Since the end of 2014, the relationship between Cuba and the USA has been slowly improving, and the potential for cruise routes to the former started to materialise. Firstly, Fathom, the social impact cruise line, announced plans to visit Cuba as part of their ‘travel with purpose’ touring model, and then a selection of other lines revealed intentions to visit the island in the Caribbean Sea.
With legal restrictions and disputes to navigate, it has been a long journey from announcing plans to travel to Cuba, to actually pulling up on the island. But Cuba cruise holidays look closer than ever this week, following news that a number of cruise lines have been given permission to include the island in their cruise routes.
Royal Caribbean, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas have all been granted permission to cruise to Cuba – significantly increasing the number of ships permitted to dock on the island. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, in particular, could provide a significant boost for the Cuban cruise industry with the two lines operating more than 40 ships between them.
The three largest ships in the world, all operated by Royal Caribbean, currently complete itineraries around the Caribbean Sea – so Cuban port calls wouldn’t cause much re-routing. This permission could see record numbers of cruise passengers making their way to Cuba to explore the history, majesty and mystery of Havana before too long.
Of course, the travel embargo was only placed on ships which belonged to US-owned lines, so other cruise lines have been visiting Cuba prior to this granting of permission. However, the breakthrough seems to have inspired the entire industry to receive Cuba as a more viable and attractive destination for cruise itineraries.
Cyprus-based cruise line, Celestyal Cruises, have been visiting Cuba for three seasons now but have announced this week that they will increase their number of visits to the island, arriving year-round rather than just during set seasons.
It all looks quite bright for the Cuban tourism industry, with a thriving cruise trade likely to pump significant cash into local businesses. And with the big players now permitted to visit, the likes of Havana could see heavy investment to give cruise ship passengers even more to look forward to.
Whether you’re looking for a cruise to Cuba or somewhere closer to home, Cruise1st UK can help you find your perfect cruise itinerary. For a huge range of great deals, visit our homepage our call our friendly sales team on 0808 274 6777.