Beginning July 9, Apple Vacations will begin offering five- and seven-night tours to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury's People-to-People program.
Unlike Apple's standard FIT vacation packages, the Cuba itineraries will be guided group tours limited to 30 passengers each that will be operated by U.S.-based Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami to Cuba with Sun Country Airlines and American Airlines.
With an onslaught of product coming onto the market in light of the U.S. easing travel restrictions to Cuba, Apple Vacations is hoping to differentiate its product by offering shorter itineraries than many of its competitors, Apple President Tim Mullen said during a media call on Tuesday to announce the Cuba launch.
"Demand for Cuba has been at an all-time high," said Mullen. "We're proud to be one of the first mainstream tour operators to bring portable, short vacation packages to Cuba."
Starting July 9, Apple will open bookings for two Cuba itineraries. The five-night Havana Getaway itinerary will include sightseeing tours, musical performances, a cigar rolling demonstration and Cuban meals, and will be priced from $2,233 per person, based on double occupancy, with departure dates set for Sept. 5 and Oct. 17.
Vintage American cars in Cuba's capitol.
There will also be a seven-night Colors of Cuba program, that in addition to the offerings of the Havana Getaway tour, will include two nights in the colonial town of Trinidad, a Unesco World Heritage Site in the central Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus. The Colors of Cuba itinerary is priced from $2,733 per person, double, with departure dates on Sept. 11, Sept. 25 and Oct. 8.
Mullen noted that as additional supply becomes available in line with additional demand, Apple Vacations will add more departure dates to the program.
Pricing includes Cuban health insurance, charter flights departing from Miami (connecting flights from other U.S. cities are available through Apple), Cuban tourist visa processing, U.S. taxes and fees. A Cuban departure tax of $25 per passenger will be collected upon check-in at the airport in Miami.
Travel to Cuba must be booked a minimum of 40 days in advance of the departure date to give Apple Vacations time to process the required documentation, according to the company.
"We've been asked by our travel agents when we'd be offering Cuba," said Mullen, adding that when Apple Vacations queried its agent partners about whether they would be willing to book a cultural Cuba tour product through Apple, as opposed to Apple's traditional FIT beach vacation package offering, the agents responded with a resounding "yes."
Additional information can be found at www.AppleVacations.com/Cuba.