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CruiseShelly

Cuba shore excursions

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Those with recent experience — did HAL Force you to take their People To People tours to be able to off the ship in Havana?  Anyone just take their tourist card and passport, disembark, pass through Cuban immigration and just walk into town, or hire an old car? I am considering the Support The Cuban People Option.

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Although we booked the Best of Havana tour through HAL, we were not forced to take their tour nor was it necessary to leave the ship in Havana.  If we travel to Havana again, we will do exactly as you say . . . disembark and hire an old car. 

 

Our tour was scheduled for 8am but we weren't called to leave the theater until nearly 10am . . . the Cubans only allowed 5 buses at a time to enter the port . . . so those that disembarked on their own saved themselves two hours. 

 

Cienfuegos was/is a different matter . . . we travelled to Santa Clara and it was quite a drive . . . we arrived back at the port in time for the final tender . . .

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Thanks. Pretty sure that is what we will do, arrange our own day in Havana and maybe do a ship’s excursion in Cienfuegos. 

 

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we took a tour with Fertours and had a very knowledgeable guide. There’s much to see in Havana.

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I noticed that you used a scooter in Havana? Did you find navigating the area difficult? Some say a mobility scooter is too difficult to use there.... any insight we are going next week with my mother and she uses a scooter. Thanks! 

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We were on Silversea Spirit in Feb and just walked off the ship in Havana and found our pre arranged classic car tour on our own. In the other ports we did ships tours.

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I used the scooter to meet up with our tour guide a few blocks from the terminal. The sidewalk was rutted and someone helped my husband  lift it over the holes in the sidewalk. Once we got to the van, they put the scooter in the back. I didn’t use it again until we visited Feusterland. Not the best handicapped friendly port unless you get a van to take the scooter.

 

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The people at the terminal before you board the ship will help you fill out the visa and pick the correct option.

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On 4/9/2019 at 7:50 AM, CruiseShelly said:

Those with recent experience — did HAL Force you to take their People To People tours to be able to off the ship in Havana?  Anyone just take their tourist card and passport, disembark, pass through Cuban immigration and just walk into town, or hire an old car? I am considering the Support The Cuban People Option.

I was on the ship in January and there was a lot of confusion at the Shore Excursion Desk.  You do NOT have to book a HAL excursion to get off.  I also choose "Support the Cuban People Option."

 

Cienfeugos - This is were we exchanged our currency for Cuban CUCs.  What a zoo.  Took about 40 minutes lined up outside to get to a Cuban Officer.  I had Canadian bills and had no problem.  However, some people were telling others in the lineups that if you had US bills that had a eg. pen mark on them or a slight tear they'd be refused.  Best best is to get either some Euros or Cdn bills.   There are a few tables at the port to buy souvenirs and also a trolley train that is around $10CUCs for an hour ride - worth it.

 

Havana - Very nice cruise terminal.  Second level where you come in from the ship has benches to sit on. vendor stalls, a better and faster place to the left to exchange money, and washrooms over to the right of the escalators (bring toilet paper).  Once you exit the terminal, just to the left is a HOHO bus and for $10 CUCs you'll get a 2 hour tour (very good).  Also outside the terminal, lots of old cars will drive by for hire.  Also horse and carriage.

 

The people were very friendly.  If you like rum, Cuban Rum runs about $10CUCs / bottle.

 

I plan on going back a second time.

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Thanks, Sue. Good information. I will look inro the HOHO bus in Havana, and the trolley in Cienfuegos. We have most of our day in Havana planned, but have no firm plans yet for Cienfuegos.

 

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