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Cuban Fusion on TUI Discovery 2 - the countdown begins!

Cuban Fusion on TUI Discovery 2 - the countdown begins!

Postby Dave » 04 Oct 2017 17:41

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Although our interest in cruising has waned somewhat in the last year or so, we haven't stopped altogether. Yesterday, I went into the Thomson shop in Canterbury to pay the balance on this year's Christmas cruise. Although actually it'll be a New Year cruise this time because we fly to Jamaica on Boxing Day!

Last Christmas we were on TUI Discovery in the Caribbean and we had an absolutely fabulous cruise, not least because we thought that Discovery was the best ship we'd ever been on. Almost unheard of for us, we booked this year's Christmas cruise while we were on board. There was a bit of a discount and the charge to select a particular cabin was waived. Being very early bookers meant that we were able to reserve 8086, a Premier Junior Suite in the centre at the stern - it has the biggest balcony and it's in what we think is the perfect position.

One niggle I have with Thomson/TUI is that if you don't pay to select your plane seats you can end up being allocated seats on either side of an aisle, which is what happened to us last year. So, not wanting to chance it again, I paid a further £68 to make sure we sit together - with me having a window of course!

The itinerary includes Montego Bay (Jamaica), Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Cozumel (Mexico), and Havana (Cuba) where we have two days. Grand Cayman and Cuba will be new to us and we've begun to browse for ideas for what to do. We're definitely going to hire a classic car (with driver) in Havana and I really like the look of Havana Vintage Car Tours... 8-)
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Booked cruise: TUI Discovery 2 - Cuban Fusion, Christmas 2017
Booked walking holidays: Auvergne, Cotswolds, Kintyre & Islay
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Cuban Fusion on TUI Discovery 2 - the countdown begins!

Postby Borneo » 04 Oct 2017 18:32

My daughter went to Cuba ( hotel stay ) though stayed on a beach hotel she paid and stayed over night in Havana. She loved it, the cars are wonderful ( my hubby prefers British Vintage ) there are plenty about and even if you google you can book one online, well worth a ride in one.
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Cuban Fusion on TUI Discovery 2 - the countdown begins!

Postby Dave » 04 Oct 2017 19:08

I love old American cars, especially those from the mid-1950s.

My all-time favourite has to be the 1957 Plymouth Fury - the one that starred as 'Christine' in the Stephen King film of the same name. Perfection on four wheels! :thumbup:

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While browsing websites for vintage car tours in Havana I came across this beauty - an almost identical model to Christine, a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere. I'm not too sure about the colour, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker. :D

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Booked cruise: TUI Discovery 2 - Cuban Fusion, Christmas 2017
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Cuban Fusion on TUI Discovery 2 - the countdown begins!

Postby Gillzajoker » 05 Oct 2017 10:48

I 'swam' with the stingrays on Grand Cayman - a great experience. In Havana, check out the old train used by Castro - very interesting. Don't let Fred wear emerald green cycling shorts..............'tis the costume of 'ladies of the night' :lol:
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Cuban Fusion on TUI Discovery 2 - the countdown begins!

Postby Dave » 05 Oct 2017 18:09

Gillzajoker wrote:I 'swam' with the stingrays on Grand Cayman - a great experience. In Havana, check out the old train used by Castro - very interesting. Don't let Fred wear emerald green cycling shorts..............'tis the costume of 'ladies of the night' :lol:


We've got from 9am until 8pm in Georgetown so I imagine we'll do an excursion as well as have a fair amount of time at a beach - me snorkelling and Fred sunbathing. The excursion that appeals to me is the Atlantis Submarine... :D

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On this trip, the phrase sub-standard views has a positive meaning. After boarding the Atlantis Submarine, you’ll dive to a depth of 100 foot to explore the sea bed. This is deeper than any beginners’ scuba dive would take you. From the portals on either side of your vessel, you’ll be able to look out on Grand Cayman’s marine park. Shoals of mercury-coloured tarpon and schools of silverside fish make regular appearances in the water here, as do muscly grouper fish. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch a stingray or a sea turtle cutting a course through the water. The highlight of the trip has to be the World Famous Cayman Wall. It boasts to be the best dive site in the world, with a host of different coloured coral. And with moray eels, lobsters and plenty of tropical fish its pretty impressive stuff.

(Image and text from the Thomson website.)

(p.s. We did the 'stingray stuff' on Moorea. 8-) )
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Booked cruise: TUI Discovery 2 - Cuban Fusion, Christmas 2017
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Postby judgegeoff » 05 Oct 2017 18:50

Wow! That submarine looks fantastic Dave. :thumbup:
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Postby Dave » 05 Oct 2017 21:34

judgegeoff wrote:Wow! That submarine looks fantastic Dave. :thumbup:

It certainly does Geoff. Thomson's website says that it's £68pp and the excursion lasts 1.5 hours, which seems quite reasonable value. Of course, I don't know how much of that time is spent submerged...

We did something similar in Curacao, but it was only a semi-sub. I posted an account here: Semi-sub in Curacao.
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Postby judgegeoff » 05 Oct 2017 22:17

Dave wrote:
judgegeoff wrote:Wow! That submarine looks fantastic Dave. :thumbup:

It certainly does Geoff. Thomson's website says that it's £68pp and the excursion lasts 1.5 hours, which seems quite reasonable value. Of course, I don't know how much of that time is spent submerged...

We did something similar in Curacao, but it was only a semi-sub. I posted an account here: Semi-sub in Curacao.


I have been aboard so called 'submarines' that were actually boats with portholes or windows underwater in the hull (i.e semi-subs), but never in a proper submerging vessel. I think £68 sounds very reasonable and would certainly be taking the excursion if I was on that cruise. I am a tad envious!

Many years ago I spent some time working in a department who's permanent staff were mainly ex submariners and, it has to be said, they were a very odd lot. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Dave » 05 Nov 2017 13:37

With about two months to go before we fly out to Jamaica to begin the cruise, I began looking for travel requirements for Cuba since I assumed it would be likely there would be some.

The answer is yes - a Tourist Card is required. Thomson/TUI offers a service through a partner company (http://thetravelvisacompany.co.uk) and the cost of the card with them appears to be £74pp. I say 'appears' because a price of £39pp is quoted further down on the application form!

The alternative way to obtain the Tourist Card is via the Cuban Embassy, which is what we'll do. I think the price there is £39pp, and I say 'think' because my wife is dealing with the application! :D

Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning this is because I'm not impressed with the way some cruise lines handle the matter of visas and entry requirements. It would have been entirely possible to book a cruise that calls at Cuba and not be informed about the need for a travel card. I'm talking about TUI here, but I also did a pretend booking with Fred Olsen and I didn't see anything to warn me to get a card.

I expect some would reply that we (the customers) should know about these things and therefore the cruise lines are entirely right not to see it as their responsibility. But I would disagree; if they sell a holiday to a country with special entry requirements then they should at the very least bring that to the customer's attention.

We did a river cruise with Viking a few years ago that included Vietnam. Viking were extremely thorough on the matter of visas - as I recall we were contacted personally about the requirements and given useful advice and assistance about getting visas. By contrast, I actually visited our local TUI shop and no one there was able to give me advice as to what we required. In fact they told me they can't give advice about visa requirements because countries are forever changing them! Fair enough I suppose, but I wonder how many people find they book a cruise and then aren't allowed off the ship in certain ports because no one from the cruise line even mentioned that this is something they must check for themselves?
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Postby Mungo » 05 Nov 2017 15:43

Strange.......... my daughter was only earlier this week singing praises about our local Thomson/Tui shop. They had phoned up to check that passports were valid and that my grandson now had a passport. They're off on Thomson Dream is a few weeks.
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