ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL — A small bus collected us from the ship at 8 p.m. and drove us through the city to a night club that is called the Buena Vista Social Club. This club is in the same area of the city where the original was, but this is not the same one that gave its name to the legendary recording of Cuban music that took the music world by storm in 1997 and has remained universally popular ever since. The club would have been much like this, however, and it felt very right somehow.
The lights were low, with colors that shifted from green to red to blue on the small stage. Our seats were very close to the musicians and the room was packed. With mojitos in hand, we swayed and bobbed and sang along to well known Buena Vista signature songs like “Chan Chan.” With salsa and bolero numbers by some of the original Buena Vista Social Club members, and Grammy-award winners like Luis Valiente “Betún”, Félix Baloy, Luis Barzága and Alberto Virgilio, – this was great entertainment. There was a couple that did an incredible salsa dance, and then the audience was taught a few steps and invited to dance along.
I forgot how tired I was. But eventually we decided to leave before the midnight hour when the bus would return, and our guide, Nervies, found us a taxi and negotiated a price for us of $7 US. So we drove back through the Cuban night in a 59 Chevy Impala that sounded as if it was falling apart. But we made it and it was the perfect mode of transportation for a night on the town in Havana.
Other shore excursions offered by Your Cuba Cruise for Havana included:
A tour of the city with Vintage Cars
A Half Day City tour
The Tropicana Cabaret
Havana and Its Artists
A Day on a Cuban Farm in the Vinales Valley.
They range in price from $49 to $137 CAD. All the prices on board are in quoted in Canadian dollars, though you can pay in US dollars or Euros.