Norwegian Cruises and Royal Caribbean get permission to sail to Cuba from the US

royal-caribbean-logoNorwegian and Royal Caribbean Cruises have received approval from the Cuban government to start sailing from the US to Cuba.

Carnival Corp. has been sailing to Cuba under its Fathom brand since May.

ncl_logo_4c_horiz_bigSwitzerland-based MSC Cruises also sails to and from Havana with its MSC Opera, but does not market to Americans.

Norwegian’s Marina, part of its Oceania Cruises line, will sale from Miami on March 7. Its Norwegian Cruise Line, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands will also serve the market.

There will be five 4-day sailings to Cuba aboard the Norwegian Sky beginning May 1, 2017. The Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner sails to Havana from April 2017.

Royal Caribbean said it would announce its Florida-to-Cuba itineraries in the near future, including ones on its Azamara Club line. The company announcement said that the cruise lines will comply with Treasury Department rules regarding people-to-people excursions on all of its cruises.


In the air

Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 12, six US airlines began service to Havana, Cuba:  American Airlines, United, Delta, Frontier, Spirit and Southwest. Alaska Airlines will begin service in January.

Flights to other cities in Cuba began in August.

Delta’s flights will depart from Miami, New York-JFK and Atlanta to Havana. In early November, Delta became the first U.S. airline to open a City Ticket Office in downtown Havana to support local tickets sales for Cubans traveling to the U.S.

American Airlines, on the other hand, told Bloomberg news last week that it is cutting service to Cuba due to lower than expected demand.  AA will cut back the number of daily round-trip flights to Cuba from 13 to 10 from early February and shift to flying smaller jets on two routes, said American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller. The changes are due to competitive issues and not the uncertainty of an upcoming Trump administration which had threatened to reverse President Obama’s easing of rules on travel and commerce, Miller said.