Carnival Still Waiting As NCLH, RCI & Azamara Approved For Cuba
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have both announced that they have been granted approval by the Cuban government to cruise to the island nation.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises all responded by announcing they will offer a collection of voyages that include calls in Havana on select sailings next year.
Two RCCL brands - Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises – have also announced they will operate directly to Cuba, with itineraries to be announced in the near future.
Until now, Carnival Corp’s Fathom line was the only U.S. based cruise line authorized to cruise to Cuba. That licence expires next May, and Carnival has announced that the 1-ship line will not continue to operate past that date.
NCLH's 1st cruise to Cuba will set sail from Miami on Oceania Cruises' Marina 07MAR17 including multiple-day calls with overnights to permit the time necessary to explore Havana and its environs.
Regent's Seven Seas Mariner will call in Havana during 2 cruises in April. And starting in May, Norwegian Sky will sail 4 day voyages that will overnight in Havana.
The company said full itinerary dates for voyages that call on Cuba will be available today for Oceania, later this month for Regent and 020DEC for Norwegian.
Industry publication CruiseWeek says that incorporating Havana into Caribbean sailings vs. Cuba-only sailings should provide a boost for the all these brands’ pricing on sailings involving Cuba in 2017.
Further announcements by other cruise companies are anticipated prior to year-end.
"As a Cuban-American and founder of Oceania Cruises, I am incredibly proud that one of Oceania's vessels will be our company's 1st to sail to Cuba," Said Frank Del Rio, NCLH President & CEO.
Carnival Cruises Corp. had recently announced the withdrawal of the Fathom social-impact brand from their lineup. Those cruises had included Cuba in their itineraries. Carnival’s permit for Cuba sailings ends in May and they have not announced renewal of their program. Carnival has requested approval to sail to Cuba with other brands starting in June.