AVALON Fleet I has great accommodations for up to 18 guests in 8 Staterooms: two Staterooms back from the main salon, four Staterooms on the lower deck and two staterooms on the middle deck. There is a crew cabin with two bunks in the Captain’s Bridge located on the upper deck. All Staterooms are luxurious and have private bathrooms, hot water, comfortable beds, TV, telephone and A/C.
The beautiful pickled oak interior decor has an open and contemporary atmosphere. The lounging area is a large salon with a set of large inviting sofas that form the central setting and also a desk and PC station. Clean, modern lines combined with a moderate, natural and warm color turn this space into an area that feels like a cozy classical salon. The soft carpet combines remarkably well with the walls. The cushions on the sofas spice things up and give the overall ambiance a subtle edge. On a corner, an intimate dining room with a glass table invites for elegant lunches and dinners; just in front, there is a nice bar. Beside the bar, a comfortable staircase takes us to the lower deck.
On the upper deck, the large dining area is surrounded by comfortable sofas inviting to sit before dinner to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset. There is a large bar on one corner with a music system and well equipped to prepare all kinds of cocktails, and also to assist in the preparation and service during dinner. Beside the bar, a glass door leads to the captain’s bridge, including a nice bathroom and crew cabin. At the end of the large dining room, the stairs lead to the roof, to an open area with Jacuzzi, a majestic grill, chairs and an excellent panoramic view.
Meals are usually served on the afterdeck where there’s a nice breeze. Dining on board combines the style of the best Continental Italian cuisine with delicious seafood and traditional Cuban favorites like rice and beans, black bean soup and fried bananas. Beverages available on board are: Bottled mineral water (2 lt/day included in the package), sparkling and tonic water, various soft drinks, juices, beers, rums, whisky and excellent wines.
The chef on the Avalon is excellent. The day starts with a hearty breakfast. Lunch and dinners are primarily fresh fish. Lobster is our specialty and is served in a variety of ways. For those who like something different, chicken, pork and beef are also available. Salads and different fruits are served in every meal. Desserts feature our famous Cuban caramel custard, rum-flavored cakes, cookies, puddings, pies and many others. Vegetarian and kosher meals are served on request with many different choices available.
Divers booked on the Avalon will board at the port of Júcaro. The trip to Jardines de la Reina lasts 5 hours. Lunch is served on board on the way out, and there is time to kick back and relax with a cocktail, or even get a nap before arriving at JDR.
Diving schedule is usually at the discretion of the customers following the instructor’s suggestions with 2 or 3 daily dives. The day begins with a wakeup call at 7:00 am, coffee/tea ready, breakfast at 7:15 am. Our diving instructors are ready to go diving from 8:00 am. Fast diving boats are used to reach diving spots having the opportunity to explore different sites each day and enjoy the view of mangrove channels, virgin beaches, birds and other exuberant fauna during the trips. There is no chance for loneliness; dive guides and crew are available every single minute.
Our group guarantees all the equipment required to ensure safety (First Aid kits with O2 on every boat, excellent communications with mother boats and mainland, life jackets, etc.). The first morning, check-in dive to get acquainted and make sure all equipment is in good shape. During the briefings, our experienced instructors will explain every detail of the dive, from what will be seen in a particular spot to the correct behavior while diving with sharks or highlights of the area and special characteristics of the marine life present. After the first dive, surface interval in one of the beautiful beaches. Second dive and, at midday, boats will return for lunch.
Together with the instructor, arrange time for afternoon dives or for excursions through the lagoon and mangrove channels. Coming back to the live aboard, it is time to drink a frozen “mojito”, enjoy the afternoon pizza and talk about the dives. Around 8:00 pm, dinner is served and, like a family, everyone gets together around the table.
The staff will be in contact every minute to assist and receive special requests or suggestions. Evening time next to the bar, to watch photos and videos while breathing the sea atmosphere, it’s time to plan with the instructors what will happen next day.
In Jardines de la Reina, our season is year round. A normal week includes 15 dives from Sunday to Thursday; return to the mainland is on Friday. It is possible to book extra dives on request.
Tipping is widespread in Cuba. Many Cuban workers rely on tips to supplement their basic income and they all work really hard. Tips help them get a better lifestyle. So if you receive good service, it is very good etiquette to tip accordingly.