UPDATE MONDAY:Celestial Cruises offered this clarification to CIN:
We gradually increased our stake over the past two years to where we are now the significant majority (shareholder). Our intention is to support the venture’s continued growth and further commit to this unique product. As a global cruise line and after a successful 2015 cruise season in Cuba, we decided the synergy was there, between our Eastern Mediterranean cruises and our Cuba product, and that there was significant untapped market share.
Here’s the latest on US Citizens traveling to Cuba:
- Louis Group, parent company Celestyal Cruises, have announced that they have purchased all assets related to Cuba Cruise. This was the ship operated by a Canadian travel agency that Time Chartered the Celestyal Crystal (ex-Louis Cristal, Silja Opera, SuparStar Taurus, Leeward, Sally Albatross) for cruises that circumnavigate Cuba.
- International Port Corp. of Miami have announced that they’ve been awarded a license by the Treasury Department and the Commerce Department to start regularly ferry service from Florida to Cuba. No word yet on ports, ships or a start date.
- The Wall Street Journal is reporting that 4 other companies have also applied for ferry permits with the US Government for overnight departures from Florida.
- One of those 4 reaming vendors is a Joint-Venture that includes former Premier Cruises, Delta Queen Steamboat and NCL executive Bruce Nierenberg. The line will be called United Caribbean Lines.
- JetBlue announced that they will start flights from JFK to Havana. It will start operating in July under charter to Cuba Travel Service. They’ll fly an A320 there on Fridays. (fun fact: American Airlines and Sun Country have already been flying to Cuba from Miami and has been for some time. Seriously; look up AA9454/AA9455 & SCX8830/SCX8831 !)