What should we do other than eat, swim, sleep in late, enjoy each other, and hang out on a Beach…. we decided to Tour the Bacardi Distillery. We Uber it over… and David says as we pull into the Bacardi complex, they should name a building after you. I do love Bacardi Silver Rum!
We decided a history tour of the distillery, a mixology course on three infamous Bacardi drinks. All super delicious and what a fun experience, we were laughing thru the entire mixology course. We are sharing a few pictures of our time here. More to be added as soon.
More pictures to add this afternoon, awaiting David’s photos to add, and lets face it, his are superior to mine.
I knew you cannot use credit cards in Cuba, and they have cigars and rum, but I did not know….
We were told we had to have a cultural tour booked or we would not even be allowed to step off the Cruise ship (or if we flew in – not step off the plane). This is not true. The threat is empty. We saw several couple walk off the ship (they were Americans) they said they had nothing booked and were unconcerned and when we were back on the ship they said they had a wonderful day.
2. Everyone in Cuba, LOVES Che Guevara!
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was an Argentina Marxist Revolutionary, a doctor, an author, guerrilla leader and HERO in Cuba. He was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his picture and vision has become a symbol of rebellion in Cuba and popular culture.
I saw two pictures of Fidel Castro, saw 1000 pictures of Che Guevara.
3. Every person in Cuba (except politicians) make only $50 per month. You could be a doctor or street dancer, it is the same salary.
4. We had no idea how much to get in Cuba dollars, so we got $150, which was more than enough since there was not much to buy when on a tour. We did buy rum, one cigar, a necklace at a local children’s center and could have bought typical tourist trap t-shirts and carvings and plastic items you could get at any tourist trap location, but we are past that type of vacation item. When your on a tour, you do not have an opportunity to buy much, but if your so inclined sharing a few dollars with the locals, would be wonderful, considering #3.
5. The Cuban people are wonderful, we expected them to be angry with many things, including our President, but did not find that true. I was not afraid even for a minute, and would not be even if we were wondering around town ourselves, it is a safe place. We would go back in a heart beat, but first so many other choices to explore!
I figured out how to add videos! Better later than never! so this is older post updated.
We only had two days in Havana, Cuba – so we made the most of it – a day of everything, then an evening trip to the Tropicana Club. I would describe it as an outdoor larger version of the “I Love Lucy” Show’s – Ricky Ricardo’s Club – which was also originally called Tropicana – then renamed Club Babalu. David and I saw the Las Vegas review – Jubilee, and this show is superior, the dancers have a fire, the music is the over the top and beats Jubilee for me.
We took a bus on a 20min drive to the Tropicana, which had a huge entrance first with a Billboard show casing the Tropicana Club name and a dancing ballerina (club icon), then we drive down a tropical foliage filled drive to the entrance.
We stood in line a long line, but only for 5 mins to walk thru a lobby, where a Tropicana show girl hands out a cigar to each man and a flower to each women. There is a sign posted – all must pay to take pictures inside the club, which we did (hence our photos and videos), but we saw no one else pay and no one was stopped from taking photos, so if you skipped this fee, I don’t believe there would be any trouble for you. We then huddle into what we assumed would be an indoor theater, but instead we were walked outside to a lush outdoor garden amphitheater style venue, with elaborate overhead lighting.
This picture does this location no justice. It is a 180 degree theatre, with a waterfall dancing stage to our far left, a main stage for singers directly ahead, a mini dance bridge in between. To our right was a three level tower of dancers and in between the main stage and this tower was a hidden full orchestra.
This picture also does this club a small justice there is stages to the left and right.
The girls and the costumes are incredible. There were tall statues of art with about 12 costume changes that each were more over the top than the previous, we saw bikini (no nudity) wearing model ladies, with fruit baskets 3 feet tall on their head, they wore chandeliers on their heads, they danced in the 80 degree night heat like it was nothing.
There were acrobats and singers and non stop Mambo, cha cha cha rhythms action for the entire 1 hour 45 min show.
You get an entire bottle of rum (and a big bottle, larger than a fifth) to split with four people at your table, each person gets a tiny glass bottle of Coca-cola along with a bucket of ice. So of course we drank most of it in the flaming heat, which made our bus drive home a boisterous spectacle to our bus mates, we laughed so hard, I think we had everyone else laughing too. I highly recommend the Tropicana Club for the Havana experience! We sat at the back, and I would have paid the extra $30/ dollars for a middle closer seat, but the front section is not necessary – all views are amazing.
Cigars, Castro, Rum, Heat, Colorful Buildings and Cars from the 1940s and 1950s are the things we think about when we think – Cuba. This post is about the cars of Cuba!
While I know practically nothing about classic cars. I do know these are beautiful and I love the vibrant colors. I could look at these all day long. Havana is a moving car museum and makes all those fields I have walked thru looking at sitting classic cars seem like a museum of the dead. Havana is a living moving classic car show.
These are a source of pride to the Cubans. These classic automobiles are held together with bubble gum and blender motors (a quote from our tour guide). He said Cubans have suffered and had so little, due to the 1961 US Embargo, for so long – but they make due, they fix and they mend, and they preserve regardless of the limits that are set on them – and that makes they proud not angry. A great lessen in life.
Short post. We flew into Fort Lauderdale, Fla the night before our cruise, and we spent the night at the Link hotel, about 12 minutes from the airport, $100.00/nite with breakfast, small rooms, but clean and free transportation to the airport, but it only runs until 8 pm and we missed the ride to the hotel from the airport. We woke up around 7:30am, ate breakfast and shuttled over to the airport again, where we took another shuttle to the cruise ship yard.
A day a sea, and then we will be in Grand Cayman. Looking forward to posting next.
We are headed out to our 7 day Cuban Explorer with Holland America Cruise, on the Veendam. We started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida then to Georgetown, Grand Cayman, to Cozumel, Quntana Roo Mexico, then Havana Cuba, back to Ft Lauderdale. We choose this cruise specifically for the Cuba Experience and we are really are very excited to step foot in Cuba. We did read in our paperwork, we had to book an excursion or we will not be allowed off the ship, and that is a recent change to the US requirements. So we booked an 8hr – Best of Havana, and a night trip to the Tropicana Club. While many might not ever even consider visiting Cuba, for us something about seeing what has been forbidden is a thrill. This might be a short window of opportunity that we never get to experience again, but if we enjoy Cuba, and it is still possible a longer trip might be in our future as well.
This is our third cruise together as a couple, but Davids ~10th, I only started cruising when I met David, so my third cruise. This is our second with Holland, where the population is significantly older, but then again our cruise with Celebrity was also an older group. I guess most can afford to cruise when they are older and finally have the time, so the ships population is filled with motorized scooters, canes and stories of grand children.
When I checked online reviews of the Veendam, I see Excellent reviews, and that it is a small ship with a max capacity of 1350. We will report back on what we experienced upon return. I am sure I will drink a few Cuba Libras (Rum and Coke) during this trip, so I will try and report back daily on our adventure, or might forget a fact or two.
After weeks of looking for a trip that we could take together (no kids) during the time our youngest would be on spring break (and could go to his mothers) we finally found a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico – Grand Cayman – and two days in Havana, Cuba. It is a Holland America Cruise, smaller older ship. But the cost total for seven days and a day before stay in Fort Lauderdale is under $2100. We searched Travelzoo, Travelocity, Groupon, Cruise.com and finally found a trip that meets all our criteria. Whew, a lot and I mean a lot of looking (months of looking) our deal was on Cruise.com, but cheaper directly thru the Holland America site (like $150 each cheaper). Now just to dream and figure out excursions, hopefully loose a few pounds and buy a nice outfit.