Dec 2, 2018

Part Three: Havana daydreamin’ on the Majesty of the Seas

Havana and homeward bound

Imagine dreaming of going someplace special most of your adult life, a place which you had previously thought to be unattainable. Then, one morning, you wake up and Voila!  There you are …   

That pretty much describes the feeling Punky had on Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, as our cruise ship docked in Havana, Cuba. 

As the Majesty of the Seas pulled into Havana Bay, we were treated to breathtaking views of Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro (a stone fort built by the Spanish dating to 1589 and built to guard the city) and the surrounding neighborhood.

Once docked, the view from the ship of the Malecon, the main thoroughfare which snakes along the city’s seawall, was equally impressive.

But the view of Havana’s skyline from behind Deck 12 of the ship may have been the most spectacular of them all.

We had arrived at Terminal Sierra Meastra, right outside of Habana Vieja (old Havana) and our port of call for the next day and a half.  A mere hour or so waiting in line to get off the boat, then trudging through the customs process and a currency exchange, and we’d be free to explore. 

And boy, did we ever.  We spent the majority of our first day with our own tour guide and driver we had booked through Old Car Tours a couple of months prior to the cruise, which I promise to describe at length in another post in the near future.  But I will say I can’t imagine a better way to see Havana than in the back of a 1955 Cadillac El Dorado with the top down.

Then, later that evening, we took a Royal Caribbean-guided tour to the Tropicana cabaret.  Coincidentally, our meeting place to leave the boat for the show was the only time we set foot in the Majesty of the Seas’ A Chorus Line Lounge during the entire cruise. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Tropicana, it’s been a Havana institution since 1939, an outdoor theater venue featuring elaborately (and scantily) dressed costumed dancers, show performers and even a full band.  Think Las Vegas-style shows set in the middle of a tropical garden with impeccable table service.    

We spent the following morning roaming Old Havana in search of souvenirs before reluctantly leaving to complete our cruise.  Again, for the sake of brevity, I’ll share some of our sights and observations from our walking tour in a future post.   

We were fortunate, however, to be treated to another beautiful sunset as we rolled full speed ahead back to Ft. Lauderdale.

Punky was shining as bright as the sunset, ocean-swept hair and all. 

After we caught our last sunset at sea, since it was our last night on the ship, we decided to explore as much of the boat as we could with the remaining hours we had …   

… whether it was guitar melodies with Pedro in the Schooner Lounge (boy, did he ever love his John Denver covers) …

… enjoying 1980s covers from the Cool Band on the Centrum stage in the heart of the ship (by the way, apparently everyone covers “Toto” by Africa these days, but these guys did it quite well) …

… trying our luck at the Casino Royale on Deck 5 …

… or catching the night’s movie selection on the wide-screen TV under the stars.

It was a full night, and fortunately the Majesty of the Seas always had two good late-night dining options stationed on Deck 12 to round out the celebrating before bedtime – both of which were complimentary for all cruise patrons.   Sorrento’s Pizza always seemed to keep the pies coming, so the selections were always fresh and surprisingly good.   

The Compass Deli always had wraps, salads and build-your-own nachos and select desserts for other late-night munchie options.

All in all, our first cruise experience was a highly successful and rewarding one.  Havana was indescribably unique and charming.  Punky got to experience enough of Key West to whet her appetite for more.  And, the cruise itself was whatever you wanted to make of it – relaxing and calming at times and fast-paced fun other times.  I’m pretty certain this will not be our last cruise experience, and I’m also confident we’ll return to Havana someday.  If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to go there, you undoubtedly know why. 


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sounds like an amazing trip John. Great story!

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