Now that demand for travel to Cuba is up 40 percent, one of the best ways to visit the newly opened nation is with a small-ship cruise company.

International Expeditions cruise to cuba
Credit: International Expeditions

International Expeditions

On nine-night itineraries aboard IE’s 46- and 48-passenger motor-powered sailing yachts, guests fly from Miami to Cuba’s southern coast for visits to colonial Trinidad and Cienfuegos, then head west to the nature reserves. Next up: Havana for two days, plus a day in Viñales, whose tobacco- quilted fields helped earn it a unesco World Heritage designation. From $4,899 per person.

Haimark Line

If the idea of circumnavigating the island strikes a chord, this cruise line, known for its high-end river trips, takes to Cuba in February with nine-night sailings from Miami on a 210-passenger vessel. The route hits the island’s historic towns like Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and music-rich Santiago, plus the port where Christopher Columbus landed in 1492, near Holguín. From $4,599 per person.

Pearl Seas Cruises

This luxury line specializing in inland cruises offers a similar itinerary to Haimark’s on its 10-night sailings aboard the 210-passenger, all-balcony Pearl Mist. One big difference: In lieu of Viñales, the ship spends an extra day in Havana so guests can take advantage of the forts, churches, plazas, vintage-car culture, and live music spilling from the bars. From $7,580 per person.

Globus Journeys

The nine-night Cuba by Land and Sea tour aboard the 1,200-passenger Celestyal Crystal combines Cuba’s highlights with two days in Havana. Days on the island are filled with sightseeing and cross-cultural exchanges with professional singers and baseball players, as well as business owners, farmers, and architects. It also includes a relaxing stop in Jamaica. From $2,599 per person.