Panorama sailing cruise ship.
Panorama sailing cruise ship around Cuba.

By popular demand, group travel provider Group IST is adding more sailing dates to its Havana to Cienfuegos people-to-people program, an eight day cruise of western Cuba, beginning in December 2015. With under 100 passengers per sailing, Group IST is offering Americans the only small ship cruise of Cuba, affording passengers an intimate experience of the island nation via the hospitable and welcoming setting of a mega-yacht. The program is an opportunity to step back in time to a country that has been closed to Americans for nearly half a century.

With two small ships–the Panorama and the Panorama II–sailing in opposite directions from Havana and Cienfuegos each week through April 2016, travelers explore the western part of a country renowned for its culture, music, warm people, art and, of course, cigars. The cruise offers passengers both a rich and meaningful cultural exchange program and an opportunity to relax in the beautiful natural scenery of Cuba, with chances to go swimming and snorkeling. Group IST is also adding new excursions to the popular program, including visits to Ernest Hemingway’s former home, Finca Vigia, and to one of Cuba’s largest cigar factories.

Joining the program will be an on-board Cuba specialist and an interpreter to facilitate in making people-to-people connections and meaningful exchanges between the American travelers and Cuban citizens. Emphasizing and promoting cultural exchange, the program includes excursions to venues such as museums, private art galleries, community centers, concerts, religious centers, schools and ecological centers. Program participants will have a chance to meet and get to know Cuban historians, artists, preservationists, religious leaders, educators, musicians and many typical Cuban citizens throughout eight days.

Group IST has been issued a license by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to conduct people-to-people programs in Cuba.

Havana to Cienfuegos is available from between $4899 – $5999, depending on cabin class. Price includes seven nights on either the Panorama or Panorama II, all meals from arrival in Cuba to breakfast on day of departure, mandatory Cuban medical insurance and transportation as per itinerary. For a complete itinerary, please visit:http://www.groupist.com/cuba/  .

Group IST (International Specialty Travel) produces content-rich, original, thematic, educational and interactive travel programs that are tailor-made for organizations and groups. The company features one-of-a-kind land and waterborne venues around the world. With a staff of tourism professionals who are recognized travel experts and scholars, Group IST is passionate about its areas of specialization.

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