Good news for Cuba-bound cruisers – your options for a Cuban cruise vacation are increasing by the day. As demand for cruises to the Caribbean’s largest island increases, more and more companies are adding tours of Cuba to their menus.
With the first American cruise ship visiting the island just last year, it’s a market that is still developing. And with President Trump’s proposed rollback of Obama-era regulations that allowed for a broad category of “people to people” visits, the future is relatively uncertain for tourists. After all, trips to Cuba for the sole purpose of tourism are still not allowed. Cruises, however, seem to be safe from future measures, as most cruise lines have an official group people to people program; President Trump has only indicated that he would be tightening up individual travel to the island.
Why Cruise Cuba?
You can potentially see more of Cuba on a cruise. Roads and infrastructure are sometimes not up to par with what we’re accustomed to as Americans, with some road trips taking far longer than you’d like.
Cruises are a cost-effective way to visit Cuba. As more travelers visit Cuba, hotel prices are rising fast. Although Cuban cruises are more expensive than other Caribbean destinations, the prices should drop as more cruise lines enter the market.
Last but not least, is that cruise lines offer more amenities. If you want to see Cuba but don’t want to part with Wi-Fi, or don’t want to be plagued by a hotel’s water and electrical issues, then you might be better off on a cruise liner where these issues are non-existent.
Which Companies Are Cruising Cuba?
The first commercial cruise to Cuba in over 50 years was operated by the new Carnival Cruises sub-brand Fathom, and the 700-or-so people on the cruise liner were essentially a part of history.
Demand for cruises to Cuba is strong, Carnival is one company that is hitting the Cuba cruise market hard. Now they are adding even more sailings in the year 2018. Just last week, the company announced 5 additional sailings, bringing the total for next year to 17 sailings.
With this many sailings to Cuba, you can bet that Carnival will be a top choice for cruisers both in terms of scheduling ease and cost. All cruises leave from Tampa Bay, Florida and take place on the 2,052-passenger liner Carnival Paradise.
However, Carnival certainly isn’t the only option for cruising Cuba. Another cruise industry giant, Royal Caribbean, had its first Cuban sailing in April of this year. Customers of Royal Caribbean will be aboard the 1,602-passenger Empress of the Seas. Starting at $389 for a four-night cruise (and with options up to one week), Royal Caribbean provides a cost-effective, albeit less leisurely look at the island.
Some other cruise lines popular with Americans include Celestyal, which offers more amenities and more diverse options at each stop (although with a higher price tag) and Norwegian Cruise Line, which is more popular for those who want a a more leisurely atmosphere at the price of a less in-depth trip to the island.
The seas await.