May 15, 2014

Cuba, just the name conjures up exotic images of its glamorous heyday in the 1950s. Elegant hotels, nightclubs with entertainment and big dance bands playing latin swing music, Cuban Havana cigars and casinos, as a gambling haven for rich Americans.

After Fidel Castro’s revolution put a stop to all the fun and a large proportion of the population fled to Florida, Cuba has been trapped in an exotic time warp set to funky music and swaying palms.

_JMK6009Brightly coloured 1950s cars still fill the streets, lined with the once grand Spanish architectural buildings, now mostly in a sad state of disrepair. Even though they are crumbling, these buildings are still clinging to life, waiting to be rescued and restored when more prosperous times return, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Once the political scene changes in Cuba, the pace of life there will probably move very swiftly to try and catch up with neighbouring countries. Tourism will probably boom, bringing with it all the associated negatives and positives, such as glitzy hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, traffic and of course, hordes of people eager to explore this new destination.

Star Clippers have made it possible to experience Cuba now, with all its quaint charm, before the expected tourism boom, once the political scene changes. Their Star Flyer luxury tall ships embody a new age of sailing in Cuba, where the traditions of the past are happily married to the comforts and amenities of the present day. Star Flyers have been created for luxury loving passengers, who also enjoy the traditions and romance of the legendary era of tall sailing ships. With a total capacity of 170 passengers, guests will not feel lost in a crowd and also it allows for a social and personalised experience in pampered comfort.

sc-sf-Owners-Suite-1From secluded islands with extraordinary wildlife, to one of the world’s most unique cultures filled with amazing people, architecture, music, history, and food, Star Clippers’ guests will experience a true insight into the real Cuba as they sail around this breezy country on two new itineraries.

Whether sailing on either the new seven or eighteen night cruises, which both start and finish in Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba. This port is known as the pearl of the south where, it is said, men once ordered their rums by the finger whilst women bathed by the bay sipping exotic punches. It is here in the sundrenched streets of this calm bay facing the Caribbean Sea that the journey begins. The cruise will drop into Caylo Blanco, an idyllic private island and Casilda (Trinidad) for a look at a perfectly preserved Spanish settlement, built on huge sugar cane fortunes. Guests will explore the rambling cobblestoned streets filled with guitar wielding musicians, donkeys and locals selling trinkets.

Divers, snorkelers and swimmers will enjoy Cayo Largo with its colour and sea life. Fine sand, sparkling harbours and fishing villages will add to this unique experience.

Both the seven and eighteen night Star Clippers’ itineraries include all accommodation, meals, onboard activities, port charges and gratuities.

Sandra Tiltman