Norwegian Cruise Line begins taking bookings for Cuba voyages
Gene Sloan , USA TODAY 8:19 a.m. EST December 21, 2016
Norwegian Cruise Line's first cruises to Cuba are now open for bookings.
The Miami-based line on Tuesday began taking reservations for the
recently announced, four-day sailings from Miami to the island nation,
which will kick off on May 1.
The trips will take place on the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky, which
will become the biggest vessel traveling between the USA and Cuba.
Five of the voyages are planned for May. They'll include an overnight
stay in Havana and a stop at Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private
island in the Bahamas.
Norwegian is one of six lines that received approval from the Cuban
government this month to begin sailing to Cuba early next year. Also
receiving approval were Norwegian's two sister lines, Oceania Cruises
and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, as well as Royal Caribbean, Azamara Club
Cruises and Pearl Seas Cruises.
Approved! Royal Caribbean, Norwegian are going to Cuba
The Cuba calls planned by the lines will provide an opportunity for
"people-to-people" exchanges between Americans and Cubans as allowed by
U.S. rules governing visits to Cuba, the companies have said.
While the Obama administration has loosened restrictions on travel to
Cuba over the past year, U.S. visitors still are limited in the
activities they are allowed to do in the country by the terms of the
USA's five-decade-old embargo. The embargo specifies that activities
fall within one of 12 approved categories. The categories include
educational pursuits such as people-to-people exchanges.
The only cruise vessel now sailing from the USA to Cuba is the
704-passenger Adonia, which flies the flag of Fathom, a little-known,
one-ship brand launched earlier this year by Carnival Corp. (CCL).
Adonia began bi-weekly voyages to Cuba in May but soon will end the
trips. Fathom has struggled to gain traction with consumers, and
Carnival Corp. announced last month that the brand would shut down its
cruise operations next spring.
Fares for the Norwegian sailings to Cuba start at $699 per person,
including unlimited beverages.
Source: Norwegian Cruise Line begins taking bookings for Cuba voyages -