HAVANA, May 17th The 2018 itinerary will incorporate centrally-located hotels in Havana and Santiago de Cuba, as well as a seven-night cruise aboard the boutique sailing yacht, Le Ponant.
The itinerary combines the most popular elements of the company’s people-to-people land program with colonial Trinidad and Punta Frances, said to be one of the best-preserved coral reefs in the Caribbean, said Bob Simpson, Abercrombie & Kent’s vice president of expedition cruising, in a written release.
Onboard, resident Cuban guides will share personal insights into the island’s history, education, health care system and economy, as well as its political and social structure.
The itinerary will spend two full days in Havana, with time to explore Old Havana with a local architect who describes the historic architectural styles and ongoing restoration efforts. Accommodations are at the new Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, the first five-star property in the city.
Clients can discover the local arts, music and dining scene during encounters with local residents, A&K said. Guests can also meet students and staff at one of Cuba’s universities to learn about the free education system and the island nation’s impressive literacy rate. There will also be the chance to see the final resting place of former Cuban President Fidel Castro and Cuban national hero, Jose Marti.
Lunches provide an introduction to Cuban cuisine at privately-owned paladars and include the chance to meet local chefs.
Cruise accommodations are on board Le Ponant, a three-masted sailing yacht with 28 cabins. The ship’s size, specially-designed Marina and stable Zodiac boats enable guests to visit ports that would otherwise be inaccessible, according to A&K. Dining options include a gourmet dining room serving international cuisine and a more casual al fresco restaurant.
One highlight of the journey is the opportunity to snorkel and swim in Punta Frances Nature Reserve, a park only accessible by sea. Expert naturalist guides explain the conservation efforts that have preserved these waters during a guided hike along the beach to a Mangrove forest.