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Subsequent Cuba port exits - how long does it take to get off the ship?

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This is a good thread:

Getting off the ship in Havana. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2516257

In it:

"Immigration and the subsequent security scan took about 20-30 minutes in all, including waiting in lines. Lines appeared to be increasingly longer and more groups disembarked."

 

We are going on a multiple port Cuba cruise. First port of call is Santiago de Cuba. 2nd port is Cienfuegos, Havana is the final port.

 

I assume that it will take us just as long to get out of the port if our first port is Sanitago vs. Havana? We will also need to account for time to do money exchange? How long is the money exchange line? Total time to get out and meet our guide = 1 hour max?

 

On subsequent exit from the port is there passport checking and security scanning also? this should take no time at all?

 

What about subsequent ports? It should be quicker since we don't have to go through passport stamping again?

 

What are they looking for with the security scan? What's not allowed?

 

Thanks!

Laurence

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I would guess some of the time issues would depend how large your ship is.  Recently returned from Cuba on the Oceania Sirena.  We had to tender into Santiago de Cuba.  We got a fairly early tender ticket.  There were no lines to exchange money - I think we were on the 2nd tender.  When we returned, we exchanged more money so we would be ready for Cienfuegos the next day.  Going through security took minimal time.  With the tender issue - about 1 hour.

 

Docking at Cienfuegos, still a short line for money exchange - but we didn't need to stop, since we took care of it the day before.  Again - no issues with security.  Dealt with money exchange upon our return to the ship, so we'd be ready for Havana.  Time to take care of everything - minutes.

 

Havana - same as Cienfuegos - easy.  Here we had some interesting things in our pack - 5 horse bits to give to our tour guide - a horse ride through Vinales.  All cities, we had large tubes of toothpaste.  Not a question or concern from security.

 

Our 2nd day in Havana - smooth - and upon return to the ship - exchanged our cucs back to dollars.

 

Everything was much smoother than I thought it would be.  All of our tours were private.  Safe, fun, interesting, great tours, and HOT HOT HOT!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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1 hour ago, crilski said:

I would guess some of the time issues would depend how large your ship is.  Recently returned from Cuba on the Oceania Sirena.  We had to tender into Santiago de Cuba.  We got a fairly early tender ticket.  There were no lines to exchange money - I think we were on the 2nd tender.  When we returned, we exchanged more money so we would be ready for Cienfuegos the next day.  Going through security took minimal time.  With the tender issue - about 1 hour.

 

Docking at Cienfuegos, still a short line for money exchange - but we didn't need to stop, since we took care of it the day before.  Again - no issues with security.  Dealt with money exchange upon our return to the ship, so we'd be ready for Havana.  Time to take care of everything - minutes.

 

Havana - same as Cienfuegos - easy.  Here we had some interesting things in our pack - 5 horse bits to give to our tour guide - a horse ride through Vinales.  All cities, we had large tubes of toothpaste.  Not a question or concern from security.

 

Our 2nd day in Havana - smooth - and upon return to the ship - exchanged our cucs back to dollars.

 

Everything was much smoother than I thought it would be.  All of our tours were private.  Safe, fun, interesting, great tours, and HOT HOT HOT!

 

Enjoy!

 

THANKS!!!  Santiago de Cuba will be our first port.  Unfortunately it looks like all the ships are tendering due to port repair that's still ongoing.  When did Oceania pass out the tender tickets?  Did Oceania's excursions get priority?  Tendering puts a damper to our plan to go in and out of the ship quickly in between tours to eat and use the toilet!!!

 

Good to know re: security.  What is a good toothpaste to bring our tour guides?  We plan to also bring a bunch of Kind bars to snack on and share.  

 

A horse ride through Vinales sounds interesting.  Good to do since you have an overnight and thus less risk for the long drive to/from Vinales.  Which tour did you take?  What was the cost?

 

Thanks again.

Laurence

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If I remember correctly - they started passing out tender tickets at 7am.  The Oceania excursions did have first priority, but not all of their excursions were early - so they filled in spots on the tenders with the rest of us.  We met in the Lounge/Theater on deck 5.  We were there early and got on the 2nd tender.  Due to time between tenders - we were able to walk right up to a money exchange.  (Due to being close to Canada, we can get Canadian money no fee.  I wish we had figured out the % of exchange before going in.  We were charged a little more than 13% - guess we gave the teller a tip.  Someone else in our group made the teller recount 3 times, and each time got more cucs.  Never had an issue in the other cities.)

 

We scheduled our tour in Santiago for 9am.  We went as a CC group so we could get lost together!  lol   We found our guide at 8:45am - and he was where he described.  Private guides have to meet us away from the port since they are private.

 

I just went to the dollar store and got big tubes of Colgate.  Brought 2 tubes with us each day, gave one to driver and one to guide.  We put one tube in each pack in case one of got stopped.  Never did.  We also gave one of our guides a Seattle Mariner baseball cap.  We had a few other items as well.

 

In chatting with our guides - seems chocolate is appreciated - but seems it would be a melted mess.

 

We rode with 'Riding Vinales'.  Expensive to take a private car - a 2 hour drive each way.  It would be cheaper if you shared with another couple.  Cheap to ride the horses - and the horses are in good shape.  I would be more specific, and make sure the guide spoke better English, but we did OK.  Also - you might see more if you made the whole Vinales excursion by car and guide.  But - I'm glad we did what we did - it is beautiful and unique.  And the drive there really let's you see the countryside.  (car was $135 cucs and horses for 5 hours was $20 cucs - plus we had lunch - I think $20 cucs.  Ask for the restaurant they mention on their website, not the one we went to!)

 

FYI - we had tissue with us at all times - but only needed it at the Vinales restaurant. 

 

You are cruising on Sirena?  The enrichment speaker Sandy Cares is outstanding!  She might share our horse bit adventure . . . .  We made most of her talks - if not, they rerun on TV.

Edited by crilski

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