After more than 30 years, Holland America Line cruisers are finally able to add Cuba to their list of must-see destinations! The historic addition of this magnificent island to our Caribbean cruises affords guests the opportunity to experience its friendly atmosphere and electric culture first-hand.
From the charming Spanish colonial architecture and candy-colored vintage cars to the famous Varadero Beach and El Morro Castle, there’s so much to do and see on this fascinating island that it may be hard to figure out where to start. Fortunately, most of Holland America Line’s Cuba itineraries feature an extended call at Havana, giving our guests ample time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and fully become immersed in historical and cultural adventures. Another perk of these extended calls is that it provides cruisers with the opportunity to experience Cuba’s nightlife and take part in some of our incredible EXC Tours.
Read on for a taste of what you’ll experience during a night out in Havana with two of Holland America Line’s EXC Tour options!
The tour begins with a visit to Havana’s iconic statue, El Cristo. Erected in 1958, this impressive 55-foot-tall statue of Christ was sculpted from Italian marble blessed by Pope Pius XII. El Cristo sits on a hilltop overlooking Havana’s bay that offers sweeping panoramic views of Old Havana, making it the ideal spot for a photo op.
Following the visit to El Cristo, guests will discover another guardian of Havana — the Fortress of San Carlos de la Habana. Built between 1763 and 1774, this famously massive barrier was built after British forces captured Havana in 1762. The 700-meter long fortress was built on the orders of Spanish King Carlos III to prevent a repeat attack and deter potential invaders.
The fortress, now part of a historical park, holds a nightly ritual known as El Cañonazo. The ritual began during the early years of Spain’s rule over Cuba, when Havana was an important city in the Spanish Main. Every night, the closing of the fortress gates was announced with the firing of a cannon, and amazingly, this ritual continues to this very day. On this tour you’ll have the chance to experience the cannon ceremony and witness this small but important piece of Havana’s colonial history in a rapidly-changing world.
Enjoy an evening under the beautiful Cuban sky with a performance at the Tropicana Cabaret — Cuba’s largest nightclub.
Built in 1939, this lively Cabaret sits on a six-acre estate surrounded by lush tropical gardens and has featured major headliners such as Celia Cruz, Nat King Cole and Josephine Baker. Showcasing elaborate costumes, entertaining performers and a live orchestra, this vibrant club will definitely have you feeling the rhythms of the night. The tour includes admission, assigned seating, a welcome drink and ¼ bottle of rum with mixers. Now this is how you spend a night out in Havana!
If a cruise to Cuba is on your list of upcoming adventures, make sure to make the most of your time on this incredible island and take advantage of our amazing EXC Tours for full destination immersion that allow you to see and experience the best of Havana.