Incentive travel - Cuba: History, culture and dirty dancing
Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. As big as the world seems at times, it is actually not, especially when it comes to offering employees unique incentive travel experiences.
However, Cuba has up until now not been on many people’s radar. To put it mildly, for most South African travellers it is not even a consideration.
Norwegian Cruise Line has just announced that it will extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba aboard Norwegian Sky, through December 2017. Together with the five previously announced cruises in May 2017, these 25 additional cruises, which start in June 2017, all feature an overnight stay in Cuba’s historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana.
“The time to go to Cuba is now,” says Nick Wilkinson, Senior Director and General Manager Northern Europe and MEA for Norwegian Cruise Line.
“The destination is one of the remaining untouched destinations, and will not only offer travellers a unique travel experience, but also an educational awakening unlike any other. And the best way to experience it, is by taking a cruise.
This is especially true for large groups with the full range of accommodations, dining and entertainment options seemingly endless. Meetings, conferences, executive retreats, teambuilding and other special events are easily accommodated onboard with a variety of available conference spaces and meeting venues.”
About the cruise
Norwegian Sky will sail four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami starting February 13, featuring an overnight in the capital of Havana as well as a call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.
The ship will dock right in the heart of Havana, offering guests the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and listen to the vibrant local music scene; and visit with Cuba’s residents through people-to-people exchanges.
Norwegian will offer a selection of 15 half and full-day shore excursions, where guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to have a farm to table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, see modern Havana in an American classic car and much more.
Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island destination in the Bahamas that was recently enhanced to offer guests exciting new ways to enjoy the island, with additional features to be added throughout the line’s summer 2017 season. Great Stirrup Cay is a private island paradise, with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, watersports and landscaped beachside cabanas available for daily rental for those who wish to have a more exclusive island experience.
Guests sailing on Norwegian Sky will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive programme.
The cruise departs from Miami, Florida and travellers from South Africa have a variety of options through connecting flights departing from Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban to the United States via gateways in the US, Middle East and Europe.
Along with the travel requirements of entry into the United States, travellers aboard all cruise lines will also need to take not of the following:
•A valid passport is required for all guests to travel to Cuba. It is recommended that guests review the passport requirements of travel to Cuba from their home country and that the expiration of their passport be greater than six months from the date of voyage.
•The Cuban government requires anyone who is travelling to Cuba on a passport other than a valid Cuban passport to obtain a visa prior to their arrival into the country. This visa, also known as a "tourist card" (or "rosada" which must have a pink and blue background irrespective of your country of residency), is required to enter (and depart from) Cuba for non-business purposes.
•The Cuban visa is valid for a single entry and allows the holder to stay in Cuba for 30 days. Travellers may obtain this visa through Norwegian for a separate processing and procurement fee. No passengers will be allowed to board the vessel without proof of acquiring this visa.
•The Cuban visa is a two-part card. Cuban immigration officials will take one half upon arrival in Cuba, and guests will surrender the other half to Cuban immigration officials upon departure. Guests should be sure to keep the Cuban visa in a safe place during the trip so they have it at the time of departure from Cuba.
•Cuba operates as a dual currency system. Cuban convertible peso (CUC$) is the currency and comes in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Please note that CUC$ 1 comes in both a coin and paper money configuration. There is a second currency, the Cuban peso, also called moneda nacional or CUP which is used only by Cuban citizens.
•For the moment, Cuba is very much a cash destination and visitors are advised to assume that all transactions in Cuba will be done using cash.