Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that the Cuban government has granted approval for the company to begin cruises to Cuba. The company said it plans to announce its first Florida-Cuba itineraries in the near future.
"Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travelers."
Two RCL lines, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, will provide guests with travel directly to Cuba for the purpose of providing people-to-people exchanges between guests and Cuban citizens and other travel permitted by current U.S. regulations.
The cruise itineraries will comply with U.S. Department of Treasury rules that permit travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in people-to-people activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. also announced that it has received approval from the government of the Republic of Cuba to operate cruises to Cuba, beginning March 2017. All three of the company’s brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will offer international travellers the opportunity to visit the culturally and historically rich country on select sailings starting next year. The voyages will provide guests with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover not only the rich culture, history and natural beauty of Cuba, but more importantly experience the warmth and hospitality of its people.
The company’s first cruise to Cuba will set sail from PortMiami on Oceania Cruises’ Marina on 7 March 2017 with select Caribbean itineraries featuring calls on Havana, including many multiple-day calls to allow guests to explore Havana and its environs. Seven Seas Mariner, of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, will call on Havana during two cruises in April 2017. Norwegian Sky will also offer a selection of four-night voyages that will overnight in Havana in May 2017.
“We are tremendously excited to have not just one, but 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 Ltd. “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.”
Guests sailing on all three brands will have a selection of shore excursions to choose from, all of which offer an authentic Cuban experience that explores the people, art, history and culture of the island, which are in compliance with OFAC regulations.
Full itinerary details and on sale dates for voyages that call on Cuba will be available tomorrow for Oceania Cruises, later this month for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and on 20 December for Norwegian Cruise Line.
Oceania Cruises revealed its first three inaugural voyages from Miami to Cuba. On December 7th, the company announced that it has received official government approval from the Republic of Cuba to operate cruises to the island beginning March 2017. The line announced it will inaugurate its calls in Cuba with one 14-day and two 10-day Caribbean cruises from Miami aboard Marina. Each of these voyages will call on the storied city of Havana with two of the voyages staying overnight and offering guests two full days in this legendary destination.
All voyages will fully comply with existing U.S. Federal Regulations and the most recent pronouncements from the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The voyages will provide guests with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover not only the rich culture, history and natural beauty found throughout Cuba, but more importantly experience the warmth and hospitality of its people.
"We are tremendously excited to have received approval by Cuban authorities to offer cruises to Cuba from the United States aboard our acclaimed Marina. I believe there is no better way to experience the unique culture, beauty and diversity of Cuba than by cruise," stated Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, the parent company of Oceania Cruises. "As a Cuban-American and founder of Oceania Cruises, I am incredibly proud that Marina will be the first in our fleet to cruise to Cuba. Not only was Marina the first ship to be purpose-built for the Oceania Cruises brand, she showcases millions of dollars' worth of Cuban-American art, making our inaugural voyages to Cuba even more special."
In Havana, guests will have a selection of expertly crafted shore excursions to choose from, all of which offer an authentic Cuban experience that explores the people, music, art, history and culture of the island in compliance with OFAC regulations. To provide guests with even greater insights into Cuba and its people, guest scholars and expert lecturers on board the ship will deliver compelling presentations about Cuba's past, present and future.