M/V Oceans for Youth Classroom-at-Sea
The M/V Oceans for Youth is equipped and staffed to support Classroom-at-Sea Programs for field-based educational opportunties. It is a 100-ft. motor vessel built for safety and stability and sleeps up to 24 passengers with a crew of eight. The vessel’s main salon provides a large teaching space complete with laptop hook-up and projection screen. A small library includes species ID guides and other natural history books and videos.

Field sites include the following habitats: deep and shallow coral reefs, seagrasses, lagoon systems, mangroves, and barrier islands. All field excursions are from tenders. This program also includes four optional scuba dives at two sites.*

The Classroom-at-Sea Program is for any high school (age 15 or older), college, university, scouting or other educational groups interested in studying marine biology or ecology in the field. Participants will spend 7 nights on the vessel exploring the habitats of the Gardens of the Queen National Park, located 60 miles off the southern coast of Cuba. Throughout the week, your hosts will be Cuban marine biologists who guide your daily expeditions and give daily seminars about the wildlife, habitats, and the ecological importance of each. The theme of the week will focus on how Cuba's conservation and management efforts in the national park have maintained one of the healthiest marine ecosystems in the Caribbean.

The provided course curriculum, “Dynamics and Conservation of Cuban Coastal Ecosystems” is field-based and is taught by Cuban scientists working and conducting field studies from on board the vessel.

Daily seminars topics focusing on Cuba's marine ecosystems include:

• Ocean Zones and Coastal Communities
• Lagoons and Mangroves
• Seagrasses and Coral Reefs
• Oceanographic Processes and Coastal Ecosystems Interactions
• Fisheries Management and Coastal Ecosystems
• Marine Protected Areas Management
• Jardines de la Reina Management Plan – Development and Implementation

All seminars are taught to the appropriate group's academic level i.e. high school or university – undergraduate or graduate level. A one-week course provides seminars at the Introductory Level (best for high school and undergraduate students) and a two-week course (best for graduate students) provides seminars at the Advanced Level.

Customized educational content is available upon request. Customized charters and itineraries are also available upon requestminimum 1 week; 2-4 weeks or semester-at-sea options. Educational institutions may provide their own curriculum and/or integrate theirs with educational content provided by on-board Cuban scientists (in English and/or Spanish) or by the Oceans for Youth Foundation.

Itinerary Overview:

Day 1 - Saturday

Welcome and pick-up at Camaguey Airport by 6 pm or Santa Clara Airport by 5 pm.
Transfer to Jucaro for boarding the M/V Oceans for Youth vessel. Boarding begins at 5 pm.
Dinner and orientation starts at 7 pm.

Days 2 - 6

Arrive in Gardens of the Queen National Park and begin exploring marine and coastal habitats with Cuban biologists and resource management experts to include daily snorkeling and island excursions (with 2 optional scuba diving sites including 4 dives total). Habitats to explore and learn about:

~ Pristine marine lagoons and expansive sea grass meadows
~ Mangrove forests and channels
~ Patch and crest reefs with rare, endangered corals
~ Deserted cays and sea turtle nesting beaches (in season)
~ Daily marine ecology seminars by Cuban marine scientists

Day 7 - Saturday

8 am transfer to Camaguey or Santa Clara Airports (2 separate transfers) with lunch provided for a 1 pm arrival at your airport for departure.
  • Throughout the week, Cuban marine scientists will be speaking on ocean conservation and the ecosystem of the Gardens of the Queen.
  • Snorkeling in the Gardens of the Queen is from Sunday to Friday. Four optional scuba dives are included (snorkel and/or dive equipment is available for rent).
  • All meals are included. Aboard the M/V Oceans for Youth, alcoholic beverages are permitted but not included. Guests are welcome to bring and consume their own, provided they are of legal U.S. age to consume alcohol and have completed in-water activities for the day.

Join us aboard the M/V Oceans for Youth
as we "Explore, Learn, Protect".