MIAMI, FL March 31, 2017 –The Azamara Quest, one of Azamara Club Cruises boutique up market ships arrived at Cuba’s Sierra Maestra terminal for the first time today making history. The ship is just a handful of American owned ships which has been granted permission by the Cuban government to schedule sailings to the island once off-limits to American citizens. Sailing down the Bahía de la Habana and along Havana’s famous El Malecón, the guests had magnificent views of the local shoreline before turning alongside Cuba’s Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro through the Canal de Entrada to dock.
Azamara Club Cruises President & CEO, Larry Pimentel, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. President & COO Adam Goldstein, and Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. Vice President of Business Development, Global Government and Community Relations, Jorge Delgado joined Captain Angel Albertini, Chief of Havana Cruise Terminal and a contingent of Cuban Dignitaries to toast the arrival of Azamara Quest, and this important moment in the brand’s history, during a Keys & Plaques ceremony. (see photo below.)
“Azamara takes pride in bringing guests to new and remarkable destinations and we’re especially proud to be the first RCCL brand to bring our guests to Cuba, a magical country with such inner beauty. We’ve put together memorable land experiences for our guests to connect to the local people on this first visit to the island nation, a country rich in history, culture, education and the arts.” said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Today’s ceremony demonstrates our commitment to Cuba and our eagerness to help guests discover the many aspects of Cuba by connecting guests to the people and places that make the country so vibrant and full of rich history.”
Azamara has crafted a variety of unique people-to-people land programs, by night and by day, to enable guests a fully immersed experience in the destination and have the opportunity to connect with the great culture and people of Cuba. Azamara ships will stay overnight in Havana thus giving all guests to experience these programs and more. All tour programs offered by Azamara are designed to meet United States’ requirements for travel to Cuba. Highlights include:
- Tropicana Cabaret Extravaganza: The most spectacular of the open-air cabarets showcase Caribbean rhythms and sultry dancers. An English speaking guide shares history of the famous show while on the ride to the Tropicana. Once there guests sip on rum cocktails surrounded by lush tropical gardens and enjoy the folklore and music of Cuba.
- Nelson Dominguez Art Gallery Tour: Located next to the pier, guests can join Larry Pimentel for a private gallery tour of renowned artist Nelson Dominguez followed by the chance to browse and shop artwork to take home as a souvenir.
- Evening Stroll and El Cañonazo Ceremony: A guided walk through the cobblestone streets of Old Havana at night allows travelers to appreciate the city’s rustic charm and rich history. A brief bus ride transports the group to the nearby Morro Castle with a ceremonial firing of the cannon at 9 pm.
- Best of Havana – a full-day, all-encompassing trip through Havana exploring the city’s beautiful sprawling cemetery, notable squares, artsy neighborhoods, literary connections and authentic cuisine.
- Havana By Classic American Car – Guests can venture back to 1950’s Cuba in a vintage American automobile for a panoramic ride to a historic luxury hotel and along the quintessential Malecón waterfront.
- Hemingway’s Havana – Guests get to explore the literary connections between Cuba and the late American novelist Ernest Hemingway on a dynamic four-hour tour that offers the chance to see where he lived, dined and sipped his favorite cocktails.
Following this Hemingway Hideaways voyage which also visits ports in New Orleans and Florida, Azamara is offering two additional sailings for 2017:
Havana Discovery: Departing on November 20, 2017, the Havana Discovery voyage begins and ends in Miami with a journey that visits laid-back Key West, followed by an overnight stay in the bustling city of Havana with a historic exploration of Vieja Havana (Old Havana) and dive into the aquamarine waters of Cozumel, the Caribbean jewel. Rates start at $1,699.00 USD.
Havana Getaway: Departing November 27, 2017, the four-night Havana Getaway packs a lot of adventure into a little time. The voyage explores the colorful buildings and eclectic plazas of Havana with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site and overnight stays allow for guests to experience the quintessential Cuban nightlife. Rates start at $1,499.00 USD.