Yes, that’s right we mentioned CUBA! Recently US President Barack Obama announced that the United States is to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. This also included a new American Embassy in Cuba. The old relationship with Cuba was according to Barack Obama “outdated” and this now starts a new era between the countries.
As a result, some of the largest cruise lines in the world have now been given the go-ahead for cruises to Cuba. this opens up the Caribbean to new destinations and adventures which can benefit everyone. Cruise Hive has found 5 perfect destinations in Cuba that cruise ships could call at.
it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t include Cubas capital, Havana. In fact, the city already has a cruise port which already handles cruise ships that are not American owned. Every year several cruise lines including from the UK and Germany make calls at the Sierra Maestra cruise terminal in Habana Vieja.
This port is a perfect stop for even more cruise ships as the terminal is more modern than you might think and it’s right opposite the Plaza de San Francisco. Ship passenger can mingle and relax at the square along with great shots of the ship.
The port is minutes away from Havanas unique shopping experience and of course, is the best place in the world to purchase a “Cuban” cigar. Remember though that at the moment Cuban cigars are not allowed back into the united States but if relations do become better this will no doubt change. The cities Old Town is also right next to the ship and cruise passengers can explore a place which is like going back in time.
Santiago de Cuba
This port is all the way in the South-East of Cuba and could be further away from the country’s capital of Havana. It is the Cuba’s second largest city and is worth a visit for cruise ship passengers. The location of Santiago de Cuba is perfect for cruise ships as it’s connected to the Caribbean Sea. In fact, from just looking at a map of the Caribbean, you can see the port has easy access to plenty of popular cruise destinations throughout the region.
The city is at the heart of Cuban music which can boast the countries most iconic musicians. Dancing during the Carnival is also very popular. Santiago de Cuba is the culture capital and it does feature a large port that could handle cruise ships in the future. Cruise ships have called at the Port of Santiago de Cuba in the past and it’s location has the potential of becoming a cruise hub in the Caribbean.
Cienfuegos is already one of the largest port cities in Cuba and it could become an important destination for future cruise ships thanks to plans for an investment for a new cruise terminal that is world-class. Cuba’s ministry of Tourism has already announced the new facility which will be located near the historic part of the city center.
The city itself is only 160 miles southeast of the capital Havana so would benefit travelers connecting to airports and overnights. There’s plenty of old Spanish colonial buildings for potential cruise guests to visit including Jagua Fortress which is near the entrance to the Bay of Cienfuegos.
The Port of Cienfuegos is protected by the bay so harsh weather conditions would keep large cruise ships stable while docked especially during Hurricane season. The city is perfect for cruise ships thanks to the popular nearby Caribbean destinations of Jamaica and the Cayman islands which are just south of the city in the Caribbean Sea. Also, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen are two popular cruise ports on the east coast of Mexico.
The Caribbean is known for its exotic beaches and it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t include Cuba’s most exotic beach destination! Varadero is in the Cuban province of Matanzas on the north coast of Cuba and it’s on the Hicacos Peninsula just opposite Key West, Florida. Varadero is land that sticks out from the coast and features some of the countries best and most popular hotels. There’s more than 20 km of beaches which cruise passengers could relax at and enjoy including the popular Varadero beach.
The only problem is that there is now dedicated cruise port especially one that could handle today’s large mega-ships. But the good news is that there are ports in nearby Matanzas and Cardenaz so in the future it’s possible that a cruise line could invest in a new cruise terminal which would open up the region to American cruise ship passengers.
Varadero offers tourists amazing sandy beaches, water sports a gold course and many historic places. The region is where the rich come to play and even Al Capone visited! Varadero could become the highlight of any cruise itinerary but don’t expect to see the old-fashioned Cuba as the destination has been heavily developed for foreign tourists.
If its history you want then Trinidad on the south coast of Cuba will offer just that. The town is the most historic destination in the country and features many buildings from the old Spanish colonial empire. Cruise passengers would love visiting all the old buildings and museums. One of the highlights is the Plaza mayor which is open air museum which also houses the main cathedral. in fact, the town is so historical that it’s become a UNESCOs World Heritage site since 1988.
Less than 30 minutes away from Trinidad is the Playa Ancorn beach which could rival those in the famous Varadero region in north Cuba. The beach is also complimented by good hotels.
The nearest port to Trinidad is the Port of Casilda but it is small so if some of the worlds largest cruise line companies were to send vessels to Trinidad an investment would be needed to build a cruise terminal. The location of the port in the bay of Casilda is also a great gateway to the rest of the Caribbean.
At a time when the worlds leading cruise lines are looking for new destinations in the Caribbean and even building their own cruise ports, Cuba opening up to America could open up a new era of cruising in the region.
Cuba is located perfectly in the middle of the Caribbean with all the current popular cruise destinations surrounding it. With possible new ports opening up in the country new itineraries will entice cruisers to sail the Caribbean once again.
Feel free let us know what you think of the featured destinations and let us know of any places in Cuba that you know of that cruisers would love.
Photo By: Konrad Lembcke