Venture with Oceania Cruises to this romanticized island and get ready for soul shine.
BY JIMMY IM
CUBA IS ONLY 90 MILES FROM FLORIDA, YET A VISIT HERE FEELS WORLDS AWAY.
Steeped in culture and history, Cuba is timeless, chock-full of well preserved, colonial architecture, while unspoiled, white-sand beaches dot the coastline. Afro-Cuban music fills the streets, traditional Cuban recipes remain authentic, and classic cars are the preferred mode of transport. And no other destination serves a mojito—which was invented here—better than the island. Since tourism opened for Americans in 2015, Cuba has remained a Caribbean hot spot, and Oceania Cruises offers travelers 10 more reasons to visit. The leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line recently debuted 10 new “Journeys to Cuba” itineraries.
Aboard the acclaimed Sirena, where old-world charm merges with modern comforts, 684 guests have the privilege of experiencing Cuba. The journey is equipped with 400 professional staff that ensures unforgettable service, and there are 342 intimate staterooms and suites—70 percent equipped with private, teak verandas. Oceania strives to capture the spirit of Cuba; as such, the journey to Cuba begins as soon as you step onboard. Oceania’s “Finest Cuisine at Sea” dining concept features four open-seating gourmet restaurants serving iconic Cuban fare, including authentic dishes passed down from generations-old family recipes. Guests are further immersed in Cuban culture with onboard experts delivering fascinating lectures on Cuban history, art, and music.
Departing from Miami, Oceania Cruises offers handcrafted itineraries that explore Cuba’s rich heritage, and guests visit the island’s most riveting attractions, from coast to coast. In Havana, guests will explore Old Havana’s striking landmarks like Malecon, the main thoroughfare with Baroque facades and cobblestone alleys, as well as the eclectic Plaza Vieja, where decades-old architectural styles blend. The excursion also includes must-see highlights, like the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and old cigar factories. Ernest Hemingway famously spent close to 20 years in Cuba, and guests can relax at the American author’s former haunt, El Floridita, where mojitos or daiquiris are served while a live jazz band plays. The voyages also include shore excursions in Cienfuegos, a seaside town with a UNESCO historic city center known for neoclassical architecture, and Santiago de Cuba, which is nestled between the Sierra Maestra Mountains and the Caribbean Sea. Here, visitors will discover the UNESCO appointed San Pedro de la Roca Castle.
Guests can also embark on Cuba voyages aboard Insignia, which recently underwent a major transformation, as well as Riviera, a stunning ship that includes Cuba in its varied Caribbean itineraries. No matter what ship you sail, the journeys to Cuba are top-notch and infused with a serious sense of place.
PACK THOSE DANCING SHOES …
Opened in 1939, Tropicana Cabaret is a must. The live show is staged in a forest under the Havana sky, where performers in dramatic costumes put on a wild show to Cuban rhythms. By the end of the night, the entire audience is on their feet.
A trendy bar owned by a local DJ, Roma is a hot spot for young Cubans and considered one of the top contemporary bars in the country. Expect electronic music rather than typical Cuban, and the bar gets packed after midnight. Head to the rooftop terrace for great views.
SALON ROSADO DE LA TROPICAL
Dating back to the 1940s, Salon Rosado de la Tropical is where legendary Cuban musical Arsenio Rodriguez would perform. Today it remains a popular haunt for locals, home to large concerts and Saturday night salsa/timba dancing with live bands.
Visit our website and enter OFFER EW16087 to discover this country’s unique personality.