Cuba has been the subject of much discussion this year within the cruising industry, with American passengers being able to experience the Caribbean island for the first time in 50 years. Earlier this year, the Voluntourism-based line Fathom, which is owned by American parent company Carnival Corporation, became the first American line to dock in the island. This move saw P&O Cruises’ Adonia receive a major refit before being reassigned under Carnival Corporation.
In November, it was announced that Fathom would discontinue operations in June 2017, with the ship returning to P&O Cruises as Adonia. Despite the discontinuation of services, this move has provided a green light for up to five US lines to offer Cuba cruises in 2017.
Non-US based lines including Celestyal Cruises, MSC Cruises, Star Clippers, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Cruise and Maritime Voyages, and Viking Cruises all already offer itineraries to this stunning island – with many more cruises scheduled for 2017. In 2017, they will be joined by vessels from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
All three lines under Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings including will operate itineraries to the island. The first of their vessels to visit will be Oceania Cruises’ Marina, which will dock in Havana on 7th March 2017. She will be followed closely by Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Mariner, which will call in the Cuban capital during two cruises in April 2017.Norwegian Cruise Line’s 1,928-passenger Norwegian Sky will operate a series of four-day voyages to Cuba in May 2017 – each of which will incorporate overnight stays in Havana.
Royal Caribbean Cruises lines: Royal Caribbean and Azamara Club Cruises will also look to incorporate port calls in Cuba, with further details to be announced in the near future.
President and CEO for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank Del Rio, said: “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.”
"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."
Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, said: “Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there.”
“Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travellers.”
It is possible that Carnival Corporation may return to Cuba with a larger vessel in the near future. Despite Adonia returning to P&O Cruises, it has been confirmed that the social impact opportunities will remain as optional excursions on longer Caribbean itineraries.
It goes without saying that, following significant political changes, Cuba is one of the most popular destinations among tourists. A trade embargo has led to this nation being frozen in time, with the vintage cars being an iconic symbol of this oppressed Caribbean nation. If you love to travel and are interested in the prospect of turning your passion into a business opportunity, why not considering the franchise opportunity with GoCruise?
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