One hundred years ago, on January 7, 1913, not long after the completion of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway from Miami across the Florida keys to Key West, the 3,786-ton Evangeline sailed from Key West on her inaugural cruise from Florida. She is shown here in a portrait by prolific Danish-American maritime artist Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921). The first Evangeline operated a season of eight 11-night cruises, the first such program to be operated from a Florida port. Priced from $110 per person, they were sold as “Winter Outings on Summer Seas“: -
The s.s. Evangeline will leave Key West direct for Colon, Panama, remain at that port two days, and sail direct to Kingston, Jamaica, remain at that port for two days, thence sail for Key West, Fla, via Havana, Cuba. Persons desiring to stop in Havana may do so at will, and return to Key West on any of the P&O ships with no extra charge.
These first Florida cruises were offered between January and April 1913 by the Jacksonville-based Peninsular & Occidental Steamship Company. They were followed by seven similar 14-night cruises in the winter of 1914 from Jacksonville, closer to the main population centres, with fares from $125.
Now what could one think of today to reach something close to this original era of cruising in small ships? One needn’t look far. Travel Dynamics International’s 2,354-ton Yorktown, built in Florida in 1988, will offer a series of three 10-night “Voyage Around Florida” cruises, exploring historic Florida towns, in March and April 2014. She will sail between Savannah GA and Tampa, from where a young Winston Churchill sailed to Havana, and gained his fondness for Cuban cigars, in November 1895.
Two Yorktown cruises will start at Tampa and one at Savannah, operating in the opposite direction. After leaving Tampa, the ship will call at Sarasota, Sanibel Island, Key West, Key Largo, Miami, Palm Beach, Port Canaveral, St Augustine, St Mary’s GA (for Cumberland Island) and Savannah. Fares begin at $5,935 (about £3,995) including port taxes. Tampa departures are scheduled for March 15 and April 4 and the Savannah departure for March 25.
For further details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail us at email@example.com.