Julie Peasgood is a TV presenter, travel expert and Contributing Editor for Cruise International
Q. I’m interested in booking a cruise to visit Cuba, and in particular visiting Havana. Which cruise lines are now offering Cuba and will I need a visa?
A. There are several cruise lines visiting Cuba, and they all include Havana as a destination. Most incorporate an overnight stay so you can fully explore the vibrant old town, with its cobbled streets, magnificent colonial architecture and vintage American cars. Thomson Cruises has a range of good value cruise and stay deals; Fred. Olsen has Cuban cruises on board both Braemar and Boudicca; Voyages of Discovery offers trips with their customary insights into Cuba’s rich cultural heritage; and MSC Cruises, Swan Hellenic, Noble Caledonia and Star Flyer also dock in Cuba as part of longer Caribbean cruises. You will need a Tourist Visa (also known as a Tourist Card) to enter the country – the easiest way to obtain one of these is online at visacuba.com (the cost is £15 plus £10 admin and postage). Cuba is a rhythmic assault on the senses: as well as the crumbling grandeur of the cities there are expansive beaches with coral reefs, lush rainforests, art, music and fantastic mojitos – I had a holiday there I will never forget. The best time to visit is from December to May. And take things to give away if you can – schoolchildren are desperate for pens, pencils and notebooks, and adults are very grateful for any cosmetics. Julie Peasgood
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