Embarkation takes place at the Sierra Maestra Port at 3pm or later. Or alternatively for passengers already in Havana – Optional excursion in Havana including the Plaza de la Revolucion, followed by a visit to Finca Vigia, beloved home of Ernest Hemingway where he lived for 21 years. After lunch in a traditional paladar, we will visit a very unique nostalgic car garage to view just how the Cubans manage to creatively keep those old American cars in such fine working condition. Then enjoy a performance with dancers, musicians and performers of Havana’s Compas Dance Group before we continue to the pier for embarkation on your ship, followed by a boat drill and welcome briefing. Overnight in Sierra Maestra – Havana.
After breakfast, disembark for an optional walking exploration of Old Havana, a mixture of beautiful old baroque and neo-classical monuments, arcades and private balconies. We will stop at Fusterlandia, studio of artist Jose Rodriguez Fuster. The brightly colored mermaids, roofs, walls, benches, and doorways are greatly inspired by Gaudi in Barcelona and Brancusi in Rome, but most of all by Picasso and Dubuffet. Lunch will be at another of Cuba’s paladares, followed by a stop at the Merger Art Studio to view some magnificent sculptures and beautiful paintings before we continue to the San Jose Arts and Crafts Market. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with live Cuban music at the “Café Taberna” or similar, complete with salsa music in the style of the Buena Vista Social Club.
Overnight in Sierra Maestra – Havana
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 will learn about the production of those world famous Cuban cigars. After lunch at an organic restaurant, we’ll visit an organic farm. We leave the Vinales region and drive to Maria La Gorda. Check in to the Hotel Maria La Gorda for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast, optional bus tour to the village of San Juan del Valle. Here we will visit the local school to discuss the differences and levels of the Cuban and American educational systems, particularly in the rural areas of the country. Meet the Cuban children and their teachers. Visit Guanahacabibes National Park, one of the country’s largest nature reserves on the westernmost tip of the island. There will be time for swimming, snorkeling and a BBQ lunch in Maria La Gorda before re-embarking the ship and immediately sailing to Isla de la Juventud.
Dinner and overnight on board the ship. Overnight at sea to 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 to the capital city of the island – Nueva Gerona. Visit the “Universidad de la Isla de la Juventud Jesus Montane Oropesa,” enjoy panoramic sightseeing and tour the Presidio Modelo, an abandoned prison where Fidel and Raul Castro were imprisoned from 1953-1955. Stop for lunch in Nueva Gerona before returning to the ship. Dinner on board. Overnight sailing to Casilda
Day at sea. Late afternoon arrival in Casilda. After cocktails on board we will drive to Trinidad for an optional walking excursion and evening at leisure in this charming colonial city and dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Casilda
This morning an optional excursion to Trinidad for a more extensive visit of this meticulously preserved Spanish colonial city, with its rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas. Trinidad is sometimes referred to as the ‘Museum City of Cuba.” We will visit the Romantic Museum located in the old palace of the Count Brunet, with samples of furniture and decorative arts, and the woodcarving studio of Lasaro. In the afternoon, we drive to Cienfuegos, known as the Pearl of the South and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. Cienfuegos is the only city Cuba to be founded by French settlers and you will see some outstanding examples of its 19th Century French Neo classical architecture. We will visit a graphic arts workshop and the Benny More School of Art. A special treat will be a concert by the singers of the Chorus of Cienfuegos, or a string quartet. After a long and exhilarating day we re-join the ship in the port of Cienfuegos for the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
Disembarkation and group transfer by bus Havana – Melia Cohiba Hotel at 9 am
See the ship Callisto
See the ship Panorama