Cuba isn’t an island you want to see from a distance, and this trip includes plenty of on-shore activities (a classic Cadillac garage, traditional dancing and the Benny More School of Art to name a few). While the boat sails straight from Havana to Maria La Gorda, we’ll take a more interesting route: through the spectacular UNESCO Viñales Valley. Cruising on a small ship allows you to visit offshore islands most Cuba travellers never see, like the beautiful Isla Juventud. Also drop anchor at Maria La Gorda for a swim and a beach barbecue. While bigger cruise liners have to moor out at sea and commute into shore via tender, we drop anchor in the middle of port towns like Cienfuegos or Maria la Gorda. You can hop on or off the boat as you please
Glide along the Caribbean’s perfect blue waters on an 8-day cruise in Cuba. The timeworn island bears its age well thanks to an intriguing blend of charming colonial cities, bohemian artistic communities and stunning natural splendour. Stroll past the pastel-coloured houses of Trinidad, stop for a swim at Maria La Gorda, dance the salsa in Old Havana, and visit a tobacco farm to see how Cuba’s world-famous cigars are made. With miles of pristine coastline to be discovered, dive in to this unforgettable Caribbean adventure.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 6 Lunches Included: 7
Embark in Havana
Embarkation takes place at the Sierra Maestra Port between 3 and 4pm.
For passengers already in Havana an optional excursion in Havana is on offer. We will start with a stop at the Plaza de la Revolucion. Enjoy a welcome lunch at La Barraca Restaurant, located in Hotel Nacional de Cuba, which specializes in Cuban cuisine and offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Havana. Remain at the hotel for an engrossing lecture with well-known architect Pedro Vasquez. Following the lecture, we continue to the pier for embarkation on the Panorama, followed by a boat drill and welcome briefing.
Dinner is onboard the ship and overnight in Sierra Maestra Port- Old Havana.
After breakfast, disembark for an optional excursion. Take a walking exploration of Havana Vieja, or Old Havana, and Centro Havana. Witness a mixture of beautiful old baroque and neo-classical monuments, arcades and private balconies. For an enhanced sightseeing experience, flag down a uniquely decorated local “bicitaxi,” or bicycle taxi. We will stop at a local restaurant for lunch, followed by a scenic drive in vintage American cars to Finca Vigia, beloved home of Ernest Hemingway where he lived for 21 years and wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Upon our return from Finca Vigia, enjoy some free time before we make our way to Café El Mercurio for dinner, and then to the Café Taberna to experience the wonderful salsa music of the Buena Vista Social Club style performance. Overnight in Sierra Maestra Port- Old Havana.
Today the excursion is included. Depart early in the morning by bus for the Vinales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Pinar del Rio Province of Cuba. Encircled by mountains, its landscape is interspersed with dramatic rocky outcrops. Traditional techniques are still in use for agricultural production, particularly of tobacco. Visit a tobacco farm where you learn about the production of those world famous Cuban cigars. After lunch at an organic restaurant, you visit an organic farm. Leave the Vinales region and drive to Maria La Gorda. Check in to the Hotel Maria La Gorda for dinner and to stay the night.
Maria la Gorda
After breakfast, take an optional bus tour to the village of San Juan del Valle. Here you visit the local school to meet the Cuban children and their teachers. Visit the headquarters of Guanahacabibes National Park, one of the country's largest nature reserves, on the westernmost tip of the island. The peninsula is one of the last refuges of early Cubans fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors and holds some 140 archaeological sites linked to life of Guanahatabeyes. Time permitting, you venture into the park to meet with the naturalists and locals, followed by free time for swimming, snorkelling and a BBQ lunch in Maria La Gorda before embarking the ship. Have dinner and stay overnight on board, as you sail to the Island of Youth-Isla de la Juventud.
Enter the Bay of Singuanea and moor in front of the Colony Hotel. After breakfast, disembark on the beach and board the bus for an optional tour, enjoying panoramic sightseeing until you reach the Presidio Modelo, an abandoned panopticon prison where both Fidel and Raul Castro were imprisoned from 1953–1955. Enjoy lunch in an authentic local restaurant before visiting an art school and the maternity ward of a local hospital. There is some free time for independent exploration around capital Nueva Gerona’s Grand Boulevard before returning to embark the ship. Spend the night at sea en route to Casilda.
Casilda and Trinidad
Today we visit Trinidad, a meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city. With its rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas, it is sometimes referred to as the 'Museum City of Cuba.' Lunch will be served onboard before disembarkation in the afternoon for an optional Trinidad by Night short sightseeing tour. Walk through the 500 year old colonial city and visit a scale model of the city. Stop at the Romantic Museum located in the old palace of the Count Brunet, or Palacio Cantero, the Trinidad General Municipal Museum. Visit the studio of Lazaro Niebla, a very unique woodcarver. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before returning to the ship for an overnight sailing to Cienfuegos.
Trinidad and Cienfuegos
Enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking for your optional excursion to Cienfuegos, which was founded by French settlers and boasts unique architecture. Cienfuegos is also known as the Pearl of the South and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the graphic arts workshop and the Benny More School of Art. Walk around the city centre and admire outstanding examples of French neo classical architecture from the 19th Century. We will stop at a local farmers market before having lunch at a local restaurant. A special treat will be a concert by the singers of the Chorus of Cienfuegos, or string quartet. After a long and exhilarating day we re-join the ship in the port of Cienfuegos for the Captain’s Farewell Dinner. Spend the night in Cienfuegos.
Disembark in Cienfuegos
Disembark and take a transfer by bus with the group to Havana.