Relyance Bank Crown Club members recently returned from a nine-day cruise to Cuba. They flew to Miami for an overnight stay and toured the city and “Little Havana” before boarding the 700-passenger “Adonia” which combined Cuban culture and cruise ship comforts, according to a news release.

After docking in Cuba, the group had their first People-to-People shore excursion. During the walking tour, they stopped in the four main plazas of Old Havana: Plaza de Armas, Plaza de Catedral, Plaza San Francisco, and Plaza Vieja.

They had lunch in a local restaurant where they enjoyed the beat and percussion of a group playing Cuban national folk music while feasting on a typical Cuban meal which consisted of rice and black beans cooked together called “Congri” and fish, chicken or beef.

Some in the group traveled to the Tropicana Club in Havana that night, a world-known cabaret. For two hours they were entertained in an open-air theatre by a tapestry of cultural music and dance by scores of showgirls clad in costumes.

The next morning, the group had a day-long tour of Cuba which included a visit to the Cementerio de Cristobal Colon where a local guide shared the stories and secrets of the 140-acre cemetery, as well as a stop at Plaza de la Revolucion. They also visited the Gran Teatro de La Habana, home to the International Ballet Festival of Havana. Its facilities include theatres, a 1,500 seat concert hall, conference rooms, an art gallery, a choral centre and several rehearsal halls. They were able to go out on the balcony to see the view of the Plaza, Central Park, the classic American cars and the capital. Their guide allowed them to quietly enter one of the theatres and watch and hear a band recording their concert. They then were taken to the San Almacenes Market where they were able to purchase handmade and locally sourced crafts.

The next port was Cienfuegos. They spent the day walking the streets of Cienfuegos passing through downtown. Next they were taken to the 900-seat auditorium which was finished in 1889. They enjoyed a private performance by a well-known A cappella choir and had an opportunity afterwards to hear directly from the musicians about life on the island, their path to this organization and what they are doing to teach and bring music to the lives of others. They had lunch at a local restaurant where they were again entertained by a band playing traditional Cuban music and the owner of the restaurant doing a demonstration on how the Cubans enjoy their coffee, rum and cigars.

The following day the ship was scheduled to port in Santiago, home and burial place of Fidel Castro and considered the birthplace of the Revolution. Because of an unforeseen medical emergency, the ship was unable to travel to Santiago. However, the travelers enjoyed the many amenities on the ship as they sailed back to Miami for their flight home.

Guests enjoying this vacation were Kay and John Garrison, Betsie and Charles Francis, Rosemary and Don Moore, Sue and Neb Ryall, Kathy and Sam Smith, Rita and George Sevall, Beth and Rick Cook and Pat Bethea. Cindy Cullins, Crown Club director, shared the 2018 Line-up of tours that include a Hawaiian cruise, an upscale Alaskan cruise, Israel and a 21-day tour to Australia/New Zealand.