How to Cruise to Cubaby Danielle Contray | July 21, 2016
Other major cruise lines have their sights set on offering Americans cruises to Cuba as well. Royal Caribbean plans on using the newly renovated 1,840-passenger Empress of the Seas for cruises between Florida and Cuba, pending approval from the Cuban government. Plans are also in the works for the 684-passenger Oceania Regatta to launch Cuba itineraries in late 2016, followed by the 1,250-passenger Oceania Marina in 2017.
Some smaller cruise lines also have Cuba itineraries in the works that will be available to U.S. citizens. French line Ponant received permission from the Cuban government and will offer cruises for Americans on the 64-passenger Le Ponant starting in early 2017. The trips will include a flight from Miami to Santiago de Cuba and a cruise to smaller ports along the island’s coast on the sailing ship.
Pearl Sea Cruises has cruises planned out of Miami on the 210-passenger Pearl Mist beginning in the fall of 2016, subject to approval by the Cuban government to allow U.S. citizens on board. Cuba itineraries on the ship include Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos, plus time exploring the coral reefs in María la Gorda and an excursion to the town of Trinidad, which dates back to 1514.
There is one other major cruise ship with Cuba on the itinerary, yet it is off-limits to U.S. travelers. The 2,150-passenger MSC Opera embarks from Havana before calling in Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico. But the ship, from European line MSC Cruises, carries mostly European travelers and does not currently run people-to-people programs.
Danielle Contray is the Brooklyn-based managing editor of ShermansCruise.