Duke University has adopted new policies for events. Read more about the DAA events that will be impacted.
Duke University has adopted new policies for events. Read more about the DAA events that will be impacted.

Cuba by Land & Sea

A People-to-People Program including cruising aboard M.Y. Le Ponant

Date: Thu, February 15, 2018 - Sat, February 24, 2018

Trip Status: Taking Reservations

Price: from approximately $6,995 per person

Activity Level: Moderate

Region: North America

Arrangements: Thomas P. Gohagan & Co.

Download the brochure

Experience this distinctively designed people-to-people itinerary featuring three nights in the spirited, soulful capital city of Havana followed by a six-night cruise along the island’s southern coast to Santiago de Cuba—an extraordinary opportunity to traverse the entire breadth of Cuba. Beneath 16,000 square feet of billowing white canvas, sail aboard the exclusively chartered, three-masted m.y. Le Ponant, which has only 32 deluxe Staterooms.  Learn about the complex and controversial history as well as the colorful character of the Caribbean’s largest island. See the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Old Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and the Viñales Valley. Accompanied by experienced, English-speaking Cuban hosts, immerse yourself in a comprehensive and intimate travel experience that explores the history, culture, art, language, cuisine and rhythms of daily Cuban life while interacting with local Cuban experts including musicians, artists, farmers, academics and architects.


Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Havana, Pinar del Río

Day     Destination

  1. Depart the  U.S./Arrive Havana, Cuba
  2. Havana
  3. Havana/Pinar del Río and Viñales Valley
  4. Havana/Cienfuegos/Embark
  5. Cienfuegos for Santa Clara
  6. Trinidad
  7. Cruising the Caribbean Sea
  8. Santiago de Cuba
  9. Santiago de Cuba
  10. Santiago de Cuba/Disembark ship/Return to the U.S.

*Cruise itinerary is subject to change.



  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Cuba in this historical moment when the United States and Cuba are reshaping their future relationship.
  • Uniquely designed itinerary including three nights in the spirited, soulful capital city of Havana—ample time to enjoy “the heart of Cuba”—followed by a six-night people-to-people cruise along southern Cuba.
  • Extraordinary opportunity to traverse the breadth of Cuba.
  • Exclusively chartered m.y. Le Ponant, a traditional motor/sailing yacht with sleek, stylish beauty and only 32 deluxe Staterooms.
  • Experience the eclectic diversity of Cuba through cultural exchanges, including an informative walk with an architectural restoration scholar in Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Visit colonial Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Santiago de Cuba, a charming, rarely visited old-world town.
  • Meet a tobacco farmer in the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Viñales Valley.
  • Specially arranged people-to-people opportunities to meet and engage with Cubans from all walks of life in the most authentic way possible—through their own eyes.
  • All meals included—flavorful French-inspired cuisine on board the ship; complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the cruise.
  • Experienced, English-speaking Cuban hosts during your people-to-people connections throughout the program.

Reservations and Information

To reserve, complete a registration form in the brochure and fax it to (919) 660-0148 or call (919) 684-2988 to reserve conveniently over the phone.

To learn more about our travel program or any of our upcoming trips, please contact us at travel@daa.duke.edu or 919-684-2988

Duke Leaders

Mode of Travel

Deluxe Small Sailing Ship M.Y. LE PONANT

The intimate, three-masted deluxe m.y. Le Ponant offers an unforgettable and captivating sailing experience—seafaring in its most traditional form. When the 16,000 square feet of majestic sails are unfurled, the ship’s sleek lines and elegant beauty evoke the Golden Age of Sail. A harmonious alliance of nautical tradition and great style, this small ship is designed to cruise into the most secluded harbors where larger vessels cannot reach, and the refined yet casual lifestyle on board is manifested in the warm charm of each Stateroom and in the crew’s impeccable service.

            Each of the 32 ocean-view Staterooms features a window or porthole, private bathroom with shower, one fixed queen bed or one queen bed convertible into two twin beds, individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, Wi-Fi Internet access, direct-dial telephone, safe, minibar with complimentary beverages, dressing table, hair dryer and plush robes.

            Meals feature superb international and French-inspired cuisine, and are each served in a single, unassigned seating. Breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed alfresco in the indoor-outdoor Le Diamant Panoramic Restaurant, and dinner is served in the elegant, wood-paneled Karukéra Restaurant. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are served throughout the cruise.

            The comfortable public areas showcase the ship’s tasteful sophistication, favoring life in the open air. There are two lounges, a library and expansive open-air decks that extend the full length of the vessel, and there is an observation platform just above sea level for optional water sports (time and weather permitting) and viewing marine life. Fully equipped Zodiacs are used to facilitate island landings. There is a doctor on board the ship.

            The ship’s guest-to-crew ratio of less than two to one allows the courteous, English-speaking crew to provide attentive, professional service, and they are always delighted to answer your questions about their sailing maneuvers. m.y. Le Ponant will certainly captivate anyone who steps aboard its gleaming timber decks.

Included Features  

Six-night cruise on board the exclusively chartered, deluxe, small sailing ship m.y. Le Ponant

  1. Deluxe, ocean-view, air-conditioned Staterooms, each with private bathroom.
  2. Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  3. Superb international cuisine and Cuban specialties each day at single, unassigned seatings, with breakfast and lunch indoors or alfresco in the elegant Le Diamant Panoramic Restaurant, and dinner in the sophisticated, wood-paneled Karukéra Restaurant.
  4. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.


Exclusive Local People-to-People Hosted Excursions and Cultural Enrichments in:

Three nights in historic Havana

  • Accommodations in Havana’s comfortable Meliá Habana Hotel.
  • Breakfast daily and two dinners in the hotel.
  • Walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Havana, including a discussion with local architects and architectural restoration scholars to learn about the preservation and evolution of art and architecture in Havana, with lunch in a paladar.
  • Visit to the 16th-century Plaza de Armas.
  • Visit to the home and studio of renowned Cuban artist José Rodríguez Fuster.
  • Excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Viñales Valley for a discussion with a tobacco farmer, including a cigar-rolling demonstration and refreshments with his family.
  • Visit to a farm for an interactive tour of organic crop farming, including a people-to-people homestyle lunch to be shared with the organic farmer’s family.
  • Interact with volunteers during a visit to a remarkable community art project for young people with Down syndrome in Pinar del Río.
  • Musical performance by a local Cuban stomp music ensemble.
  • “Cruise” along Old Havana’s Malecón in a private, vintage American-made car.
  • Welcome Reception and Dinner in a paladar in Old Havana.


  • Visit to the 19th-century, neoclassical Teatro La Caridad.
  • Full-day excursion to Santa Clara, including visits to the Che Guevara Monument, the History Museum of the Revolution and a Casa de Abuelos for a conversation with elder Cubans in a typical senior citizens’ community center, with lunch in a paladar.
  • Visit to Finca Vigía, the former residence of Ernest Hemingway, with lunch in a paladar.


  • Local historian-guided walk through the colonial city of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Music performance by and conversation with musicians from the Palenque de los Congos Reales.
  • Visit to the 19th-century Casa Chichi pottery workshop to observe pottery-making by traditional Cuban methods.

Santiago de Cuba

  • Visit to the 17th‑century Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Walk through the beautiful, solemn Cementerio Santa Ifigenia.

Interaction with local Cubans during their pilgrimage to Our Lady of Charity shrine in the Basílica del Cobre.

map showing route of mode of travel