One of the most interesting and unique cruises I took last year was the week I spent circumnavigating the Caribbean island of Cuba with Cuba Cruise. Sailing roundtrip from both Havana and Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Canadian-based company has partnered once again this year with Louis Cruises and their new subsidiary, Celestyal Cruises, to offer weeklong sailings to Cuba aboard the 1200-guest Louis Cristal.
To say things are changing for Cuba is an understatement; in a single week, the Louis Cristal calls on five separate Cuban ports of call, including Havana, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, and the beachside paradise that is Punta Frances on the Isle of Youth. But the Cuba of old is gradually fading away. The old American cars that have come to symbolize Cuba are gradually being replaced with more efficient Asian imports. A major restoration programme is underway in Havana, and revitalization is apparent in smaller cities like Cienfuegos.
Now, tourism in Cuba is poised to change forever with the recent news that the United States intends to resume diplomatic relations and open economic and tourism ties with Cuba for the first time in 52 years. While United States citizens can still not legally travel to Cuba, the clock is ticking for this island nation – and for many, the rush is on to experience the Cuba of old; the Cuba that is completely lacking in American commercialization.
“We do not anticipate