Packed yet? Holland America Line begins its first cruise to Cuba aboard the Veendam in December. Roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale itineraries include an extended call at Havana and a visit to Cienfuegos on seven-, 11- and 12-day Caribbean itineraries.
On Dec. 22, 2017, Holland America Cuba cruises begin when 1,350 passenger Veendam sets out from Fort Lauderdale on a special 12-night holiday cruise. Holland America Line is now Carnival Corporation’s third cruise line to be approved to sail to Cuba.
In total, Veendam offers nine seven-day itineraries that feature the capital city Havana. Three of these will add a call at Cienfuegos, a city that dates back to the 19th century. This 12-day holiday cruise will visit both Cuban ports. After that cruise, depending on the departure day, cruises also include a combination of Caribbean ports, including Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Key West, Florida; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
From Cienfuegos, guests have enough time to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Trinidad, in Cuba’s province of Sancti Spíritus.
The wrap up
The series of Cuban cruises will debut with the Dec. 22, 2017, 12-day holiday sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In addition to the seven-day cruises, there’s an 11-day spring cruise sailing March 17, 2018, and also features the Cuban ports of Havana and Cienfuegos, as well as Key West, Cozumel, Montego Bay and Georgetown. The final seven-day Cuba sailing departs on April 18, 2018.
On board the Veendam, the Cuba experience will be enhanced through Holland America’s new Explorations Central, or EXC program. EXC Guides bring the destination to life through presentations and EXC Talks. Also enriching the Cuba experience for guests are EXC Port Maps created for the Cuban calls, EXC Encounters that will showcase the culture and history of Cuba to guests before they visit the ports, and much more. In addition, educational and cultural EXC Tours are being developed in and near Havana and Cienfuegos with a highlight being Trinidad.
Know before you go
The visits to Havana and Cienfuegos comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.
All information about special requirements for travel to Cuba is available at www.hollandamerica.com.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.