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11 Jan

Caribbean Cruise: Key West + Cuba

after Christmas, we went on a Caribbean Cruise with my family! this was a true vacation, so we didn’t vlog, shoot on our camera, or really intend to post photos beyond IG. however, because so many of you wanted more info on outfits, packing for the cruise, traveling to Cuba, etc, i thought i’d round it all up in one blog post and share the details.

first things first: we booked on Royal Caribbean’s ship Majesty of the Seas. while we loved the stops on the cruise, the actual ship is almost as old as me {built in 1994}, so it definitely lacked some of the more modern amenities as the newer ships. apparently only the older ships currently cruise to Cuba. i’m sure there’s a reason for this, but just be aware when booking! ours was a five day cruise and we set sail from Fort Lauderdale. we left on NYE and our first full day was an at-sea day. we then were in Key West for one full day, Cuba for two days, and back to Florida on the fifth day.

Key West was fun to see, but a lot of it seems very touristy. if we were to go back, i’d want to stay at one of the nicer hotels away from the main streets. we walked a ton, and also took a trolley that showed us all around Key West and shared the history. definitely make sure you get the chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick from Kermit’s! it was fun to see the 90 miles to Cuba landmark, but i wouldn’t wait in line for the photo opp.

onto Cuba… so many of you asked how it’s possible to travel there. through our cruise, we got visas. i don’t believe at this time Americans can just fly into Cuba without a service or educational purpose, but you can visit fairly easily through cruise ships, as they help you with the Visa situation and all the paperwork.

the first day, we did a walking tour through old Havana. the second day we did a bus tour {called the Panoramic tour} and i feel like i learned a lot more about the history and people this way. both tours we booked through Royal Caribbean. now, it’s important to understand that Cuba is still very much a communist country and as soon as you arrive in Havana, you see it. most building are in shambles, the people are rationed food through the government, it’s very hard to make money there, etc. my parents and brother speak spanish {and i understand a lot of it}, and talking to the locals we learned even more. for example, a lot of doctors and nurses have had to quit their jobs and become taxi drivers just to make ends meet. Cubans typically make $25-80 dollars A MONTH. it’s very, very hard to earn a living there. but, amongst the turmoil of a communist country, the people are so kind and welcoming and you can definitely see they are making the best out of the situation. it was all very humbling. i took a lot of really cool photos, but i wanted to paint the real picture of a communist country before sharing the dreamy photos. i’m so glad we had the opportunity to visit Cuba and see and learn. it’s a very eye-opening experience, and i hope one day that this beautiful country will be able to thrive.

they have two forms of currency there, one for locals and one for tourists. some places will take US cash, but NONE will take your credit or debit card. so you’ll need to exchange money before entering at customs {for the tourist currency} or at a bank/hotel while there. if you don’t speak spanish, don’t fret. in the touristy areas, most people can understand you.

as for packing, i focused mostly on getting fun swimsuits {all linked below!}. since i was shopping for tropical weather in the middle of winter, there weren’t many options for more summery clothes. i ordered a few things, but many outfits i packed were pieces i already owned and just styled in a new way. i packed one nice pair of high heeled sandals for dinners at night, but mostly i packed flat sandals and a pair of tennis shoes. this trip was definitely about comfort, since i knew we’d be doing a ton of walking and i wasn’t originally planning on blogging anything. hope that helps!

if you have any specific questions i missed, feel free to ask below in the comments and i’ll get back to you! below i’m sharing a photo diary of our cruise and all the outfits i wore + where to buy them. enjoy! xx


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