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Activity note: Independent transfers to hotel. Hotel check-in 4:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Please arrive no later than 4:00 p.m. The Road Scholar Group Leader will be in the hotel lobby at 4:45 p.m. to walk with the group to a nearby restaurant for orientation and a Cuban-American meal. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. This very important meeting will prepare us for travel in Cuba. We will review OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) regulations that govern our program as well as roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, tomorrow’s schedule, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. The schedule that follows is a representative guide. Due to the exceptional nature of this program, the ports of call and study sites listed are subject to change on short notice as availability is controlled by the Cuban government. The final route will be determined by the Cuban government. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: We will walk to a nearby restaurant for a traditional Cuban-American dinner buffet. Water, soft drinks, iced tea, and coffee included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking up to 1 mile and standing outside; pavement.
Breakfast: In the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, bagels, pastries, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: We will check out and meet our Group Leader in the hotel lobby with luggage 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. We will then transfer to Ybor City for a lecture and walking field trip in the historic area. We'll learn about traditions that originated in Tampa's famous Cuban neighborhood and gain insights into Cuban-American life.
Lunch: In Ybor City, where the Cuban sandwich originated, we’ll have a light plated lunch with water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: After some time to explore independently, we will regroup and head to the Port of Tampa and board the ship. Once embarkation is complete and you have located your cabin, take some time to freshen up and relax. Then start to become familiar with the ship. We will participate with everyone on board when the ship’s safety drill — a.k.a. “muster” drill — is announced.
Dinner: Aboard the ship, in the main dining room, Road Scholars are invited to dine together as a group with our Group Leader. We will enjoy a buffet dinner featuring international fare, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Explore the ship and enjoy activities of your choice that range from fitness facilities to stage productions, live music with dancing, and more. Or simply relax to the rhythm of the waves.
Activity note: The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change by the cruise line). This may mean that free time in port is limited. Regardless of the time in port, Road Scholar delivers a robust educational program. Today we will be getting on/off a motorcoach, in/out of cars. Walking up to 1 mile and standing outdoors; uneven, cobblestone streets with high curbs in Old Havana.
Breakfast: Aboard ship, choose from offerings such as omelettes, French toast, oatmeal, cereal, fresh fruit, and pastries plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Morning: At sea en route to Havana. Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship or just relax.
Lunch: Aboard ship, buffet and plated options are available.
Afternoon: Arriving in Cuba, we will step off the ship for a panoramic city excursion with expert commentary from our local Cuban expert. We’ll see some of Havana's famous sites including Havana University, the capital building, and Revolution Square, where Fidel Castro gave many speeches. We will then board the motorcoach for a short drive to central Havana where we’ll visit a community photography project that engages children by introducing them to photography as well as caring for their environment. Kids will have a hands-on experience.
Dinner: At the photography studio, which is also a restaurant.
Evening: We will set out on a walking field trip through two plazas next to the port of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the sun sets, we will see the beauty of the old city. From the UNESCO inscription: “Havana was founded in 1519 by the Spanish. By the 17th century, it had become one of the Caribbean's main centres for ship-building. Although it is today a sprawling metropolis of 2 million inhabitants, its old centre retains an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.” You may return to the ship or stay ashore to experience the local nightlife. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 1 mile and standing outdoors; uneven, cobblestone streets with high curbs in Old Havana.
Breakfast: Aboard ship.
Morning: We'll continue our exploration of Old Havana in the cooler morning. We will observe a modern dance group’ rehearsal then enjoy conversation and interactions with members of the group. We'll also make a stop at the Museum of the Revolution where our Cuban expert will provide commentary. This opulent edifice, completed in 1920, was once the Presidential Palace. The interiors were designed by Tiffany of New York. Some rooms have walls of marble, decorations in gold, and paintings by notable Cuban artists. The Salón de los Espejos was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. The museum now includes exhibitions on Cuban history from the 15th century to the present, featuring events related to the Cuban revolution. One of the Cuban tanks used in the Bay of Pigs battle of 1961 stands outside.
Lunch: At a paladar, a privately-owned restaurant, we will enjoy modern Cuban cuisine, plus coffee, tea, water.
Afternoon: Dominoes, Cuba’s national game, has its own set of rules, played enthusiastically in public and private. More than skill and competition, it is a greatly enjoyed social activity. In another People to People connection, we’ll meet members of a local dominoes league, learn the Cuban rules, and have an opportunity to play with club members. Teams will rotate as each American plays a Cuban, with a chance to practice a few words in Spanish.
Dinner: Aboard ship.
Evening: At leisure as we head to Cozumel.
Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
Morning: Take advantage of the activities aboard ship that include two swimming pools, Jacuzzis, even rock climbing. Or just gaze mesmerized at the vast Caribbean Sea. (Did you know that the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico together form what is called the Central American Sea?)
Lunch: Aboard ship.
Afternoon: Upon arrival at Cozumel, we’ll disembark at the pier and meet up with a local expert who will lead us through today’s activities. Then, we will travel by bus to San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site to begin our walking exploration of the sacred ruins. This ancient ceremonial site was dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of fertility, childbirth, the moon, and medicine. Mayan women journeyed from near and far, bringing offerings to Ixchel, in the hopes that the goddess would bless them with children or abundant crops. Next, we’ll drive to the western side of the island, to Paradise Beach. Once we arrive, our expert will review our schedule and describe the various water activities available to us at this location. As part of our program, we’ll be able to go sea kayaking, snorkeling, and paddle boarding as well as using floating water trampolines, water slides, climbing structures, and more.
Dinner: At a Paradise Beach restaurant.
Evening: At leisure on the ship.
Activity note: Full day at sea.
Breakfast: Aboard ship. The Starlight Dining Room offers a special brunch on full days at sea.
Morning: We will gather with our Group Leader for a Road Scholar exclusive presentation on Cuban history as well as American-Cuban relations over time. We'll also have time for questions and answers to further our understanding of Cuba.
Lunch: Aboard ship.
Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Take part in the ship’s offerings such as dance classes, physical activity, and entertainment, or just relax and enjoy the cruise.
Dinner: Aboard ship in the main dining room, we will enjoy a plated, multi-course farewell dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for disembarkation and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Disembarkation begins around 8:00 a.m. and Customs may take up to an hour. Allow plenty of time to disembark, travel to the airport, and check-in prior to your return flight home. We recommend at least 3.5-4 hours for this process.
Breakfast: Aboard ship.
Morning: Disembarkation around 8:00 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!