Cruise ships coming to Cuba

| 08/07/2015 | 0 Comments
CNS Business

Carnival Cruise Line’s Adonia

(CNS Business): Starting in May 2016, the world’s largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation, plans to offer trips from Miami to Cuba. On Tuesday the cruise company announced they have won approval from the US Department of Treasury and US Department of Commerce to operate culturally-themed cruises to the Caribbean island nation. The trips will be through its new brand, fathom, which focuses on trips where passengers sail to a destination to volunteer.

Unlike the classic Caribbean cruises that celebrate sun and beach time, fathom passengers to Cuba will spend shore time engaging in social outreach and educational activities. Company officials have stated that this cruise excursion falls under rules that allow licensed travel companies to bring in American visitors who comply with federal regulations for approved types of travel on the island. In this case that means cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between Americans and Cubans. The weeklong cruises will be aboard the Adonia, which carries 710 passengers.

The United States and Cuba have been working for months to improve relations after more than five decades of animosity that led to a trade embargo against the communist-led country. Carnival would be the first American cruise company to venture into  Cuban waters since the 1960 trade embargo. The countries formally agreed last week to re-establish diplomatic relations last week on 20 July.

Cuba is still closed for general tourism for Americans, although as relations thaw between the two countries visitors have fewer hurdles to overcome. Americans can’t just vacation in Cuba but must go there as part of an approved cultural or humanitarian trip, unless they have family on the island.

The itinerary is still being finalised as Carnival waits for approval from the Cuban government. The ship is expected to visit several ports and passengers will sleep onboard each night.

“We’re incredibly excited and humbled by this potential opportunity to help travelers experience the amazing beauty and culture of Cuba, while being able to provide educational and cultural exchange activities that will benefit both the traveler and the Cuban people,” fathom president Tara Russell stated in a press release. “In Cuba the requirements are different so every traveler that exits to Cuba will spend eight hours per day in these compliant forms of activities on the ground.”

Carnival is expecting high demand for the voyages and has priced them accordingly. Prices start at $2,990 per person plus taxes and port fees.

“We know there is strong demand from travelers who want to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, so this is a historic opportunity for us to enable more people to experience Cuban society,” said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corp. “This will be the first time in well over 50 years that a cruise line can take passengers to Cuba and return.”


Category: Cruise Tourism, Tourism

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