Cuba by Land & Sea: A People to People Cruise (2017)

  USD $9,995
  Cuba

Enjoy a people-to-people program with seven nights aboard boutique vessel 'Le Ponant' and enriching on shore connections with Cuban residents, among them a visit to an artist's house in Havana, snorkeling in a marine park and the chance to interact with local dancers post-performance.

A&K Advantages

Enjoy the best of both worlds - stays in centrally located hotels pre- and post-cruise and a seven-night cruise aboard boutique sailing vessel 'Le Ponant' Immerse yourself in Cuban culture, exploring its architecture, arts, music and dining during intimate, one-on-one experiences with residents Discover Punta Francés Nature Reserve, inaccessible except by sea, where you snorkel or explore the mangroves with a naturalist, who discusses local ecology and conservation efforts Take a boat ride to Cayo Granma to meet with local fishermen and children, discussing the Children of the Dreams and Fantasies Project, which creates art from objects that have washed ashore Join a local architect for an educational walk through Havana, discussing its historic styles, ongoing restoration efforts and their impact on the community 28 meals, with 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 9 dinners

Itinerary

Cuba by Land & Sea: A People to People Cruise Day 1: ARRIVE MIAMI, FLORIDA Arrive at Miami International Airport, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Meet your accompanying Abercrombie & Kent Program Director and Cruise Director at a briefing this evening.

Hyatt Regency Coral Gables

Day 2: HAVANA, CUBA / The Journey Begins Transfer to the Miami International Airport and check in with VIP assistance for your short charter flight to Cuba. Upon arrival at José Martí International Airport in Havana, complete immigration and customs formalities and meet your guide. Proceed to the heart of Havana for a panoramic tour of Revolution Square and the city’s historic, culturally rich neighborhoods, including the business district of Vedado. Skirt the Malecón (seawall promenade) and see the Capitol area and the University of Havana. After lunch at a paladar (a privately run restaurant), witness a private performance by Habana Compas Dance, which melds Afro-Cuban rhythm with contemporary movements. Then, meet with its dancers and musicians to learn more about the import of the arts in Cuba. Check in to your hotel. This evening, join fellow participants for dinner at Café del Oriente, accompanied by live music.

Meliá Habana | Meals: B L D

Days 3-4: HAVANA / Setting Sail After breakfast at your hotel, stroll through Old Havana with a local architect, discussing the challenges and successes of city reconstruction projects, while absorbing the vibrant, extraordinary architecture surrounding you. Continue to Finca La Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home, where you can visualize the author’s life during the more than 20 years he lived there. Pause for lunch at a paladar, taking time to talk with its servers about Cuban cuisine. Then, visit the home of a local artist, where you gain insight into not only Cuban art but also home and family life. Board your vessel, with time to settle in. This evening, sit down to dinner aboard. Spend the following day at sea. As you cruise, enjoy expert onboard lectures, covering topics such as Cuban culture, diplomacy and the economy in Cuba.

'Le Ponant' | Meals: B L D

Day 5: PUNTA FRANCÉS / Outdoor Expedition This morning, arrive at beautiful Punta Francés Nature Reserve on Isla de la Juventud. Inaccessible other than by sea, the marine reserve is fringed by an arc of powdery white-sand beach. Meanwhile, its thick palm and mangrove forest stands in stark contrast to the glimmering, turquoise Caribbean Sea. Land by zodiac and spend the day involved in structured activities amid this unique environment. Each participant may partake in either a guided snorkeling excursion with a Cuban naturalist, gaining insight into Cuba’s ecology and conservation efforts, or a naturalist-guided zodiac cruise of the mangrove forest, where you learn about the ongoing environmental preservation efforts. After a full, enriching day, return to your ship, where you sit down to dinner with fellow travellers.

'Le Ponant' | Meals: B L D

Day 6: CIENFUEGOS / Beauty by Sea Arrive in Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South,” so-called for its stunningly beautiful bay. Set out on an informative city tour through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a stop at the Teatro Tomas Terry. Meanwhile, take the opportunity to talk with your local guide about Cuban life, be it about the two currencies used or the cost of living on the island. Take a stroll down the Paseo del Prado, the longest tree-lined boulevard in Cuba. Then, enjoy a performance of classic Cuban songs by the award-winning a cappella choir, Cantores de Cienfuegos. Afterward, interact with its talented singers. Tonight, sit down to a meal in a paladar in town, with time to reflect on the day’s experiences.

'Le Ponant' | Meals: B L D

Day 7: TRINIDAD / Charming Colonial City After breakfast on board, transfer to the heart of Trinidad in the Sancti Spiritus province, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a walking tour of the town alongside a local architect or historian. Stroll through its historic city center as you learn the history of one of the oldest European settlements in Cuba. Then, visit the Romantic Museum. Built in 1740, it’s set within a former home that belonged to Nicolas Brunet y Muñoz, a wealthy sugar mill owner. As you see its period furnishings, china and other 19th-century artifacts, learn firsthand about the Cuba of bygone days. Proceed to a local craft market, interacting with Cuban artisans who sell their wares, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Then, visit the workshop of the Santander family (Chichi’s house), meeting its residents and engaging in an interactive pottery experience and lesson in this local tradition. At Palenque de los Congos Reales, attend an enriching Afro-Cuban performance, followed by a meeting with its musicians and dancers. Over a cocktail at Taberna la Canchánchara — famous for its rum, honey, lemon and water-based libation — watch as local musicians drop by for jam sessions; perhaps join residents in dancing. This evening, enjoy a dinner in Casilda.

'Le Ponant' | Meals: B L D

Day 8: AT SEA / Enriching Lectures & Lovely Vistas As you spend the next day sailing through Cuban waters, attend informative lectures, such as those about the impact of music on Cuban society and how it has influenced music in the United States and beyond; local transportation, including iconic “Yank tanks” (vintage cars); significant points in Cuba’s history; and the intricacies of U.S.-Cuba relations.

'Le Ponant' | Meals: B L D

Day 9: SANTIAGO DE CUBA / History Revealed Arrive in Santiago de Cuba. Disembark and visit monumental Antonio Maceo Revolution Square — setting for political and social events — and Céspedes Square, a lively park named for Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a Cuban planter who freed his slaves and declared Cuban independence in 1868. Visit the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where you witness the ceremonial changing of the guard, and see the mausoleum and final resting place of national hero José Martí. Then, delve deeper as you see the Moncada Barracks and hear the details of the first armed action of the Cuban Revolution. Return to your ship. Tonight, join fellow guests for dinner on board, with time to reflect on the day’s experiences.

'Le Ponant' | Meals: B L D

Day 10: SANTIAGO DE CUBA / Religion & Education Disembark after breakfast and visit the Holy Shrine El Cobre, which houses the Patron Saint of Cuba, la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. There, you learn about the role of religion in the lives of Cuban residents. At the University of Santiago de Cuba, meet and interact with its students and staff, hearing about the free education system and how the island-nation’s impressive literacy rate came to be. Enjoy lunch in Santiago de Cuba. Proceed to the local marina, where you travel by boat to the charming fishing community of Cayo Granma, an island nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Here, you meet local children and fishermen representing the Dreams and Fantasies Project, which creates art from objects washed ashore to support charitable causes. En route, you see Morro Castle, a fortress that guards the entrance to Havana Bay. Check in to your hotel. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with fellow travellers.

Melià Santiago de Cuba | Meals: B L D

Day 11: DEPART SANTIAGO DE CUBA Transfer to the airport and board your return flight to Miami.

Meals: B

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