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Cuba by Land & Sea

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Departure Dates

  • Feb 03, 2019 - Feb 12, 2019


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Cuba by Land & Sea

Explore the breadth of Cuba in depth—from east to west, by land and by sea—while interacting daily with friendly and inquisitive Cubans from all walks of life who are quick to smile and talk openly with you about their day-to-day lives, culture, work and family traditions. Gain insight into the lasting influence of Spain; the glamorous landscape that once drew celebrities, gangsters, movie stars, writers, artists and heads of state; the legacy of Fidel Castro; and the island’s emerging future. Experience Cuba’s vivid culture and its irresistible zest for life.

Complimentary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!

Tour Map
Cuba map

Study Leader

Frequent study leader and historian, John Meffert is a long-time proponent of preservation. As former director of the National Trust’s Southern Office, John now serves as a consultant on heritage conservation services in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, where he has also served as the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston preserving the historic resources of the city. John has been to Cuba on several National Trust Tours for the past 10 years! February 3-12

Educational Experts
Accompanied by experienced, English-speaking Cuban hosts, immerse yourself in a comprehensive and intimate travel experience that explores the history, culture, art, language, cuisine and rhythms of daily Cuban life. Interact with local Cuban experts including musicians, artists, farmers, academics and architects.

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For more information or with any questions call 888-484-8785 or email



Santiago de Cuba – Day 1
Depart the U.S. Upon arrival in Holguín, meet your host and begin your immersion into Cuban daily life. Transfer to Santiago de Cuba and embark Le Ponant. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening. (l,r,d)

Cultural Enrichment:

◆◆ Meet the multigenerational family living andworking on a farm near Holguín and enjoy a light lunch.

Santiago de Cuba – Day 2 and Day 3
Cuba’s second largest city is perhaps its most culturally vibrant, with the rhythms of salsa emanating from its lively streets, rich with Afro-Cuban heritage. See Parque Céspedes including City Hall, where Fidel Castro announced victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and 15th‑century Casa de Diego Velázquez, the oldest standing house in Cuba. Walk through the expansive Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, the grandiose final resting place of former president Fidel Castro and Cuban national hero and literary figure José Martí. View imposing Revolution Square, historic San Juan Hill—a pivotal site during the Spanish‑American War—and the Palace of Justice. Visit the Moncada Barracks, where Castro led a small group of revolutionaries against Fulgencio Batista in 1953. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Castillo San Pedro de la Roca (El Morro), a 17th‑century fortress built to protect Santiago de Cuba Bay. In the lush Jardín de los Helechos, walk among over 350 species of ferns and 90 types of orchids. (2b,2l,2d)

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:
◆◆ Celebrate Afro‑Cuban music, dance and culture with a vibrant performance in the multifaceted Casa de la Trova.
◆◆ Visit the Basílica de Nuestra Señora el Cobre, dedicated to Cuba’s patron saint, La Virgen de la Caridad (Our Lady of Charity), which Pope Francis visited in 2015. Observe Cuban pilgrims revering this sacred shrine, the statue of which,  by legend, was found floating in Nipe Bay some 400 years ago.
◆◆ Enjoy a performance by a female Cuban vocal quartet.

Cruising the Caribbean Sea – Day 4
Engage in discussions and enjoy time at leisure while cruising the Caribbean Sea. (b,l,d)

Trinidad – Day 5

UNESCO World Heritage-designated Trinidad is a fascinating cultural mélange—centuries of French, British and Spanish rule characterize the colonial architecture, while the cultures of the Arawak and Carib peoples, former African slaves and 19th-century immigrants from India endure in popular traditions. Stroll past pastel-hued houses and through 18th‑century Plaza Mayor, and visit a former colonial mansion, the neoclassical Palacio Cantero, now a museum of Trinidadian history. (b,l,d)

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:
◆◆ Enjoy a lively rumba performance at the Palenque de los Congos Reales, an outdoor music center devoted to traditional Afro‑Cuban music and dancing.
◆◆ Meet with and visit the workshop of Lázaro Niebla and view a collection of his reverse woodcarvings depicting elder Cubans on colonial window panels.
◆◆ Visit Casa Chichi, a multigenerational pottery workshop established in 1892 that still uses clay sourced from Cuba’s caves.

Cienfuegos for Santa Clara – Day 6
The “Pearl of the South,” this UNESCO World Heritage-designated harbor city was considered Spanish territory when it was colonized by French settlers from Louisiana and Bordeaux in 1819. Cienfuegos was once a trading port for sugar cane, coffee and tobacco and was built in a neoclassical style from the wealth of these industries. Traces from these influences are embedded here, from its French street names to its Spanish Enlightenment‑style geometric layout. Visit the eclectic Teatro Tomás Terry, which hosted its first opera in 1895 and where famed musicians such as Enrico Caruso once performed. Travel to Santa Clara, the gateway to Cuba’s historically and agriculturally rich region shaped by its prestigious university and grand colonial theater. The site of the Cuban Revolution’s last battle, Santa Clara has long been associated with Ernesto “Che” Guevara; see his impressive monument and explore the comprehensive History Museum of the Revolution.

Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception on board this evening. (b,l,r,d)

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:
◆◆ Listen to a musical performance by the Orquesta de Cámara and meet the musicians.
◆◆ In a typical senior citizen community center, learn more about social welfare in Cuba and enjoy conversations with its residents and staff, who will introduce you to a Cuban dance tradition, the danzón.
◆◆ Enjoy lunch in a paladar.

Cienfuegos/Havana – Day 7
Disembark in Cienfuegos. En route to Havana, visit Finca Vigía, the former home of Ernest Hemingway, affectionately called “Papa” by locals. Here, he wrote The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Accommodations for three nights are in the Meliá Habana Hotel. (b,l,d)

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:
◆◆ See a performance by dance and percussion group Habana Compás.
◆◆ Enjoy lunch in a paladar.

Cruise itinerary is subject to change and will also operate in the reverse direction.