It’s official, US Cruise lines can now sail US passengers to Cuba from US ports. The US Government just handed approval to a bunch of cruise lines today. Let’s take a look.
Royal Caribbean Cruises received approval for Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises. Royal will be sailing the Empress of the Seas and Azamara hasn’t decided on a ship yet. Expect a formal announcement later this week or next.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings will sail NCL’s Norwegian Sky, Oceania Cruises Marina and Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner to Cuba. The Marina will be first with a departure from Miami on March 7, 2017. The Seven Seas Mariner will call in Havana in April 2017 and Norwegian Sky will sail into Havana on select 4 night sailings from May 2017 and onward. Some of the Sky’s port calls are rumored to overnight.
Oceania Cruises will go public tomorrow with their plans. Regent will announce which Seven Seas Mariner cruises will call in Cuba and NCL will announce changes to Norwegian Sky’s itineraries in about 2 weeks.
Missing from the announcements has been Carnival Corp. They recently pulled the plug on their fathom brand which, up until now, is the only line approved to transport US passengers there. I’m positive they’ll have a play in Cuba. It’s just a matter of time until they announce who and what ships they’ll send there.
Interesting note, it appears they will still have to adhere to the US Treasury’s regulations about traveling to Cuba under the purpose of a person-to-person visit. I covered this in an analysis last month.
UPDATE 3:34pm: Pearl Seas Cruises is also awaiting their approval.
UPDATE 4:05pm: In addition Pearl Seas it’s confirmed that Carnival Corp is still waiting their approval, as is Victory Cruise Lines. Blount Small Ships also appear to be waiting.
UPDATE 4:09pm: These recent approvals are for a limited time only. Of course they can be extended, but the permit are only for a limited time.
UPDATE Thursday 10:45am:
Pearl Seas Cruises just received their approval this morning. Looks like they’ll be the first ones to Cuba under this round of approvals. Their first cruise is set to depart Port Everglades January 17, 2017. She’ll visit more than just Havana with a complete circumnavigation of the island. Pearl Seas sails only one ship, the Pearl Mist.
UPDATE Friday 9:51am: This morning Royal Caribbean finally confirmed Empress of the Seas will sail to Cuba. However they threw in a twist. The Empress will reposition to Tampa and sail to Cuba from there. She’ll sail a 5 night cruise from Miami on April 19th, then reposition to Tampa for 4 & 5-night summer voyages.
Oceania announced their itineraries to Cuba as well. Three cruises on the Marina will leave Miami March 7, 21 & 31. The 7th and 31st include an overnight in Havana, while the 21st includes a full day there.