Cruise lines headed to Cuba

Posted: 19-Dec-16 11:00

This week brought the announcement that several cruises lines were granted approval to begin sailing to Cuba. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Oceania, and others will begin Cuba itineraries early in 2017. For some cruise lines, Cuba will part of a larger itinerary, but Pearl Seas Cruises plans a 10-night cruise which will sail around the island with stops at multiple Cuban cities.

Cruise lines headed to Cuba

Since the arrival earlier this year of the first commercial American flights to Cuba in more than fifty years, US tourists have been clamouring to see the island nation. In addition to flights into Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey, and other Cuban cities, this week saw the announcement that major cruise lines are planning new cruises to Cuba.

This week, the Cuban government granted approval to Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings (NCLH) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., to operate cruises to the island. In the near future, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises will begin offering regular cruise routes to Cuba.

The opening of more cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian will make cruising to Cuba more affordable. In addition to lower costs, residents of south Florida, in particular, will appreciate the availability of a cruise alternative to the Bahamas.

The first of the NLCH brands to cruise to Cuba will be Oceania Cruises, which will offer 14-day and 10-day Caribbean cruises from Miami. Each of the voyages will dock at Havana, staying overnight and offering guests two full days in the capital city.

Royal Caribbean International will offer cruises to Cuba beginning with a five-night itinerary aboard the Empress of the Seas. The ship will reposition to Tampa in the spring, and from there the line will offer two itineraries to Havana on April 30 and May 20.

Azamara Club Cruises has opened bookings for sailings on the Azamara Quest, which will sail from Miami to Havana on March 21. The trip is part of a 13-day Azaleas, Bourbon Street, and Havana itinerary which includes stops in Key West, Tampa, New Orleans, Cozumel, and an overnight stay in Havana. The company hopes to add additional Cuban ports of call in the near future.

Additionally, Pearl Seas Cruises received approval this week for cruises to Cuba. Pearl Seas will begin sailing from Florida to Cuba in January of 2017. A 10-night cruise will leave Fort Lauderdale on January 17, and will circumnavigate the island, stopping at Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago de Cuba.


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