Lee Abbamonte's Guide To Cuba

Lee Abbamonte's Guide To Cuba

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We are very disappointed to share that effective immediately the U.S. government has implemented new regulations that prohibits travel from the U.S. to Cuba by cruise ship. While this decision is completely outside of our control, we are immediately replacing all Cuban ports.

We are sorry for this unexpected and sudden change imposed on all of us and appreciate our guests’ patience and flexibility as we adjust to accommodate the new regulation. Our goal remains the same - to ensure that your Azamara vacation will deliver the highest standards of service and quality for which we are known.

Traveling to Cuba always elicits such mysterious reactions to people. For those that haven’t been, it seems almost forbidden or the last bastion of mystery in the western world. For a practical traveler like myself, it sounds confusing these days. With the new administration confusing stance on travel to Cuba, it’s hard to understand what Americans can or cannot do in regards to traveling to Cuba. One thing I know for sure, the best and easiest way to visit Cuba is via cruise.

Azamara was one of the first cruise lines to incorporate Cuba into their itineraries and with good reason. If you travel to Cuba by air, on your own or with a tour group, it is a bit of a pain. Cuba is a great place, but excellent infrastructure it does not have at this point. So, alleviate the issues with a cruise to see all the great places without the hassles of doing it yourself.

Almost all Azamara cruises to Cuba include Havana.

Almost all cruises to Cuba will include Havana. Havana is a magical city that personifies Cuba perfectly. Signs of past greatness with significant urban decay while the people are vibrant and real. The seaside setting makes for amazing photos and memories. 

From Havana, you can do day trips to amazing beaches in Varadero. The beaches in Varadero are literally some of the best you’ll ever see. Bright white sand and stunning azure water is the picture perfect Caribbean. You can also a day trip to Vinales and see the rural interior of the great island nation. But there is so much more to see in Cuba.

Cienfuegos is a place whose elegant French charm meets its fiery Caribbean spirit to a refreshing and delightful result.

Azamara will also stop in Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos is one of my favorite towns in Cuba on the southern coast. Home of the Bay of Pigs, it is Cuba’s country club town with gorgeous mansions and Instagram gold. The downtown has a beautiful square, good restaurants and is a great place to explore on foot.

Not far from Cienfuegos is the UNESCO city of Trinidad. Trinidad is a real jewel of a city. You’ll be reminded on Antigua, Guatemala, Granada, and Nicaragua but there will be zero tourists. It’s a slice of heaven even for the most jaded traveler.

Perched on the Caribbean Sea southeast of the capital of Havana is Santiago de Cuba.

Azamara will also be stopping at Santiago de Cuba. This is the only major city in Cuba that I’ve not been to and it’s top on my list. It’s just a stones throw from Guantanamo Bay and I cannot wait to visit.

Cuba is full of amazing places to see and things to do. But political turmoil and bureaucracy make it slightly complicated and confusing. Cruising to Cuba makes all the sense in the world. Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Viva Cuba!

Lee Abbamonte

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world (a total of 318) and a monthly guest blogger. Lee is a fan of Azamara's Destination Immersion® experiences, and has cruised with us through the Norwegian Fjords, Asia, the Mediterranean, and more.

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