MSC Armonia Arrives In Miami For Cuba Sailings

December 10, 2018.

 

MSC Cruises welcomed MSC Armonia to Miami today in preparation for her first ever sailing from the United States to Cuba.  Starting today, MSC Armonia will begin sailing 7-night Caribbean itineraries year-round departing from Miami and calling at Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, on Saturday and staying overnight to Sunday. And, with only one day at sea in this itinerary, cruisers are given more time to explore these sun-soaked ports of call.

With two full days in Havana, guests will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in the Cuban culture both during the day and in the evening through a variety of distinctive tours. Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. Guests can:

  • Ride in vintage American cars, a staple of the Havana experience. On this excursion, guests will tour the city in classic vehicles down the seafront Malecón boulevards and Quinta Avenida. Guests will stop for a historic photo opportunity at Plaza de la Revolución, and then head to the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery. As the drive continues, participants will marvel at some of the city’s key landmarks.
  • Sip on local rum and try classic Habanos cigars to learn about a key part of Cuban culture. Guests will visit a cigar factory to watch highly-skilled torcedors as they hand-roll Cuban cigars. Then, cruisers will head to the Havana Club Museum to learn about how freshly cut sugarcane is distilled into rum and then try some of the final product.
  • Dance at Havana’s largest nightclub, the renowned Tropicana Club. Founded in 1939 in Havana’s Marianao suburb, the Tropicana Club is an iconic celebration of Cuban culture with tropical surroundings. Visitors will listen to live music and see a variety of performers in vibrant costumes, while sipping on a local cocktail and dancing the night away.

These on shore experiences are complemented by the variety of on board enhancements to MSC Armonia, including new dining and entertainment concepts and special features paying homage to Cuba.

GETTING A TASTE FOR LA HAVANA ON BOARD

Local entertainment while in port

On Saturday evenings, during MSC Armonia’s overnight stay in Havana, a highlight of MSC Armonia’s entertainment offering will be the addition of local Cuban music while in port in Cuba. Straight from the city of Havana, various musicians will join guests on board to play local Cuban music and dance the evening away.

Havana-inspired Mojito Bar

Bringing the Cuban experience on board, MSC Armonia will transform one of its bars into a Havana haven, with a wide range of Mojito cocktails to choose from, whether traditional or out-of-the-box. These include, to name a few:

  • Classic Mojito, made in traditional style with mint leaves, sugar, lime, club soda and rum.
  • Guava Mojito, with rum mixed with sweet guava, fresh lime and sprigs of mint, topped with crushed ice and club soda.
  • Cape Cod Mojito, mixing rum, muddled mint and dried cranberries, splashed with cranberry juice and topped with club soda.
  • Flightless Bird Mojito, featuring kiwi with rum, muddled mint and topped with club soda.

For Families

MSC Armonia is offering families an opportunity to explore and learn together with the Kids Sail Free promotion available on many sailings.

Additional enhancements made as part of the Renaissance Program include exquisite, varied dining offerings; outstanding, all-hours entertainment; a broad choice of relaxation and wellness options, and more, all with the European flair MSC Cruises is known for.

New Dining Choices

MSC Armonia is introducing a brand new specialty restaurant to the culinary line-up. The 38-seat “Surf & Turf” costs $35 per person, where guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert.

Sample  items include an appetizer of slow braised pork belly, paired with Jalapenos, radish slaw and topped with a pineapple BBQ sauce. For main courses, the Surf & Turf has a 6 oz filet mignon and 7 oz cold water lobster tail. Additional entrée highlights include a Lobster Thermidor, baked in shell with a mushroom cream sauce, and the 18 oz Certified Angus Beef Bone-in Ribeye. Desserts include items such as Guava cheese cake, dressed in a warm Rum sauce, a Red Velvet Cake, and a Seven Layers Mexican Chocolate cake.

Enhanced Pub Menu

MSC Armonia’s White Lion Pub will introduce a new and complimentary menu featuring hand-helds like the befitting Cuban sandwich, a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share. The pub will also continue serving a wide selection of beers, including four new additions — Heineken, Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Irish Stout, and Lagunitas IPA.

New included delights

MSC Armonia will also introduce a few items on board that come complimentary with the cruise experience. MSC Cruises is already known for offering some of the best gelato at sea, and now, every creamy bite comes included with the cruise cost, leaving guests plenty of opportunity to try every flavor on board.

 

In the main dining room, guests will be able to order cold water lobster as part of a special seafood dish at no additional cost. And, while dining on these elevated offerings, Aurea experience guests will have the option to dine al fresco, with a reserved outdoor area, featuring the open water as the backdrop.

THEATRICAL ENHANCEMENTS

MSC Armonia’s evening theater entertainment has undergone a complete change, with an entire line-up of new performances introduced on board.  Shows include:

  • ABYSS: A mermaid’s spectacular adventures under the sea.
  • THE TIME OF MY LIFE: Inspired by the famous 80s film, Dirty Dancing, the show features songs, dances and a story that still captures audiences to this day.
  • ADDAMS FAMILY: The famous quirky family stars in this hilarious show, inspired by the satirical and ironic portrayal of the 20th century American Dream family.
  • FRENCH FOLLIES: An all-French variety show, with artists, dancers, singers that come together for an elegant and joyful show.
  • THE GREATEST: Featuring the best of Broadway, guests are taken through the most iconic pieces of musical theater.
  • ITALIAN TOUCH: True to MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean heritage, this show will feature Italian music and the most unforgettable Italian songs.

MSC Armonia will continue to sail year round from Miami to the Caribbean and Cuba, with balcony stateroom prices starting at $1,169 per person. For more information on MSC Cruises’ Cuba program, MSC Armonia and to book, contact a preferred travel agent or visit www.msccruises.com/cuba.

 

Carnival Radiance Will Sail To Europe, Bermuda, Canada, AND Cuba In 2020 Inaugural Season

November 13, 2018.

At first glance, you’ll think that the Carnival Radiance is sailing to every port in the northern hemisphere when the totally rebuilt ship returns to service in 2020.  And, you won’t be far off.

Carnival Cruise Line today announced the diverse inaugural schedule for the transformed Carnival Radiance, including 9- to 13-day European voyages, the line’s first to Cuba from New York and Norfolk, four- to nine-day sailings to the Caribbean, Canada/New England from New York, and a winter season of voyages to the Caribbean and Cuba from Port Canaveral.

Additionally, the company revealed details of Carnival Sunrise’s 2020 schedule, including an expanded series of New York to Cuba cruises, as well as four- to nine-day voyages to the Caribbean from New York and Norfolk, Virginia.

Carnival Radiance’s Diverse 2020 Inaugural Season
Following a $200 million dry dock that will take place in Cadiz, Spain, Carnival Radiance will debut April 29, 2020, with a 10-day Mediterranean sailing from Barcelona followed by nine-and 12-day departures visiting top destinations throughout the region, including Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain. The ship will then embark on a 13-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York June 11-24, 2020, positioning the vessel for its inaugural season in New York.

Once in New York, Carnival Radiance will offer a series of four- and six-day Bermuda cruises as well as a four-day cruise to Saint John, New Brunswick, eight-day eastern Caribbean voyages and the line’s first Cuba cruises from New York – nine-day sailings that include a full-day and overnight stay in Havana and two Bahamian ports of call.  The New York program will conclude with a series of Canada/New England voyages featuring stops in Boston, Portland, Saint John, and Halifax.

The ship will also offer four five- to seven-day voyages from Norfolk in October and November 2020, including the line’s first Cuba cruises from that port.  The week-long Cuba cruises will feature an extended stop in the capital of Havana along with visits to two Bahamian ports.  There will also be a five-day and a six-day Bahamas cruise.

Following the cruises from the Northeast, Carnival Radiance will reposition to Port Canaveral to operate a winter schedule of six- to eight-day voyages to the Caribbean and Cuba beginning Nov. 8, 2020.  The program includes six-day voyages featuring a day-long visit and overnight call in Havana and two Bahamian ports; a six-day sailing to Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic and Nassau, The Bahamas; and seven-and eight-day Caribbean voyages visiting Aruba, Curacao, St. Kitts and Grand Turk.

Carnival Sunrise to be Major Player in Bermuda and Cuba

Building upon the popularity of short Bermuda cruises introduced on Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise will offer a series of “long weekend” getaways to Bermuda as well as longer length Caribbean voyages and cruises to Cuba from New York beginning May 21, 2020.

The program includes eight, nine-day voyages to Cuba featuring a full day and overnight call in Havana along with stops at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.  Eight, four-day “long weekend” voyages to Bermuda will also be offered, departing Thursdays and returning Mondays and spending a full day on the island.  Seven, eight-day voyages visiting beautiful ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas will be offered as well. The program concludes with a 12-day Carnival Journeys partial Panama Canal transit from New York to Fort Lauderdale Oct. 19-31, 2020.

Carnival Sunrise will also sail from Norfolk, Va., in May 2020, offering a pair of five-day cruises to Nassau and Freeport, along with a three-port, six-day voyage featuring Half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Freeport. 

The Changes Being Made To The Ships

Carnival Sunrise and Carnival Radiance will each undergo extensive dry docks in 2019 and 2020, respectively, that will add an array of food, beverage and entertainment choices.   New culinary and beverage offerings will include Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse developed by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, a classic American steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555, and the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.   Carnival Radiance will also feature Big Chicken, a seagoing version of a landside restaurant operated by the line’s Chief Fun Officer, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.

A sprawling new WaterWorks aqua park featuring the new AquaTunnel slide as well as a SportSquare open-air recreation complex with a suspended ropes course will be added, as well.   All staterooms will be renovated with a tropical color palette reminiscent of the ships’ Caribbean itineraries.

MSC Armonia Prepares For First Miami To Cuba Cruise

October 11, 2018.

Today marks the 60-day countdown until MSC Armonia arrives in Miami for the first time. Beginning December 10, 2018, the ship will offer unique 7-night Caribbean sailings departing from Miami and calling Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, before arriving in Havana on Saturday and staying overnight to Sunday.

MSC Cruises’ 7-night itinerary to Cuba will include two days in Havana over the weekend.

Highlights of the Cuba cruises will include:

NEW ON BOARD CULINARY ENHANCEMENTS

A new specialty restaurant

MSC Armonia will introduce a brand new specialty restaurant to the culinary line-up. The 38-seat “Surf & Turf” will offer a $35 per person menu, where guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert from an assortment of gourmet options.  Items include Surf & Turf of course, Lobster Thermidor, an 18 oz Ribeye, Pork Belly, and Guava Cheesecake.

Havana-inspired Mojito Bar

Bringing the Cuban experience on board, MSC Armonia will transform one of its bars into a Havana haven, with a wide range of Mojito cocktails to choose from, whether traditional or out-of-the-box.

Enhanced Pub Menu

MSC Armonia’s White Lion Pub will introduce a new and complimentary menu featuring hand-helds like the Cuban sandwich, a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share. The pub will also continue serving a wide selection of beers.

New included delights

MSC Armonia will also introduce a few items on board that come complimentary with the cruise. MSC Cruises is already known for offering some of the best gelato at sea, and now the gelato bar will be included in the cruise price.

In the main dining room, guests will be able to order cold water lobster as part of a special seafood dish at no additional cost.

NEW ENTERTAINMENT

Local Cuban music will be featured while in Havana.  Various local musicians will join guests on board to play the best of local Cuban music during the Saturday evening of the ship’s overnight stay in Havana.

MSC Armonia’s evening theater entertainment will undergo a complete review, with an entire line-up of new performances to be introduced on board.

  • ABYSS: A mermaid’s spectacular adventures under the sea.
  • THE TIME OF MY LIFE: Inspired by the famous 80s film, Dirty Dancing, the show features songs, dances and a story that still captures audiences to this day.
  • ADDAMS FAMILY: The famous quirky family stars in this hilarious show, inspired by the satirical and ironic portrayal of the 20th century American Dream family.
  • FRENCH FOLLIES: An all-French variety show, with artists, dancers, singers that come together for an elegant and joyful show.
  • THE GREATEST: Featuring the best of Broadway, guests are taken through the most iconic pieces of musical theater.
  • ITALIAN TOUCH: True to MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean heritage, this show will feature Italian music and the most unforgettable Italian songs.

MORE TIME TO EXPERIENCE LA HAVANA

Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. Guests can:

  • Ride in vintage American cars, a staple of the Havana experience.
  • Sip on local rum and classic Habanos cigars to learn about a key part of Cuban culture.
  • Dance at Havana’s largest nightclub, the renowned Tropicana Club.

 

Carnival Adds More Cuba Cruises For 2019-2020 – Including Carnival Sunshine From Charleston

May 10, 2018.

Carnival Sunshine entered service in May 2013 following an unprecedented $155 million renovation that added all of the bar, dining and entertainment options of the lineÕs groundbreaking Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines)

3,002-Passenger Carnival Sunshine to be Largest Cruise Ship Ever to Call in Havana When It Introduces Cuba Service From Charleston Next Year

Carnival Cruise Line has expanded its cruises to Cuba with the addition of 23 three- to five-day sailings to Havana in 2019-20 aboard five different ships departing from four convenient East Coast homeports – Carnival Sunshine from Charleston, Carnival Triumph from Fort Lauderdale, Carnival Paradise from Tampa and Carnival Victory and Carnival Sensation from Miami.

The 3,002-passenger, 102,853-ton Carnival Sunshine  will be the largest cruise ship to ever call in Havana while offering the first-ever cruise to Cuba from the Port of Charleston.

These new sailings complement previously announced voyages aboard Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sensation.

The new Cuba sailings include:

  • Carnival Sunshine (Charleston): a four-day cruise with a day-long call in Havana departing Nov. 21, 2019, along with eight five-day cruises featuring Havana and Freeport departing Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and 17, March 2, 16 and 30 and April 13, and 27, 2020.
  • Carnival Triumph (Fort Lauderdale): eight five-day cruises featuring an overnight call in Havana and a day-long call in Nassau departing Dec. 14, 2019, and Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and 22, March 7 and 21, and April 4 and 18, 2020; and a five-day cruise featuring an overnight call in Havana and a visit to the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay departing Jan. 20, 2020.
  • Carnival Victory (Miami): a three-day voyage with a day-long call in Havana departing Nov. 22, 2019.
  • Carnival Sensation (Miami): a four-day cruise featuring an overnight call in Havana and an extended visit to Nassau departing March 19, 2020, along with two five-day sailings with an overnight call in Havana and visits to Freeport and Nassau departing Feb. 15 and 29, 2020.
  • Carnival Paradise (Tampa): a five-day voyage departing Nov. 18, 2019, with an overnight call in Havana and a stop at Key West.

Guests sailing on Carnival’s Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase the island’s vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks.  A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered.  There’s also an onboard Cuba expert who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Carnival’s shore excursions meet all U.S. government regulations and provide a convenient means for complying with the people-to-people requirements of cruises to Cuba.

Carnival Paradise Adds 20 Cuba Cruises From Tampa In 2019

April 6, 2018.

Vintage cars pass the Carnival Paradise while the cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

This News Follows Recently Announced Series of 17 Cuba Voyages Aboard Carnival Sensation from Miami in 2019-20

Carnival Cruise Line announced today it has added another 20 voyages to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa in 2019, complementing the 11 cruises to the island taking place aboard the vessel through next year.

The new voyages aboard Carnival Paradise are in addition to the 17 recently announced Cuba cruises aboard Carnival Sensation departing from Miami in 2019, indicating that more and more travelers view cruising as a great way to experience Cuba.

The newly added five-day voyages will depart Tampa on Saturdays and feature a day-long or a full day and overnight call in the Cuban capital of Havana, along with stops at tropical destinations Key West and Cozumel.

Carnival Paradise’s new Cuba cruise schedule includes:

  • 10, five-day cruises overnighting in Havana with a visit to Key West – departing March 2, April 13, May 25, June 22, July 6, Aug. 3 and 17, Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 26, 2019;
  • Six, five-day voyages featuring a day-long call in Havana and a visit to Cozumel – departure dates include Jan. 5, March 16, May 11, Aug. 31, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7, 2019;
  • Four, five-day sailings featuring day-long calls to Havana, Key West and Cozumel – departing Feb. 16, June 8, July 20 and Oct. 12, 2019.

Guests sailing on Carnival’s Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursions.  A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the excellent Amor Cubano:  A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered.  There’s also an onboard Cuba expert who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise just completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment last month that added a water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of food and beverage venues.  New spaces include Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery,  a new Camp Ocean marine-themed play area, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a Pixels-branded digital photo platform and enhanced retail offerings including boutiques from Pandora and Guess.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Carnival’s shore excursions meet all U.S. government regulations and provide a convenient means for complying with the people-to-people requirements of cruises to Cuba.

Carnival Paradise Completes Extensive Makeover

 

March 26, 2018.

Carnival Paradise returned to year-round cruise service Monday from Port Tampa Bay following an extensive month-long dry dock.  The renovation added several new features, including a water park, 38 new staterooms, 98 balconies added to existing accommodations, and an array of food and beverage venues.

Carnival Paradise departed on a five-day Caribbean cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman – part of the ship’s year-round sailings from Tampa that also include four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Key West or Grand Cayman.  The ship also offers four- to eight-day cruises to Cuba featuring day-long and overnight calls in Havana, as well as visits to popular ports throughout the Caribbean.

The new features added during dry dock include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: everyone’s favorite burger at sea, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries.

    Guests aboard the Carnival Freedom load up their Guy Fieri-inspired hamburgers with pickles and other condiments at Guy’s Burger Joint. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines)
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside bar offering Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a Mexican-themed atmosphere with tequila-based frozen drinks and beers.
  • Camp Ocean: a play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the sea through engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities and science-oriented programming.
  • Circle “C”: designed for the 12- to 14-year-old set, this colorful space offers the perfect space for kids to chill and connect as well as enjoy dance parties, video games and more.
  • New Staterooms and Enhancements: Thirty-eight staterooms have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic oceanview and 12 interior accommodations.  Private verandahs have also been added to 98 existing accommodations, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the ship’s tropical itineraries.
  • WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a kiddie splash zone. 
  • Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.
  • Retail and Photo Enhancements: The retail shops have been completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple branded boutiques, including Pandora and Guess.  The printed photo gallery has been replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

In addition to Carnival Paradise’s short cruise program, Carnival’s Tampa-based offerings include Carnival Miracle’s year-round six- and seven-day cruises visiting beautiful ports throughout the western Caribbean, as well as eight-day voyages that include a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

Reservations are currently open for all of Carnival’s departures from Tampa.

Carnival Sensation To Feature Cuba Cruises From Miami In 2019

February 27, 2018.

The Carnival Paradise arrives in Havana Harbor in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

Who said the Trump administration’s restrictions on the travel policy for Cuba would end cruises to the island nation?  You wouldn’t know it by looking at Carnival’s cruise schedule.

Carnival Cruise Line will add another ship and embarkation port to the mix in 2019, offering 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019.  The five-day Cuba voyages will be the line’s first to operate round-trip from Miami and feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops at popular Caribbean and Bahamian ports,  including Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Nassau, and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.

The voyages complement a series of voyages to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018-19.  I was aboard the inaugural visit to Havana on the Paradise last summer.

A Cuban taxi driver, piloting a vintage car, pulls up to the El Morro Castle while the Carnival Paradise cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival Sensation’s Cuba schedule includes:

  • four five-day sailings to Havana and Grand Turk departing May 20, Sept. 9, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 2019
  • five five-day voyages featuring Havana, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 23, and Nov. 4, 2019
  • a five-day cruise to Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays departing April 22, 2019
  • seven five-day cruises to Havana and Grand Cayman departing May 6, June 3, July 1 and 29, Aug. 26, Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, 2019

Carnival Sensation underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock last year that added what I call “the full treatment”, including Guy’s Burger Joint , RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar,  BlueIguana Cantina, Alchemy Bar, and the Cherry on Top sweets shop.

Guests sailing on Carnival’s Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences.  Also, a variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment will be featured aboard, including the sizzling Amor Cubano:  A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons.  There’s also a lecturer on board who discusses the country’s history and culture.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Carnival Paradise Renovation Details Announced

February 22, 2018.

Vintage cars pass the Carnival Paradise while the cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival is continuing the upgrading of the Fantasy-class ships in quick fashion.  Just a few days ago the news about Carnival Fascination finishing it’s overhaul was announced, and now it’s Carnival Paradise’s turn.

The ship is undergoing an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add a water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and many of the popular food and beverage venues.  While favorites such as Guy’s Burgers and BlueIguana are being added, the upgrades apparently do not include Alchemy Bar.

Following the month-long dry dock Carnival Paradise will resume its year-round schedule of four- to eight-day cruises from Tampa, Fla., March 26, 2018.

The new features include:
· Guy’s Burger Joint 

· RedFrog Rum Bar

· BlueIguana Cantina

· Camp Ocean: a play area designed for kids ages 2-11.

· New Cabins, Stateroom Enhancements: Thirty-eight cabins will be added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior accommodations. Additionally, private verandahs have been added to 98 existing staterooms, creating new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms will offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by Carnival Paradise’s tropical itineraries.

· WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids.

· Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14.

· Retail and Photo Enhancements: The ship’s retail shops are being completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings including Pandora and Guess.  Cherry on Top is also being added, while the printed photo gallery is being replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

Carnival Paradise’s Tampa-based schedule includes four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel or Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Grand Cayman or Key West. The ship also sails to Cuba with four-day cruises visiting Havana, five-day cruises calling at Havana and Cozumel or Key West, and eight-day voyages to Havana, Key West and Grand Cayman.

Norwegian Announces New Cruises To Cuba & Caribbean From Miami

February 13, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line has opened brand-new cruises to Cuba and the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Sun round trip from Miami.  For a limited season this fall, Norwegian Sun will offer cruisers a chance to discover the rich history of Cuba and explore some of the brand’s most popular tropical destinations in just one journey on 7, 9, and 13-day cruises.

Norwegian Sun will sail six 7-day cruises from Miami departing on Sundays from September 9 through October 14. The ship will cruise to ports including Havana, Cuba, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas; Costa Maya, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Belize. The ship’s nine-day Cuba and the Caribbean cruises will expand upon the 7-day sailings and also include additional visits to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico.

Those wishing to visit the Panama Canal can do so aboard Norwegian Sun’s new 13-day Cuba, Caribbean and the Panama Canal cruise departing from Miami on October 30. This bucket-list cruise will visit eight destinations including Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia and Oranjestad, Aruba, among others.

Norwegian Cruise Line has also added a new 5-day cruise to Cuba and the Bahamas from Port Canaveral on September 3. The new cruise will round out the ship’s season sailing from the Space Coast with an afternoon visit to the southernmost city of Key West, Florida then head to Havana for an overnight stay in the historical city, followed by a beach day at the private-island paradise of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

All of Norwegian Sun’s recently released cruises will visit the popular destinations of Havana, Cuba and Harvest Caye, Belize. While in Cuba, Norwegian Sun sails into the very heart of Havana, providing guests with the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and visit Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges – all just steps away from the comfort of the ship. Norwegian offers a selection of 13 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests have the chance to have a farm-to-table dining experience or explore modern Havana in an American classic car and discover the arts, culture, dance and cinematic masterpieces of Fabrica de Arte Cubano on an exclusive private tour.

Located one mile off the coast of Southern Belize, Harvest Caye, is a resort-style destination where guests can lounge along the expansive beach or at the 15,000 square-foot pool with a swim-up bar, enjoy a nature center with wildlife and reptiles or opt for an adrenalin rush zip line adventure at the 130 ft. tall Flighthouse, among many other on-island attractions. Those who want to explore mainland Belize have several convenient options from Harvest Caye including the island ferry, rainforest tubing or private boat excursions.

Cuba Voyages with Azamara for 2018-2019

January 25, 2018.

Last year I took a 4-night cruise to Cuba on a mainstream cruise line, and while it was a great experience it would have been better if I traveled first class with a luxury cruise line.  Well, the good news is you can and for a surprisingly good price.  Azamara Club Cruises has several voyages to Cuba in 2018/2019, including a very affordable 4-night cruise that is in Havana overnight, leaving in the afternoon of the following day, so it’s essentially two days to explore and interact with the wonderful Cuban people.

While in port, guests can participate in featured Cuba shore excursions including the Old Havana Heritage Walking Tour and the Best of Havana, allowing travelers to have authentic experiences that bring the rich heritage and cultural treasures to life.

Azamara is an all-inclusive cruise line, so all of those usual onboard expenses such as gratuities, drinks, incidentals, are included in your cruise price.  Plus, these are smaller cruise ships with 690 guests so there is never a crowd and the service is personal.

More information about some of the featured sailings are below.

o   Sailing date of 11/10/2018

o   Azamara Journey

o   Sailing date of 11/20/2018

o   Azamara Journey

o   Sailing date of 12/21/2018

o   Azamara Journey

o   Sailing date of 1/15/2019

o   Azamara Journey