Since the U.S. government has somewhat loosened restrictions on visits to Cuba by Americans, the island nation has been turning up on a lot of people’s bucket lists. Group IST has a new Havana-to-Cienfuegos tour that’s unique in that it’s a cruise by 49-passenger mega-yacht, rather than a strictly land-based venture. Because the U.S. doesn’t allow travel to Cuba by sea, the package includes round-trip air from Miami. The eight-day/seven-night cruise spends the first two nights in Havana before moving on to Cabo San Antonio, Cayo Largo, Trinidad and Cienfuegos. (On alternate weeks the itinerary operates in reverse.) Time spent ashore will concentrate on people-to-people interaction and cultural immersion, as required on all trips to Cuba by U.S. citizens. The trip is priced as low as $4,490 per person double occupancy, depending on cabin class and travel date. Port taxes of $375 are extra. All meals and tours are included, as well as Cuban visa and mandatory Cuban medical insurance. Info: 800-833-2111, groupist.com/cuba.
A Quantum leap at sea
If you’re a cruiser who likes to sail on the latest and the greatest, the Online Vacation Center has a raft of cruise offers for May and June 2015 on Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, which debuts in November. For those with lots of time on their hands, there’s a 56-night cruise that starts in Cape Liberty, N.J., and ends in Shanghai. There are lots of days at sea to explore amenities such as the sky-diving simulator or circus school. Among the port calls will be places as disparate as Spain, Jordan, Oman, India and Vietnam. For those with less time or money, it’s possible to do segments of the itinerary, such as the 13-night cruise from Cape Liberty to Barcelona, Spain; or a 13-night Singapore-to-Shanghai leg. Packages include air from New York as well as pre- and/or post-cruise hotel accommodations. Air add-ons are available from other U.S. destinations and vary by package. Info: 800-780-9002, tinyurl.com/ozx5ndv.
New UNESCO sites
The UNESCO World Heritage List has added 26 new sites this year, recognizing their cultural or natural significance. Among the 21 sites added for their cultural heritage is the monumental earthworks of Poverty Point, a complex of mounds and ridges erected by a native society thousands of years ago in northeastern Louisiana. Other cultural sites include China’s Grand Canal, the world’s longest man-made waterway at 1,100 miles, and Qhapaq Nan, the expansive Andean road system in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Sites added for their natural beauty include Great Himalayan National Park in India and Botswana’s Okavango Delta, home to white and black rhinos, cheetahs and lions. Check out the list at tinyurl.com/382odg8.
Travel deals: Cruise Cuba by yacht