Cruise the "Gardens of the Queen" with the Avalon II liveaboard. Building on the successes of her sister liveaboard, the Avalon I, the Avalon II was launched in 2014. 20 scuba divers are comfortably accommodated in 10 cabins across 4 decks on this 130ft (40m) vessel. Be one of the fortunate few, who experience the wonders of diving in Cuba's Jardines de la Reina Marine Park.
This is the only liveaboard in the Avalon Fleet to offer nitrox. Your diving experience will be complimented by talks by the resident marine biologist and all the diving action can be captured by the videographer when requested. The generous dive deck makes kitting up a breeze. Scuba gear and camera equipment are conveniently stored in individual equipment storage spaces. The 2 dive tenders are easily accessed from the platform and are on hand to transport you to the next dive site.
When you are not in the water, the Avalon II's amenities are elegant and inviting. With lots of communal areas you will not feel like you're cruising with 20 other divers. A quiet spot can be found to relax or catch up on some reading. If you are seeking company, the sun deck featuring a large Jacuzzi is the place to be. If you prefer shade, the ample covered open air deck offers lots of seating. During the midday heat, perhaps the Caribbean influenced air conditioned saloon is the perfect spot to meet fellow divers and share your Cuban experiences. Bring along a Wi-Fi enabled device and the Avalon crew will transfer you to the sister liveaboard, Tortuga, where you can access the net.
Hearty continental Italian and Cuban fusion cuisine is waitress served aboard the Avalon II. Generous 6 alcoholic servings per day are included in your cruise. Additional wine, spirits and cocktails are also available for purchase. Like the rest of the Avalon II, you will not feel cramped in your cabin. They are well proportioned, have space to store your luggage, and you can adjust the air conditioner to your preferred setting.
From the departure in Havana, during your transfers to Jucaro port and your liveaboard tour in Jardines de la Reina Marine Park, the 9 professional staff will be on hand to make your Cuban liveaboard cruise effortless and memorable.
Cruise price per person includes: Cabin accommodation, pre-reakfast, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, 6 drinks per day (includes beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks and 2 liters of mineral water), dives (as detailed in the cruises above, night dives are available), experienced Spanish and English-speaking divemaster(s) (max. number of 5 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts.
Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Scuba equipment rental (US$ 200 full set per trip), torch (US$ 8 per night dive) to be paid in advance, dive computer (US$ 60 per trip) to be paid in advance, port taxes (US$ 200) to be paid in advance, conservation fee (US$ 100) to be paid in advance, transfers from selected hotels in Havana to and from the boat (US$ 200) to be paid in advance, gratuities (min US$ 200 is compulsory, crew prefer this in Euro). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival in CUC cash.
Optional extras: Nitrox fills for enriched air certified divers US$ 100 per trip, additional dives on request, dive insurance, videographer services, private divemaster US$ 1,200 (subject to availability), alcoholic drinks and soft drinks (other than those included). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival in cash.
How to get there: Jardines de la Reina (or the Queen's Gardens) is an archipelago that is made up of over 600 cays and islands (the area was named by Christopher Columbus in honor of the Spanish Queen, Isabella of Castile). It lies in the Caribbean Sea and parallels the Cuban coast for about 93 miles (150 km). The domestic part of your journey to the archipelago begins in Cuba's capital city, Havana.
There is more on international flights and visa details (including the requirements for U.S. citizens and residents) in our how to get to Cuba information.
Arrival/Boarding/Departure: You need to be in Havana by Friday night. From Jose Marti International Airport, you can take a taxi to your pre-booked accommodation in Havana. The ride will take approximately 20-30 minutes and should cost 20-25 CUC one way. Agree on the price first, most taxis have meters however, they are rarely used. Ensure that you have accommodation reservations for at least one night before and 1 night after your liveaboard cruise (Havana hotels are booked up well in advance. Airbnb is highly recommended). A representative from Cuban Diving Centers will collect you at a very early 04:00 hrs from the Parque Central Hotel (or another agreed upon location at the time of your booking) for your 5-6 hour bus transfer to Jucaro Port, in Cuba's Ciego de Avila province. You will board the Avalon II liveaboard at approximately 09:00 hrs for the 3 hour voyage to Jardines de la Reina National Park. On the last day of the trip, you will cruise back to Jucaro Port and then travel via bus to Havana, arriving at approximately 20:30 hrs. The last dive of the trip will be around 14:00 hrs on the second last day of the trip. Please wait at least 18 hours before flying after diving.
Non-diver rate: US$ 250 off the published price.
Single supplement (if you do not want to share accommodation): This is optional - single travelers may choose to share a cabin or pay a supplement of approx. 65% of the published price.
Dive clubs and group discounts: Pay for 9 guests and 1 additional person can join the cruise in the Standard cabin free of charge (total 10 or more guests). Pay for 18 guests and 2 additional guests can join the cruise in a Standard cabin free of charge (total 20 or more guests.) See whole boat charter rate below.
10 Standard cabins aboard the Avalon II are spacious and neatly furnished with the bathrooms adding a touch of elegance. All cabins feature the comforts of home, including televisions, DVD players, individually-controlled air-conditioning and private bathrooms. The 8 cabins on the main deck each have a double bed and a single bunk bed, and large windows. The lower deck features the largest cabins. These 2 cabins each have 2 double beds and portholes.
All the liveaboard cabins have:
Windows or portholes
Toilet, hot water shower and hand basin
Towels & soap
Personal TV & DVD player
Bedside reading lights
Cabinet and shelves
Space for luggage
Round and flat 2-pin mains outlet 110 & 220 Volts - 24 hours per day
The crew of 9 usually comprises (depending on the occupancy);
1 Cruise leader
1 - 4 Instructors / Divemasters
2 Motorized dive dinghies - Dive platform with showers, camera table and rinse tanks - Air-conditioned saloon with bar, TV, DVD video & music - Book library, fish ID books, diving magazines - Open air social and dining area - Sun deck with bar, sun chairs and jacuzzi - WiFi on the sister liveaboard, Tortuga
The meals served on the Avalon Fleet I liveaboard are almost as renowned as the scuba diving in Jardines de la Reina. The day starts with a hearty breakfast at 07:15 hrs to fuel guests for the first dive of the day. Lunch and dinner include lobster, pork, chicken, beef, salads and fruit prepared in a continental Italian style or drawing from local Cuban influences. No Italian meal would end without delectable desserts being offered to guests.
Continental Italian and traditional Cuban favorites; 4-5 different dishes per sitting.
Waitress service in one of the 2 dining areas.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, including pizza in between.
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, wine, cocktails and 2 liters of mineral water per person per day (6 units in total) and snacks are provided free of charge.
Additional beverages are available for purchase.
Vegetarian, kosher, halal and allergic diets are catered for - please advise us of special requirements in advance.
The dining service begins with lunch, snacks and dinner on the first day of the cruise. On the last day guests are served breakfast, if the return cruise time is extended, lunch will be provided.
Advanced medic first aid box, staff are MFA/EFR trained
20 life jackets throughout
Fire alarms and extinguishers throughout
Medical insurance is MANDATORY in Cuba
Customer dive insurance is NOT provided. It is suggested that divers have dive insurance due to the remoteness of the location and the high cost of emergency evacuation services. - see our insurance program for a competitive quotation