The Case for Cruising to Cuba

Oceania Cruises at Havana Harbor
Photo: Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Why go to the Caribbean island by sea? The ship will take care of your visa and also offer more luxuries than a Cuban hotel. Here, six great cruise companies for whichever size ship you prefer.

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Interior if Insight Cuba's Voyager ship
Courtesy of InsightCuba

InsightCuba offers eight-day cruises on the 72-person yacht Voyager, taking travelers to rarely visited ports. The West itinerary includes stops at María la Gorda, home to a large nature reserve. The East journey is the only one that docks at Manzanillo, known for its mix of architectural styles. (From $4,407 per person.)

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Azamara Club Cruises

Classic cars in Havana, Cuba
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On the nine- to 15-day trips aboard Azamara Club Cruises’ 694-​passenger Azamara Journey, travelers can enjoy several nights in Havana, as well as a special evening dance and music performance at Santiago de Cuba’s Teatro Heredia. Also on offer: excursions that explore the island’s Jewish history. (From $2,799 per person.)

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Seabourn Sojourn
Courtesy of Seabourn

Luxury cruise line Seabourn is entering the Cuba market, running 11-, 12-, and 14-day voyages that will visit five ports, including Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Lesser known stops include Punta Francés, Isla de Juventud, the second largest island in Cuba, where shipwrecks and coral reefs lure divers to the warm waters. (From $5,499 per person, all-inclusive.)

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Holland America

El Morro Spanish fortress with lighthouse, cannons and Cuban flag in th foreground, with sea in the background, Havana, Cuba
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Want to combine time in some of the Caribbean’s most charming ports — Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Georgetown, Grand Cayman — with cultural immersion in Cuba? Holland America offers seven-to-ten day “Cuban Explorer” sailings on the Veendam, leaving from Fort Lauderdale. Activities in Havana include an evening cabaret show as well as stops at Hemingway’s favorite bars and hangouts. In Cienfuegos, you can participate in “Los Abuelos de Fiesta,” or the Grandparents Party, and see how seniors in the community teach younger members traditional Cuban dance. (From $699 per person.)

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Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises at Havana Harbor
Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises’ 684-passenger Sirena has weeklong sailings that start in Miami and call at the main ports of Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. In Havana, you’ll get after-hours access to the Fábrica de Arte Cubano cultural center; off the coast of Cienfuegos, you can snorkel by Rancho Luna Beach. (From $1,779 per person.)

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Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas in Cuba
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

As amenity-filled as a cruise ship gets, Royal Caribbean’s 1,602-passenger Empress of the Seas runs eight-night Best of Cuba cruises from Miami. In between strolling Havana and seeing pink flamingos in Cienfuegos, you can lounge by the pools and take a Latin dance class on the ship. (From $1,089 per person.)

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