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All Things Motoring – 10th February

Over 170 different car manufacturers have existed at some point in Detroit, our destination of the week.  I wonder how many of these cars ended up on the streets of Havana, Cuba?  The old American cars still cruise around the colonial streets and avenues of this historical city…and I want to send you there to see them.  Here’s this weeks sensational Cruise Deal of the Week!…

On the 2nd October you will fly from Australia to Fort Lauderdale.  Its a fair distance, so lets put in a night in a 5* hotel to help you recover!

The following day, you fly over to Nassau—the captivating capital of the 30 Bahamian islands  before you sail you can choose from forts to explore, coral reefs to snorkel or dive and a stroll through the famous Straw Market to shop.

The Bahamas

Embarking the beautiful 6* STAR Silver Cloud of Silversea Cruises is a special moment.  Silversea cruises are an all inclusive, all suite luxury cruise line.  Service is everything on Silversea, and Silver Cloud is your perfect home for the next few days.  All meals, drinks and shore excursions are included, meaning you really don’t need to put your hands in your pockets during this cruise – the ultimate convenience!

Sailing through the Caribbean Sea, you will enjoy a rarely visited and very special island – Cuba.  And what a place to start with, the Capital City of Havana!  With Spanish colonial architecture dating back to the 16th Century it really is a step back in time.  The old American cars are still plentyful, beautifully maintained and are still seen cruising down the Salsa filled streets of this historic city.  You’ll have two days to explore this city, and with included shore excursions you have two packed days of sightseeing and wonderful experiences.  You will start your journey to the metropolitan and Modern Havana driving to the military fortress Castillo de Los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro, from where you will have a commanding view over the city. You will then continue to the Revolution Square and to the colonial part of the city to explore Havana by foot through the Historical Centre of Old Havana, declared UNESCO a “World Heritage Site”, visiting the Cathedral Square, the Plaza de Armas, Havana’s first University San Geronimo de la Habana, the General Captain’s Palace and will have an opportunity to enjoy a drink at La Taberna while listening to a live band playing some typical and traditional Cuban music.

Old Town Havana, Cuba

Next up is Punta Frances is on Isla de la Juventud (Island of Youth), which is the largest of the Cuban islands apart from Cuba itself. A remote paradise, Punta Frances is popular with the more adventurous tourists. It is off the beaten track but once there, everyone falls in love with its people and the beauty of the sea.

Cienfuegos (one hundred fires) is the only city in Cuba that was colonised and developed by the French, so the vibe is very different.  Once again, Silversea will have a range of inclusive shore excursions to keep you busy in this charming port.

You then enjoy two days in Santiago de Cuba on the southern tip of the island.  Cuba’s second-largest city will reveal its most intriguing sites today. You can either visit the Morro Castle, originally called “Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca”. Designed in 1637 this fortress at the entrance to the bay and harbour of Santiago de Cuba was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as “the most complete and best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles” in 1997.

Santiago de Cuba

You enter Porto Antonio in Jamaica, a port that had for years captivated admirers like poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox and actor Errol Flynn. Join members of the Expedition Team for a visit to a small cove nearly enclosed by land and one of Jamaica’s most scenic spots, the Blue Lagoon -or Blue Hole as residents call it. You will also visit Frenchman’s Cove and the architecturally ornate and historic Victorian mansion of Demontevine Lodge on Titchfield Street.
Together with your onboard Ornithologist, you embark on a birding adventure to Reach Falls.

You will then visit one of travel masters favourite ports in the Caribbean.  Since the founding in 1533 by Francisco de Heredia, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia has been one of the most important ports of Spanish South America and the old city had therefore been surrounded by several fortifications and walls – making it one of the most fortified cities in South America in its time. It was so well defended that even the British navy was not able to conquer it in 1741 – despite the fact that that the British had the largest fleet ever assembled to that point. The old part of Cartagena is still enclosed by extensive walls and ‘protected’ by several fortresses. This part is known as “the walled city” and was declared a Colombian Heritage Site in 1959, while UNESCO declared it a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1984.

Cartagena, Colombia

Your final port is very unusual.  Formerly known as the San Blas Archipelago, the 365 islands and the coastal land belonging to the Guna ethnic group received its new name of Guna Yala in 2011. The approximately 30,000 Guna live along the Caribbean coast and on 36 of the islands. The women are quite famous for the handicraft they produce, of which the best known are the “mola” – embroidered designs worn mainly by the women. The geometrical designs were originally painted onto the bodies, but were eventually transferred onto cloth and used as adornments for shirts.  You will board your Zodiacs and visit one of the uninhabited islets for swimming and snorkelling. While you will be there, local women will come over from the other islands, showing you their molas –which not only make for good photos but are nice and sought-after souvenirs.

The San Blas Islands

Finally the Silver Cloud arrives in Colon, Panama where your air conditioned transfer awaits you to transfer you to Panama City and your flight back to Australia.

The is an amazing journey, and one that doesnt come around very often.  The cruise in fully inclusive, with all activities, shore excursions, fining dining, open bar and all gratuities included.  You will sleep every evening in your spacious suite (yep, no cabins on the Silver Cloud) and enjoy days at sea getting to know just the other lucky 250 passengers on this wonderful adventure.

The 6* All Suite, All Inlcusive SILVER CLOUD

Vista Suites star from an unbelievably low package price of just $8.149 per person, which included the cruise, flights, transfer in Panama and the overnight hotel in Fort Lauderdale.  Give the crew at Travel Masters a call on 1800 672 988 to order the brochure or grab that cabin!