CubaCuba 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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  • Owen

    I”m glad to see, that, Royal Caribbean, and the other cruise lines will be going to Cuba. It truly should make for Interesting itineraries

  • Catherine Deblois

    I was booked on the Oceania Marina March 31 st. sailing prior to the announcement of the new itinerary with a sailing into Havana. As such, am very concerned as Oceania is adding the amount of 125.00 USD per person to pay for a visa and health insurance. This amount will be added to cruise fare. My concern is that when I booked this cruise, Havana was not on the itinerary and since it was added last week, why am I obliged to pay the fee for Havana.
    I understand that the cruise line can make itinerary changes for many reasons and as passengers we have no recourses, but does the cruise line have the legal right to add visa fees when the change of itinerary is solely their choice. To add insult to injury, non US citizens are obliged to pay this fee although they are not bound to by Cuban law. As Canadians we can visit Cuba, pay a tourist card of 25 dollars CAD and show proof of travel medical insurance, but because we are sailing from an Americanport we are bound by US rules.

  • Madeline Medley

    Question, I am hoping to plan a cruise to Cuba this summer. I have a passport card and when I inquired with the US agency to see if I need the book, they said it is up to the individual cruise line as to if I could use or need the passport card versus the passport book.

    Is that true?