The first port of call is Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-largest city, giving travelers a look at its colorful traditions, ranging from historic sceneries to remarkable memorials and a rare collection of cannons. Known for its legendary music scene and electric culture influenced by African, French and Spanish tradition and a bustling vibe, Santiago de Cuba is carving out a niche for itself as an “Alternative Cuba.” With an energy considered by many equal to or even exceeding Havana, travelers will quickly understand the difference between the two cities as they walk through the colorful streets populated with unique street vendors and a vibrant community.
Some of the key highlights of this Cuban gem include San Juan Hill, the site of a pivotal battle during the Spanish–American War; Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, a stone fortress perching high atop Bahía de Santiago de Cuba that took over 60 years to complete; and Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia, the final resting place of famed Cuban hero José Martí—the 19th century poet and political theorist—as he remains a figure central to Cuba’s national identity.
“One of my favorite things about Santiago de Cuba is witnessing the rare beauty and charm of the city—the people have great energy, the sights are captivating and the vibe is super cool. We want our travelers to walk away with lifelong memories, and Santiago de Cuba delivers,” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. “With Fathom’s people-to-people experiences, travelers have the opportunity to engage with the Cuban people and discover the sights and sounds of this magnetic country. The challenge won’t be falling in love with Cuba; the challenge will be not wanting to leave.”
After the visit to Santiago de Cuba, travelers head to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic where they can be part of a bigger story while coming alongside new Dominican friends and communities. While there, travelers can participate in unforgettable impact activities alongside local residents and be a part of creating powerful and sustainable change. Specific impact activities include building water filters for Dominican homes; helping a women’s cooperative produce artisan chocolates; improving homes and common areas in impoverished communities; assisting arts and crafts entrepreneurs; participating in community English-language retention activities; and supporting reforestation efforts.
The Cultures of Caribbean itinerary includes:
• Sunday – Depart from Port Miami at 4:30 p.m. ETPricing for Fathom’s 7-day “Cultures of Caribbean” itinerary to the Dominican Republic and Santiago de Cuba start at $399. The price includes all meals on the ship and lunch in Santiago de Cuba, lunch during Dominican Republic impact activities, onboard experiences and select on-the-ground activities. Taxes, fees, port expenses, gratuities and Cuban visa excluded. The required Cuban travel visa is $75 per person and gratuities are estimated at $80.50 per person. Learn more at Fathom.org.
• Monday – At sea
• Tuesday – In Santiago de Cuba from 9 a.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET
• Wednesday – Arrive in the Dominican Republic at 7 p.m. ET
• Thursday – In the Dominican Republic
• Friday – Depart the Dominican Republic at 1 p.m. ET
• Saturday – At sea
• Sunday – Arrive in Port Miami at 7:30 a.m. ET