Upon your arrival in Montego Bay, Jamaica you will be met and transferred to the port where you will board Celestyal Cruise Lines – Crystal – your home for the next 8 days.
Afternoon: Welcome Briefing by our destination expert. Our seven-day cruises around Cuba appeal to those travelers who want to learn about the culture and history of Cuba, who want to meet her warm and lively people. We offer the most Cuban ports of call on a single itinerary, including many of the fantastic island’s hidden gems, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to convey you to the authentic Cuba.
Morning: “Panoramic Santiago” Welcome to Santiago de Cuba, capital of the island’s “Wild East” and its glittering cultural nerve center, one that’s core to the evolution of Cuban architecture, literature and music. Our first stop is the African Cultural Center, Fernando Ortiz, where we’ll meet with director Dr. Martha Cordié Jackson and enjoy a traditional dance performance - after the performance we'll meet with the dancers. We’ll then stroll through the Patio of the Artisans and to Conga Gallery and its collection of contemporary Cuban art. Our next stop is the Loma de San Juan and its manicured grounds. This is the site of the only land battle of the Spanish-American War where, on July 1, 1898, flanked by his rough riders, Teddy Roosevelt led a victorious cavalry charge against the Spanish. Loma de San Juan is also the home of the Unknown Mambi Soldier. Our tour continues through this fascinating city along its most famous avenues. We will pass the University of Oriente and visit the former Moncada Barracks,Revolution Square and El Morro Castle - built at the end of the 17th century, the castle occupies a promontory high above the sea.
Afternoon: “Rum Tasting” briefing by our destination expert.
Afternoon: Let’s Learn Salsa!
Evening: Dance Like a Cuban - It’s Rumba Time!
Morning: A Taste of Cuba: How to "mix and match" the Most Mouthwatering Dishes by our destination expert. Join us for a Cuban cooking lesson and learn about some of the unique gems endemic to Cuban cuisine. You’ll learn how to take fresh ingredients and create incomparable tastes that burst with the flavors of Cuba. Our chef will show you how Creole and Spanish cuisine blend to create the authentic, singular Cuban gastronomic experience loved all over the world.
Afternoon: “Cuban Cigars - The Story Behind the Smoke”
Afternoon: Documentary about Cuba.
Evening: Dance Like a Real Cuban: It’s Cha Cha Cha Time!
Join us for a lecture where we will have the unique opportunity to learn and discuss topics on which Cuba excels, such as social security, family code and agricultural co-ops.
Morning: “Real Taste of Havana” Tour. The old city center comprises a breathtaking mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments and a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards. Come meander along the narrow streets of this fascinating city with our expert guide, who will regale you with tales of this magical city’s storied history. We begin with a walking tour of the historical center of Old Havana (“Habana Vieja”), where we’ll see the Royal Forces Castle, Saint Francis of Assisi Square, the Cathedral Square, the Old Square and Arms Square. We’ll have the opportunity to see and buy old books in all languages and interact with the book sellers.
Afternoon: “More of Authentic Havana” Tour. This Panoramic tour includes a photo stop at the famed Old Capital Building, then we drive past Revolution Museum, The Fine Arts Museum, The Parque Central (Central Park) and the Gran Teatro de Havana. We then stop at Revolution Square for some free time and photos - you’ll find the Jose Marti Memorial, the National Library and the Revolution Palace here. We leave Revolution Square to continue our tour with a drive past some of Old Havana’s most important buildings, the University of Havana and its escalinata (stairway) and the Alma Mater statue, La Rampa; the Coppelia ice cream parlor, the Yara movie theater and the Habana Libre hotel. We end our tour at San Jose Market for more free time and the market’s unique shops and hospitable vendors.
Morning: “More of Real Havana” Tour. Old Havana and its fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded in 1519 by the Spanish, and by the 17th century it had become one of the Caribbean's main centers for ship-building. Our “More of the Real Havana” Tour features a visit to the Fine Arts Museum and the famed “Museo de la Revolución” (The Museum of the Revolution). Housed in the former Presidential Palace, the museum is devoted to the revolutionary war of the 1950s and to the country's post-1959 history. Following the Museo de la Revolución we will make a stop to marvel at some of the outdoor installations of legendary Cuban ceramicist and graphic artist Jose Fuster, a pioneer of Cuban visual art. We then return on board Celestyal Crystal.
Evening: Dance like a Cuban. Come join us for a selection of beautiful Cuban dances and live Cuban music by the “Latin Souls” band. We will take you through the steps - by the end of the hour, you’ll feel as if your feet aren’t touching the dance floor.
Morning: "El Ajiaco" Cultural Briefing by out destination expert.
This hearty Cuban stew has been eaten on the island since the 1500's! It's a mix of chicken, pork spare ribs, corn malanga (yellow taro), plantains, yucca, Cuban boniato and pumpkin! Join us prior to your shore excursion to discuss the ways in which the authentic Cuba you'll experience ashore is similar to the legendary meal, a mix of diverse accents, myths, races and religion all stewed together - and to perfection!
Morning: Cooking Demonstration - Cuban Festive Dishes.
Join us for a Cuban cooking lesson and discover some of the many gems of Cuban cuisine. You will learn how to take fresh ingredients and create incomparable tastes that burst with the flavors of Cuba. Our chef will show you how some of the most popular Cuban festive dishes are prepared.
Evening: Dance like a Cuban - Que Rico Mambo!
The mamo is a fast ballroom dance of Cuban origin - it's rhythmically similar to the rumba and cha-cha-cha, but it's pattern of steps is more complex. Don't worry, though - we will help you through it.
Morning: Cienfuegos City Tour. You will have the unique opportunity to visit Cienfuegos, a 19th century planned city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. “The Pearl of the South”, this colonial gem was founded in 1819. Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba at the heart of the country’s sugar cane, mango, tobacco and coffee production area, the town first developed in the neoclassical style - it became more eclectic as it grew but still retained a harmonious overall townscape. We then stop at the Graphic Society of Cienfuegos, where we’ll meet with local artists and view their prints - the society is beloved by the people of Cienfuegos for its programs for children with special needs. Our tour continues at Project Trazos Libres: artist Santiago Hermes Martinez converted his family home into an art collective in 2009 to support local artists and collaborate with them – get ready to view unique handicrafts, murals, photographs and traditional costumes. We will then enjoy a panoramic view of Cienfuegos, before we visit the magnificent Teatro Thomas Terry: built between 1887 and 1889 to honor Venezuelan industrialist Tomás Terry, this 950-seat opera house and theater is decorated with Carrara marble and hand-carved Cuban hardwoods. After Teatro Thomas Terry we’ll return to the Celestyal Crystal.
Evening: Make Your Own Cocktail. Try a real mojito.
Evening: Farewell event. Before your disembarkation, join us for a get together and a farewell drink.
Evening: Dance like a Cuban.
Instead of saying Adios… say hasta pronto – meaning “until soon” as you bid farewell to this culturally rich People to People experience by sea in Cuba. This morning disembark the ship and transfer to Montego Bay airport for your flight back home. Thank you for sailing with us in Cuba.