by Don McCann
The minute we first stepped onboard ship, Cuba was ‘in the air’ with a band playing Cuban style music in the atrium. We then proceeded up to the lunch buffet, where Cuban paella was being served. I was very excited to begin our voyage to Cuba and was also pleased to see that Royal Caribbean was helping to set the mood for the trip!
The next morning, during our full day at sea, an introduction to Cuba lecture was featured in the main show lounge at 10am.
Proving that this was to be no ordinary Caribbean cruise, the lecture was enthuisastically attended and the lounge was totally full. I was thinking that a lecture on almost any topic on a cruise to St Thomas would be lucky to get 20 people; again proving that this was no ordinary Caribbean cruise! Our speaker was Mary Clark Coffey, a professor from the northeast U.S. She easily guided us through Cuba’s early trade history, sugar production, popularity with mob bosses, and of course, the turbulent political times. Then the different areas of Havana were highlighted and with each photo shown, it became more exciting to realize that “we’ll there tomorrow”!
(this is Part 2 in my series of Havana cruise posts; Part 3 follows tomorrow)
4 responses to “Voyage to Cuba”
My daughter was there last week. She found it to be very depressing and sad. It really bothered her to see how the people lived such hopeless lives.
Hi Steve, I was on this cruise with Don and Nancy and found the experience fascinating. The Cuban people are wonderful, friendly people. They are so pleased Americans can now visit their home, especially Floridians whom they feel a kinship with. The Cubans we met, tour guides, taxi drivers and a few locals, are proud of their island and their history and are glad to see the gradual changes that are happening in their country, such as the opening of small privately owned businesses. I think Raul is more of a businessman than his brother was!
Yes, I was disturbed by the people living in these old buildings, with no AC and it was hot! (But we experienced that in the 60’s and didn’t think we had it too bad then!) There are no homeless people, no crime. I also felt the joy of the people gathering on the Malecon at night, to cool off, with their families and dogs, nary a cell phone in sight. It is a simpler way of life, very appealing to many of us older types!
Tourism is helping the situation, you can see some areas of old Havana being refurbished, and there is nothing like riding around through the city in an old ’57 convertible!
I highly recommend a visit, (maybe not in summer) before the charm of the city is changed by tourism too much!
Steve, there are definite ‘issues’ for the Cuban people, but I think they are now more hopeful than hopeless. The locals we met mentioned many positive changes since Raul Castro took over from Fidel. I also think they feel that the expanded opportunity for Americans to visit will continue to bring about even more positive changes in time. That being said, as cruise ship visitor for only a day & a half, our perspective was more of an overview, than immersive.
My neighbors were Cuban refugees. My late fiance was there in 2005 on a teaching trip for the college he worked at. I have no desire to go to Cuba until there is a true change for the Cuban people, but It seems you had a great time and I’m anxious to read more about your trip.