Looking for a unique “hot” destination to motivate, inspire, and leave a lasting impression? Incentive cruises to Cuba are well worth your consideration. This captivating island is less than 100 miles from the southernmost tip of Florida…but a world apart!
Long forbidden to U.S. visitors, Cuba is now poised to become the most sought-after destination for incentive groups. Who wouldn’t want to be among the first to visit Cuba? The unspoiled tropical beauty, rich and vibrant culture, and beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage Sites add to the allure.
Cruises from the United States to Cuba must incorporate People-to-People cultural engagement excursions. Your group will have the opportunity to interact with artists, musicians, families and business owners who make up the fabric of Cuban society. If you’re looking for a truly authentic and immersive travel experience, what could be better?
Incentive Cruises to Cuba – Many Choices!
Fathom Cruise Line
Carnival’s new “Social Impact” cruise brand Fathom made history when Adonia became the first U.S. ship to sail to Havana in more than 50 years. The 704-passenger ship was refurbished in 2016 and offers a taste of Cuba onboard with interactive workshops, Cuban-inspired menus, local bands brought on board, and Cuban dance classes. Seven-night itineraries from Miami include 3 1/2 days of shore excursions, with stops in Havana, Stantiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos.
The second cruise company to secure government approvals is French-flagged cruise line Ponant, bringing its unique brand of upscale, small-ship cruising to Cuba in 2017. A highlight of Ponant’s “People-to-People Cultural Exchange” is the ship itself, Le Ponant: an intimate yacht with 32 oceanview cabins – perfect for charter! Le Ponant will sail roundtrip from Miami to Cuba from early January through April 2017 and again in 2018. Itinerary details have not been announced.
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean International is awaiting approval from the Cuban government to add the island nation as a port of call. Royal Caribbean had hoped to have Empress of the Seas sailing Cuba itineraries from Miami by late July 2016, but have extended their 4 and 5-night Caribbean crises through the end of October. The 1,602-passenger ship recently underwent $50 million in upgrades.
According to Frank Del Rio, President & CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (parent company of Oceania, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises), Oceania has tentative approval to begin cruises to Cuba with the 684-passenger Oceania Regatta before the end of 2016. That would be followed by another premium ship in 2017, the 1,260-passenger Oceania Marina. The ships will sail a variety of itineraries, including circumnavigation of Cuba with stops in Cienfuegos and Havana, which Del Rio said would be the “star” port.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Mr. Del Rio hinted that Norwegian Cruise Line is also waiting to sail from Miami to Havana. Because it is one of Norwegian’s smaller ships, the 2,000- passenger Norwegian Sky is being considered for cruises to Cuba pending U.S. and Cuban government approvals.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises has announced a 7-night Viking Sun cruise sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale in December 2017 featuring two days in Havana as well as visits to Cozumel, Belize and Key West. The 930-passenger ultra-premium Viking Sun features all veranda accommodations and an all-inclusive cruise experience. Shore excursions; ship-wide WiFi; beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; and specialty dining are all included in your fare.
Victory Cruise Line
A new cruise company based in Miami also hopes to offer cruises from Florida to Cuba. Victory Cruise Line will operate the Victory I, a 202-passenger ship formerly known as the Saint Laurent. While still awaiting final government approval, Victory I’s first planned cruise to Cuba is a seven-day, six-night voyage from Port Canaveral, FL, departing Oct. 28, 2016. It will be the first cruise ever to Cuba to depart from a Central Florida port. A fall-winter series of 3 to 14 night cruises are then scheduled depart from Miami to Cuba through April 2017.
Pearl Cruises is planning 10-night Cuban Cultural voyages on the new Pearl Mist. This small ship offers a deluxe cruise experience with just 100 over-sized staterooms, all with private balconies. The roundtrip Miami itinerary (currently awaiting final government approval) includes an overnight in Havana and visits to several other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Cruises are scheduled to begin in late October, 2016.
Experience Cuba People-to-People on a 10-night Land & Sea program aboard the Panorama II, a two masted-sailing yacht accommodating just 44 guests in 22 outside rooms. On every departure, both on shore (3 nts) and on board Panorama II (7 nts), you’ll be in the company of Lindblad’s expert team, and meet local local artists, musicians, naturalists, and more who are safeguarding Cuban traditions.