I thought for sure at least 2-3 would run off to chase stray dogs or whatnot and would go missing for hours only to be found sunny side up in some bar later on. Oh I have photos of a Chihuahua wearing a hat and sitting on the head of one of guys in our group, so I’m not exaggerating. But our fabulous guides constantly counted all the little ducklings for me and nobody got lost despite the fact that we all kept hopping into different cars at every stop in order to experience them all. Winning!!!

 

We saw everything we planned to see and then some! There was a stop at the rum and coffee factory where we enjoyed flaming coffee and sampled many kinds of rum - such a treat! Our guide Mikey was even kind enough to carry my heavy bags of rum for me. Yeah I brought back a bit, but just FYI while customs didn’t care, the UPS in Fort Lauderdale won’t ship alcohol. So the rum had to get bubble wrapped and put in the suitcase while the dirty laundry is being shipped back to Detroit. Priorities!

 

Did I mention how fabulous our guides were? During a stop to see Cuban artist Jose Fuster’s artwork (highly recommended) our guide Yosvan even gifted our birthday princess with a personalized souvenir. Just WOW... so thoughtful and unexpected! Another highlight of the day was the restaurant we had lunch at! Not only was the food delicious, but our guide Mikey arranged for the entire waitstaff to sing happy birthday with a slice of cake!

 

Our guides continued to go above and beyond for our group and the tour ended up being about an hour longer than quoted. Our guides even arranged transportation (last minute) for those of us who had decided we were going to change and head out to the Tropicana for dinner and the show. While we had not requested it, my significant other had mentioned his desire to ride in a ‘57 Chevy, and to our surprise Mikey had one waiting for us as we set out for the evening! He even made sure we knew how to get to the souvenir market the next morning. 

 

I’ve booked my fair share of private tours over the years (since I’m not a fan of being herded like cattle on overpriced ship tours) and this tour ranks right at the top! I’m so grateful for the recommendations and I now I highly recommend FERTOURS. Our birthday princess and all of our non-adulting ducklings had an amazing day we will never forget!  

 

 

07C624E5-E53F-4A06-8166-1ACFA03B7147.jpeg

Great Review. Thx 😃

 

We’re going on the Armonia to Cuba in May 

 

Could you let me know the name of the Rum/Coffee factory?...How much was it to go there? And how much approx was a quart of rum? 

 

We are planning to do a rum factory/museum stop the 2nd day we’re in Cuba and can’t wait 

 

Thanks did your help 

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Hello!  It sounds like you guys had a great time!  Thank you for sharing!  We are going in March and I have a question regarding getting off the ship in Cuba.  Do we need to be booked on an excursion in order to get off of the ship in Cuba or is there a little shopping area to experience at night without being on an escorted tour?  Thank you in advance for your help! 

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On 2/3/2019 at 1:51 PM, KimberlyC said:

Oh as for the show, there are a few and some I was told are less expensive than the Tropicana (the most well known) and also a great experience, but we booked the Tropicana online in advance for those who wanted to go. We were able to pay in advance via credit card on the Tropicana website, so they must run that through Miami. Dinner and the show was $115 per person.  Dinner started at 8 PM and the show started at 9:30 PM. For $5 you can take all the photos you like including photos afterwards with the dancers.  Guests were invited to go up on stage and start dancing, and our group did. The ship was charging significantly more although that included bus transportation. We did pay for our own vintage cars to take us there and pick us up which cost about $20 CUC per person plus $5CUC tip.  I was exhausted when we got out around midnight and headed back to the ship, but my friends had their drivers take them to the street with the bars close to the ship terminal on the way back. They felt rough in the morning, but the drivers Mikey arranged for them got them back safe and sound. 

Do you have a link for the website for Tropicana? 

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