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There is a new cruise company that will be stopping at a number of Cuban ports. Given the fact Cuba ports have been ignored by traditional cruise lines, this is a significant announcement.

The new cruise company, which is Canadian-owned, will  commence operations with its first cruise around the island of Cuba even before Christmas on Dec. 4. The company will offer 15 seven-night cruises, which will depart from Havana each Sunday until March 18, 2012.

The itineraries are strictly Cuban, with a different port each day of the cruise. I think the basic itinerary will be quite appealing. Stops will include colonial cities, nature preserves, UNESCO world heritage sites and national parks.

The Cuba Tourist Board, which is trying really hard to promote this new venture, as well as the cruise-ship owners say each cruise will be highlighted by top-notch entertainment, with the best in Cuban music and dance.

Local guides and interpreters will be on board to provide perspectives on the ship’s itinerary.

In a statement to kick off the promotions, Ruben Jimenez, director of the Cuba Tourist Board of Canada, said: “Cuba Cruise passengers will be welcomed as privileged visitors to our home and experience the incredible warmth and hospitality that is the true Cuba.”

This is a unique undertaking, led by a travel executive who has been honoured for his industry leadership. Company president Dugald Wells was a past recipient of Travel + Leisure magazine’s Top 35 Innovators in travel.

With 480 staterooms, the Louis Cristal will be marketed as a deluxe vessel with elegant lounges, restaurants and a casino, which you might not expect in post-revolutionary Cuba.

Whatever the luxury is, with lead-in prices of $586, there should be a lot of takers for early cruise departures.

Cruise packages are being sold by Renaissance/Journeys Travel now through a number of respected tour operators.

Book this cruise on line at . Just clik on the book travel icon or call Renaissance Travel at 942-5000 Toll Free 800 859-6354.

Before you travel be sure to check out the exceptional selection of travel accessories, travel and resort wear, and luggage options on line or in store at Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre. The main store is located at the corner of Donald and Wardlaw in Winnipeg.