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About esanders64

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean, Alaska, Europe
  1. If you do decide to stay on the cruise, we recommend the Mayan ruins in Belize.
  2. We requested a full refund today, and the Viking representative was very cooperative. Viking has officially changed the Cuba itinerary to Key West, Belize, and Mexico. As we have visited all 3 of those destination before, we didn't see any value in going to them again on a Viking cruise. If we do cruise with Viking again in the Caribbean, we'll likely look for a more enticing location, such as the Panama Canal.
  3. We are booked on a February 2020 Viking Ocean cruise to Cuba. I got off the phone today with Viking, as I was concerned that final payment is due in 1 week for a cruise that still has a TBA itinerary. On the phone, they stated that the cruise itself is not cancelled, but they are still working through the itinerary. They offered to extend the final payment to August 15th, and also said we can cancel for a 100% refund if we wish to do so. I opted to extend the final payment, as we are really hoping they find a way to preserve some of the itinerary. Political situations do have a way of changing, especially once we get a few months past the headlines. Crossing our fingers...
  4. Hi Wes - we used FerTours on our visit to Havana last year. We highly recommend them! I did a separate post on the Cuba board about our experience, if you are interested in more details.
  5. Hi - I second the suggestions from notamermaid, based on our Viking Danube cruise this past spring. In our 50’s, we were younger than most of the 150+ cruisers. The age difference rarely mattered, as most of the people are active adults, and there were plenty of opportunities to go off on our own. Regarding time of day for excursions, you can almost always go off on your own earlier, then head back to the ship at whatever time the group is leaving. The ships almost always dock in the city center, so you can walk off and do what you please until the scheduled departure. We took advantage of an early morning break in Krems, Austria, doing an hour plus walk through the small town before our organized excursion to Gottweig Abbey. Lastly, you may want to read through the multiple articles on this board that compare the various river cruise lines. Our spring cruise was our first river cruise, and it was very helpful to read those articles to understand what to expect. Enjoy! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  6. Hi - although you have already reached out to 4 companies, I will add in a recommendation for FerTours, with whom we had an excellent customized experience in August 2018. They have been highly reviewed on this board as well as on Trip Advisor. Whatever you end up doing, I’d be in favor of the company that is most responsive and willing to customize for your needs. What I liked about FerTours is that they answered all emails within one day, and were completely flexible about requests to visit certain places, including during the tour itself. After all, this is your day in Havana, so you should feel comfortable to customize except for the few places where there are government restrictions. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  7. esanders64

    Where to eat

    If you are in Havana, we recommend Habana 61, about a 15 minute walk from the cruise ship pier. Reservations are recommended, as they only have about 10 tables. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  8. We used FerTours last summer for our cruise day in Cuba. 100% positive experience! I really liked that our guide was willing to accommodate any request we made, from what streets to walk down to which buildings to visit. In advance of our tour, they said they would book us lunch at the restaurant of our choice, and we were very happy with Habana 61. Hope you enjoy! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  9. Hi BRC6C - given that sandals are your normal footwear, I think you’ll be fine. Keep in mind that most people visiting Havana prefer to get around the city by walking, so you’ll want to be sure your sandals are comfortable enough to wear throughout the day, at times on uneven streets. The only possible exception I can think of is whether sandals are appropriate at a nightclub such as the Tropicana. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  10. Hi - in case it wasn’t clearer in the earlier responses, we saw no need to bring small USD bills. All of our cash transactions in Havana were done in CUC, and we were politely refused the few times we offered to pay for something in USD. As others have said, you do want to have a few 1 CUC coins for bathroom stops. Enjoy! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  11. I echo the comments in favor of local tour companies. We used FerTours when in Cuba last summer, and completely recommend them. They offer multiple tours and are willing to customize for your schedule. If your day allows, make sure to have them reserve a lunch for you at one of the many local palador restaurants in Havana. I wrote a separate review of our excursion in the Cuba board. Enjoy! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  12. I believe that “people to people” was discontinued following last year’s policy announcement. Support for the Cuban People is the recommended category to check off, unless one of the others applies in your case. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  13. esanders64

    Fertours havana ?

    I highly recommend FerTours. We used them last summer for our day in Havana, and were completely satisfied with the arrangements before and during the day. You can search for my full review in the Cuba forum. Have fun! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  14. Hi kcparrothead - so glad to read of your upcoming trip and your desire to book through FerTours. We are among those who loved them, from our trip last summer on Carnival! Regarding policies around cruise ship tours, I can’t answer for RCCL, but I’m almost completely sure they will let you get off the ship and visit Cuba on your itinerary, rather than through their own tours. One area where you may want to check is if they will give disembarking priority to the people who have booked the cruise ship tours. When we had our Carnival cruise, they did assign earlier disembarking times to the people on the Carnival-arranged tours. But we were then allowed off early as well, just by showing them written confirmation of our private tour. If you have the possibility, I would recommend switching your Day 2 tour of Hemingway’s Havana to a private one. You will likely see all the same things and more, for less money and in a smaller group. Happy sailing! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  15. In regards to currency exchange, any advice on where and when to exchange? We are arriving on a Sunday late afternoon in Budapest, and we’re trying to figure out whether it makes sense to exchange at the airport, or wait until Monday morning in Budapest. For Sunday, we’re being taken straight to the ship, so I am guessing we won’t need Hungarian money until Monday. Sent from my iPad using Forums
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