Abercrombie & Kent curates new ways to explore rapidly changing Cuba

The sailing yacht Le Ponant (Ponant Cruises)Bringing unparalleled expertise in experiential travel to Cuba and small ship cruising, Abercrombie & Kent announces 2018 dates for Cuba by Land & Sea: A People-to-People Cruise, the most immersive way to experience this island nation.

Centrally-located hotels in Havana and Santiago de Cuba provide access to the rich arts and cultural scene, while a seven-night cruise aboard the boutique sailing yacht ‘Le Ponant’ allows time to explore the picturesque coastline.

“This thoughtfully-curated itinerary — which sold out quickly in 2017 – combines the most popular elements of our people-to-people land program with colonial Trinidad and the pristine waters of Punta Francés, one of the best-preserved coral reefs in the Caribbean,” explains Bob Simpson, Abercrombie & Kent Vice President of Expedition Cruising.

“One of the most rewarding experiences for our guests is having our resident Cuban guides onboard to share their personal insights into the island’s history, education, healthcare system and economy, as well as its political and social structure.”

Two full days in Havana provide time to experience its vibrant energy and culture. Stroll through the streets of 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 Haban, the first five-star property in the city.

Discover the local arts, music and dining scene during intimate, one-on-one encounters with local residents. Meet students and staff at one of Cuba’s universities to to learn about the free education system and the island nation’s impressive literacy rate. 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 feature the chance to meet local chefs.

Cruise accommodations are on board ‘Le Ponant,’ a three-masted sailing yacht with just 28 modern cabins. The ship’s intimate size, specially-designed Marina and stable Zodiac boats enable guests to visit ports that would otherwise be inaccessible. Dining options include a gourmet dining room featuring international cuisine and a more casual al fresco restaurant. The 1.3 to 1 guest-to-crew ratio insures personalized service.

One highlight of the journey is the opportunity to snorkel and swim in Punta Francés Nature Reserve, a park only accessible by sea. Expert naturalist guides explain the remarkable conservation efforts that have preserved these waters during a guided hike along a crystal white sand beach to a Mangrove forest.

Abercrombie & Kent USA has been offering people-to-people travel to Cuba since 2013. All ports of call have been approved by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism. Cuba by Land and Sea: A People to People Cruise (11 days from $9,995 per person, double occupancy), includes hotel and cruise accommodations, sightseeing, onboard lectures, shore excursions, equipment, most drinks and gratuities. A&K’s two back-to-back charters are limited to just 56 guests each.

Cruise #1 – February 23-March 5, 2018 (Sailing Santiago de Cuba to Havana)
Cruise #2 – March 1-12, 2018 (Havana to Santiago de Cuba)
NEW FOR FALL 2017: Cuba: People to People: An Island of Diversity

Starting this fall, Abercrombie & Kent has developed a new land-based itinerary, Cuba: People to People: An Island of Diversity (10 days from $6,795 per person, double occupancy). Beginning in the traditional town of Camaguey, this journey explores many of the island’s treasures from the 13 beautifully-decorated gold altars in Remedios to the perfectly-preserved Spanish colonial town of Trinidad and vibrant Havana. Discover Cuba’s rich cultural heritage through local and professional dance performances, meeting artisans in their workshops and dining in local paladars. Accommodations in Havana are at the luxurious new Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana.

“As Cuba continues to develop its tourism industry, Abercrombie & Kent is constantly in search of new opportunities to deliver the most immersive, authentic and highest quality experiences to meet our guests’ expectations. Trinidad, for instance, is a 19th-century colonial gem frozen in time, but which comes to life in an almost-festival-like atmosphere at night.”

(Abercrombie & Kent travel)