|Photo by Joe Pike|
Central Holidays has launched a new eight night People-to-People "Cruise Around Cuba" itinerary aboard the Celestyal Crystal.
The announcement follows Central Holidays’ recent roll-out of five ground-based Cuban programs, its first set of itineraries in the country for American travelers.
The new itinerary starts at $2,999 per person (including international air from Miami to Havana), and sails through Maria La Gorda, Cienfuegos, Montego Bay (Jamaica), and Santiago de Cuba. Travelers who book by September 30 will save $150 off ocean view staterooms on any departure from December 2015 – April 2016.
Licensed via the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Central Holidays’ "Cruise Around Cuba" program kicks off in Old Havana and visits several ports of call:
Guests will enjoy a guided walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to experience the area’s famous plazas, art center, and historic colonial buildings. Guests will also have the chance to meet with a local Cuban architect who will share insights about Old Havana’s preservation and ongoing restoration. The journey continues at the port of Havana to board the Celestyal Crystal for a welcome dinner onboard the ship, followed by additional time in Havana to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, see the community project of “Arte Corte,” and take a lesson with Havana’s Danza Chevere dance troop.
Maria La Gorda
Travelers in Maria La Gorda will visit the International Diving School to learn about the diving experiences available, including the well-known deep swimming hole with its underground connection to the sea. Guests will also have some free time to explore the local beach, take in the scenery and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
The next port of call is Cienfuegos, the only Cuban city that was founded by the French in Cuba, also referred to as the “Pearl of the South.” Guests will enjoy a private performance by the Choir of Cienfuegos as well as the chance to marvel at a collection of murals painted by local artists of the Trazos Libres Project. Later, travelers will dine at Club Cienfuegos, formerly the Cienfuegos Yacht Club, originally opened in 1920.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
In Montego Bay, Jamaica, there will be some leisure time available to explore the small shops and beachside restaurants, tour the historical Greenwood Great House to learn about its history and the lives of its former owners, or opt to visit nearby Falmouth, noted as one of the Caribbean’s best preserved Georgian towns.
Santiago de Cuba
After sailing through the night, the cruise heads to Santiago de Cuba to delve into the city’s history via a guided tour of the Moncada Barracks, where the first armed action of the Cuban Revolution occurred in 1953. Share a meal with locals at a family-run restaurant, followed by a visit to the Society of Tumba Francesca de la Caridad del Oriente, a musical institution dating back more than 140 years. Travelers will have a chance to participate in an exchange with its president, Andrea Quiala, as well as a special performance of Tumba Francesca, designated a “World Oral and Intangible Heritage Masterpiece” by UNESCO.
The cruise culminates with some time to enjoy a day at sea while sailing from Santiago de Cuba back to Havana.
Central Holidays’ "Cruise Around Cuba" rates are per person double occupancy and include: roundtrip air between Miami and Cuba; pre-tour briefing at Miami Hotel; VIP priority check-in at Miami International Airport; all meals as outlined in the itinerary; all hotel accommodations in Miami and aboard the Celestyal Crystal; baggage fee for the first checked bag from Miami to Cuba; U.S. Department of Treasury authorization under a General License; all ground transportation and airport transfers in Cuba via deluxe air-conditioned motor coach; fresh bottled water while touring; full people-to-people cultural exchange program; all entrance fees for scheduled activities and events; professional English-speaking Cuban guide; a Central Holidays tour manager; Cuban visa and Cuban health insurance; all port taxes; all tips for porters and restaurant staff as well as programmed activities during the tour; and Cuba departure tax.