On Live Voyage Reports: Cuba Cruise, The Ultimate Private Island Experience

The Ultimate Private Island Experience

So this is paradise! Cuba's very own "Isle of Youth" in Punta Frances. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

So this is paradise! Cuba’s very own “Isle of Youth” in Punta Frances. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

January 12, 2014

Today is all about relaxation aboard Cuba Cruise’s Louis Cristal. Just after 9 a.m., we arrived at our anchorage off Punta Frances on Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud – or ‘Isle of Youth.’ The largest Cuban island, the Isle of Youth is situated on the southwestern edge of the Cuban mainland and is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty.

The first tenders from Cuba Cruise's Louis Cristal head ashore at Punta Frances. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The first tenders from Cuba Cruise’s Louis Cristal head ashore at Punta Frances. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

At the western tip of the island is Punta Frances National Park, which served as our very own private island oasis. Some Caribbean cruises include stops at the cruise line’s private Bahamian island, but I doubt most could hold a candle to the idyllic setting that guests aboard the Louis Cristal tendered ashore to today.

The striking Louis Cristal, as seen from the tenders. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The striking Louis Cristal, as seen from the tenders. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Shaped like a half-moon and bordered by seas encompassing nearly every shade of blue in the spectrum, Punta Frances is the quintessential Caribbean postcard come to life. You know that shot in every cruise brochure with a swimsuit-clad couple strolling in the surf? Punta Frances makes that look like Winnipeg in the depths of winter.

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The water here is so crystal-clear that I could see past the Plimsoll line and load markers on the Louis Cristal when I boarded the tender ashore, its propeller turning lazily in the water as passengers embarked. Once ashore, a long wooden walkway connects the sea with the ivory-colored beach. I’ve seen fish tanks with more silt in them than there is in this water.

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Our Live Voyage Report circumnavigating Cuba aboard Cuba Cruise’s Louis Cristal continues tomorrow as we arrive in the Cuban capital of Havana for a full-day stay! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.