Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com is venturing into new waters. The company has engaged a three-masted schooner, Panorama, to cruise the Caribbean carrying American travelers who for the first time in over 50 years can now visit the island nation of Cuba and meet its people.
Launching in December 2015 and scheduled into April 2016 will be a series of eight-day adventures called the Cuba People to People Cruise aboard a recently refurbished 49-passenger sailing vessel. The program begins and ends in Miami with round trip flights to Havana included in the fare. The ship stops in five ports along Cuba’s western and southern shore.
The per person, double cabin rate is from $4,799. Guests use the ship as a floating hotel as they enjoy daily shore excursions. Included in the rate are round-trip air fare from Miami, all meals from arrival in Cuba to breakfast on departure day, cabin accommodations, Cuban visa, mandatory Cuban medical insurance and transportation. The Cuba People to People cruise has obtained all the required licenses for American citizens traveling from the US, which are included in the price of the trip.
“A strategic advantage AdventureSmith Explorations brings to the excitement of a newly engaged Cuba is the fact that we are traveling only in small ships. This offers the flexibility and access to enter ports along Cuba’s coast that may not yet be available to larger vessels,” said Todd Smith, founder/owner. The itinerary includes stops in Havana, Maria LaGorda, Cayo Largo, Trinidad and Cienfuego. Most of the sailing occurs at night as guests sleep. Come morning, the ship is in a new harbor where guests on escorted tours discover this island and meet its people.
“A socialist republic since the 1959 revolution when Fidel Castro seized power, Cuba was once the last stronghold of Spanish power in the region. Now one of the last remaining vestiges of state socialism, Cuba offers authentic interactions with real people in one of the most isolated places in the world,” Smith added.
The program’s goal is to help facilitate an unscripted, honest exchange between people of two nations whose leaders for the past 50 years were at odds with one another. Guests will be introduced to Cuba’s rich artistic heritage: pre-Columbian cultures, the splendors of Spanish colonialism and internationally acclaimed contemporary art.
“This is a country of great natural beauty: magnificent mountain ranges and fertile plains of sugar cane and tobacco and some of the best beaches in the world,” Smith added.
Old Havana, harboring five percent of Cuba’s 11 million people, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and said to be the most beautiful city in the Caribbean. Here and throughout the week visitors will meet an easy-going, multi-racial population whose greatest enthusiasm is reserved for music. It is the home of the modern rumba, actually of African origin, the mamba, the cha-cha and the salsa and Cuban jazz. While most meals are taken on the ship, local cuisines are enjoyed on scheduled stops at restaurants and paladors (in-home businesses).
Guests visit a community cooperative to hear about the challenges locals face while relying less on government and trying to generate income by being more entrepreneurial. Cultural exchanges include an evening with the Buena Vista Social Club and a visit with the Community Cultural Project of Quisicuaba that delves into the folk culture of the free blacks who came from the Angolan Basin in the 16th century. On a nature preserve guests relax on a beach and visit a beekeeping and honey production center. The National Park at Guanahacabibes reveals 140 archaeological sites. On Cayo Largo, a limestone island of mangroves and salt pans, guests move from discussions with Cuban sports, culture and mass communications experts and local doctors to a sea turtle breeding center and an afternoon of snorkeling. Trinidad is a meticulously well preserved Spanish colonial town known as the Pearl of the South with its cluster of Neoclassical structures.
The 178-foot Panorama, built in 1993, was renovated in 2009. She cruises at 11 knots and has performed several Atlantic Ocean crossings; she has also sailed from the Syechelles to Monte Carlo and from the Black Sea to Tunis. Aboard the ship guests can mingle in the outdoor areas or in the two lounges or library. An on-board pianist plays as guests relax over drinks. Off of a swimming platform guests can dip into the sea when weather and anchorage conditions permit.
AdventureSmith Explorations notes that travel to Cuba is still restricted for Americans and a special travel visa is required. Read their Cuba Cruise FAQ to learn more about how Americans can travel to Cuba and the included licenses aboard this Cuba cruise.
For information, availability and 2015-2016 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit www.adventuresmithexplorations.com.
About AdventureSmith Explorations
Think Outside The Boat!
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious Annual Travel Specialists List as the world’s expert on small ship expeditions.