A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.
The Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year,' photographer and writer Christopher Baker is one of the world's foremost authorities on Costa Rica and Cuba. He has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama in the National Geographic Traveler series. He is also the author of the award-winning Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba, published by National Geographic Adventure Press. His more than 20 other books include the coffee table book Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. He has written for more than 200 publications, from National Geographic Traveler to Newsweek, and has been an invited speaker at National Geographic headquarters, the National Press Club, and the World Affairs Council, among other prestigious organizations. Christopher has been profiled in USA Today and featured on the National Geographic Channel, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and dozens of other radio and TV outlets. He is currently partnering with actor/director David Soul to produce a documentary about the restoration of Ernest Hemingway’s recently rediscovered 1955 Chrysler New Yorker in Cuba.
Renowned percussionist Carol Steele has been traveling to Cuba for 30 years, and introducing the island to fellow travelers for 20. Carol developed her love of travel as a professional musician, but it was going to Cuba in 1987 when she knew she had found her spiritual home. Carol’s enthusiasm is contagious, as is her love of Cuba, its culture, its history, and most of all, its people. Carol’s professional résumé reads like a Who’s Who of popular music. She has performed or recorded with Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Joan Baez, Tears for Fears, Bette Midler, and many other well-known artists. Carol was the first American woman to play with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, one of Cuba’s iconic folklore groups, and she toured the United States with Lazaro Ros and Amelia Pedroso, two of Cuba’s most popular and beloved Folkloric singers. Carol’s second passion, besides music, is the study of Cuban Religions of African Origin. She loves to share her knowledge of the history of these spiritual practices, of their survival through music and art, and of how deeply entwined they are into the fabric of everyday Cuban life.
Historian Franklin Knight is the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor Emeritus of History and Academy Professor at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests focus on social, political, and cultural aspects of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially after the 18th century, as well as on American slave systems in their comparative dimensions. His analyses of Latin American and Caribbean issues have been aired on National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the McNeill/Lehrer Report, C-Span, and elsewhere. Franklin has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Ford Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. A past president of both the Historical Society and the Latin American Studies Association, Franklin served as academic consultant to the television series Columbus and the Age of Discovery, The Buried Mirror, Americas, Plagued: Invisible Armies, Crucible of Empire, and The Louisiana Purchase. He was elected Corresponding Member of the Cuban Academy of History in 2012.