With the flags now raised at U.S. and Cuban embassies, the two countries continue to restore relations—and ease tourism restrictions. Find out which cruise lines are racing to line up itineraries for 2016.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas are the latest additions to the roster of cruise lines angling to sail to Cuba in the coming year. The CEO of the parent company, Frank Del Rio, said today that they are currently seeking approval from the U.S. and Cuban governments to sail educational, “people-to-people” itineraries, in line with the 12 U.S. travel restrictions still in place.
Recent months have seen announcement after announcement, as cruise lines feverishly work to build their Cuba programs. Arguably the largest news came from Carnival, with its plans for “Fathom,” a new line within Carnival that will offer people-to-people Cuba cruises onboard the 710-passenger Adonia, starting May of next year.
Other cruise companies with Cuba on the horizon include small ship lines Pearl Seas, Haimark, and International Expeditions, and tour operator Globus (in conjunction with Celestyal Cruises).
In other Cuba travel news, American Airlines and Cuba Travel Services announced today their intention to operate the first charter flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana later this year, providing travelers with the only nonstop service connecting the West Coast to Cuba since travel restrictions were eased. American already flies to Cuba from Miami and Tampa to five Cuban destinations (Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Havana, Holguin, and Santa Clara) and is on track to hit the mark of 1,200 charter flights to Cuba this year, more than any other airline.
By Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler
August 18, 2015