We are a british couple that flew from London to Havana on 10/02/16, we went to Varadero & spent 6 nights at the Blau Varadero before joining the MSC Opera.
We knew the ship wasn't due to dock until around 3pm from the previous weeks' cruise & had heard that people flying in & arriving before 18.30 were not able to get on board, so we decided to stay at our hotel for the day & booked our cab for 19.30 which meant we got to the ship around 21.30. As soon as the cab stopped we had 2 chaps opening up the boot & taking out our luggage then taking it through to the drop off & we had to tip them - we would prefer to have been asked if we wanted this service as we often don't, preferring to do things ourselves.
Checking in was very quick but told it we had to register credit card on board. Went through passport control & they took the exit part of our visa which concerned us a little as we thought we needed it to leave Cuba the following week?? found out later on board that as we were effectively leaving Cuba & then returning on the boat, we would be issued with new visas which would be charged to our account which was an additional 15 euros we hadn't allowed for.