Most of you know that Devin and I just got back from Cuba. It was amazing!!!!! Instead of trying to tell you everything up front, I will be putting our travel story in with the images so keep scrolling to read! Devin and I are avid travelers and our goal is to visit everywhere before we die. We search for trips in destinations that we want to go to throughout the year and book the ones that we find deals on that way we can keep checking destinations off of our list.
Since travel opened back up to Cuba, it's been on our list! (Note: you can no longer fly to Cuba but you can still take a cruise to Cuba. You will need a people-to-people visa but your cruise line can get it for you!) I found a great last minute cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines and booked it! Some of you know that Devin and I both used to work for Norwegian Cruise Lines and that is where we met so we are always partial to Norwegian cruises. :)
*Images are a mash up of Nikon D750 images along with images from my Blackberry Keyone and Devin's iPhone 7s. You'll be able to tell the difference!
Day 1: We woke up at 2am for our flight to Miami from Indianapolis.
As you can see, we left the rainy weather in Indiana for beautiful weather in Florida!
Once we landed we Ubered to the Miami Port and went to the mall nearby to buy sunscreen and get some tacos. We then made the mistake (okay, I made the mistake) of trying to walk to the cruise terminal. Now, remember we both used to work for Norwegian so the Miami port was super familiar to us. I, however, totally forgot that there was usually a bus that took us from the port to the mall and thought that I walked it every time. NOPE! It's a good 3 miles away over a bridge.... Not so bad but it was super hot in Miami that day! After we started walking we couldn't stop so we continued. I'm pretty sure Devin hated me. haha But we arrived at the ship, just a little sweaty and ready for another shower. After we boarded we had to wait for our rooms to be ready so these photos are of us super sweaty trying to cool down with some drinks!
Once our room was finally ready we showered and relaxed in some air-conditioning until it was time for us to sail away. We went out to the promenade deck and took some images.
The images below were taken from the back of the ship. It's my favorite part on the promenade deck. It's never busy, you can see everything, it's not as windy, and there are those cool waves. FYI for the next time you are on a cruise, check it out!
After we enjoyed sail away, we got some dinner, watched the welcome aboard show, and went to sleep so we could wake up early for Cuba!
Day 2: We woke up early because we were sailing into Cuba! I totally didn't think about the fact that we were sailing in to Cuba during sunrise and set my alarm a little late. Devin, however, woke up and went to the top of the ship for sunrise. I'm mad at myself for missing it but I'm glad I get to see it though the images Devin took! I did watch us sail in through the ship's camera while I was getting ready.
I watched the ship monitor (below) while I finished my hair and makeup.
After we docked we had to wait for the ship to be cleared so we ate some breakfast and then went through immigration. Then we were in HAVANA, CUBA! Side note: I was expecting Cuba to be hot but it was HHHOOOOTTTT! It was in the 90's with very high humidity! As soon as we got off the ship we were dripping in sweat, seriously gross. For the 1st day we had only planned a night tour so we took the morning to explore on our own. I printed off maps and walking directions for all the locations that we wanted to see, however, there are literally no street signs in Havana. We tried to follow them the best we could but ended up just trying to walk around and see cool stuff.
There are tons of dogs and cats that roam the streets of Havana. Super cute. The dogs were pretty friendly but the cats were scared of people.
Vintage cars galore! Since Cuba was cut off from the United States for so long, the only American cars that they have are the classic cars! Most of them are in great shape but some are a little rough. You can takes these as taxis around the town. We didn't end up taking one but if we went back, I would! TIP: If you want to take a classic car taxi find one you like and stand by it to find the owner. This way you can get a beautiful car, otherwise you may end up in a not so nice one. Also, taxi rides aren't cheap but they will tell you the history of Havana and take you to some great places.
The streets of Havana really reminded me of Venice and parts of Italy. So much architecture and charm!
Just look at the seal and crown detail below! I'm so glad that we went to this location the first day because on the next day they had it roped off and were cleaning and restoring it.
I loved all the pastel colors!
The building in the second image below was quite odd. The tower was original but the rest was all steel and glass. It did not fit the rest of Havana.
Seriously, dying, I could live in that beautiful building! You may be wondering how everything looks so great. Our tour guide from the night tour told us that they gave out a grant to restore the buildings and keep the original details. You can see many buildings being restored and remodeled throughout Havana. Once the US allowed travel again, they were excited for the tourism that it would bring. Cuban people very much like Americans and like showing us what Cuba has to offer. Let's hope that travel opens back up soon!
This building's details below was one of my favorites. So much gorgeous detail!
Floridita was Hemingway's favorite place for daiquiris!
We don't know the story behind the chicken riding fork lady but Devin loved it! (I looked it up once we got back and it's a fairly new instillation but there wasn't a story behind it.)
After we explored for a few hours we went back to the ship to shower and eat dinner before our night tour started.
Our first stop on the night tour was Sloppy Joe's. This place is super famous and all of the movie stars from the 50's and 60's would frequent this place.
Our tour included a rum and coke and a sloppy joe. Most of you know that I'm a vegetarian so I just enjoyed the rum and coke and Devin had the sloppy joe.
The rum and coke was delicious. We fell in love with Havana Club rum while we were in Cuba.
Of course any place that has a vintage Heinz ketchup poster is okay in my book!
After Sloppy Joe's we left for La Bodeguita Del Medio which was Hemmingway's favorite bar and the birthplace of Mojitos.
See all those people below? That's where La Bodeguita is!
There were tons of messages on the walls and a live band inside. The place is super small so it's pretty much just the bartenders and band inside. Once you get your drink you drink it in the street.
The mojito's really were delicious and it was the best Mojito I've ever had! It was also Devin's first mojito! He loved it and we bought some Havana Club rum so he could make it at home. He also ended up drinking mojitos on the ship for the rest of our vacation.
After La Bodeguita we continued on the night tour, visiting different locations around Old Havana. If we ever go back to Cuba I'm going to that restaurant on the rooftop below. It was beautiful and overlooked the water and had Cuba videos playing on the projector. Of course, it was way too hot to eat outside while we were there. Even at night it was 90 degrees with bad humidity. Although we were told that it was cooler than normal....
We made it back to the ship sweaty and tired but we found this crab waiting for us.
Day 3: This was our last day in Cuba. We didn't take many photos this day. Just walked around seeing last minute things and then went to buy rum and cigars and some Cuban artwork.
We went back to the ship and attended the Park West art auction. (While I worked for Norwegian, I also worked with Park West so I love attending their auctions and it's where I became an avid art collector! I always joke that all the money Park West paid me went right back to them when I bought all the artwork! haha) Devin and I both said that we wouldn't buy art onboard this time but of course we found art we loved and purchased it. Whooops! haha We did limit ourselves though and passed up some artwork that we loved...
Day 4: This was our day on Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Here we are taking the tender boat ashore.
After working for Norwegian for 3 years, I had yet to be on the private island! I loved every minute of it. Not many images this day either since I stayed in the water for 90% of the time ashore. It was beautiful!
Devin and I swam out to that rock and tried to see some fish.
After we left the Bahamas, it was our last night onboard so we had a nice dinner and watched the production show. (We relived our time working the production shows together since the show was pretty much the same as one of the shows we worked, "Soul Rockin' Nights".)
Day 5: We debarked the ship and Ubered to the airport for our flight back home. Until next time!