If you are getting ready for your first cruise to Cuba, then you are in for a real eye-opening experience. Our two days spent touring this port of call onboard Norwegian Sky were filled with unforgettable moments. Armed with our Sony Alpha a6000, we wanted to document as much of this “cultural exchange” trip as possible. You too will want to remember this trip for years to come. That is why we outline the top 10 photos to take on a Cuba cruise. These social media worthy photos will ensure you don’t forget your first trip to Havana.
Top 10 Photos to Take on a Cuba Cruise
Sunrise Over El Morro Castle
You will need to get up early to snap this photo, but it will be well worth it. As you approach the cruise terminal in Havana, your ship will most likely enter the bay around sunrise. Get to the top decks, and be prepared for an impressive sight. If you time your photos right, you will capture the sun ascending over the famous El Morro. Once a fortress protecting the city, it is now a historic sight to behold.
The Havana City Skyline
With the fort to the west, the city skyline will be to your east. You can snap this picture during sail-in or at any other time during your visit. Make sure to align your shot so you can get some of the city’s most notable buildings in view. These include the El Capitolio, the Real Fuerza fort bordering Plaza de Armas, and even the Revolution Museum. Of course, the rest of the cityscape is worth capturing as well.
You have several options for getting the perfect picture of your cruise ship docked in Old Havana, Cuba. You could go across the bay to get some aerial shots from the forts and the Christ statue. These vantage points provide the perfect alignment to capture the ship and surrounding area. Or, you could simply walk along the Malecon and line up a close-up shot. Of course, you can always take both. You can never have enough pictures.
The Havana Cathedral
Home to the Catholic archdiocese of Cuba, this baroque-style church looks like an architectural marvel straight out of 19th century Italy. Located in the Plaza de la Catedral, you can easily walk to this church from your cruise ship. This 250 year old church was once home to the remains of Christopher Columbus and is home to many replicas of paintings from famous churches and holy places in Rome.
Once the seat of the Cuban government, this symbolic structure is currently under renovation but is scheduled to re-open in 2018 as the home of Cuba’s national assembly. You can easily reach this grandiose building, which surrounds Parque Central, with a 15 to 20 minute walk from your cruise terminal. Many drivers will also be happy to take you on a sightseeing tour of the area if you are not up for the trek.
Some Local Cocktails
Not far from the cruise terminal are several well known drinking establishments. El Bodeguita del Medio claims to be the birthplace of the mojito. When in Cuba, why not squeeze into this tiny bar to try a handcrafted drink. Or, make like Hemingway and head up a few blocks to El Floridita. Known for its frozen daiquiris, this bar was a frequent hangout for Ernest Hemingway. You can even toast to good fortune with a life-sized statue of the author at the end of the bar.
This stretch of coastline highway is a popular place day and night. You can stroll along the Malecon admiring the classic cars and city views while in Havana or just relax by the water. We couldn’t help but snap this dusk photo from the top decks of our ship showcasing this busy strip. You can also get some pretty spectacular photos as you trek up and down the pedestrian boulevard itself.
Streets of Old Havana
Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The historic landmarks and colonial architecture surround you as you walk through the various squares. Nearly anywhere you point your camera will be photo worthy. Even the streets themselves tell stories of the daily life of Cubans. If you want to see more of Old Havana, check out our complete walking tour review to find out all you can discover in this part of the city.
Since the end of the revolution in 1959, it is nearly impossible for locals to purchase new cars. So, many of the taxis and private vehicles on the island are pre- 1960’s. We cruised around in a 1956 Ford Victoria. This jet black car had a custom interior and was one sharp ride. Other makes and models, with plenty of convertibles, will be cruising the area as well. So, flag one down, take a ride, and don’t forget a picture to capture the moment.
A Cuban Cigar Roller
Even if you don’t smoke cigars, you need to check out a Cuban cigar store or factory while in Havana. If you opt for a tour of one of the factories, you will undoubtedly see plenty of professional cigar rollers at work. For us, we wandered into the cigar shop at La Cabaña fort, home to the world’s longest rolled cigar and its creator, Jose Castelar Cueto. As I always say, go big or go home!
Have you sailed to Cuba yet? What are your best vacation photos? Drop us an anchor below or share some pictures of your trip with us on social media and they might be featured on our site!