The Arrival of a British Cruise Ship Revives Old Havana for a Few Hours

The police stopped traffic so that tourists could comfortably leave the Customs building. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 9 February 2024 — The British cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 returned to Havana this Friday, and, as often happens, its passengers, who bring foreign currency, have preference. A patrol guarded the area closest to the pier, and the police even stopped traffic so that the tourists could comfortably leave the Customs building, some of them carrying suitcases.

Although there were some travelers who stayed on the ship, many went for a walk and others went by bus to the nearby historic center of the Cuban capital or to other tourist places.

From land, you could glimpse the ship’s splendor, the giant screen at the edge of the pool and the huge satellite antenna. Several spas, a club-casino, bars and restaurants are some of the services offered by the cruise, which is only for adults and belongs to TUI Group of  the UK and Germany.

Marella Explorer 2 will dock at four ports to link passengers to the Island’s recreational offers.

The British cruise ship is part of the fleet of TUI Group, a leading company in tourist travel. (14ymedio)

The cruise is part of the fleet of TUI Group, a leading company in tourist travel (United Kingdom-Germany). It only allows adults and includes spa services, a club-casino, bars and restaurants.

In Old Havana, the merchants rubbed their hands together. On Obispo Street they offered an exchange rate “at a good price” – 280 pesos per dollar (the informal rate reported by El Toque for this Friday is 298). The children in the area rehearsed some phrases in English asking for “money,” and the streets near the bay again experienced the frenzy that once characterized them.

When the sun goes down, everything will be over. The tourists will return to their ship, the children of the neighborhood will return to their quarters, and the illusion of a dynamic city will have vanished. There will still be, of course, the silhouette of the Marella Explorer 2 with its swimming pools, its luxury areas and its broadband internet.

In Old Havana, the merchants rubbed their hands together after the arrival of the cruise ship. (14ymedio)

Translated by Regina Anavy


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