Beacon Vacations escorted a group cruise to Cuba in October of 2017, We had 38 travelers from 5 different states across the country. It was an amazing trip with an extreme lack of souvenir shops! We are so glad we were able to travel there before the changes of American Tourism effect the culture and authenticity of the country.
We were able to tour the National Cemetery, the National Hotel, Revolutionary Square, as well as many famous bars like La Bodeguita Del Medio where Hemmingway went to have a Mojito and Sloppy Joes where he went to have a Cuba Libre. We also had the opportunity to ride around town in a classic American car. The cars are absolutely beautiful and all are hand painted by the owners. They are extremely careful with their vehicles as getting parts is almost impossible.
The people of Cuba spoke freely about their government and living conditions. Everyone works for the government so in their words "The government pretends to pay us, so we pretend to work". Medical care and education is free, but you have no freedoms of choice. Many families live in a home meant for 4-6 people but actually 10 or more live there.
You may have heard in the news that changes are again making it difficult to travel to Cuba but that is only true for individuals. You can still travel in groups through approved venders that provide the necessary people to people educational exchanges. Norwegian is one of the companies that has these trips available. The Norwegian Sky sails to Cuba every week from Monday through Friday and then goes to the Bahamas from Friday through Monday. You can book either portion of the week or both destinations. One great thing about this cruise is that it is all inclusive so you don't have a huge bar bill at the end.