By Staff Writer
Luxury Cruise Line Regent Seven Seas has released a second voyage to Cuba, after the first voyage, which was released just last month for a March 2019 sailing, sold out. The ten-day Miami to Miami Cuban Immersion cruise aboard Seven Seas Mariner will set sail on 22 October 2019 and will be one of the most comprehensive Cuban itineraries currently available in luxury cruising. The voyage will include visits to four Cuban ports of call, three of which are overnight stays in Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, plus a maiden call to Isla de la Juventud.
“Luxury travelers are demanding to experience Cuba in a deeper, more meaningful and culturally-relevant way,” said Jason Montague, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ president and chief executive officer. “Regent Seven Seas Cruises is moving rapidly to meet this demand… We are excited to make these additional Cuban destinations beyond Havana accessible to luxury cruisers and their travel advisors.”
It’s all about immersive travel these days, and Regent Seven Seas’ shore excursions in Cuba won’t disappoint. Passengers will get to experience the usual visits to museums and historical sites, but also connect with Cuba’s local art and culture scene through exclusive shoreside activities. On board, guest lecturers will inform passengers about Cuba’s history, society and modern-day politics to help them connect with the country’s past and present.
While there are slight variations in the itineraries between the two Cuban voyages, both the Seven Seas Voyager in March and the Seven Seas Mariner in October will sail to these Cuban destinations:
Guests will have the chance to see the real Havana both by day and night with Regent’s OFAC-compliant tours. Tour the city’s cobbled streets, stroll down the iconic Malecón, and perhaps get that quintessential Cuban photo of coloured building and vintage cars. As the sun goes down, purchase hand-made authentic Cubans, order a mojito at Hemingway’s favourite bar, El Floridita and dance the night away at a salsa club. Take a private visit of the F.A.C. – Fabrica de Arte Cubano – a unique art and photographic gallery and cultural centre, dance space and cinema – outside of normal operating hours, and then meet and chat with currently showcased artists.
Santiago de Cuba
The capital of Cuba for almost 100 years before the Spanish decided to shift it to Havana in 1607, Santiago is Cuba’s second largest city and a cultural epicentre, having played an instrumental role in the evolution of Cuban music, literature and architecture. Among Regent’s OFAC-compliant tours, guests will be able to visit Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca and the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where Cuban hero José Martí and Emilio Bacardí Moreau of the famed rum dynasty are both buried. Travellers will get to feel the rhythm and energy of live musical performances at the pioneering Iris Jazz Club, one of the few venues in Santiago de Cuba that only features jazz, and experience Plaza de Marte, also known as Freedom Square, which pays tribute to the independence of Cuba.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the southern coast of Cuba, the historic and glamorous Cienfuegos is peppered with Spanish colonial buildings and long stretches of oceanfront, palm tree- trimmed promenade. A Regent OFAC-compliant tour will see Regent passengers head off on a tour of the Anastasio Cardenas tobacco factory, and visits to the colonial downtown; architectural treasures such as the Arch of Triumph and Casa del Fundador; and the grand Tomás Terry Theatre overlooking Cuban national hero Jose Martí Park are on the agenda here.
Those lucky enough to book a spot on Seven Seas Voyager’s March 2019 journey will also call on the Caribbean nation of Isla de la Juventud. Once home to pirates, natives and the American Crocodile, Cuba’s second largest island known as the fabled “Island of Youth” is believed to have been the inspiration for both Treasure Island and Peter Pan. Today it is home to the historic Presidio Modelo cultural museum, which was originally a prison that held both Fidel and Raúl Castro prior to the Cuban Revolution, then their adversaries in the years following.
In addition to these two Cuban exploration cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering over 20 voyages that call on Havana through 2021.