Cuba is one of the most buzz-worthy destinations in the Caribbean right now, despite still having travel restrictions in place for U.S. citizens. If you're dying to see this one-of-a-kind country and don't mind having to follow some basic rules, you can cruise to Cuba from the U.S. just as you would to the Bahamas, Mexico or other Caribbean islands.
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4-Night Cuba from Miami on Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Cruise Line is now offering a 4-night cruise from Miami to Havana and Great Stirrup Cay, a private cruiseline island in the Bahamas. You'll arrive in Havana on day two at 8 a.m., staying overnight and departing at 5 p.m. on day three.
Worried about having all your ducks in a row for legal travel? NCL will send you an FAQ once you book, including instructions for your visa paperwork, which you'll take to immigration upon arriving to receive your Cuban visa. Not sure what counts as approved activities and what doesn't? Sign up for one of NCL's excursions, all of which fall under the approved people-to-people category.
4- and 5-Night Carnival Cruises to Cuba from Tampa
Carnival offers 4- and 5-night cruises to Cuba from Tampa — the shorter cruise stays overnight in Havana, and the longer adds a Cozumel and/or Key West port of call in addition to an overnight stay in the Cuban capital.
It's up to cruisers to have all their paperwork completed, though Carnival will let you know what you need to do, including having your travel affidavit, your visa paperwork and an up-to-date passport. Their excursions comply with the people-to-people activities requirements, which means you can visit Hemingway's house or see a show at the famed Tropicana nightclub with no worries.
4- to 6-Night Cruises to Havana from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa
Royal Caribbean has unveiled new Cuba itineraries from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, ranging from 4 to 6 nights. Most of them sail into Havana's harbor as well as hit up at least one more port, such as Key West, CocoCay private island or Cozumel.
Like the other cruise lines mentioned here, Royal Caribbean makes your trip easier by offering only shore excursions that meet the travel requirements, plus they can offer your visa for a $75 fee, to be added to your onboard account.
Don't feel like taking a guided excursion? Feel free to roam on your own, but be sure to only engage in allowed activities, keep a travel log, and be sure to indicate your intent on your travel affidavit.
Royal Caribbean is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about their cruises to Cuba from the U.S.
7-Night Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos Cruise from Miami
Fathom was the first cruise ship company approved to offer a cruise to Cuba from the U.S., and its 7-night itinerary onboard the MV Adonia offers not one, but three different cities as ports of call: Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos.
The cruise includes three and a half days of shore excursions meant to allow passengers to interact with Cuban people, plus three meals a day. You're transported from city to city not on a bus, but onboard the ship — a far better way to travel.
Bonus: 7-Night Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos Cruise from Montego Bay
If you're thinking about pairing a Jamaica vacation with your Cuba visit, considering taking the 7-night cruise from Friendly Planet onboard the Celestyal Crystal, which departs from Montego Bay. This cruise includes 20 meals, four people-to-people excursions, unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, plus port charges and cruise gratuities. You'll learn to make mojitos, see how cigars are rolled, take a dancing lesson and much more.
Disclaimer: Cuban visa, travel affidavit and passport requirements for travel to Cuba are not outlined in detail here. Be sure to consult the OFAC and the cruise line for specifics about travel requirements and proper documentation.