Major news sites overlook 1977 Jazz Cruise to Cuba

Posted: 21-May-16 10:51

Although a number of major international news sites reported that the Adonia's recent visit to Cuba was the first time in more than 50 years that a US vessel had dropped anchor in the country, that couldn't be further from the truth. As we have the inside track on all things Cuba, we know that Dizzy Gillespie's "Jazz Cruise" was mistakenly overlooked by all these sources.

Major news sites overlook 1977 Jazz Cruise to Cuba

By now you’ll no doubt have read that one of the smaller cruise ships in Carnival’s fleet, the Adonia, arrived in Cuba at the start of May – but while many news sources claimed this was the first time in more than 50 years that a US vessel had visited the country, this overlooks one important cultural trip.

Despite what you might have read on the BBC website or elsewhere, in 1977 the MS Daphne set sail from New Orleans to Havana with a number of notable people among the 400 passengers on board. These included legendary musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Earl Hines and many other famous faces in the jazz industry, all of whom disembarked at the port to explore the many sights of Havana.

Though arriving on the island in a purely non-playing capacity, the musicians aboard the MS Daphne were greeted by an eager throng on onlookers keen to get a glimpse at their musical icons, particularly Gillespie, who was a hero to a generation of Cuban musicians who had heard him from afar.

Setting the record straight

Known as the “Jazz Cruise”, this visit was clearly overlooked by a number of news sources who reported that the Adonia’s recent trip was the first time since Fidel Castro’s administration that a commercial cruise between America and Cuba had taken place. Most sites have since issued corrections to their initial reports reflecting the fact that the 1977 voyage was mistakenly omitted.

Taking place during the Jimmy Carter administration, the MS Daphne’s Cuban visit – which came as part of a wider tour of the Caribbean – was the last journey a US commercial vessel would make to the island that century, as travel restrictions were imposed soon after the then-president left office.

With current US President Barack Obama and Raul Castro reaching an accord in 2014, however, cruise companies have been lining up for permission to bring the first American tourists since the 1977 cruise to Cuba by sea – with trips like the Adonia’s expected to bring tens of millions in hard foreign currency onto the island, the majority of which will go directly to the Cuban government.


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