Recommend just got off a conference call with Apple Vacations’ president Tim Mullen, and his claim that Apple is offering a rarity in the “Brave New World of Cuba” travel rings true. Here’s why:
- Apple Vacations’ new People-to-People packages have 5- and 7-night itineraries, which is more in keeping with Americans’ travel habits than the usual 10- (or even 14-) night packages.
- The new packages give Americans a chance to see and experience Cuba for just $2,233 pp dbl. If the Obama administration made travel to Cuba more possible, these new packages take travel to Cuba yet further by making it affordable.
There are two itineraries:
- The 5-night Havana Getaway features sightseeing, musical performances, antique American cars, a cigar rolling demonstration, authentic Cuban cuisine, and a day in the countryside. The Havana Getaway is priced from $2,233 pp dbl, with departure dates on Sept. 5 and Oct. 17, 2015.
- The 7-night Colors of Cuba program features Havana and two nights in the colonial town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its pastel-colored buildings and cobblestone streets. This itinerary costs $2,733 pp dbl with departure dates on Sept. 11, Sept. 25 and Oct. 8.
“Bookings will be accepted starting July 9,” says Mullen, adding that they must be booked a minimum 40 days in advance to allow ample time for the processing of required documentation. “We currently have five departures scheduled, but we just learned this morning that we’ll be able to offer additional departures in 2015 and 2016.”
Now, why is Apple Vacations, known for F.I.T. travel to Caribbean sun-and-fun resorts, departing from business as usual to offer these guided tours? “Agents kept asking us, ‘When are you going to Cuba?'” says Mullen. “We listened.”
So how will Apple Vacations manage to switch gears from its resort packages to these cultural/educational tours? “We are working with Cuba Travel Services to create a seamless and enjoyable experience, from ensuring that the required entry documentation is submitted to the fulfillment of the itineraries,” says Mullen. Those itineraries include charter flights from Miami.
Prices include Cuban health insurance, charter flights departing from Miami (connecting flights from other U.S. cities available), Cuban tourist visa processing, U.S. taxes and fees. A Cuban departure tax of $25 per passenger will be collected upon check-in at Miami International Airport. For more information, visit applevacations.com/cuba.