Is It Finally Time to Cruise to Cuba?

Several cruise lines are offering cruises that visit Cuba.  They vary widely in price as well as the number of days actually spent in Cuban ports.  I’m wondering if it is finally time for us to take a cruise to Cuba.

Current Cruise Offerings to Cuba

Before I researched this post, I was only aware of one cruise that stopped in Cuba–the Adonia Fathom (see picture above.) My daughter sent me an article on Apple News that mentioned several other lines that sailed to Cuba but the article was very short. I suspected that the whole story was not told and decided to do my own research.  I discovered that ten cruise lines are offering sailings to Cuba.  I’ve put them in a table so that you can compare costs with the amount of time actually spent in Cuban ports.

[supsystic-tables id=’28’]

An Expensive Cruise to Cuba

If money is no object and you want to visit Cuba, there are some nice sailings with Oceania, Azamara, Regent Seven Seas, Cruise and Maritime Voyages, and Viking.  The prices for their cheapest cabins go from about $2300 up to over $17,000 (a suite cabin on Viking.)  I was quite surprised to find that many of these sailing are already sold out! These expensive cruises spend no more that two days in Havana, and would not be worth it (for me) to take just to spend a very short time in Cuba.  If you regularly cruise these lines, then certainly it would be interesting to make a port stop in Havana.

If you are a luxury cruiser and want to visit Cuba in some depth, you should consider Ponant’s Le Ponant,  It makes an 8-day sailing which embarks, debarks and spends ALL of its time in Cuban ports as it circumnavigates the island.  This would be my cruise-of-choice to visit Cuba.  However, the $4470 price tag (at almost $600 per person per day) precludes that option for me.

An Affordable Cruise to Cuba

I was actually surprised to find several affordable options on more mainstream lines.  Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas has five and seven day sailings that spend one port day in Havana that are priced right around the $1000 mark.  I can’t help but compare this price to the 5-night sailing that we are making aboard the Empress in May, at about less than half that price.  I’m not willing to pay twice as much for a cruise that only spends one port day in Havana.

The Adonia Fathom has two 7-night sailings that visit Cuba.  The first one spend three nights in the Dominica Republic and one port day in Havana, with prices starting at  $349.  The second one spends time in three Cuban ports–Santiago, Cienfuegos, and Havana.  This is a wonderful itinerary but unfortunately prices start at $1999!

The Norwegian Sky has a four night sailing with two nights in Havana for $662, and the Carnival Paradise sails four and five night itineraries, also with two nights in Havana, starting at $519.  I’m becoming interested in the Carnival cruise for several reasons–1) It sails from Tampa which is a drive-able home port for us, 2) the price is reasonable, and 3) it is very possible to bring the price down with stackable discounts (see the post on Stacking Carnival Cruise Discounts.)

When Will We Take a Cruise to Cuba?

Cuba has been on our (very long) travel bucket list for some time.  Until a few years ago, I hesitated to go because I was a government employee and didn’t want to jeopardize my job by traveling to an illegal location.  Now that I’m no longer working and travel restrictions to Cuba have been relaxed, the location has moved up the bucket list.  Travel to Cuba still does have some logistical challenges–the two-tiered money system and inadequate tourist infrastructure.  It would be nice to “scout” out Cuba on a cruise and then return later for a more focused land trip.  And it would be better to do it sooner rather than later, before Havana turns into another Nassau with the influx of cruise ships.

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