Star Flyer - Cuba 1st - 8th February 2015
29th January 2015: Havana: Left Gatwick to land in Cuba some 9½ hours later. Customs/Passport control faster than I feared and certainly better than Gatwick. Transfer to Hotel Saratoga by limo. Hotel rated 4 Cuban stars you'd give 2-3 here. Had to change room due to damp smell and noise from 24hr bar under us. Also cobwebs big enough that you could have knitted a jumper out of them. The breakfast was poor (and cold) as was the evening meal although we had been warned on TripAdvisor about the food. But after a day of travelling in a new city it's normal to grab a bite at the hotel. If you're unlucky enough to end up here have breakfast in the 'Mezzanine Bar' and never eat at night. Having looked around at the hotels, try and get the IberoStar which is right in the middle of the city, clean and well run.
We found Havana interesting, historic and cosmopolitan - whilst at the same time dirty with average food and high prices in the few decent 'Western' bars. There are quite a few touts (mainly taxi, cigar and pony and trap) also many ladies of the night (and day). Unlike other reviews on here we never felt threatened or in any danger and there was certainly no threat of a mugging although we were two couples and both the men are well built and around 6" higher than the locals. I sometimes think that if you look nervous and clutch your bag to your chest, a large victim sign illuminates above you that can only be seen by criminals. By far the best way to see the city is in a 50/60s American car. A 2 hour trip costs 50 CUC (Cuban tourist currency) - although they will ask for 70 CUC. Set the price 1st and make sure the car looks reasonable (albeit Cuban) condition and he speaks English. Kilometre Zero and Sloppy Joe's are two good places to eat and drink. There are lots of sites to visit and overall enjoyed our stay there
The room consists of a double bed (even though we asked for a twin but there's no room to separate the beds), desk/dressing table, TV/DVD player and wardrobes. The bed(s) were comfortable with clean white linen. There's plenty of storage in the cabin which is very clean and well finished - although starting to show it's age. There is a refit happening in Portugal in September. The bathroom is a wet room with a shower curtain. There is hairdryer. The shower went a bit hot and cold at times. The drain for the shower and basin are just grills in the floor and when the boat is heeling over (when under sail) to the cabin's side the water does not drain away at all (toilet unaffected). Not really a big deal. You have a choice of fresh towels everyday or you can be 'eco' - we weren't. Kept immaculate by the stewards - no complaints