HAVANA AND CARIBBEAN CRUISE
On your trip, as soon as you disembark from your cruise ship, an excursion will take you on a discovery of the capital, a populous city full of contradictions with over two million inhabitants. One of the must see places to visit is Castillo del Morro: a fortress constructed on a hill in the 16th century that takes its name from one of the Biblical Wise Men. From here, you can reach Vieja Habana (Old Havana), a UNESCO world heritage site, with its Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de la Catedral. Bodeguita del Medio, a locale where personalities such as Ernst Hemingway, Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda often stopped to sip a mojito, is a must stop. El Capitolio (the Capital Building), one of Cuba’s symbols, stands out in its whiteness from amongst the colorful colonial buildings. Plaza de la Revolución is also of great impact; here the memorial to the national hero José Martí and the Interior Ministry with the famous image of Che Guevara made by Enrique Ávila and inspired by a statue of Alberto Korda, are situated. But, a trip to Havana will also take you beyond squares and buildings. For example, Varadero is considered the most beautiful beach in the world.
MOST POPULAR HAVANA TOURS
HAVANA CITY TOUR
The captivating charm of Havana’s cityscape awaits the pleasure of your company on this fully guided half-day tour, which begins when you board a coach at the pier. With your friendly tour guide on hand to provide information as you go, you’ll head to your first stop on the other side of Havana harbour: the imposing 16th-century Morro Castle, named after the three biblical Magi. The tour then continues on foot through Havana’s old quarter, taking in four of the city’s most iconic squares: Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de la Catedral. You’ll also get to retrace the footsteps of famous American author, Ernest Hemingway, when you visit one of his favourite haunts, La Bodeguita del Medio. Your sightseeing tour will continue passing Havana’s El Capitolio and catch appealing views of the Museum of the Revolution, the National Museum of Fine Arts, Parque Central and the so-called Great Theatre of Havana. A photo stop is scheduled at Plaza de la Revolución, after which your return to the ship brings the tour to a close. Please note: this tour is available on Tuesdays and Saturdays afternoons for transit guests only; on Wednesdays and on Sundays, this tour will be also available in the morning and/or in the afternoon; on Thursdays and on Mondays, this tour is available only in the morning. Have the precise departure time of the tour on each day reconfirmed during your cruise.
HAVANA & HEMINGWAY
Just 97 miles due south of Key West and yet a world apart from its American neighbour, the island of Cuba was the place that the late American novelist, Ernest Hemingway, chose to make his home for 20 years from 1939 onwards. It is this literary connection that this guided half-day tour seeks to explore, beginning with a coach transfer to the author’s former residence and now museum, Finca Vigia. Located only a few miles out of Havana in San Francisco de Paula, the beautiful old finca has been fully restored and provides a unique insight into how the novelist lived and worked. You will have a chance to take a look through the house open and glass windows for an insight view of the places where Hemingway lived. You’ll also get to view Havana’s Virgen del Camino monument and a chance to enjoy panoramic views of the Cojimar district, a former fishing village. A brief look at the Hemingway monument and the seafront Malecón boulevard then follows, after which a stop is scheduled at La Terraza de Cojimar for a Don Gregorio cocktail, a tasty blend of blue curaçao and maraschino liqueur, another of Hemingway’s little helpers. Splendid views of Ambos Mundos Hotel, San Gerónimo University and Plaza de la Catedral then follow as you head for the last stop: Floridita Restaurant, where not only a delicious daiquiri, but also a life-sized bronze statue of the man himself await you at the bar.Your return to the ship then brings the tour to a close. Please note: this tour is available only on Wednesdays and Thursdays (MSC Armonia) and on Sundays and Mondays (MSC Opera) when it will be run in the morning and/or in the afternoon. It is also available on 21.11.2016 (MSC Armonia call). Have the precise departure time of the tour on each day reconfirmed during your cruise. The inside visit to Hemingway’s House is not included.
VIÑALES VALLEY, PINAR DEL RIO
Take a day of your time, a coach plus a friendly tour guide and you have all you need to enjoy Cuba’s wonderful landscape down in the Viñales Valley, a particularly fertile area where crops such as tobacco are grown. A 2-hour coach ride through glorious scenery begins your tour to the Pinar del Rio Province, with your destination being a cigar factory in the region’s largest town. A stop will also be made on the way at the Los Jasmines vantage point for you to take some photos of the splendid views. Your visit to the cigar factory, where you’ll find out just how the island’s famous Habanos are rolled, will be followed by a look at some tobacco fields along with a farmer’s house. Moving on, you’ll head for a panoramic look at Viñales village, including a stop at the Dos Hermanas valley to take photos of the huge prehistoric mural that graces the rock face. To round off your day of Cuban discovery, you’ll also visit a local restaurant for a typically Creole lunch. The scenic return drive adds a further highlight to the tour, which comes to a close when you reach the port and your ship. Please note: this tour is available only on Wednesdays (MSC Armonia), on Sundays (MSC Opera) and on MSC Armonia Grand Voyage call on 21.11.2016.
Dancing girls, bare skin, spectacular costumes, feathered headgear, Cuban rhythms and tropical surroundings under a velvety night sky await you on this tour to one of the island’s most enduring attractions: the Tropicana Cabaret in the Havana suburb of Marianao. A short transfer by coach, accompanied by your tour guide, begins your outing to what is Cuba’s largest nightclub. Similar in design to the sort of extravaganzas for which Las Vegas is more usually known, the show sees in excess of 200 performers take to the stage to dance and sing to the sound of a live orchestra. And they do it every single night. Your Tropicana experience includes the show itself, a welcome drink and a ¼ bottle of Havana Club rum plus a mixer to keep you refreshed throughout. After the show, your return to the port and your ship brings your night-time jolly to a close. Please note: this is a night tour available only on Wednesdays (MSC Armonia), on Sundays (MSC Opera) and on MSC Armonia Grand Voyage call on 21.11.2016. Guests will be assigned seats in zone 2: middle distance from the stage; they are assigned by the local agency directly at the site and cannot be changed on the spot. There is a fee for using video and photo cameras, cell phones, tablets, etc., to be paid directly on the spot in local currency. Depending on weather conditions on the day of call, the show may take place in open air or in a closed theatre. This tour departs at approximately 20:00 h. Dress code: for men long trousers and closed shoes. Children are not allowed to take part in this tour.