Tauck, a leader in upscale guided travel, is expanding its Cuba programs in 2018 to include a new 11-day small ship cruise itinerary, Cruising Cuba: A Cultural Gem. By working with its longtime partners, Tauck has also been able to reduce the prices of its two Cuba land journeys – the seven-day Cuba: Connecting with People and Culture and the 12-day Cuba: A Cultural Odyssey – by up to $1,400 per couple.
“Guest feedback and interest in Cuba remains incredibly strong,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar. “We’re looking forward to operating our three fully-licensed journeys in Cuba next year, and we’re thrilled to expand our portfolio in Cuba to now include small ship cruising. By working with our partners in Cuba to reduce the prices of our land tours, we’ve been able to enhance our portfolio’s value at the same time we’re expanding its breadth.”
Among the first tour operators to receive a license from the U.S. Treasury Department, Tauck has immersed travelers into the lively culture and colorful history of Cuba on its People-to-People educational exchange trips since 2012.
CUBA BY SEA
Starting in December 2018, travelers can discover Cuba by sea on the new Cruising Cuba: A Cultural Gem. The 11-day journey travels throughout the sought-after island featuring a seven-night cruise aboard the three-masted, 60-passenger yacht, Le Ponant, a two-night hotel stay in Havana (complete with guided Tauck sightseeing) and a pre-departure overnight in Miami. Available December 13 and 27, eastbound itineraries sail from Havana to Santiago de Cuba. A westbound departure on December 22 follows a reverse itinerary setting sail from Santiago de Cuba to Havana.
Guests can follow Ernest Hemingway’s footsteps through Cuba with a visit to Finca Vigia, his former winter home outside Havana, and Cojimar, a fishing village that inspired The Old Man and the Sea. Additional cruise highlights include lunch at local paladares; visits to Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs, site of the attempted 1961 invasion of Cuba and Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, with the tomb of Fidel Castro; and the opportunity to interact with local artists, students, musicians, agricultural workers, community leaders and more. Le Ponant also sails to Punta Francés, a natural reserve on the Isla de la Juventud. Accessible only by sea and located about 60 miles off Cuba’s southern coast, it’s home to stands of mangroves that Tauck guests will explore with a local naturalist.
Included in the price (from $9,990 per person, plus airfare*) are the pre-cruise stays in Florida and Havana, round-trip flights between Miami and Cuba, the seven-night cruise aboard Le Ponant, all shore excursions, all gratuities, all meals and onboard drinks, all port charges, taxes and luggage handling, airport transfers and more.
CUBA BY LAND
In 2018, the 12-day Cuba: A Cultural Odyssey travels across the island for in-depth look into Havana, Santa Clara, Camagüey, Guardalavaca, Holguín and other communities along the way. From visiting young artists at their in-home studios and attending performances by music students, to meeting agricultural workers on a farm in rural Puerto Padre, this People-to-People program explores Cuban daily life, history and culture. Additional highlights include a walking tour through the nearly 500-year-old Habana Vieja in Havana, now a pedestrian-only UNESCO World Heritage Site; a visit to a family-owned pottery studio; and a performance by a local dance company.
Prices start at $7,590 per person plus air*. Available 2018 departures include: January 7, February 18, March 4, April 15, May 13, June 10, September 16, October 14, November 25 and December 23.
Starting at $5,890 per person (plus air*), Tauck’s seven-day, Havana-based Cuba: Connecting with People and Culture itinerary immerses travelers in the island’s rich culture from arts and history, to architecture and agriculture. Highlights include a Cuban cooking class, a visit to Havana’s bustling San José crafts market, a trip to Ernest Hemingway’s winter home from 1939 to 1960, and much more. Various departures available January through June, and September through December 2018.
* Please note: Prices for all of Tauck’s Cuba itineraries include round-trip flights between Miami and Cuba. Roundtrip airfare between guests’ home airport and Miami is not included.
QUICK RECOVERY FROM HURRICANE IRMA
Although Cuba’s northern provinces were impacted by Hurricane Irma in early September, the Cuban people have been quick to ready the island to welcome visitors. In fact, one media outlet reported as early as September 25 that “most areas of the capital and other key cities that are frequented by foreign travelers are ready to receive visitors.” That same day, a different media outlet noted that “the Canadian government has lifted its travel advisories for Havana and Varadero in the wake of ‘a swift and effective response’ to Hurricane Irma.”
Those interested in more information can contact their local travel professional, call Tauck at 800 468 2825, or visit the company’s website at www.tauck.com.