More U.S. cruise ships headed for Cuba — slowly
By Spud Hilton Published 12:00 pm, Friday, December 16, 2016
Cuban authorities have given two more American mainstream cruise
companies — Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings —
approval to sail to Havana. Three things to know if you're planning to
book a cruise to Cuba:
•None of these new offerings departs until March, and even then, only a
handful of cruises have been planned.
•It's not a vacation on the beach sipping Cuba libres. All cruise lines
are required by the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control to make
excursions and tours "educational" so that passengers fit into the 12
categories of U.S. citizens allowed to visit Cuba.
•The actual amount of time you spend in Cuba will depend on the cruise
line, so review itineraries carefully. Royal Caribbean, for instance, is
offering four five- and seven-night cruises that include a stop at
Havana (all between April 19 and May 29 on Empress of the Seas). Keep in
mind that the mainstream lines, especially with bigger ships, will be
incorporating Havana into an itinerary along with several other Eastern
and Western Caribbean stops — the Royal Caribbean cruises leave from
Tampa and stop variously at Key West, Cozumel and Belize City. So manage
expectations: You will not be "cruising Cuba" so much as spending about
eight hours in Havana.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which plans to announce its NCL
itineraries on Tuesday, Dec. 20, has already said ships from the three
brands it controls — Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent
Seven Seas Cruises — will visit next year and said they will feature
multiple-day stops at Havana or overnight stays. Oceania Cruises' Marina
will be the first, setting sail from Miami on March 7.
Source: More U.S. cruise ships headed for Cuba — slowly - SFGate -