Apple Vacations’ Cuba tours go on sale on July 9 at 11 a.m. Eastern time. 

The ins and outs of the Cuba program were detailed during a webinar hosted by Travel Weekly on Wednesday. 

Departures for the five-night “Havana Getaway,” priced from $2,233 per person, double (single supplements will be available at a higher price) are set for Sept. 5 and Oct. 17. The headquarters hotel in Havana is Memories Miramar.

The seven-night “Colors of Cuba” itinerary, priced from $2,733 per person, double, departs Sept. 11, 25 and Oct. 8 and includes two nights in Trinidad at Hotel La Ronda and four nights in Havana at Memories Miramar.

Bookings must be made at least 40 days prior to departure.

Apple expects to eventually add more departures.

“We know interest is high and demand is there. Cuba is evolving rapidly and changes are coming quickly,” said Ali Gerakaris, Apple Vacations’ senior marketing manager. “This is a very fluid situation. The key words to remember when talking to clients about Cuba are 'maybe,' 'hopefully,' and 'perhaps.' Clients have to be flexible because things work differently in Cuba.”

Gerakaris and regional sales manager Consuelo Valdez stressed that the tours are not the classic Apple Vacations beach packages. In fact, clients will not step foot on a beach during their Cuba visit.

“This is an organized people-to-people educational program. It is a fully escorted tour with ground travel by motorcoach. These are full-time programs where participation is required in every activity every day and there is very little free time,” Valdez said.

However, on several evenings during each tour, clients will be free to have dinner on their own. Most meals are included in the package. Also included: roundtrip air from Miami, most tips, the Cuban visa, medical insurance, a welcome briefing, and an overnight stay in Miami before departure.

Not included are tips for the housekeeper at the hotel each morning and the $25 Cuban departure tax.

Charter air is handled by Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami on American Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.

The maximum group size for each tour is 30; participants must be 18 or older.

“Agents can sell into an established group departure. In 2016, private group sales will be available,” Valdez said.

Apple Vacations will have an online brochure available in the next week or so and plans to have flyers available soon.

The top question from agents was about a fam trip, which hasn’t been scheduled but is planned, Gerakaris said. She said to check Apple Vacations’ Travel Agent Cafe for updates.

No online bookings are being accepted at this time. Agents must call (800) 365-2775 FREE to book.


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