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zOur Cuba Cruise - Elegant, All-Inclusive and Now Half-Off!

16 days

A small ship journey around Cuba from Miami with only 200 guests - April 20, 2018

Overall Rating
based on 5 Reviews

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Extended Stays in Port + More People-to-People Engagement

+ Tour Cuba’s oldest surviving mansion and visit the 17th-century stone fortress of San Pedro de la Roca.
+ Discover the wealth of Colonial-era architecture in Old Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.
+ Visit Finca Vigia where Ernest Hemingway lived and worked for 20 years.
+ Meet the fishermen of Cojimar, the seaside village that inspired The Old Man and the Sea.
+ Experience Cuba’s cultural traditions as we introduce you to painters, artisans and dancers in their workshops and studios.
+ Savor island cuisine on our special shoreside dining experiences at some of Cuba’s finest privately-owned paladares
+ Enjoy lively performances from the music of Cuban icon Benny Moré to the unique Afro-Caribbean styles of Ballet Folklórico Cutumba
+ Experience Havana nightlife as it was in the 1950’s as we join the living legends of the Buena Vista Social Club for a concert at the historic Capri Hotel.
+ Includes 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites

Show all itinerary details

Day
1

Apr 20: Welcome to Miami + Board the mv Victory I

You’ll be met at the airport and chauffeured by private car to the Port of Miami to board our intimate ship for this exclusive cruise around. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner before an informative talk with our shipboard Cuba experts – a great introduction to the journey ahead. Meals D

Day
2

Apr 21: On our way to Cuba

This relaxing day is enriched by talks with our shipboard experts; delving into a wide variety of topics from politics and the arts to the continually evolving relationship between our two nations, our shipboard program over the next 2 weeks will enhance your experience.  Meals B+L+D

Day
3

Apr 22: Cruising around Cuba

Enjoy another delightful day of cruising as we sail around the eastern tip of the island toward our first port of call. Enriching talks with our shipboard Cuba experts continue along with wonderful meals and our Open Bar.  Meals B+L+D

Day
4

Apr 23: Santiago de Cuba + San Pedro de la Roca

Fidel Castro launched the Cuban Revolution in Santiago in 1953 and declared victory here six years later. But the town’s importance goes back hundreds of years earlier to its days as a center of Spanish Colonial power. Starting with these earliest days, we’ll tour the 16th-century mansion of Diego Velázquez, the Spanish Conquistador who served as the first Governor of the island. It’s now a fine museum filled with period furnishings.

We’ll have lunch at El Morro, set on a seaside bluff with spectacular views. Nearby is one of Cuba’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca. Better known as El Morro, this 17th-century stone fortress was built by the Spanish high on a rocky promontory overlooking Santiago de Cuba Bay.

Before returning to ship, we’ll spend time at Casa del Caribe, founded 35 years ago to preserve Caribbean culture. Spending time with the Casa’s members offers a chance to learn about their spiritual beliefs and daily life.  Meals B+L+D

Day
5

Apr 24: History + Culture in Santiago de Cuba

Our first sightseeing stop this morning will be at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery. Home to impressive burial crypts and mausoleums, this is a great place to learn about the historical figures buried here including the Cuban national hero José Martí. Our tour will be timed to coincide with the Changing of the Guard – a moving spectacle of pomp and ceremony!

We’ll also enjoy a performance by Ballet Folklórico Cutumba. Blending African, European, Haitian and Cuban styles, this company has performed around the world. After the performance, we’ll have time to meet with the dancers. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Revolution Square, a park-like plaza dominated by a monumental bronze statue of Lt. General Antonio Maceo astride a rearing stallion. At the Moncada Barracks, we’ll learn about the events that unfolded here on July 26, 1953 when the 26-year-old Fidel Castro set out with 122 followers to attack the military barracks.  Meals B+L+D

Day
6

Apr 25: Along the southern coast

Delight in another leisurely day of congenial conversation, fine meals and informative talks with our onboard Cuba experts. Meals B+L+D

Day
7

Apr 26: Our First Day in Colonial Trinidad

After breakfast we’ll journey into the Valley de los Ingenios, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers insight into the history of Cuba’s sugar cane industry. At the San Isidro de los Destiladeros Archaeological Site, dating back to the pre-industrial age, we’ll see the original hacienda, a 3-story bell tower and slave quarters.

Next we’ll meet with the skilled artisans of the generations-old Santander Family Pottery Studio whose works adorn Trinidad’s historic town square. Over lunch at a local paladar, we’ll have a chance to engage with the owner and staff of this privately owned restaurant. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a walking tour through the Colonial heart of Trinidad. Cited by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the town’s historic buildings include the Palacio Brunet and the Palacio Cantero, built with wealth from the region’s lucrative sugar trade.

Our People-to-People activities this afternoon will introduce us to the life and works of Yudit Vidal Faife, a local painter who has exhibited her works throughout Cuba and Europe. We’ll also visit the gallery and workshop of Lazaro Niebla Castro, a wood carver of rare skill, vision and passion.  Meals B+L+D

Day
8

Apr 27: Another Day in Trinidad

Trinidad’s allure is to be experienced not just in the wealth of its city landmarks which we explored yesterday, but also in its delightful setting against the Escambray Mountains. This morning, we’ll journey into these mountain landscapes for a People-to-People experience at a coffee farm. We’ll observe firsthand the traditional techniques behind the high quality of Cuban coffee and learn about the work and life of the farmers.

Again at lunch today, we’ll have a chance to engage in casual conversation with the owner and staff of another privately-owned paladar. Before returning to ship, we’ll also stop at a handicraft market where you can engage with the artisans and vendors as you browse and shop for gifts and souvenirs.  Meals B+L+D

Day
9

Apr 28: Ashore in Cienfuegos

This morning, our exploration into the life and traditions of the Cuban people continues at a farmers market. See the variety of local fruits and vegetables for sale and experience an authentic slice of island life. Then we’ll tour Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its architectural diversity, which we’ll explore first in Punta Gorda. Driving along this thin slice of land that extends into the bay, we’ll discover a fine collection of early 20th-century palaces – many built by wealthy Americans during the Batista regime. Back in the center of town, we’ll enjoy a walking tour through the finely preserved Colonial district.

After lunch onboard, we’ll return ashore for more People-to-People activities: Our first stop is at UNEAC, an organization of Cuban writers and artists. We’ll meet with its director to learn how the center is helping its members to follow their talents and passions. UNEAC Members even include school-age children, and we’ll be treated to a performance by these young musicians. Then we’ll explore the neighborhood, stopping into galleries and studios to engage with the artists.

This evening’s concert features the rhythms and music of the legendary Benny Moré. During the height of his popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s, this Cuban virtuoso was beloved for his smooth tenor voice and his mastery of so many Cuban genres - from Mambo and Bolero to Guaracha and Cha Cha Cha.  Meals B+L+D

Day
10

Apr 29: A Second Day in the Pearl of the South

Cienfuegos has been described by many as Cuba’s most captivating town. It’s physically handsome and also bestowed with elegance and flair. Culturally and artistically, it’s also one of the most vibrant in Cuba. Our second day here begins outside of town with a guided tour of the Cienfuegos Botanical Garden, established in 1899 by a New Englander named Edward Atkins. Next up is the Benny Moré Cultural Center of the Arts. We’ll learn more about this Cuban icon and hear how the Center is working to revive and preserve the Cuban musical traditions which so defined Benny’s life and work.

We’ll have lunch onboard and then return ashore to spend time at the Tomás Terry Theater, a city landmark easily recognized by its colonnaded entry and the gold-leafed mosaics that adorn its façade. Built in the late 1800’s to honor a South American industrialist, the interior of this 950-seat theater is equally impressive. As part of our People-to-People itinerary, our visit is highlighted by an exclusive performance by one of Cienfuegos’ finest music ensembles.  Meals B+L+D

Day
11

Apr 30: Cruising toward the Western Tip

Enjoy another day of cruising as we chart a westward course, rounding the tip of the island to navigate toward the capital. Enriching talks from our experts continue along with the convivial camaraderie of your fellow passengers – all enhanced by wonderful meals and our Open Bar.  Meals B+L+D

Day
12

May 1: We Arrive in Havana

With clearance from Cuban Port Authorities, we have been able to revise our itinerary to add this extra night in Havana. Enjoy 3 full days of unhurried fully-guided sightseeing, our exclusive people-to-people activities, and free time to pursue your personal interests while exploring the city at own pace.

Having rounded Cuba’s western tip to cruise along the island’s north coast, we’re now scheduled to sail into Havana this evening. A Sunset Cocktail Reception on deck offers a delightful opportunity to take in the striking tableau of the city’s historic waterfront. Havana, of course, is the island’s most important city, politically and economically, but it’s also the center of Cuban music and dance. You might step off to enjoy this extra night in Havana with your first taste of its lively arts scene. A traditional 3-wheeled Bici Taxi would be a fun way to make your way to one of Havana’s renowned jazz clubs.  Meals B+L+D

Day
13

May 2: Discover Old Havana

Havana was founded in 1519 and within a hundred years it had emerged as one of the Caribbean’s wealthiest ports and an important ship-building center. Although it’s now a vibrant city with more than two million residents, its historical core still retains a wonderful mix of fine Neoclassical and Baroque architecture. Focusing today on the historic core of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, our guided tour takes us along the city’s charming cobblestone streets and through its four main town squares – each with its own distinctive charm and fine Colonial-era landmarks.

We’ll also enjoy our first people-to-people activity here in the capital: Muraleando is a community project that started in 2001 when two local artists began teaching painting and sculpture to the neighborhood children. Encompassing both traditional wall paintings with modern found-object sculptures, the artwork depicts fanciful celebrations of Cuban life. In addition to today’s guided shore activities, you’ll have free time to step off ship and explore on your own. This is a wonderful chance to experience more of the city’s colorful sights and captivating sounds at your own pace.  Meals B+L+D

Day
14

May 3: Experience More of Cuba… Havana Style!

This morning we’ll drive along the waterfront Malecón, past the University of Havana and through Vedado – an upscale district where classic, mid-century Havana chic has been seemingly frozen in time. Later we’ll be treated to a special People-to-People performance by the Havana Queens. Combining classical ballet, Flamenco and modern dance with Rumba and Salsa influences, this pioneering dance company has been thrilling audiences since its founding in 2012. We’ll end our guided touring at the lively San Jose Craft Market; it’s one of the best places in the city to shop for Cuban art and handicrafts and offers another chance to engage with local artisans and merchants.

You’ll have free time again today for more sightseeing or shopping on your own: You might visit the National Museum of Art, famed for its extensive collection of Cuban art from the Colonial era to the 21st century, and then stop by a local cafe for a Cuban coffee. Or perhaps you’ll choose to explore the colorful book and antique market in Plaza San Francisco before heading to La Floridita, where Hemingway himself would come for their famous daiquiris.

This evening after dinner, we’ll go ashore to experience a bit of Havana nightlife as it was in the 1950’s! The city is rich with music history and no group is more famous than the Buena Vista Social Club. In the atmospheric Salón Rojo at the landmark Capri Hotel, we’ll join the living legends of the Social Club for an unforgettable concert.  Meals B+L+D

Day
15

May 4: Life + Culture in the Capital

After breakfast, we’ll step off ship to find a fleet of vintage American automobiles waiting for us. Riding in style, we’ll head outside of town to Finca Vigia, the hilltop home where Hemingway wrote two of his most famous works – For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Peering through its open windows, you’ll see hundreds of the author’s personal belongings almost exactly as he left them when he departed Cuba for the last time in 1960.

Then continue to Cojimar, the picturesque seaside village that inspired The Old Man and the Sea. Spending time with local fishermen is another rewarding People-to-People encounter. After lunch at Bodega Brisas del Mar, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the Cristobal Colon Cemetery. Founded in 1876, this is one of the world’s most amazing cemeteries. Like Père Lachaise in Paris or St. Louis in New Orleans, it’s filled with grand mausoleums, beautiful chapels and elaborately carved burial vaults. Late this afternoon, we begin our overnight voyage back to Miami.  Meals B+L+D

Day
16

May 5: Disembark in Miami

After breakfast, you’ll disembark in the Port of Miami. We include your private return transfer to Miami Airport for your homeward flight. Meals B

Our people-to-people Cuba voyage is individually programmed and fully compliant with all current  U.S. Government regulations for U.S. Citizens traveling to Cuba. Many of the places we visit and the cultural experiences we provide are not in standard touristic venues and are not always available. Thus, your final itinerary prior to departure will detail each day’s full program.

Cuba MapSearch

Half-Off With All
This Included
 

+ Open Bar
+ All shore excursions
+ Exclusive People-to-People activities
+ Fine shipboard dining with wine
+ Shoreside dining experiences
+ Private airport transfers
+ All shipboard gratuities
+ Shipboard talks with Cuba experts

Prices above reflect 50% discount. Port charges are additional at $499 pp. A Cuban visa and medical insurance are required for $126 pp.