Posted August 5th, 2018, 05:43 PM
We were on the Veendam 11 day Cuba cruise March 17th 2018. We had a Cat. A Verandah Suite and were very happy with it. No complaints about the ship in general. We had open seating in the MDR and kept the same table the entire cruise. Service was excellent as was the cuisine. maitre 'd at the check in podium new us by name on the second night, and continued to welcome is by name each night. Had a great dinner in the Pinnacle Grill...have had some bad experiences on other ships. Shops and shows were just "ok."
For Cuba, I would take a lot of dollar bills for tips, people seemed to accept them readily even though we were told not to do that. I took Ol Salt's suggestion and asked for small bills at the currency exchange booth and for my polite request got a wad of large bills. I took Euros to exchange and got a better rate that USD's.
We took the Best of Havana excursion, and were pleased with what we saw. In Cienfuegos we took the tour to Trinidad which as amazing. My tip: Old Havana is right outside the cruise pier and an easy walk. We walked back to the old city, cathedral, Plaza Armas lots of cafes..time to inhale the flavor of Havana. Turn right as you exit the ship. If you go straight ahead across the street form the pier there are more historical plazas. We enjoyed the city instead of going to the Tropicana Show. I wish we had more time in Havana.
Have a great cruise!
Strongly agree with this suggestion - arrange something on your own in the evening. I went to the other shore excursion "show" tour (Cafe de Paris) at the historic hotel where Frank Sinatra and Ricky Ricardo both performed during the Havana heydays. We did not get to see the inside of the hotel on that tour which was disappointing, but it was the first HAL ship to Havana, in so everything was trial and error for us.
We had done our 8 hour people to people tour during the day, so we were free to go out on our own - we just had no clue what to expect on that maiden voyage. I would far rather have spent my time touring in an old car to more local highlights or just walking around as just suggested. Wear good flat soled footwear and take a small flashlight - paving is in very poor condition if you want to wander on your own. The areas that have been cleaned up and cater more to tourism are lighted and stunningly gorgeous.