Royal Caribbean and Norwegian join list of cruise lines heading for Cuba

Posted: 15-Dec-16 10:00

With travel embargoes eased for travelers from the USA to Cuba, two cruise companies have announced Havana will be added to their list of destination. Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are the latest to latch on to the interest in Cuba from travellers.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian join list of cruise lines heading for Cuba

With travel between Cuba and the United States enjoying something of an explosion right now, the number of routes between the USA and the Caribbean island is growing at a never-before-seen rate, with new journeys by sea being made available by the week.

According to a report on the website Skift, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises are the latest in the list of ocean faring travel specialists that are adding Havana to their destinations.

The latter will begin voyages via its Royal Caribbean International flagship line, and the more luxurious Azamara Club Cruises. The former will begin introducing packages on all three of its brands – Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, said:

“Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there,”

and added:

“Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travelers.”

All this has been made possible thanks to more relaxed travel regulations for American citizens, introduced by President Barack Obama in a bid to begin restoring diplomatic relations with the isolated Communist state following more than half a century of embargoes that have prevented economic and political ties between the two nations.

Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said in a statement:

“We are tremendously excited to have all three of our award-winning brands receive approval from the Cuban authorities to offer cruises to Cuba from the United States,”

He continued:

“As a Cuban-American and founder of Oceania Cruises, I am incredibly proud that one of Oceania’s vessels will be our company’s first to sail to Cuba. This is truly a dream come true for me, and I cannot wait for our loyal guests to experience the sights and sounds of my hometown of Havana and get to know its rich culture and its warm and welcoming residents.”

Carnival Corp was the first operator given the go ahead to begin journeys from the States to Cuba, with departures from Miami, Florida, under the Fathom flag- a line that will be discontinued in the new year, but has been sailing to the island once a fortnight, using a small vessel that calls at three ports, and will continue service after the brand has been permanently docked.

Norwegian itineraries will begin from March 2017, with trips also scheduled for April and May. As of yet no definite dates have been confirmed for Royal Caribbean.


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