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Destination Caribbean: Tips on Cuban Cigars On Your Caribbean Cruise

Summary: How to find and enjoy real Cuban cigars on your Caribbean Cruise (while avoiding fakes).

Video Run Time: 2:54

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Video Transcript:

When people think of fine cigars, they think "Cubans" or "Cubanos." The inland areas of the tropical island of Cuba have the perfect soil and climate for growing tobacco. The crop is picked, dried, and hand rolled by "torcedores," who are reputed by cigar experts to be the most skilled rollers in the world.

The 1962 U.S. embargo has only added to the mystique, as Americans have had to do without these prime smokes at home. Which is why seeking out these small masterpieces in Caribbean ports is a time-honored pursuit among cruisers.

Unfortunately, there are probably more fake cubanos our there then the real things. Here are a few tip-offs that you're being offered fakes:
  • The cigars aren't stored in a humidor.
  • If the price is less than $20 for a medium-sized cigar
  • If the box has glass or plastic see-through top
  • If the seller insists the cigars are real because the cigar box is sealed--which is when you check the bottom of the box to see where it was sliced open.
But as many scam artists avoid these obvious mistakes, your best strategy to avoid fakes to deal with reputable retailers. Find outlets of La Casa del Habanos, which has a direct relationship to the Cuban government. You can also look for stores in upscale establishments like the Atlantis Hotel in Nassau--though in Nassau the Graycliffe Hotel sells their own Dominican cigars that may be every bit as good as Cohibas.

U.S. citizens are not supposed to purchase Cuban cigars even when out of the country. But John F. Kennedy, who signed the embargo legislation, reportedly tried to exempt cigars and even allegedly purchased 1,200 of them himself just before he signed it into law.

You are definitely not allowed to import Cubanos into the U.S., so do make sure you finish whatever you buy in port or on the cruise. Most ships have cigar lounges where you can enjoy your purchase with other afficionados.

Please click the following links for more information about Caribbean cruise specials, or to purchase Caribbean shore excursions.

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