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This cruise in pictures
- Admire the dazzling tropical fish and colourful corals underwater
- Enjoy the beaches, and luxuriant tropical landscape of the Guna Yala
- Relax on the powdery white beaches of spectacular Isle of Youth
- Get driven in a vintage car to a cigar factory in Havana
- Enjoy a traditional Cuban Tropicana Evening Show
- Learn about the architecture and history of Cuba
- Be on the lookout for sloths, toucans, tanagers, hummingbirds, kiskadees
- Visit Cartagena’s fortified old quarters –a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Explore the Panama Canal on a private tour
Day by day itinerary
Fly UK to Nassau
Fly with British Airways direct to Nassau. Upon arrival you will be met by private vehicle and tranferred to your hotel for 1 night, the British Colonial Hilton, on a B&B basis.
This classic hotel is located in the heart of downtown Nassau and is an extremely good all-round choice, especially great for those customer wishing to stay pre-cruise. Shops, bars and restaurants are all within walking distance.
Check out of the hotel and make your way to the pier, a short distance from the hotel.
Once all guests have embarked and the mandatory safety drill finished, we depart on our spectacular 15-day expedition Jewels of the Caribbean Sea. This afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and important members of the crew. Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
Today is a day to relax on deck or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. A mandatory Zodiac briefing will take place during the day. As we sail towards Cuba, guests can join the Expedition Team on the outer decks and watch for birds, whales and dolphins, or head to The Theatre to learn more about Cuba and its unique culture and history -as Christopher Columbus said: “the most beautiful land that eyes have ever seen”.
La Habana is the largest city in Cuba. The Historical Centre of Havana is characterised by the presence of the architectural trends of the Baroque and the Eclecticism, which is the fingerprint of the Spanish settling.
After clearance procedures, you have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour taking in the highlights of Havana. We will start our journey to the metropolitan and Modern Havana driving to the military fortress Castillo de Los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro, from where we will have a commanding view over the city. We will then continue to the Revolution Square, a memorial to the Cuban independence hero Jose Marti. From there we drive to the colonial part of the city to explore Havana by foot through the Historical Centre of Old Havana, declared UNESCO a “World Heritage Site”, visiting the Cathedral Square, the Plaza de Armas, Havana’s first University San Geronimo de la Habana, the General Captain’s Palace and will have an opportunity to enjoy a drink at La Taberna while listening to a live band playing some typical and traditional Cuban music. From there we will walk back to the port and ship.
After an early dinner onboard the Silver Explorer, we set out to enjoy a typical not-to-miss Havana Tropicana Show. This place is the most famous and important parties’ room in Havana and it was founded in 1937 upon an idea of a tropical version of the Folies Bergère. The luxurious and spectacular show, performed under the stars, offers Caribbean music and all the varieties related with the cabaret ambiance. Sample some local rum (and coke) while enjoying this unforgettable performance –mind you, as cigars are offered to every guest attending the show (some 1000 seats are available) a lot of smoking will take place! As this is an open air arena it is weather depending –rain will cancel the show. As the show begins at 10pm, the return to Silver Explorer will be at approximately 1am.
The Silver Explorer will overnight in the port of Havana.
During our second day in Havana, we depart for a tour to see, sample and enjoy three things Cuba is famous for: vintage American cars, cigars, and mojitos. Join us on a drive in vintage American cars to the ‘Cigar Factory’. Learn about the history of cigars and see how Cuban cigars are hand-rolled, (the purchase of cigars and rum will be possible at the end of the visit) before we continue our drive through the residential areas of Miramar and Vedado to the National Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Cuba. You will see the garden and history hall and will have time for THE Cuban cocktail: a mojito.
If you prefer to explore Havana on your own, the “Havana Rum Museum” is in walking distance and has guided tours explaining the process and history of rum and the Havana Rum company.
Punta Frances, Isle of Youth, Cuba
During the morning attend one of the lectures or food seminars relating to Cuba or enjoy the cruise along Cuba’s western tip before reaching the “Isle of Youth”. This enchanting island was discovered by Columbus in 1494 during his second America-voyage, set in the Canarreos-Archipelago, between Cuba and Mexico. It served over centuries as a base for English and French pirates, who were after the Spanish galleons richly loaded with gold and silver from South America to Europe. In the 16th century Sir Francis Drake used this island as a pirate-base. Only a few years ago chests filled with gold coins and numerous shipwrecks were discovered from times of the Spanish conquerors in the south of the island. Now officially known as the Isle of Youth it is also called "The Treasure Island", after the famous novel of Robert Louis Stevenson.
We will tender ashore at the Punta Frances Maritime National Park. During your stay you will have a local lunch including spiny lobster. The underwater world of this maritime national park is a must-see. Enjoy snorkelling, swimming or sunbathing. Join our onboard Marine Biologist for a snorkel tour and learn to identify damselfish, jacks, surgeonfish, trumpet fish, parrot fish, triggerfish and turtles. Alternatively, explore more of this National Park by foot and be on the look out for iguanas and pelicans.
Cienfuegos (“hundred fires”) is the city of Cuba with an exceptional colonial flavour. The city was founded in the early 19th century by French colonists and has been called The Pearl of the South. Its second nickname has been Cuban Paris, this last name because of its French influence and having its own Arc de Triomphe. UNESCO declared it as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2005 as the best example of the 19th century implementation of new ideas in modernity, hygiene and order in Latin American urban planning.
On our tour we will visit the nearby city of Trinidad. Founded by Diego Velázquez in 1515 as Villa de la Santísima Trinidad, it still preserves its colonial style: cobble-stoned streets, tiled roofs, the filigree of its grilles and inner patios remain from colonial times. It was declared World Cultural Heritage in 1988. We will visit the Romantic Museum and the Brunet Palace before having lunch at the Plaza Mayor. After lunch we will visit La Canchánchara tavern where you can sample a special drink made with honey, lemon and rum. It was originally given to slaves as a salve in Colonial times.
For those wishing to visit the town of Cienfuegos during the afternoon, a shuttle bus will be available.
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Cuba’s second-largest city will reveal its most intriguing sites today. We will drive through the main streets of Santiago de Cuba on our way to the Morro Castle, originally called “Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca”. Designed in 1637 this fortress at the entrance to the bay and harbour of Santiago de Cuba was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as “the most complete and best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles” in 1997. Ample time will be given to explore the site.
A brief stop is made at the Revolution Square before we intend to visit Santa Ifigenia Cemetery and the Cuban independence hero’s mausoleum. Before heading to Céspedes Park, the heart of the city, where Santiago’s beautiful Cathedral overlooks the square, a stop will be made at Caney’s Bar Rum, related to a famous brand that has a bat in its logo. The last stop will be at Céspedes Park. This will give you an overview of the city, should you wish to explore at your own leisure.
Alternatively, leave Santiago de Cuba on an excursion that will take the road to La Gran Piedra, one of the Sierra Maestra Peaks. There we are able to admire wonderful views of the coast and surrounding countryside. 459 steps (with the last steps up an iron ladder!) will have to be climbed to achieve the best view from La Gran Piedra (subject to weather conditions), but there are areas to catch our breath when needed during the ascent. Later we will visit the Isabelica Museum – an old coffee plantation founded in the early 19th Century, complete with original coffee drying floors and a museum depicting the early coffee industry. We will also visit the Botanical Gardens, which have a large variety of indigenous plants and flowers.
A leisurely day at sea allows time to exchange notes with fellow travellers and to recap our stay in Cuba with our Expedition Team. Take advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard Silver Explorer. Attend a lecture about Cartagena and its role during the Spanish colonial times, or relax in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie on the in-suite interactive television.
Since its founding in 1533 by Francisco de Heredia, Cartagena de Indias has been one of the most important ports of Spanish South America. Almost all maritime traffic from South America’s west coast to Spain via Panama went on to Cartagena awaiting galleons and convoys to Europe.
As a result Cartagena has been attacked repeatedly by pirates. The old city had therefore been surrounded by several fortifications and walls –making it one of the most fortified cities in South America in its time. It was so well defended that even the British navy was not able to conquer it in 1741 –despite the fact that that the British had the largest fleet ever assembled to that point.
Cartagena celebrates that it was the first Colombian city to declare independence from Spain in 1811.
The old part of Cartagena is still enclosed by extensive walls and ‘protected’ by several fortresses. This part is known as “the walled city” and was declared a Colombian Heritage Site in 1959, while UNESCO declared it a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1984.
During the afternoon we will visit the walled part of Cartagena with its colonial houses, narrow streets, many galleries and restaurants. Inside this protected area are the Museum of the Inquisition, the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum), and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Film Museum, the Naval Museum, and the imposing Teatro Heredia. Opposite the walled city is the impressive fortress ‘Castillo de San Felipe Barajas’ with the statue of its defender against the Royal Navy in 1741.
San Blas Islands, Panama
We will board our Zodiacs and visit one of the 365 islets and islands off Panama’s northern coast. Formerly known as the San Blas Archipelago, the islands and the coastal land belonging to the Guna ethnic group received its new (and local) name of Guna Yala (formerly written as Kuna Yala) in 2011.
The approximately 30,000 Guna live along the Caribbean coast and on 36 of the islands. They live off fishing and agriculture. The islanders leave on canoes for the mainland to plant and harvest there, as the islands are only used for housing. The women are quite famous for the handicraft they produce, of which the best known are the “mola” –embroidered designs worn mainly by the women. The geometrical designs were originally painted onto the bodies, but were eventually transferred onto cloth and used as adornments for shirts. Birds, fish, scenes of the local life and even modern influences can be depicted this way and are a favourite souvenir.
We will want to visit one of the uninhabited islets for swimming and snorkelling. While we will be there, local women will come over from the other islands, showing us their molas –which not only make for good photos but are nice and sought-after souvenirs (for you to purchase, if you so wish).
Tonight our on-board videographer/photographer will present his Voyage-DVD, recapturing all the interesting moments we have had and the interesting sites seen on this voyage.
Colon, Panama to Panama City
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer in Colon, Panama.
You will be met and transferred by private vehicle for the two hour drive to Panama City. Check into your hotel in the Old Town for a 2 night stay. Hotels will be American Trade Hotel or Clementinas on a B&B basis.
Enjoy a tour to the Panama Canal.
This tour will leaves your hotel at 9:00 AM in the morning and will take you to visit the different attractions of the Panama Canal, including, the Panama Canal Commission Building and Goethals monument, the former Albrook US Military and Clayton US Military base and then finally the Miraflores Locks where you will learn more about the operation of the canal. Here you will have time to admire this manmade invention. From the observation deck of the visitor centre you will be able to observe the big ships passing through the locks.
- Includes: Private transportation, bilingual guide and entrance fees.
- Duration: 4 – 5 hours approximately.
Panama City to UK
Check out of the hotel and transfer by private car to the airport for your flight to London via Madrid, arriving the next day. Please note departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama) will have to be paid locally.
Arrive early afternoon into Heathrow.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
Any element of this cruise can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
16-day stay and cruise on board Silver Explorer (Silversea Expeditions) from £6,499 incl. flights
Departure: 5 October 2017
Adventurer Suite (AC):
Explorer Suite (EC): £6,899
View Suite (VS): £7,149
Vista Suite (VI): £7,599
Veranda Suite (VR): £8,749
Expedition Suite (EX): £10,499
Medallion Suite (ME): £11,949
Silver Suite (SL): £12,599
Grand 1 Suite (G1): £13,799
Owner's 1 Suite (O1): £15,379
Exclusive tailor-made fly, stay and cruise holiday
- British Airways flight to Nassau
- Private transfers to hotel
- 1-night stay at the 4-star British Colonial Hilton hotel including breakfast
Includes on board
- Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
- Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac®
- Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage
- Attentive butler service for all suites and the highest crew to guest ratio in the industry
- Fine dining even in the most remote places of the planet
- Comfortable amenities with the largest expedition suites at sea
- Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
- Free WIFI throughout the ship
- Onboard Gratuities
- Private transfers from Colon Port to Panama City
- 2-nights hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis in either the American Trade Hotel or Clementinas
- Private half-day Panama Canal tour
- Private transfers to airport
- Iberia flight to UK via Madrid
Prices are per person based on two sharing. Cabins/staterooms are subject to availability. All fares are subject to possible change and will be confirmed at time of enquiry and subject to currency fluctuations.
Meet our experts
Speak to someone who has been there on 020 7590 0615Meet the team