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Fam Trip to Cuba with Air France-KLM

Fam Trip to Cuba with Air France-KLM

Air France-KLM, in conjunction with the Cuban Tourist Board, recently organised a familiarisation trip for members of the Irish travel trade. The group flew out on Air France via Paris Charles de Gaulle, enjoying a seemless transfer, arriving and departing from Terminal 2E in CDG, and the return flights were arranged via Amsterdam Schiphol on KLM. Teresa Murphy, Leisure Account Manager, reports.

The fam trip was a great opportunity for the agents to experience both the Air France and KLM products and highlighted the benefit of the combinability of Air France-KLM, offering 10 weekly flights to Havana.

Car in Havana

Car in Havana

Havana

What a fabulous city – with its 16th-century Spanish colonial architecture, picturesque fortresses, 1950s Chevrolets, Cadillacs and Buicks… and all to the sound of salsa!

Havana and her people are fun, energetic, colourful and totally charming. It is not surprising that Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is great to see that so many of the old buildings are being preserved and restored.

At the Tropicana Show, Havana: 
Dianne McCarthy, Shandon Travel; 
Paul Harvie, GoHop.ie; 
Edel Shanahan, Travelmood/SHGI
; Kevin Ryan, Tropical Sky
; Teresa Murphy, Air France-KLM
; Helen Stokes, Topflight; 
Monica Rossi, Abbey Travel; Ian Walsh, Travel Counsellors; and 
Barry MacCourt, Trailfinders

At the Tropicana Show, Havana: 
Dianne McCarthy, Shandon Travel; 
Paul Harvie, GoHop.ie; 
Edel Shanahan, Travelmood/SHGI
; Kevin Ryan, Tropical Sky
; Teresa Murphy, Air France-KLM
; Helen Stokes, Topflight; 
Monica Rossi, Abbey Travel; Ian Walsh, Travel Counsellors; and 
Barry MacCourt, Trailfinders

After a walking tour of Old Havana, we enjoyed an excellent lunch in Palador San Cristobal (a privately owned restaurant) in beautifully restored surroundings of one of Havana’s early 20th-century houses – definitely one to recommend.

Palador San Cristobal in Havana

Palador San Cristobal in Havana

Kevin Ryan, Tropical Sky, at Tropicana!

Kevin Ryan, Tropical Sky, at Tropicana!

In the evening we watched the famous Tropicana Show and were wowed by the dancers and their extremely flexible bodies! Somewhere in between, we managed a visit to La Floridita to check out the daiquiris – easy to see why Hemingway was a regular…

In the footsteps of Hemingway...

In the footsteps of Hemingway…

Outside La Bodeguita del Medio after our mojitos: 
Monica Rossi, Abbey Travel; 
Ian Walsh, Travel Counsellors; 
Kevin Ryan, Tropical Sky; 
Barry MacCourt, Trailfinders
; Dianne McCarthy, Shandon Travel
; Teresa Murphy, Air France-KLM
; Marianella
, guide; Helen Stokes, Topflight
; and Paul Harvie, GoHop.ie

Outside La Bodeguita del Medio after our mojitos: 
Monica Rossi, Abbey Travel; 
Ian Walsh, Travel Counsellors; 
Kevin Ryan, Tropical Sky; 
Barry MacCourt, Trailfinders
; Dianne McCarthy, Shandon Travel
; Teresa Murphy, Air France-KLM
; Marianella
, guide; Helen Stokes, Topflight
; and Paul Harvie, GoHop.ie

Trinidad

On then to Trinidad, a preserved Spanish colonial settlement and another UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its colonial architecture. We enjoyed strolling its cobble-stoned streets, beautiful public squares and, in the evening, enjoyed mojitos in some great open air bars with live music.

Street scene in Trinidad

Street scene in Trinidad

Trinidad

Trinidad

There was something very special about Trinidad, which should always be included on the Itinerary. Where to stay? Definitely check out the Iberostar.

Marina Varedero

Marina Varedero

Veradero

Last but not least, we stayed in the all-inclusive Iberostar Veradero and had some free time to relax on the beautiful sandy beaches there.

Excursion to Crucero del Sol

Excursion to Crucero del Sol

One of the highlights of the trip was definitely our day excursion from the lovely Marina to Crucero del Sol. It was such a thrill to see dolphins in the wild, a glide of flying fish accompanied us for a while and we all enjoyed the snorkelling. Lunch could not have been fresher given that our crew dived for the lobster and then our captain cooked it up for us – delicious!

Our lobster catcher

Our lobster catcher

Mansion Xanadu was another gem in Varedero. Built in the 1920s by US millionaire Irenee Du Pont, the mansion has stunning décor with lots of precious woods and beautiful Italian marble and overlooks a fabulous beach. There are six rooms and an excellent restaurant.

For a great evening of live music outdoors, check out Los Beatles.

Paul Harvie and Monica Rossi in Los Beatles

Paul Harvie and Monica Rossi in Los Beatles

Dianne McCarthy, Shandon Travel, in Los Beatles

Dianne McCarthy, Shandon Travel, in Los Beatles

Cuba certainly offers a myriad of choices for the holidaymaker. Air France flies daily to Havana, with three cabins to choose from, and KLM three times a week, with two cabins including Economy Comfort seats.

Cienfuego

Cienfuego

Cigar making

Cigar making

Lunch

Lunch

Taxi

Taxi

Square in Havana

Square in Havana

Street scene in Havana

Street scene in Havana

The Gals!

The Gals!

The Lads!

The Lads!

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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