Por Roberto F. Campos
Dec 1, Havana (Prensa Latina) Perhaps bewitched by the people and the security of an island with many tourist assets, the top executives of cruise lines in the world agreed in this capital on how attractive Cuba is, especially for Americans.
Apart from debates and approaches to technical issues such as ports, and potential for accommodation and excursion programs, executives told the press their pleasure at the meeting in Havana, and their personal liking for the island.
These opinions are common among Americans, whether they are managers or simple travelers, academics and even politicians, who agree on the need for an improvement in the relations of both nations, which, in addition to being necessary, are essential.
Therefore, the International Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) chose Havana to make contact with the Cuban authorities.
The participants took advantage of the meeting to receive explanations from representatives of the Cuban Ministries of Transport and Tourism and to be able to investigate first-hand to better understand the opportunities.
At the meeting, they said that by year’s end, Cuba will receive more than 380,000 travelers aboard cruise ships from the United States, Europe and other regions of the planet.
CLIA is made up by the 25 most important cruise lines in North America, and was integrated with the need to promote the special benefits of this type of trips. This agency is the largest cruise association worldwide.
Asked by media, most of the executives had the same response, the need to strengthen ties and the purpose of continuing to organize travels despite the upsurge of restrictive measures against Cuba by the administration of Donald Trump.
Leaders of 12 companies, most of them Americans, showed up for the two-day meeting at Parque Central Hotel in Havana.
American Cruise Line, Virgin Voyager, Carnival Corporation and Pic, Holland American Line, Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruises Line Holgings, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Club Cruises were part of the list of participants.
The meeting was also attended by Silversea Cruises, Celestyal Cruises and Disney Cruises Line.
Currently four companies of this type operate in Cuba: Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), Norwegian Cruise Line Holding (NCLH) and Pearl Seas LLP, with results that the authorities consider mutually beneficial.
Opportunely, they announced the start of operations of a fifth US cruise company.
The figures are very encouraging, because until the end of October 2017, there was a sustained flow of visitors aboard cruise ships, with the main docking port in Havana, which has already received 28 cruise ships, with more than 270 port calls.
A November 4, 2017 report prepared by the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc., based in New York, states that three US companies, which include Cuba in their itineraries, will earn 623 million dollars in 2017 to 2019.
According to that report, the companies Norwegian Cruises Lines (NCL), Carnival and Royal Caribbean could transport 455 thousand passengers in the 286 scheduled trips to Cuba during those years.