Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises have all been granted permission by the Cuban government to operate cruises to Cuba from 2017.
Oceania’s Marina will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ship to visit Cuba, with select Caribbean itineraries from Miami visiting Havana from March 7, 2017.
Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner will visit Cuba twice in April 2017, followed by Norwegian Sky in May 2017, which will berth overnight in Havana.
“We are tremendously excited to have all three of our award-winning brands receive approval from the Cuban authorities to offer cruises to Cuba from the United States,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “As a Cuban-American and founder of Oceania Cruises, I am incredibly proud that one of Oceania’s vessels will be our company’s first to sail to Cuba. This is truly a dream come true for me, and I cannot wait for our loyal guests to experience the sights and sounds of my hometown of Havana and get to know its rich culture and its warm and welcoming residents.”
Royal Caribbean is yet to unveil full details about its Cuban plans, other than that cruises will sail from Florida, and would most likely be aboard Empress of the Seas.
To comply with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, that permit cruise lines to transport approved travellers to Cuba to engage in people-to-people activities, guests sailing with all five newly-approved cruise lines will have a selection of cultural shore excursions to choose from. Guests will have the chance to enjoy an authentic Cuban experience, learning about the people, art, history and culture of Cuba.