Cake and cuckoo clocks on the rivers of Europe

I’m not big on jewelry, despite the fact that my sister-in-law is a jewelry designer and my husband turns to her for every birthday present he has to get for me. Usually I’m ‘take it or leave it’ about such things. But I’m excited about this gem – The Emerald Sky – a jewel of a ship that launched in 2014 and won the “Best New River Ship” designation. I’m interested to experience this new ship, particularly …

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Louis Cristal: Disembarkation in Havana and Cruise Summary

Seven days have passed in the blink of an eye and this morning we sailed into the harbour in Havana again. Our luggage had been packed and placed in the hall the night before, so all we had to do was enjoy a sunny last breakfast by the pool and wait for the ship to be cleared by customs and immigration. It didn’t take long, and we were soon on the buses and headed for Jose Marti …

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Cabins and Culture on Board the Louis Cristal

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL-On a tour of the cabins, I found that there are quite a few options at different price points. Check out the website to see deck plans and cabin descriptions and prices. There are different versions of the deluxe cabins, some with wood floors. There are wheelchair accessible rooms with larger entrances, expanded bathrooms and lower-to-the-floor beds. Family sized rooms sleep four, two in bunks that can be opened above the twin beds.  And …

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Hitting the Beach on The Isle of Youth

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL-Today, Cuba lives up to its reputation for great beaches and crystal clear water. I’ve loved visiting the historic cities but have to admit to a longing for a day at the beach. Today is the day, and fittingly, it is the last day of the cruise before we dock back in Havana tomorrow. We are anchored just off Ilsa de la Juventud, the Island of Youth, at Punta Francis. There’s miles of white …

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On Board the Louis Cristal: Cienfuegos – Cuba with a French Accent

ABOARD LOUIS CRISTAL-I think I’m in love – Cienfuegos is sun drenched, with wide colonnaded streets, pink and blue and yellow stuccoed buildings, and plenty of charm. No wonder it is called the Pearl of the South ( La Perla del Sur) and it’s easy to see why it earned a UNESCO World Heritage designation. It is three and a half hours driving time from Havana, so visiting from the ship is a much easier way to …

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Your Cuba Cruise: A Day in Jamaica, time to explore the ship

ABOARD LOUIS CRISTAL — The ship docks in Montego Bay on Fridays and takes on new passengers – airfare to Jamaica is often less expensive than flying to Havana, and, for Americans, this is an easier way to visit Cuba and stay under the radar. It is a logical stop because the distance from Cuba to Jamaica is so short. I’ve been to Jamaica and done most of the activities before, so we didn’t sign up for …

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Your Cuba Cruise: Santiago De Cuba – The City of Heroes

ABOARD LOUIS CRISTAL –– Sailing in to Santiago de Cuba was dramatic. We passed under the massive stone walls of “El Morro”, or more officially, the Castilla de San Pedro de la Roca, the impressive Moorish castle built in 1637 and a Unesco World Heritage site. It is the best preserved and most complete example of Spanish American military architecture, designed initially to protect the city from pirates, and used to repel attacks from several enemy forces. …

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Your Cuba Cruise: Even revolutionaries were children once

ABOARD LOUIS CRISTAL — Awoke to the ever present clear skies and 90-degree temperatures I’ve come to expect in Cuba. We are anchored in the Bahia de Nipe in the Province of Holguin. It was here that Christopher Columbus landed in 1492, declaring Holguin “the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes.” The shore excursion today is a unique one for me and matches perfectly with my interest in politics and history – a trip to …

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Your Cuba Cruise: A quiet day at sea, sailing to Holguin Province

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – Today we are sailing along the south coast of Cuba, eastward. This is our only day totally at sea, and it is a good time to get to know the ship. Some cruises are all about the amenities and graces of the ship, and others are about the experiences offered on the ship’s excursions. This cruise is the latter. It is about seeing those cities and towns in Cuba that are difficult …

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Your Cuba Cruise: Havana nights

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 …

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