Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cuba cruising coming to Australia

by Louise Goldsbury, editor, Cruise Weekly

Variety Cruises is the latest line to announce Cuban itineraries, which are uniquely being marketed to Australians with a 20% discount.

CRUISING in Cuba is one step easier with the news that Variety Cruises, newly represented in Australia by Discover The World, will offer Havana-Havana voyages in 2012-13. The seven-night ‘Sights and Sounds of Cuba’, aboard the 25-cabin S/C Panorama, has a 20% early booking discount on selected cabin categories if paid in full before 30 June 2012.

Daily ports of call include Havana, Cinfuegos, Trinidad, Vinales/Pinar del Rio, Bahia dos Correntes, Juventud Island and Cayo Largo. Described by the company as a “balance between conventional cruising and private yachting”, the Panorama has two outdoor bars, two lounges, a library and a platform on the stern that enables swimming (when weather and anchorage conditions permit).

Fares include double or twin cabin accommodation, meals, welcome cocktail, captain’s dinner, coffee, tea and mineral water, use of fishing and snorkelling equipment, and a multilingual cruise escort. All November and December 2012 Cuba cruises booked before 30 June 2012 will also include a shipboard credit of 75 euro per person.

The new cruises follow the recent cancellation of Canadian-owned Cuba Cruise Line’s 2011-2012 season. The company had planned to charter Louis Cruise Line’s Cristal but has vowed to return in a year. Late last year, the UK’s Thomson Cruises also logistical reasons. Another British company, Fred Olsen Cruise Line, as well as German windjammer line Sea Cloud Cruises, and France’s Compagnie du Ponant currently operate Cuban and Caribbean voyages, but these are rarely marketed to Australians.

American cruises lines are not permitted to sail to Cuba; however, it is hoped that the US Government’s easing of travel restrictions for Americans to Cuba will see more cruising in the region in the future.

For details of the Variety Cruises itineraries and prices, call Discover the World Marketing on (02) 9959 3696 or email: variety@discovertheworld.com.au.