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Strolling Cuba’s Cienfuegos, buying art, listening to music, watching children dance, making repairs with Duck Tape

Cienfuegos, Cuba-On our last day on the south coast of Cuba, my wife Fran Golden and I set out on a long walk, sandwiched by two outstanding musical programs arranged by Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic — a religious and classical Cuban performance by the Cantores de Cienfuegos choir, and a classic children’s show, Cucarachita Martina. Our full […]

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American travelers bump into Cuba’s rules on early cruise to southwest coast, but all runs smoothly later

Isla de la Juventud, Cuba – After a calm winter’s night at anchor on Cuba’s remote Siguanea Bay, 35 American travelers on the 150-foot motor-sailor Panorama II awakened before dawn and collected their snorkeling gear, prepared for a ride on a local boat to a dock on the southwest corner of Isla de la Juventud […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Specialty ship restaurant Red Ginger is superb

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I’ve never seen this happen. Maybe I just haven’t eaten in the right restaurants. Oceania Sirena has two specialty restaurants where reservations must be made. There is no extra charge – in fact, there are few extra charges at all on this […]

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Dancing and music on the Isle of Juventud, where Castro once was imprisoned

Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic leaders had briefed passengers on the 150-foot motor-sailor Panorama II about the Isle of Juventud (Youth), once a haven for pirates, then a place for exiled undesirables and later for 150,000 students from overseas learning about the values of post-revolutionary Cuba. Today, Juventud is relatively isolated from the rest of Cuba, so […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Dining options and excellent wait staff

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – For my first lunch aboard Sirena, I was escorted to a window seat overlooking the panoramic Pacific. When I told maître d’ Susan Lingao that I thought I had the best seat in the Grand Dining Room, something surprising happened. Every time I entered the dining room after that, I […]

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Sailing, cruising to Cuba’s Bay of Pigs and Trinidad

One of the more exciting moments of an 11-day expedition was boarding a 150-foot motor-sailor, the Panorama II, for a one-week cruise off Cuba’s southwest coast. Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic has chartered the Greek ship for its initial Cuba sea journeys, so our trip not only carried a twist of history — few Americans had explored […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Ship offers many activities and entertainment options

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – A friend asked me what there is to do on the Sirena cruise ship. A lot. Or nothing. The choice is up to each cruiser. The four-page Oceania Currents that is placed on our beds each night at turndown is filled with activity listings and information. The daily newsletter announces […]

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People-to-people travel to Havana, food and music, Hemingway, and talking about life

Havana If you are traveling to Cuba, not so much to rest on vacation as to experience the island’s people and culture, your best bet is to choose an expedition by one of the more reputable outfits known for its guides and lecturers. Your trip may — or may not — be the most cushy, and […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Ship’s general manager worked his way up from deck boy

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – My cruise had just started when I returned to my stateroom and saw an evaluation form about my journey. Now, I am accustomed to getting evaluation forms at the end of a cruise but not at the beginning. It does make sense though. If my cruise is over and there […]

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Cruising Cuba for the first time, exploring cities and seacoast

First of a series of blogs by David G. Molyneaux from Cuba Never has a news reporting trip on six continents, to more than 100 countries, elicited as many questions from family and friends as a journey to Cuba with my wife Fran Golden at the close of 2016. For 11 days, we joined a […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Choosing from many great shore excursions

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – Today, shall I go scuba diving, swim with a stingray, watch for dolphins, take a catamaran sail, ride in a glass bottom boat, do an off-road safari or hike the Three Coconuts Trail? Of course, I could just relax on a balmy Tahitian beach or stay aboard the beautiful Oceania […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Tahiti deserves reputation as paradise

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – Now I know why there was a mutiny on the Bounty. After sailors saw Tahiti, they didn’t want to leave. Can’t say that I blame them. Shaped like a turtle, the island of Tahiti is the largest of the 118 islands that make up the archipelago of French Polynesia. Created […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Ship boasts many repeat passengers

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – If Goldilocks were to board the Oceania Sirena, I think she would find the ship is not too big. It is not too small. It is just right. Even though our cruise is booked close to capacity, it does not feel crowded on the ship. Debuting in April 2016, Sirena […]

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