Sight & Sound Cuba Cruise- 8 days & 7 nights. Havana to Cienfuegos (or reverse)
Embarkation 3 to 4 pm at Sierra Maestra Cruise Terminal. Welcome briefings and cocktails. Safety drill. Welcome dinner. Overnight in port.
Chose from the 2 half day optional excursions in colourful and vibrant Old Havana, founded by the Spaniards in 1519 in the natural harbour of the Bay of Havana and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a guided exploration on foot through Old Havana streets and squares. We will stop to see the scale model of the Old City, to the “Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos” Workshop/School for artisans and craftspeople specializing in monuments restoration. Alternatively you can take the optional full day excursion with lunch in the Pinar del Rio province. We will go inland to visit the Valley of Vinales, one of Cuba’s most scenic regions. You will be amazed by a unique landscape and by the “magotes”, dramatic rock formations and by the 18th century city of Vinales all of which contributed to make the Valley a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cuban Night. Overnight in Havana.
Take one of the optional walking Havana Tour in Old City or chose the optional excursion to the Artemisa Region outside Havana. We will drive by bus to the UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve Las Terrazzas, in the mountainous Sierra del Rosario area. This is perfect chance to discover this beautiful region including an old/colonial 18th century coffee plantation and also observe life in rural Cuba with visits to the local family doctor, nurse, clinic, an elementary school, community museum, local artists homes and studios. Lunch on board and early in the afternoon the ship leaves Havana to Maria la Gorda (Bahia de Corrientes). Overnight at sea.
Mid day arrival in Maria la Gorda (Bahia de Corrientes). This afternoon our optional excursion will take us to the “Guanahacabibes” National Park, one of the country’s largest nature reserves. Meet with the naturalists and locals. The peninsula was one of the last refuges of aboriginals fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors and also holds some 140 archaeological sites linked to the life of aborigines, who were known as Guanahatabeyes. You will meet with environmentalists at the CITMA Environmental Research Station as well. Enjoy lunch before continuing your exploration of the park with local community members and scientists to see the results of the Endangered Species Protection Projects and Environmental Education Programs. Alternatively you can spend the day at nearby beach snorkelling and enjoying the sun and the sea. Overnight at sea to Cayo Largo.
Noon time arrival in Cayo Largo. Cayo Largo was formed by limestone, formed over millions of years from the remains of marine organisms, much like the ones that form coral reefs. Our optional afternoon excursion will take us to the Sea Turtle Breeding Centre and Endangered Species Protection program. We will then join coral reef experts for an amazing 2 1/2 hour guided snorkelling experience. Protected from strong sea currents, the seabed is varied and unspoiled, with an abundance of underwater caves, valleys and steep, gorgonian-encrusted walls. Late in the evening we sail away from Cayo Largo for an overnight at sea to Casilda.
Early morning arriving into the port of Casilda. Our full day optional excursion brings us to Trinidad, a Spanish colonial settlement once built on huge sugar fortunes. Trinidad, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city, with its rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas, it is sometimes referred to as the “museum city of Cuba.” There will be stops for visits to local artists and home studios, the Museum Romantico or the Architecture Museum. After lunch, we will drive to the nearby Sugarmills Valley (Valley de los Ingenios) also a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE site. Late afternoon we set sail for Cienfuegos, arriving after midnight. Overnight in Cienfuegos.
Early morning optional excursion to Playa Giron also known as the Bay of Pigs and to the Matanzas area. Visit the Bay of Pigs and the War Museum and later the Matanzas area where you will take a boat ride on the Treasure Lake and visit a replica of a Taino Indian Village and a crocodile breeding-farm. We return to the ship for a late lunch. In the afternoon you can take the Cienfuegos optional city tour and visit the only Cuban city founded by French settlers. It is also known as the Pearl of the South. In 2005 the historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among buildings of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and some residential houses. Cienfuegos is the first, and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century
Captain’s Farewell dinner. Overnight in Cienfuegos.
Disembarkation 9 to 9.30 am and 3/4 tour bus transfer to Havana Melia Cohiba Hotel.