Cuban History,Culture, and Contemporary Life: A People-to-People Educational Experience

8 days / 7 nights
    Roundtrip flight included
    Cuban History,Culture, and Contemporary Life: A People-to-People Educational Experience
    Flights Miami/Havana-Holguin/Miami +transfers+2 nights in Havana+visits

    Cruise Latin America, Caribbean

    from 27 January 2019 to 3 February 2019
    8 days / 7 nights

    Departure Port : Cienfuegos
    Arrival Port : Santiago de Cuba

    Ship : LE PONANT

    • Ref : CS3545 - P270119

    Explore the finest cities and most historic regions of Cuba—many located far from Havana—unpacking just once, and enjoying the safety and comfort of the elegant 64-guest yacht Le Ponant, sailing from port to port without worrying about the condition of roads or the quality of local accommodations. Be among the privileged Americans to experience Cuba by sea and to discover it in all its richness—its complex history, vibrant culture, natural landscapes, and dynamic arts scene—by traveling widely and meeting and exchanging ideas with people from all corners of the island. Everywhere we go, we explore beneath the surface to discover how Cubans actually live and work. For example, in Trinidad, the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities and a UNESCO World Heritage site, we tour its famed architecture with the city historian, but we also share a meal with the entrepreneurial owner of a bed and breakfast, talk with practitioners of Santeria, and visit local artisans in their studios. In addition to all that we will learn from these encounters with Cubans from various walks of life, we will be privileged to travel in the company of the expert Franklin Knight, noted expert on Cuban history, culture and politics.

    Highlights

    Note: This itinerary is offered as a people-to-people program in Cuba authorized by the U.S. government pursuant to the code of Federal Regulations (31 C.F.R. §565(b)(2).

    • Included 2-night pre-cruise hotel/tour package in Havana
    • Bay of Pigs
    • Colonial Trinidad
    • Meet with local artists in Santiago
    • Conservation efforts on Isla de la Juventud
    • 2 Cuban guides onboard for entire cruise. Exceptional experience for pax: sharing meals; informal, relaxed conversations
    • Franklin W. Knight – Noted commentator and expert on Cuban history, culture and politics

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    Staterooms & Suites

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      LE PONANT

      Mythical destinations and secret ports of call only accessible to small capacity yachts. Ponant’s signature are Frenchstyle cuisine in a welcoming and intimate environment, discreet yet attentive service where no attention to detail is spared, unforgettable moments of relaxation aboard elegant French flag yachts of character. A sophisticated yet friendly atmosphere, in which, emotions, discovery and the quest for authenticity all take priority. Experience cruising in a different way and discover the magic of « Yacht Cruising ».

      Given her size, shallow draft and a design that is very open to the sea (large sundeck, outdoor restaurant, easy access to the sea for swimming from her marina), Le Ponant, PONANT’s symbolic flagship gives passengers the feeling they are on a private yacht. The 32 staterooms all have a port hole and are tastefully decorated in a harmony of blues and whites. Two comfortable lounges and two restaurants complete the intimate spaces on this beautiful yacht.

       

       

      Port of call & excursions

      27 January 2019 – Cienfuegos

      Cienfuegos

      Embarkation 27/01/2019 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 27/01/2019 at 00H00 .

      Known as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos, a small port town lying in the crook of Cuba’s largest bay, shines with a thousand lights. Its colourful city centre with its unique architecture combines French and Spanish influences from the 14th and 20th century and consists of constructions of a neoclassical and eclectic style. A UNESCO World Heritage listed town, its colonial heritage is clearly visible to the visitor. As you wander through the narrow streets, do not miss a visit to the José Martí park in the former Plaza de Armas, the government palace which is now the town hall, and the Malecon waterfront walkway. Make the most of the gentle way of life and, as night falls, enjoy the festive atmosphere in the town. 

      28 January 2019 – Cienfuegos

      28 January 2019 – Cienfuegos

      Arrival 28/01/2019. Departure 28/01/2019 early evening.

      Known as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos, a small port town lying in the crook of Cuba’s largest bay, shines with a thousand lights. Its colourful city centre with its unique architecture combines French and Spanish influences from the 14th and 20th century and consists of constructions of a neoclassical and eclectic style. A UNESCO World Heritage listed town, its colonial heritage is clearly visible to the visitor. As you wander through the narrow streets, do not miss a visit to the José Martí park in the former Plaza de Armas, the government palace which is now the town hall, and the Malecon waterfront walkway. Make the most of the gentle way of life and, as night falls, enjoy the festive atmosphere in the town. 

      29 January 2019 – Cayo Largo del Sur

      29 January 2019 – Cayo Largo del Sur

      Arrival 29/01/2019 early morning. Departure 29/01/2019 late afternoon.

      Cayo Largo is a limestone islet of white sand, teeming coral reefs, and a profusion of turtles, iguanas, cranes, and flamingoes.

      30 January 2019▸31 January 2019 – Casilda

      30 January 2019▸31 January 2019 – Casilda

      Arrival 30/01/2019 early morning. Departure 31/01/2019 mid afternoon.

      Trinidad is the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial towns. Founded in 1514, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its cobblestoned streets are lined with neoclassical and baroque homes and buildings embellished with wrought-iron grillwork.

      1 February 2019 – At sea aboard Le Ponant

      1 February 2019 – At sea aboard Le Ponant

      Arrival 01/02/2019. Departure 01/02/2019.

      During your day at sea on board Le Ponant, make the most of your free time and the comfort of your ship for a moment of rest or conviviality. If the weather is right, let yourself be tempted by a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to do some shopping in the boutique and share the highlights of your cruise with the other passengers. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining relaxation, sharing and the pleasure of sailing on a yacht.

      2 February 2019 – Santiago de Cuba

      2 February 2019 – Santiago de Cuba

      Arrival 02/02/2019 early morning. Departure 02/02/2019.

      Set at the head of a spacious bay that is surrounded by mountains, Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, is one of the island’s oldest cities, founded in 1515. The city is known for its eclectic architectural styles that range from Colonial to Art Nouveau, as well as for its flourishing artistic and cultural scene.

      3 February 2019▸2 February 2019 – Santiago de Cuba

      Santiago de Cuba

      Disembarkation 03/02/2019 at 07H00 .

      Set at the head of a spacious bay that is surrounded by mountains, Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, is one of the island’s oldest cities, founded in 1515. The city is known for its eclectic architectural styles that range from Colonial to Art Nouveau, as well as for its flourishing artistic and cultural scene.

      Formalities

      • The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.

      • Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.

      • Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

      • Cuba : participants must complete and sign a People-to-People Application Form and a Certificate of Travel to Cuba (both of these forms will be supplied) and return them to PONANT together with a copy of your passport no later than 45 days prior to travel. Those documents are necessary in order to obtain the Cuban visa/tourist card, which you will receive prior to your flight to Havana. Cuba requires all visitors to have medical insurance, this insurance is included as part of the air ticket.

      • Cuba: this itinerary is offered as a people-to-people program in Cuba authorized by the U.S. government pursuant to the code of Federal Regulations (31 C.F.R. §565(b)(2).

      Flights Miami/Havana-Holguin/Miami +transfers+2 nights in Havana+visits

      Friday, January 25 -  Miami to Havana

      Meet fellow travelers at Miami International Airport for our group flight to Havana. After clearing customs and immigration, transfer to the city, where an architectural historian will guide a walking tour through the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 1519. We will learn about the city’s colonial history, its ongoing restoration, and see its vibrant street life.  View the handsome main squares including Plazas Vieja,de San Francisco, de la Catedral, and de Armas with its stately Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Check into the Melia Cohiba Hotel (or similar).  Enjoy a walk along the Malecon, the city’s three mile coastal boulevard and an evening gathering place for Habaneros. (L, D)

      Saturday, January 26 - Havana

      Drive to the Sierra del Rosario, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve region and mountain range in the provinces of Pinar del Río and Artemisa, and the settlement of Las Terrazas, a sustainable village which originated as a reforestation project in 1968 and is now Cuba’s main ecotourism center. Meet the residents to learn about small town life in Cuba.  Also visit an artist’s studio and learn about his work and about the art scene in Cuba. Alternatively, visit an organic farm in the outskirts of Havana and learn about their sustainable farming practices. In the late afternoon, meet Cuban musicians and dancers at a cultural performance. (B,L,D)

      Sunday, January 27 Havana - Embarkation

      This morning, see the baroque inner cloister of the Seminary of San Carlos y San Ambrosio and visit the Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos Workshop/School for discussions with artisans specializing in monument restoration. Enjoy lunch in Old Havana at a paladar and learn about domestic cuisine and small business ownership. After lunch, learn about traditional and contemporary Cuban art on a tour of the Museo de Bellas Artes.  This evening, board Le Ponant in Havana and set sail. (B,L,D)

      Monday, January 28 - At Sea

      Attend lectures and enjoy the experience of Le Ponant under sail. (B,L,D)

      Tuesday, January 29 -  Punta Frances, Isla de la Juventud

      Today we visit one of the most remote and beautiful beaches on Cuba, where we take advantage of the excellent swimming and snorkeling.  The beach is part of Parque Nacional Marino de Punta Frances Punta Pederales, a marine conservation area established in 1978.  We will have an opportunity to meet and talk with Cubans concerned with preserving the natural environment and fragile ecosystem of the island. (B,L,D)

      Wednesday, January 30 -  Cienfuegos

      After a morning at sea, arrive in Cienfuegos where you may either travel to the Bay of Pigs and Playa Giron or spend time exploring Cienfuegos itself. The Bay of Pigs was the site of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, where in 1961, 1,300 armed Cuban exiles were thwarted in their attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. We will view the landing beach, see the Playa Giron Museum’s exhibits, and learn about this critical event from the Cuban perspective. If you elect to stay in Cienfuegos, you will tour the city, learn from local officials about architectural conservation, visit Palacio de Valle, and meet with local folk artists. Late in the afternoon, everyone will gather to hear a private performance of the Cantores de Cienfuegos before returning to the pier. (B,L,D)

      Thursday, January 31 -  Casilda and Trinidad

      Trinidad is the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial towns. Founded in 1514, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its cobblestoned streets are lined with neoclassical and baroque homes and buildings embellished with wrought-iron grillwork. A walking tour will be led by Office of the City Historian representatives, with resident interactions along the way. Highlights include the Plaza Mayor; the Palacio Cantero’s wonderful collection of art and antiques; the Architecture Museum; the church of the Convent of San Francisco; and Plaza Santa Ana. Meet with an owner of a free-enterprise “casa particular” (Cuban bed and breakfast) and learn about this relatively new form of independent business in Cuba. We will also learn about the owner’s family history as it is tied to the home he has transformed into a casa particular. Trinidad is steeped in religiosity, including Santeria and other Afro-Cuban religions. We will meet with practitioners and explore these belief systems and also attend a private performance of Afro Cuban music and dance. (B,L,D)

      Friday, February 1 - At Sea

      As we sail from Trinidad to Santiago, we will take the opportunity to reflect with one another on where we have been, what we have seen, and what we have learned. (B,L,D)

      Saturday, February 2 - Santiago de Cuba

      Set at the head of a spacious bay that is surrounded by mountains, Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, is one of the island’s oldest cities, founded in 1515. The city is known for its eclectic architectural styles that range from Colonial to Art Nouveau, as well as for its flourishing artistic and cultural scene. Visit the Ateneo de Santiago, an important organization of artists. Meet with the organization’s members, each representing different professions within the arts, and discuss Santiago’s contemporary arts scene. Our exploration, in the company of local cultural leaders, continues at Parque Cespesdes, a charming square where in the 18th-century town hall Fidel Castro delivered his victory speech in 1959.  See the Cementario de Santa Ifigenia; the 1516 Casa de Don Diego Velasquez; and Calle Heredia, the Old City’s loveliest street. Also visit restored San Juan Hill and its monuments to the Spanish-American War, where we will hear Cuba’s perspective on this war.  Le Ponant is overnight in port. (B,L,D)

      Sunday, February 3 - Santiago de Cuba to Miami

      Disembark and travel to Holguin for our group flight to Miami.

      Your Hotel:

      Melia Cohiba is a stylish, 5 Star hotel, exceptionally located alongside the Malecón and close to Old Havana. Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and outdoor swimming pool. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV, telephone, safe, minibar, iron, bathrobes, bathroom toiletries and a hairdryer.

      Included:

      • Airfare from Miami to Havana and from Holguin to Miami
      • Two nights at our Melia Cohiba (or similar), breakfast included
      • Transfers and luggage handling from Havana airport to the hotel and from hotel to the ship
      • Pre-cruise sightseeing in Havana as described above
      • Comprehensive 7-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Ponant, with all the amenities for which Ponant ships are famous.
      • ALL excursions and onboard activities during the cruise as described above
      • Gratuities to guides and drivers throughout
      • Transfer and luggage handling from the ship to Holguin airport

      Not included:

      • Meals and beverages other than those specified above
      • Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, Internet, etc.)

      Notes:

      • This itinerary is offered as a people-to-people program in Cuba authorized by the U.S. government pursuant to the code of Federal Regulations (31 C.F.R. §565(b)(2).
      • This voyage is offered on a space available basis.
      • Program is subject to change without notice.

      Guest(s) Lecturer(s)

      Franklin W. Knight

      Franklin W. Knight

      Franklin W. Knight, Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University, is an analyst and commentator on Latin American and Caribbean history and culture who regularly contributes his expertise on National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, PBS NewsHour, and C-Span. Elected a Corresponding Member of the Cuban Academy of History in 2012, he has organized and led educational travel programs to Cuba since the 1970s.  This vast experience, his ability to place Cuban social and political history in the broader context of Latin American cultural developments – and his ability to communicate clearly – win praises from all those who have traveled with him. His profession has honored Professor Knight by electing him President of both the Latin American Studies Association and The Historical Society.  He serves on advisory committees of the National Research Council, the Handbook of Latin American Studies of the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress and the editorial boards of several academic journals.

       

      Language spoken: English

      Possibility of withdrawal in case of force majeure.

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