1 Review Written
Once we got to Havana, since Vinales is an all day trip with a 2.5 hour ride out to the ...
Sail Date: May 2019
Once we got to Havana, since Vinales is an all day trip with a 2.5 hour ride out to the countryside, I got up early and had breakfast then assembled in theatre to learn which bus I need to find once outside. Staff was there to direct us ... Read More
Once we got to Havana, since Vinales is an all day trip with a 2.5 hour ride out to the countryside, I got up early and had breakfast then assembled in theatre to learn which bus I need to find once outside. Staff was there to direct us off the ship through immigration to get my passport stamped. It literally took less than 5 minutes to walk off the ship, through the terminal plus immigration and then out to the bus where my wonderful guide and driver were waiting. No Delays, No Lines, No Stress! You could stop in the terminal to change U.S. Dollars to CUC but I didn't because I'm not a shopper and just wanted to savor the experience. My extremely knowledgeable & professional tour guide was Manuel Alejandro Pozo Calvo with Havanatur.cu (Havana Tours). Manny is a Professor and Highly Educated. He could field any question and give you chapter and verse on every topic. I've traveled all over the world for decades and can honestly say he's one of the best tour guides I've ever had. His knowledge and intention to make sure we had an enjoyable day and learn as much as we can in addition to having a relaxing experience was on display all day. He took us to visit a cigar roller, we sampled coffee, visited the mural, had a delicious lunch and walked around the Vinales Valley with stops along the way. We were a small group so we had the opportunity to sample different fruits, rum and cigars. We had time to stop for photos and enjoy music along the way. We had several stops and walking tours throughout the day so we weren't just sitting on the bus the entire time. From the city to the countryside we got a crash course on this beautiful country and its people. Our Transfur driver was Johnny Toledo who was also helpful and friendly. He safely and masterfully navigated the roadways and the curves in the countryside with our big bus. The bus also had a bathroom in the back which was a lifesaver throughout the day. As a professional and licensed tour guide, Manny does tours for groups from all over the world so I offered to post his email here for anyone wanting to book a Cuba Tour with a PHENOMENAL tour guide. He can be reached at MannyPozoCalvo@gmail.com. All are advised to carry toilet paper off the ship and have on hand as you tour the city. Having a bathroom on the tour bus was an unadvertised bonus as we didn't have to go searching for a bathroom and then worrying about the facilities if we did a private tour. By the time we returned to Havana, everyone on the bus got to know each other so when Manny and Johnny dropped us off back at the terminal, we decided to explore Havana on foot on our own as a small group instead of going back on the ship. We literally crossed the street and just started walking. We walked all over for a couple hours until we ended up at the Malecon then circled back to the ship. The architecture in Havana is gorgeous and though many buildings have structural issues and need renovation, there is much to see and admire. The people were friendly and we felt safe walking around. Some will approach you to engage in conversation with music. Just need to be aware that you'll likely end up being lighter in the pocket as they're engaging and entertaining. Have some dollars you're ready to part with. By the time we walked back to the ship it was dark and we just headed to dinner. Many guests were headed off the ship to get a taste of Havana nightlife since we were leaving at 6am next day and they could have fun at the Tropicana or any of the clubs outside of the cruise terminal nearby in walking distance. It was a long and exciting day and we feel that we got our money's worth between the day trip to Vinales and then freely exploring the streets of Havana. You can always pay to get in the classic cars for a ride or just admire them all as you walk around. It's incredible how resourceful the Cuban people are in using what they have to survive and thrive as tourism is the #1 export for the country. Once back on the ship, I just relaxed and enjoyed the food, music and night entertainment. The Perfect Couple game show and Comedian were particularly fun and we had lots of laughs. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to anyone who is adventurous, curious about other cultures and loves to explore. The Cuba Cruise is perfect for that. The Food, the Culture, the Music, the Architecture, the Art and the People will not disappoint. You're only allowed a maximum of 100 cuban cigars if you buy any to bring back to the United States. What I loved about going on Norwegian is that the staff was great and everything was effortless. I didn't have to think or worry about anything the entire time. Got back home totally relaxed and already plotting future cruises with Norwegian's CruiseNext Program and my Personal Cruise Planner. Enjoy your Cuba Cruise! Don't delay. Just Do It. And yes, I'd go again on Norwegian! Read Less
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line