Cuba has granted permission to Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line to sail passengers to the island.
Cuba also approved all three of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which will start cruising there in March.
Oceania will first send the Marina to Cuba from Miami on March 7th. The cruise ship will call on Havana and other ports in Cuba.
Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner will sail to Cuba in April, and NCL’s Norwegian Sky will start cruising to Cuba in May.
As matters now stand, the only U.S. based cruise line, Carnival’s Fathom, has been sailing the Adonia on the so-called "voluntourism" cruises for the past year, although it announced that it will stop sailing as of June of 2017.
The cruises are required to be part of educational and "people-to-people" exchanges between Americans and Cubans pursuant to U.S. government procedures.
I previously announced, as an April Fools joke, that Royal Caribbean planned to rename the Empress of the Seas the Cuban Empress and was going to be home-ported in Havana.
On a serious note, Fidel Castro’s death has not dampened the feelings of many Cubans who fled Cuba in the early 1960’s after Castro came into power. Many families lost everything when they fled Cuba many years ago. They see no point in doing business with a country still run by Castro’s brother where the money from cruise ship passengers goes directly to the Communist government run by the military.
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