Cuba 360°: A Cultural Cruise Around Cuba - 2018

Santiago de Cuba • Trinidad • Cienfuegos • Havana
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Old Havana
  • Trinidad Walking Tour
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Miami is our home port for this unique circumnavigation of Cuba aboard the refined small ship M/V Victory I. As you cruise around the island nation, you’ll explore colonial cities and visit four of Cuba’s nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to tours that acquaint you with the distinctive architectural traditions of Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago de Cuba, you’ll take part in People-to-People encounters with artists, musicians, naturalists, and everyday Cubans going about their daily lives.

The extra advantage to a cruise like this one is that you’ll have the opportunity to experience the diversity of Cuba’s landscapes, from serene bays and palm-shaded cayos to the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains at the island’s eastern extremity. The elegant 210-passenger M/V Victory I is the perfect vessel for coastal meandering and for visiting ports that are closed to typical large cruise ships.

Santiago de Cuba to Havana

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DAY 1:

Depart home for Miami and embark ship

All aboard for your Cuban small ship adventure! We cast off this afternoon, crossing the Straits of Florida to Cuba, the island nation that lies just over 90 miles from Florida's shore. Enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner, an opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow passengers.

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 2:

Settle into shipboard life

Since our shore explorations begin at the eastern tip of Cuba, we'll spend the first two days enjoying leisurely Caribbean cruising. This is an opportunity to chat with fellow travelers, get acquainted with the ship, and relax on the upper deck enjoying the breeze. 


Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 3:

Enjoy another relaxing day at sea as we approach southeastern Cuba

Relax and enjoy another glorious day at sea, as we cruise to Cuba’s mountainous southeastern tip and the island nation's “other capital.” Look for Cuba’s highest peak, Pico Turquino, which may be visible from the water as we approach Santiago de Cuba.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Exploring the gems of Santiago de Cuba

Home of legendary rum and birthplace of the revolution, Santiago de Cuba has soul. Proximity to Jamaica and other tropical isles has infused the city with a distinctly Caribbean spirit. What is now Cuba's second-largest city was established in 1515 by Conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar. On our city tour, you'll see Velazquez's house, as well as the grand Cathedral of Santiago and handsome Parque Cespedez. Following lunch in a local restaurant, you'll visit the great citadel of San Pedro de la Roca, known locally as El Morro (a Spanish word for "fortress), which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site as the most complete and best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture. We'll also learn about the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, which is widely practiced in the area, through an informative People-to-People visit with some local practitioners.  

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Explore Santa Ifigenia Cemetery before enjoying an Afro-Cuban dance performance

Cultural Discoveries: In peaceful Santa Ifigenia cemetery this morning, see where Cuban poet, essayist, and revolutionary Jose Martí is buried in a formidable mausoleum. You'll also get a chance to observe the changing of the guard as you wander the various monuments dedicated to Cuba's greatest leaders. Then, cap off your discoveries with a high-energy People-to-People performance by an Afro-Cuban dance troupe at the Complejo Cultral Meneses Center. After returning to the ship for lunch, your afternoon is at leisure; you can choose to attend an informative onboard lecture or join a panoramic tour Revolution Square and the Moncada Barracks.




Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Cruising Cuba’s southern coast

A day of cruising takes us out of Santiago de Cuba's harbor and along Cuba's southern coast. You'll see the mountains along the eastern end of the island gradually give way to lower hills where coffee is grown.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Valley of the Sugar Mills and the UNESCO city of Trinidad

We'll dock in Casilda, the port village and beach town, then head the few miles inland to Trinidad, "the museum city of Cuba." Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad is an architectural gem of pastel stucco buildings with red roofs that line cobbled streets. The wealth and importance of Trinidad really took off in the 19th century when vast sugar cane plantations worked by slaves made Cuba the world's leader in "white cold," and sugar barons reigned supreme. Our excursion takes us to the Valley of the Sugar Mills, where some 50 mills once ran day and night. Moving on to Trinidad, we'll join a city historian for a walking tour that takes us to the main square and among fine colonial buildings. Cultural Discoveries: At Casa Del Alfarero Santander, a pottery studio run by the same family for decades, meet local artisans and learn about traditional pottery techniques. Later, visit other artists in their studios. We'll also stop at the Museum Romantico, a mansion where you can see how a wealthy Trinidad family once lived. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Explore historic Trinidad through the eyes and stories of locals

This morning find us up in the Escambray Mountains, one of the most important mountain ranges in Cuba thanks to its wide range of geographical features. You'll enjoy various People to People experiences today as you take a guided tour of a local coffee farm before sharing a delicious Cuban lunch with the owner of a local restaurant. Browse the colorful goods of the handicraft market before returning to the ship for dinner. 



Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

A day of art and music in the UNESCO city of Cienfuegos

Founded in 1819 by the Spanish, Cienfuegos actually grew to prosperity under French settlers from Bordeaux and New Orleans, becoming a major trading port for sugar, tobacco, and coffee. The uniquely harmonious blend of historic architectural styles that resulted earned Cienfuegos a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. You’ll tour the graceful center city by foot, starting with a stop at the colorful farmers market and a visit to Punta Gorda, a breezy peninsula where wealthy merchants built their mansions. Cultural Discoveries: After enjoying lunch onboard, enjoy a stirring People to People children's group performance at the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba's center. You'll also get a unique insider's look at the local art scene as you visit the studios of several talented local artists, as well as a few art galleries.



Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Connect with the people of historic Cienfuegos

Our day has a colorful start with a trip to the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, where you'll wander through over two thousand species of tropical plants. The gardens live on the grounds of the Pepito Tey Sugar Mills estate, our next stop; step inside the house for a enlightening trip back through time as you follow the history of a "sugar family" who relocated centuries ago from Boston, Massachusetts. Our next stop is the Benny More Art School, the perfect way to experience Cuba’s arts education system with private performances by school orchestras, chamber ensembles, and dance classes. Afterward returning to the ship for lunch, attend a stirring performance by the Cienfuegos Choir at the historic Tomás Terry Theater.



Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Scenic cruising in the Golfo de Batabano

Today’s cruising takes us through a palm-fringed paradise of turquoise waters and small coral keys, or cayos, as we cruise the protected waters of the Golfo de Batabano along Cuba’s southwestern coast.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

A day at sea, with a Havana arrival

Enjoy your last full day of tropical cruising as we follow the coast from the remote western tip of the island to Cuba's capital, Havana.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

Feeling the spirit of Havana

Here we are in the extraordinary city at the epicenter of Cuban life and culture. We’ll get right to the heart of things with an exploration of Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Our tour takes us among the four main squares from the colonial era, including the beautifully restored Plaza de Armas and the Plaza de Catedral, with its gem of a cathedral. You’ll also be able to witness for yourself the changes taking place in Havana today, including the restoration of long-neglected colonial façades and the opening of bright new shops and restaurants. We’ll also tour some of Havana’s landmarks including the malecón, the University of Havana, and Vedado, with a stop at Revolution Square. Cultural Discoveries: On a special People-to-People visit, discover the amazing accomplishments of a group of Havana’s homegrown community of social activists, artists, and entrepreneurs. We'll also learn about Muraleando, a community arts project in Havana, and attend a private rehearsal by the Malpaso Dance Company and have the opportunity to meet the dancers. Afterward, we’ll meander toward the San Jose Craft Market to shop for souvenirs and meet local artisans. Tonight, step back in time to 1950’s Havana with an exclusive private performance by Buena Vista Social Club members, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, and Grammy winners.


Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 14:

Explore Hemingway’s legacy at Finca Vieja and Cojimar

Cultural Discovery: A giant of American literature who became a Cuban national hero takes the stage today, as we visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s beloved island retreat, by way of classic American cars. The Nobel-prize winner worked on some of his most famous novels here, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. You’ll also visit Cojimar, the picturesque fishing village nearby, where Hemingway docked his boat, and which he used as the setting for The Old Man and the Sea. We'll savor a fresh seafood lunch at a local restaurant and meet the owner, who will enlighten us about this new private sector, before touring the elaborate structures of the Cristobal Colon Cemetery this afternoon. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 15:

The Revolution Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, and an inside look at a transformational arts studio

Today we embark on a guided tour of Cuba’s Revolution Museum followed by its Fine Arts Museum. We will visit the Art Brut Project Cuba, an art studio working with children with autism. The studio serves as a gallery showing the work these very special young people have created. Enjoy two lectures this afternoon before your final dinner onboard. This evening, as our Cuban adventure comes to a close and as we cast off for Miami, take in the view of Havana’s skyline, including the dramatic El Morro fortress that watches over the harbor entrance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 16:

Disembark in Miami and continue home

By the time you awake, we’ll be sailing into Miami’s harbor, where you’ll clear U.S. Customs before heading home. For the latest on bringing home bring home cigars, rum, and other Cuban goods, check the U.S. Customs website just before you leave home.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.

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Vantage Tauck Vantage Advantage
Journey Cuba 360°: A Cultural Cruise Around Cuba Cruising Cuba: A Cultural Gem Eastbound
Price without Air* $7,499 $9,990 Save more than $4,900 per couple, with more enriching discoveries on our longer adventure!
Trip Length 15 11 Days More time, better pace, more enrichment
Per Diem $499 $908 Save more than $400 per person per day
Accommodations 14 or 15 nights aboard the 4-star-plus cruise vessel, the MV Victory I 7 nights aboard the three-masted 60-traveler Le Ponant schooner, and two nights in a premium Havana hotel Enjoy complimentary wine and beer during all dinners onboard, in addition to wine, juices and soft drinks Luxury robes pillow menu selection nightly turndown service and more!
Exclusive Features Cruise all the way around Cuba, visiting cities, villages, and natural areas that are virtually inaccessible on a typical land-based tour. Explore 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites including Old Havana and Trinidad with experts in Cuban culture and history Call on Punta Frances on Isla de la Juventud, an island reserve only accessible by sea, to explore mangroves with a naturalist Enjoy your choice of tours to either Cienfuegos or Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs The MOST Cultural Experiences!
Meals ALL meals 29 meals All meals onboard PLUS, Welcome Reception and Dinner!
Sightseeing Up to 25 sightseeing tours & Cultural Connections, including the 16th century architecture of colorful Trinidad, and San Pedro la Roca Castle visit Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of the 1950s Revolution, with visits to Santa Ifigenia Cemetery and the tomb of Fidel Castro Most sightseeing and the BEST value, plus exciting Cultural Connections planned to enhance your journey
Preferred Traveler Rewards 5% Vantage Travel Reward to use towards your next Vantage journey $100 per person BEST REWARDS PROGRAM ON THE MARKET - save $550 more per couple!
10 Ways to Save New for 2018—including gratuities for local guides and drivers! Enjoy traveler referral rewards & SmartPay early-payment savings plan: Save up to $1800 per couple combining maximum SmartPay savings and Past Traveler Discounts (based on a $6,000 trip cost Travel Protection THE MOST WAYS TO SAVE!

*Prices are subject to change and based on comparable departure months.
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