Tauck to Strengthen Cuba Operations in 2018
Guests can set sail on the new 11-day small ship cruise itinerary, Cruising Cuba: A Cultural Gem, beginning in December 2018. The journey includes a seven-night cruise aboard the 60-passenger Le Ponant, a two-night stay in Havana and an overnight stay in Miami prior to departure.
Eastboard itineraries available December 13 and 27 will sail from Havana to Santiago de Cuba while one westbound departure on December 22 will take the opposite route.
The itinerary includes a trip to Ernest Hemingway's former winter home, visits to Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs and Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, where Fidel Castro's ashes are entombed. Guests will also explore the Punta Frances marine park with a local naturalist.
The trip is priced at $9,990 per person, plus airfare and includes overnight stays in Miami and Havana, round-trip flights between Miami and Cuba, shore excursions, gratuities, meals and onboard drinks, all port charges, taxes, luggage handling and airport transfers.
Travelers who don't want to wait until December 2018 can also secure a reduced rate on the 12-day Cuba: A Cultural Odyssey and seven-day Cuba: Connecting with People and Culture land journeys.
The former people-to-people program takes guests through Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey, Guardalavaca, Holguin and other Cuban communities to learn about the destination's culture, history and daily way of life. The itinerary includes a walking tour of Havana's centuries-old Habana Vieja, which is now a pedestrian-only UNESCO World Heritage Site, visits with local artists, meetings with local agricultural workers and a live dance performance.
Tauck is offering 10 departures on the following dates in 2018: January 7, February 18, March 4, April 15, May 13, June 10, September 16, October 14, November 25 and December 23.
The 2018 Cuba: A Cultural Odyssey tours start at $7,590 per person, plus airfare.
Meanwhile, the shorter Cuba: Connecting with People and Culture land tour will feature a Cuban cooking class, a visit to Hemingway's 20th-century winter home and a trip to Havana's San Jose crafts market, where guests can secure a souvenir.
The seven-day itinerary starts at $5,890 per person, plus airfare and will be available for departures January through June and September through December next year.
"Guest feedback and interest in Cuba remains incredibly strong," Tauck CEO, Dan Mahar said in a statement. "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."
As Mahar alluded to, interest in Cuba and travel to the Caribbean island have remained encouraging despite recent obstacles, including major hurricanes and travel warnings.