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Around Cuba by Small Ship - 15 Days

15 days

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Extended Stays in Port + Deeper Cultural Engagement + More Exploration

+ 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.
+ 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.
+ 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 private performances including a concert at the historic Tomás Terry Theater in Cienfuegos.
+ Tour Cuba’s oldest surviving mansion and visit the 17th-century stone fortress of San Pedro de la Roca.
+ Relaxing days at sea are enhanced with enriching talks with our shipboard experts, well-versed in Cuban history, politics, life and culture.

Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

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Day
1

Welcome to Miami + Board the mv Victory II

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 Cuba. 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

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 Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. Focusing today on Old Havana c, our guided tour takes us along the city’s cobblestone streets and through its four main town squares – each with its own distinctive charm and fine Colonial-era landmarks. We’ll also 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.

We’ll also enjoy our first people-to-people cultural activity: 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. At the Roxana Vargas Jewelry Studio, we’ll see Ms. Vargas’ beautiful silver works and learn how she is training young enterprising jewelers to follow in her footsteps. After lunch, we’ll be treated to a private rehearsal with MALPASO - followed by a chance to meet with the talented performers of this independent dance company.

We’ll end our sightseeing at the San Jose Craft Market; it’s one of the best places in the city to shop for Cuban art and handicrafts and offers a chance to engage with local artisans and merchants. 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
3

Life + Culture in the Capital

After breakfast, we’ll head outside of town to Finca Vigia, the handsome 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 cultural encounter. After lunch, you’ll have some time to explore the markets, galleries and evocative streets of Old Havana at your own pace. Back on board, the Victory II will chart a course that will take us around the western shores of Cuba and along the southern coast toward Cienfuegos.  Meals B+L+D

Day
4

A Leisurely Day at Sea

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 will enrich your cruise. Fine dining, our Open Bar and the congenial camaraderie of your fellow travelers enhance this day at sea.  Meals B+L+D

Day
5

On our way to Cienfuegos

Enjoy another delightful day of cruising as we sail along the island’s southern shores toward our second port of call. Enriching talks with our shipboard Cuba experts continue along with wonderful meals and our Open Bar.  Meals B+L+D

Day
6

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 c, recognized by UNESCO for its rich 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.  Meals B+L+D

Day
7

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 programming, our visit is highlighted by an exclusive performance by one of Cienfuegos’ finest music ensembles.  Meals B+L+D

Day
8

Our First Day in Colonial Trinidad

After breakfast we’ll journey into the Valley de los Ingenios c, 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. Erected in 1750, the graceful majesty of the 7-story Manaca Iznaga Tower belies its original purpose to observe and control the slaves toiling away in the surrounding sugar cane fields. Today, an ascent to the top reveals the Valley’s pastoral and timeless beauty.

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 c. 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 guide will also 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
9

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
10

A Day at Sea

Enjoy another day of cruising as we chart a eastward course along Cuba’s southern coast. 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
11

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 c. Built by the Spanish in the 17th century, this massive stone fortress is spectacularly set on a rocky promontory overlooking Santiago de Cuba Bay; it is widely recognized as one of the best examples of Colonial military architecture in the Americas.

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
12

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
13

A Delightful Day of Cruising

Enjoy this relaxing day at sea and another chance to engage with our shipboard Cuba experts. Today’s talks and discussions will help you to contextualize all that you have learned and experiences thus far.  Meals B+L+D

Day
14

A Final Day at Sea

Delight in another day of cruising as we continue our homeward journey toward Miami. Enjoy our final shipboard talks, wonderful meals, congenial conversation with fellow passengers and our Open Bar.  Meals B+L+D

Day
15

Disembark in Miami

After breakfast, you’ll disembark in the Port of Miami. We include your 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 sightseeing itinerary may vary slightly from what is presented here.

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

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