Cruising to Cuba has gotten a lot more interesting since the first U.S.-based cruise companies added Cuba to their itineraries last year.
Cuba’s isolation from the U.S. tourist market and relatively modest port infrastructure offer advantages for people wanting to experience Cuba aboard a ship but without the mass tourism aspect of cruising that characterizes so many other Caribbean cruise options.
Here are three reasons why cruising to Cuba is the best way to experience the island nation:
- Small ship cruises. While the large cruise operators have recently added new port calls to Havana, the small ship cruise business has been thriving for years by retaining its access to authentic Cubans and their culture. Travelers seem to prefer the intimacy of a ship without crowds and an experience that can be tailored around specific interests. VTACuba has recently launched small ship cruise in Cuba that focuses of culture, history and education. The award winning company, known in Europe as Voyages to Antiquity, has many years of experience combining luxury and learning on the sea.
- Cuba’s hotels are expensive and booked up. The rush of U.S. tourists seeking Cuba’s cultural and historic wonders has overrun the hotel capacity, especially in the four- and five-star category. Cruising to Cuba means your hotel travels with you wherever you go.
- Local culture. Cuba is the largest Caribbean island, and its history combines aspects of its European, African and North American influences dating back to Colombus. The island nation’s many coastal cities reflect the changing cultural and commercial priorities that shaped the region over centuries of development. Small cruise ships are able to visit some of Cuba’s small ports not available to the larger cruise ships that mostly call on Havana (for a day or less) as part of a larger Caribbean itinerary.
Despite the surge in tourist visits to Cuba in recent years, the island nation retains much its nostalgic charm and majestic decay qualities. Even Old Havana remains one of the most amazing cities in the Western Hemisphere. Travelers should consider a cruise that visits many of Cuba’s more remote coastal cities where soaking in the culture and history can happen without the large numbers of tourists you’ll find elsewhere.