Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to set sail for Cuba

Posted: 20-Jul-16 08:10

Having recently enlisted the luxurious Seven Seas Explorer to its ever-expanding fleet, Scandinavian travel company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have since confirmed that they are currently pending approval of the Cuban government to offer a route to the island later this year. Should they get the go-ahead, the deal could well signal a new benchmark for enjoying the country in style.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to set sail for Cuba

Already the proud owners of the world-renowned Oceania Regatta and the Oceania Marina, European cruise operators Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) have recently added possibly the most luxurious ship ever built – the Seven Seas Explorer – to their fleet of iconic commercial vessels.

Baptised by Princess Charlene of Monaco after its maiden voyage for the company, the good news is that ship and its two opulent harbour-mates could soon be setting sail for Cuba after NCLH confirmed talks with the country’s government over opening a route to the island were ongoing.

With president of NCLH, Frank del Rio, confirming that he expected operations to start “imminently”, should they indeed get the green-light from Havana to visit Cuba, it would represent another major milestone for a company that has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years.

The perfect getaway

From its strategic position between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba represents an ideal location for cruise companies to set their sights on – and since the restoration of relations between Havana and Washington last year, many US companies have already taken advantage.

Indeed, Carnival Cruises was one of the first American-facing travel companies to offer voyages to Cuba, with the Adonia Carnival already making several trips to the island in 2016. European companies have also taken note of the destination’s popularity, with French group Ponant just one organisation to have announced that they will be offering trips to Cuba starting early next year.

Should NCLH and the Cuban government succeed in striking a deal that suits both parties, an official route between Norway and the country could be confirmed as early as November this year, with the first voyages of the Oceania Regatta and Oceania Marina tentatively being pencilled in for the first quarter of 2017. Though this would certainly signal unchartered territory for NCLH, you only have to look at the success of other operators offering Cuban cruises to know that it would prove a big hit.

Other cruise lines that currently call in on Cuba during their travels include Star Clipper, MSC, Fred Olson, Thompson and Celestyal Voyages of Discovery Cruises, and this number only looks set to go as Cuban officials continue to recognise their country’s potential as a lucrative tourism destination.


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