About The Curious about Cuba Cruise
Pre-Cruise Packages in Montego Bay NOW AVAILABLE.
The People, the Music, the History, the Art, & the Culture! Our up close and personal cruise with off the beaten track experiences will provide you with a life changing experience.
Come join Singles Travel International to Cuba! This isn’t just any trip…you’ll meet Cubans in such an intimate environment, you’ll feel like family! Each day, our local, expert guide educates us about Cuba via the people-to-people exchange during our 7 day cruise from Montego Bay, Jamaica.
THIS TRIP IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY. CUBA IS NOT THE USA AND TRAVELERS MUST BE SENSITIVE TO CULTURAL, ECONOMIC AND INFRASTRUCTURE DIFFERENCES. ASK YOURSELF 2 QUESTIONS: IF THINGS ARE NOT DONE “MY WAY”, WILL I BE OK WITH IT? IF THE AGENDA CHANGES FOR REASONS BEYOND MY CONTROL, AM I WILLING TO ACCEPT A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE AND TAKE THE BEST FROM IT? IF YOU ANSWERED YES, THEN WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? LET’S GO!
Inclusive Features of Our Cruise:
- Our unique itinerary allows us to get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, & get to know the locals.
- 7 Nights Inside, Single Occupancy Cabin Accommodations aboard the Celestyal Cristal
- 21 Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
- People-to-People Program including shore excursions in Santiago de Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos. Some optional excursions incur a fee.
- Comprehensive guided sightseeing & entrance fees per itinerary
- People-to-People educational lectures and activities on board
- Alcoholic & Non Alcoholic Drink Package
- Port charges and gratuities to Celestyal crew
- Evening onboard entertainment
- Mandatory Cuban Health Insurance ($48 paid at time of booking, subject to change)
- Bottled water during excursions
- Private and Secure Chat Reserved Exclusively for Members on Your Vacation
- Special Attention from Professional, Experienced, Spanish Speaking Singles Travel International Concierge.
- Great Times with other Singles with a curious for the unique and different!
Your STI Concierge will provide each member with a Singles Travel International Activities Calendar so that you are prepared once you board.
Inclusive features are subject to revision at the discretion of STI. Ages listed are not meant as a restriction, but are simply used as a guideline. Singles Travel International does not guarantee the number of guests, ages or ratios
IMPORTANT AIR SCHEDULE WARNING: Make sure to arrive in Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) before 1:00 p.m. on December 29 and depart after 1:00 p.m. on January 5. If adding our pre cruise package, arrive any time on December 27 or 28.
Itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of Celestyal Cruises without compensation. Singles Travel International is not responsible for the consequences of any changes.
Add our pre cruise “Play in Jamaica” Packages for 1 or 2 nights.
December 27-29 or December 28-29, 2017
Our Pre Cruise Package Includes:
- Personal Services of our STI Concierge, Georgia
- Get a Head Start on Meeting Your Fellow Single Cruisers
- One (1) or Two (2) Nights, Air Conditioned, Double Bedded Accommodations in a Garden or Water View Room at our Moderate Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
- Airport to Hotel Transfer
- Full Breakfast
- Welcome to Jamaica Meet & Greet with Rum Punch
- Group Dinner at Margaritaville
- Nightlife on Thursday
- Hotel Tax & Service Fees 24%
- High Speed Internet Access in Public Areas
- Transfer to the Celesyal Cristal on Friday
- Optional for 2 Night Package: Full Day, Dunn’s River Falls Tour with Catamaran Snorkel on Thursday (12/28) for members arriving December 27.
Note that guests must make the reservation with STI in order to participate in group activities in Montego Bay. Bookings made directly with the hotel do not qualify and fees will apply to join group activities. If you show up, your card will be automatically charged.
Optional pre and post cruise/tour stays are not eligible for the guarantee. Chances are excellent that we’ll find you a match, but if no match found by 30 days prior to departure, member pays the single supplement.
If you are looking for a different kind of experience, come join us to meet the people of Cuba and learn about this culture rich in the arts and history. We visit the cities as well as the countryside to explore this fascinating country and its people.
DAY 1 (December 29): MONTEGO BAY
Afternoon: Welcome Briefing by our destination expert and Happy Hour with you STI Concierge
Our seven-day cruises around Cuba appeal to travelers who want to learn about its culture and history of Cuba, who want to meet her warm and lively people. We offer the most Cuban ports of call on a single itinerary, including many of the fantastic island’s hidden gems, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to convey you to the authentic Cuba.
Afternoon: “Let’s Learn Cuban” by our destination expert.
Join us for an in-depth discussion on what makes Cuban language different from her Latin American neighbors.
Happy Hour & Group Dinner
Join Georgia, your STI Concierge for a meet and greet happy hour followed by dinner with other members of our group.
DAY 2 (December 30): SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Arrive: 7:00 AM – Depart 3:00 PM
Morning: “Panoramic Santiago”
Welcome to Santiago de Cuba, capital of the island’s “Wild East” and its glittering cultural nerve center, one that’s core to the evolution of Cuban architecture, literature and music. Our first stop is the African Cultural Center, Fernando Ortiz, where we’ll meet with director Dr. Martha Cordié Jackson and enjoy a traditional dance performance – after the performance we’ll meet with the dancers. We’ll then stroll through the Patio of the Artisans and to Conga Gallery and it’s collection of contemporary Cuban art. Our next stop is the Loma de San Juan and it’s manicured grounds.
This is the site of the only land battle of the Spanish-American War where, on July 1, 1898, flanked by his rough riders, Teddy Roosevelt supposedly led a victorious cavalry charge against the Spanish. Loma de San Juan is also the home of the Unknown Mambi Soldier. Our tour continues through this fascinating city and its most famous avenues. We will pass the University of Oriente and visit the former Moncada Barracks, Revolution Square and El Morro Castle – built at the end of the 17th century, the castle occupies a promontory high above the sea.
Afternoon: “Rum Tasting” briefing by our destination expert.
Join us for a deeper look into Cuba’s fascinating national drink and a taste of some of her finest rums.
Afternoon: Let’s Learn Salsa!
Let us take you through all the salsa steps you need to know.
Evening: Dance like a Cuban: Dance Like a Cuban – It’s Rumba Time!
We will take you through the steps for the first 15 minutes of class, and then they’ll run you loose on the dance floor. Get ready to rumba!
DAY 3 (December 31): AT SEA
Authentic Cuban Experience Program on board.
Morning: “The Musicality of the Cuban People and Unusual local Musical Instruments” briefing by our destination expert.
Start your day with an introduction to the unique instruments that make music so distinctive and infectious. Our Cuban musicians will demonstrate a number of traditional Cuban instruments, including bongos & the claves.
Morning: A Taste of Cuba: How to “mix and match” the Most Mouthwatering Dishes by our destination expert.
Join us for a Cuban cooking lesson and learn about some of the unique gems endemic to Cuban cuisine. You’ll learn how to take fresh ingredients and create incomparable tastes that burst with the flavors of Cuba. Our chef will show you how Creole and Spanish cuisine blend to create the authentic, singular Cuban gastronomy that awakens all your senses.
Afternoon: “Cuban Cigars – The Story Behind the Smoke” briefing by our destination expert.
If you love cigars, join us to find out how the country’s beloved “Habanos” are produced!
Afternoon: Documentary about Cuba.
Please join us for an informative documentary about Cuba.
Evening: Dance Like a Real Cuban: It’s Cha Cha Cha Time!
Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha! Join us for an authentic Cuban dance!
DAY 4 (January 1): HAVANA
Arrive: 8:00 AM
Join us for a lecture where we will have the unique opportunity to learn and discuss about topics on which Cuba excels, such as social security, family code and agricultural co-ops.
Morning: “Real Taste of Havana” Tour.
The old city center comprises a breathtaking mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments and a homogenous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards. Come meander along the narrow streets of this fascinating city with our expert guide, who will regale you with tales of this magical city’s storied history.
We begin with a walking tour of the historical center of Old Havana (“Havana Vieja”), where we’ll see the Royal Forces Castle, Sain Fransis of Assisi Square, the Cathedral Square, the Old Square of Arms Square.
We’ll have the opportunity to see and buy old books in all languages and interact with the book sellers.
Afternoon: “More of the Authentic Havana” Tour.
This Panoramic tour includes a photo stop at the famed Old Capital Building, then we drive past Revolution Museum, The fin Arts Museum, the Parque Central (Central Park) and the Gran Teatro de Havana. We then stop at Revolution Square for some free time and photos – you’ll find the Jose Marti Memorial, the National Library and the Revolution Palace here.
We leave Revolution Square to continue our tour with a drive past some of Old Havana’s most important buildings, the University of Havana and it’s escalinata (stairway) and the Alma Mater statue, La Rampa; the Coppelia ice cream parlor, the Yara movie theater and the Havana Libre hotel. We end our tour at San Jose Market for more free time and the market’s unique shops and hospitable vendors.
DAY 5 (January 2): HAVANA
Depart: 10:00 PM
Morning: “More of Real Havana” tour.
Old Havana and it’s fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded in 1519 by the Spanish, and by the 17 th century it had become one of the Caribbean’s main centers for ship-building. Our “More of the Real Havana” Tour features a visit to the Fine Arts Museum and the famed “Museo de la Revolución” (The Museum of the Revolution). Housed in the former Presidential Palace, the museum is devoted to the revolutionary war of the 1950s and to the country’s post – 1959 history.
Afternoon: Visual Arts in Cuba.
Join us for a brief discussion of the vibrant visual art scene in Cuba so we can immerse you to some of Havana’s incredible museums and the outdoor installation. Influenced by both Latin America and Europe, Cuba’s vibrant culture and art are the core to the country’s authenticity and to the life of its people.
Evening: Paladar Dinner (Optional) & Dance Like a Cuban.
Our STI Concierge has discovered a gem for your optional dinner in Havana this evening. Drink and dine like a local including a rum tasting and cigar! Once we’re back onboard, join us for a selection of beautiful Cuban dances and live Cuban music by the “Latin Souls” band. We will take you through the steps – by the end of the hour, you’ll feel as if your feet aren’t touching the dance floor.
DAY 6 (January 3): AT SEA
Morning: “El Ajiaco” Cultural Briefing by our destination expert.
Join us prior to your shore excursion to discuss the ways in which the authentic Cuba you’ll experience ashore is a mix of diverse accents, myths, races and religions.
Morning: Cooking Demonstration – Cuban Festive Dishes.
Join us for a Cuban cooking lesson and discover some of the many gems of Cuban cuisine. You will learn how to take fresh ingredients and create incomparable tastes that burst with the flavors of Cuba. Our chef will show you how some of the most popular Cuban festive dishes are prepared.
Evening: Dance like a Cuban – Que Rico Mambo!
The mambo is a fast ballroom dance of Cuban origin – it’s rhythmically similar to the rumba and cha-cha- cha, but its pattern of steps is more complex. Don’t worry, though – we will help you through it.
DAY 7 (January 4): CIENFUEGOS
Arrive: 7:00 AM – Depart: 3:00 PM
Morning: Cienfuegos City Tour.
You will have the unique opportunity to visit Cienfuegos, a 19 th century planned city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. “The Pearl of the South”, this colonial gem was founded in 1819. Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba at the heart of the country’s sugar can, mango, tobacco and coffee production area, the town first developed in the neoclassical style – it became more eclectic as it grew but still retained a harmonious overall townscape. We then stop at the Graphic Society of Cienfuegos, where we’ll meet with local artists and view their prints – the society is beloved by the people of Cienfuegos for its programs for children with special needs. Our tour continues at Project Trazos Libres: artist Santiago Hermes Martinez converted his family home into an art collective in 2009 to support local artists and collaborate with them – get ready to view unique handicrafts, murals, photographs and traditional costumes.
We will then enjoy a panoramic view of Cienfuegos, before we visit the magnificent Teatro Thomas Terry: built between 1887 and 1889 to honor Venezuelan industrialist Tomás Terry, this 950-seat opera house and theatre is decorated with Carrara marble and hand-carved Cuban hardwoods. After Teatro Thomas Terry we’ll return to Celestyal Crystal.
Afternoon: Documentary about Cuba.
Please join us for an informative documentary about Cuba.
Evening: Make You Own Cocktail.
Try a real mojito, then learn the history of the fabulous and refreshing cocktail. Our Cuban mixologists will teach you how to make the best Cuban cocktails while taking you through the rituals, stories and urban myths behind these drinks.
Evening: Farewell event.
Before your disembarkation, join us for a get together and a farewell drink.
Evening: Dance Like a Cuban.
Put on your dancing shoes and join us for a real fiesta!
DAY 8 (January 5): MONTEGO BAY
Arrive: 8:00 AM
Disembark and transfer to the airport for flights back home from Jamaica. STI will organize group transfers for members who have purchased a return transfer from us in advance.
Once you make your online reservation, an STI reservation specialist will contact you to review and recommend additional services. Depend on them for assistance with airfare, proper protection, pre and post tour services. Once that step is complete, you will receive a final invoice from us confirming your reservation details.
READ your invoice and the FAQ page very carefully and advise if any changes need to be made.
**UPLOAD** a COLOR copy of your passport to us within 7 days of your reservation (within 24 hours if reserved after SEPTEMBER 27).
Next, say hello to your fellow travelers on the chat!
After final payment, you will receive an email with instructions for completing People to People Fund for Reconciliation and Development Contribution. As policies are changing with regard to Cuba, this may change and we want to provide the most up to date information possible.
Your “Final Vacation Details & Meetup Information” including transportation and how to meet up with the group will be posted here 14 days prior to trip start date. Questions? Email us at email@example.com.
People-to-People travel is an initiative allowing U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba on a limited basis to participate in cultural experiences and have direct contact with the Cuban people in order to learn more about them and their culture.
The Ultimate Learning Tour: To meet licensing requirements set by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), this trip strictly emphasizes a full time schedule of people-to-people cultural exchange. As such, it is an exciting full-time educational itinerary for our Cuban members. There will be little or no free time on most days, except perhaps during a free evening when you’re welcome to seek a local restaurant for dinner.
A Unique Opportunity for Face-to-Face Discussion: During every activity we’ve arranged you’ll have a chance to talk with a local in a small group of three or four travelers. Your Tour Manager will always be nearby to facilitate discussion or help translate, but as with many unique cultural experiences, you will get out of it what you put in, even when you must use body language! We encourage you to participate fully to get the most from your trip.
A passport is required for travel to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Be sure to confirm that your passport is current and will be valid at least six months after your departure. If you do not have one or need a new one, contact the State Department Passport Office in your area immediately or visit http://www.travel.state.gov/. We recommend that you also make copies of your passport, driver’s license, photo identification card and/or birth certificate in case of loss, and carry them with you on your trip separate from your passport.
NO CUBAN VISA IS REQUIRED FOR US CITIZENS.
The tour begins in Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) at 3:00 p.m. on December 29, 2017 and ends in Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) on the morning of January 5, 2018. Therefore the tour is 7 nights/8 days.
Add one of our Play in Jamaica packages for more fun and peace of mind. Click Price My Trip or Book Now to add to your cruise.
Of course not. You will be pleased to find out that nearly 90% of our guests on every trip sign up and have never met anyone before joining the group. In 24 years, we have perfected the singles vacation experience. It is paramount that our guests meet each other right away and have opportunities to mingle every day. From the moment you join our tour, our local guide is waiting to meet you. Our first day begins with an orientation and the camaraderie builds as we go along. The object of your vacation is trying something new, seeing new places and making new friends. The bonds that develop on our tours are by far the strongest and longest lasting.
Absolutely. Our site is so popular that we guarantee to find a roommate for you or the single room is on us! In order to take advantage of our offer, you must be paid in full by October 23, 2015. Of course, single accommodations are available at an additional rate, which is assessed by the hotel. Single room availability is very limited and reservations will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. If sold out, please book the share and wait list yourself when speaking to our reservation specialist.
Roommate matches are based on the same sex, general age range and smoking preference whenever possible, but not guaranteed. STI reserves the right to make any match up until day of departure, including roommate changes once on tour for members who select the Share & Save option.
We highly recommend that our guests contact their roommates in advance. Booked members have access to our private online chat. Meet your roommate as well as the other members on your vacation. Singles Travel International makes every effort to accommodate requests, but does not guarantee the satisfaction or success of a roommate match. It’s the responsibility of the guest to contact his/her roommate and ask the appropriate questions.
Optional pre and post cruise/tour stays are not eligible for the guarantee. Chances are excellent that we’ll find you a match, but if no match found by 30 days prior to departure, member pays the single supplement.
Read more about Roommate Matching on our Frequently Asked Questions found at the Help Center.
Our “All Ages” vacations cater to 45+ and our average age range is 45 to 62. We generally have a ratio of 60/40, women to men. As a travel club, matchmaking is not our focus. Ages listed on our page are not restricted. They are simply used as a guideline. We offer an opportunity for single travelers to see the world in the company of other singles and do not guarantee the ratio or ages.
We encourage our members to complete their personal profiles including a photo. Knowing who’s on the trip in advance makes socializing before and during your vacation easier and more fun.
A deposit is due at time of reservation. Refer to the Price and Options tab for the amount. Final payment is due in our office by September 29, 2017. A reminder will be emailed to you 7 days prior to due date and your card will automatically be charged. If you make a reservation after September 29, full payment will be automatically charged at time of reservation and penalties will apply.
Yes. All cancellations must be made in writing to Singles Travel International and are subject to per person penalties as follows:
– After deposit and at anytime of cancellation, a minimum charge of $350.00 plus credit card charges will apply in addition to other penalties listed below.
– Between September 29 and October 27, 2017 – 50 % penalty applies.
– After October 27, 2017 any cancellations or “no-shows” – 100% penalty.
Note that if you elect to take a roommate and he/she cancels after our cut off date, we will do everything to find a new match. However, if no match is found, the difference in cost for a single cabin/room is the responsibility of the guest who cancels. No refund will be given to the guest who cancels, regardless of cruise or tour company policy as stated above. Singles Travel International is not responsible for costs related to cancellations after our cut off date.
No refund on any unused portions of the trip. After domestic airline tickets are issued, airline cancellation penalties are per the airline’s policy- usually no refund, but may be changeable with a fee and the difference of the new ticket cost. Travel insurance is recommended; carefully consider the purchasing of this important part of your travel.
Make sure your flight lands at Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 29 in order to arrive by 3 p.m. for check in aboard the Crystal.
Add our 1 or 2 night, “Play in Jamaica” package for more fun, meet your fellow cruisers early and have peace of mind.
Singles Travel International is a vacation event company that plans singles events and markets our events at our expense to create a “singles only” experience. We do not allow guests to join the group unless the reservation has been made by STI. Our policy is firm for tours and cruises, as well as pre and post trip hotel stays. Members and friends that “show up” will not be allowed to participate without paying an equivalent fee to the rest of the group that made the reservation with STI. Your credit card on file will automatically be charged.
Embarkation and cabin check-in is from 12 -3 p.m. Plan to arrive early in order to take advantage of getting to know the ship and check in with Singles Travel International Concierge at our Welcome Aboard meeting. The exact time and location will be provided in your “Final Vacation Details & Meetup Information”.
In order to accommodate singles from all over the world, our tours and cruises are priced as land only from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Therefore, airfare to Montego Bay is additional. Singles Travel International is a licensed ticketing agency and oftentimes has low negotiated fares.
Make sure your flight lands at Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 29 in order to arrive by 3 p.m. for check in aboard the Crystal. Schedule your return form Montego Bay (MBJ) after 1:00 p.m. on January 5.
Please contact your preferred carrier directly to make your reservation. If Singles Travel International issues a promotional economy fare, granting of frequent flyer credit is entirely at the airline’s discretion. If the flights are eligible, to ensure you earn frequent flyer credit from the airline, give your frequent flyer account number when you check in for your flights. In addition, save your boarding passes and the passenger receipt from your airline ticket. You may need to submit these to the airline (not to Singles Travel International) to claim any credit allowed.
Transportation between the airport and ship is not included in the price. We would be happy to arrange round-trip transportation for you at an additional rate of $24 each way (subject to increase at any time before final payment is made) in Montego Bay. Please schedule your flight to arrive in Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) before 1:00 p.m. on December 29 and depart after 1:00 p.m. on January 5.
Just make sure that all of your medications are in their original containers with your prescription details. It is also recommended that you have a copy of your prescription in the event that anything is confiscated or lost. There is no guarantee, but you may be able to get it refilled in Cuba.
Our cruise does not include airfare, transfers in Montego Bay, Jamaica and extra hotel nights before and after the cruise. You are responsible for alcoholic beverages and meals off the Crystal, incidentals such as laundry and phone calls and gratuities to STI staff ($10-$15 per day).
Medical insurance is mandatory for all tourists visiting Cuba. The current cost, subject to change at any time is $48 USD and is a required purchase when you buy your cruise. Please select the option before you check out.
This is a requirement of the Cuban government and all passengers MUST be able to show proof of medical insurance before they are allowed to board the ship. Passengers without proof of medical insurance will be denied board and in such cases no refunds will be made. We offer the convenience of securing the required medical coverage and note that the coverage offered is specific only to your client’s stay in Cuba (not considered travel insurance for the entire trip of your clients).
[For additional information, summary of terms, conditions and exclusions visit the Celestyal website.] (http://yourcubacruise.com/your-cruise/travel-medical-insurance-0)
Our home for the week is the Celestyal Crystal, which is a Greek crewed vessel with a 4.0 rating with Cruise Critic. Read more about the ship
The rainy season in Cuba typically runs from May to November and the dry season is between December and April. Keep in mind that it may however rain at any time, so it is wise to always have rain gear when traveling to Cuba.
While the temperature is comfortable, December is still humid due to the sub-tropical climate of Havana and some days can be warmer than are shown on the thermometer. The average high temperature reaches 27°C (81°F) for the month of December, and the average low temperature is a balmy 18°C (64°F).
Wear comfortable, cool clothing. It is common to have AC in restaurants, hotels, and other indoor facilities, so layering can also be wise. Do keep in mind that not all places have AC in Cuba, so sometimes it may also be quite hot.
Our vessel is air conditioned.
It is best to drink bottled water while in Cuba. You will find that both still and sparkling water are available. Water is purified in the hotels and restaurants, and it is ok to drink beverages with ice wherever we take you on the tour. It is also not necessary to use bottled water to brush your teeth, as the tap water has also been purified. STI Includes a bottle of water for each member on a daily basis. More may be purchased as you go and a good way to get small change for bathrooms use and shopping.
There is no baggage limit onboard ship.
Currently, most airlines will allow you to check two bags, weighing 50 pounds each, for a fee. In addition you may carry-on one bag plus a personal item such as a purse or briefcase. Please check with your air carrier for up-to-the minute regulations and fees for checked baggage.
A diplomatic attitude
Essential Items: We highly recommend that you bring the following items.
– A good, comfortable pair of broken-in walking shoes.
– A pair of shoes for restaurants (loafers, sandals, etc).
– Collapsible umbrella (which can double as a sunshade parasol) and/or lightweight raingear.
– Ladies will want to bring a nicer warm wrap, and gentlemen a nicer jacket, for evening wear.
– Sunglasses, sun block, sun hat or visor.
– Toiletries: all your daily essentials.
– Prescription medications: sufficient supply for the entire trip plus legible written prescription in case of loss. Keep medications in their original, labeled container. Always pack your medications in your carry-on bag!
– Eyeglasses, contacts, contact lens solution. You may want to bring along a written prescription for your eyewear in case of loss.
– Over the counter medications: cold remedy, aspirin/pain reliever, antacid/stomach upset remedy, Band-Aids, money or other anti-bacterial medication.
– Travel alarm clock with illuminated face, especially for guests in an inside cabin.
– Small, Swiss Army type utility knife. Remember to pack this in your checked luggage!
– Travel journal/notepad and reading material.
– Home address book for sending postcards. A useful tip to avoid bringing your entire address book is to pre-write names and addresses of people to whom you want to send postcards on sheets of self-adhesive labels. It saves time and space in your luggage.
– Small, basic sewing kit with a few extra buttons. Remember to pack scissors in your checked bag!
– Photography Equipment: Bring a sufficient supply of film and extra batteries.
**Currencies:** There are two types of currencies in Cuba. The first is the Cuban Peso, used primarily by the locals for basic staples. The second is the CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso), which is the currency mostly used by tourists. It is important to make sure you are getting back the right change in the right currency when making purchases.
**Exchange:** You may exchange USD for CUC at any airport, hotel, exchange bureau in town centers and some banks. The current fee for exchanging is 13%, i.e. for 100 USD you will get 87 CUC. The fee is the same no matter where you exchange your currency. You will need your passport to exchange money.
**Credit Cards & Traveler’s Checks:** US-issued credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards do not work in Cuba. Only credit cards issued in other countries may be issued (other than US). You must have cash in order to make any purchases in Cuba or pay for any services. Most places will not take USD, so you must exchange currency upon arriving. Tips however can be given in any currency. Traveler’s Checks may also be difficult to cash while in Cuba.
We recommend that you bring approximately $200 USD in small bills. Most shops will accept USD. You may exchange USD to CUC in some ports, just off the ship at exchange kiosks.
Mandatory Cuban Health Insurance is included in the cruise package. The Cuban Embassy requires all U.S. visitors to obtain a Cuban travel health insurance plan in order to enter Cuba. No medical facility in Cuba will accept U.S. issued insurance cards, credit cards, or checks, and medical services must be paid in cash. Further, the Cuban Government disallows the use of U.S. dollars.
In case of any medical emergency, the Cuban health system guarantees the necessary medical care through a network of polyclinics and hospitals, covering every corner of the island. Primary health care is provided in most of hotel facilities.
We also recommend a policy to fill the gap for air travel and any accommodations in Jamaica.
Travel Insurance is available through Travel Guard and in addition to direct access immediately upon completing your purchase, you will receive a quote from Travel Guard regarding travel insurance after reserving your vacation. If you have any questions, Travel Guard professional, expert agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us, if you have not received your quote within 3 days.
No inoculations are required for travel from North America to Cuba. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends updating all routine booster shots for travel almost anywhere. In addition, we suggest that you have a physical check-up before your trip, and discuss the type of trip in which you are participating with your physician.
You and your physician may access much more, very detailed health information for travelers (including tips on staying healthy while traveling) on the CDC website, cdc.gov. Click their “Traveler’s Health” link or call toll-free 24-hours at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)
Your Final Vacation Details & Meetup Info Documents will be available here on FAQ (question #1), 14 days prior to departure and will include phone contact numbers for each hotel listed in your daily itinerary. We suggest you leave a copy of this with your family.
Our office is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. In an emergency after hours, please contact Tammy Weiler at 815-715-6998.
**CALLS AND INTERNET IN CUBA**
Cell Phones: US cell phones do not work in Cuba, even if you have an international plan.
Calling Home: It is possible to call home from major hotels by visiting the business center. It can be expensive to call home, sometimes more than 2.50 CUC per minute, and connection charges may also apply.
Internet: Wi-Fi is not available throughout Cuba except at some hotels. Most hotels also have a business center with computer, with limited hours, where internet service is available. Charges can be up to 12 CUC per hour depending on the hotel. Because of the limited technology in Cuba, it is not uncommon to have internet outages.
Communication with the US: Though internet is the best way to communicate with family back at home, you may want to warn them of the difficulty in communications between Cuba and the US. Not only can it be costly, but sometimes business centers are not open at the hours that are convenient to your schedule, internet may be experiencing difficulties, or you may have problems getting a line to the US from Cuba, since they are often rerouted through third countries.
All countries you will visit have laws against the purchase and export of certain items, including antiquities, national cultural property and certain animal products, especially endangered species (ivory, rhino horn, tortoise shell, coral, feathers, etc.). Additionally, the United States has laws prohibiting the import of certain items, which include many of the same things. You face having your purchase confiscated and/or heavy fines for exporting or importing prohibited items.
On return to the U.S., your baggage is subject to search by U.S. Customs. Currently, you are permitted to bring back $800 of goods duty free. Persons aged 21 or over may also bring in one liter of liquor and one carton of cigarettes. If you plan to purchase a lot of souvenirs or expensive items, it is important to retain all purchase receipts. However, please note that U.S. Customs may not accept a receipt as true cost if it seems unusually low for the estimated value of the item. You may access the regulations and restrictions governing US Customs on their official website, click here to learn more.
Upon returning to the US, you will have to go through immigration and customs. As you will be arriving from Jamaica, you are required to list your countries visited. Often travelers returning from Cuba are asked additional questions. You may also be asked to undergo additional screening in the customs area. Prepare for slightly longer process when returning from Cuba.
Per US regulations, you are only allowed to bring back art (such as paintings, ceramics, handicrafts) or informational/educational items (such as books, music, or printed materials).
Cuban cigars ARE NOW ALLOWED on a limited basis and it is best to verify with the ship’s crew before making your purchases. If you bring unsanctioned items or amount back, you may be fined and items may be confiscated by US Customs officials.
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Meet Your STI Concierge
The world is our classroom and sharing it with others as their tour director puts a huge smile on my face. I have had the privilege of enriching lives for seven years with six different travel companies, including two years with Singles Travel International. I look forward to helping you create your own life changing experiences as we see the world together.