Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise launch Cuba service

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec. 8, CMC – The Cuban government has given two of the world’s largest cruise lines – Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, permission to begin sailing to the island.

On Wednesday, Norwegian said the Marina, part of its Oceania Cruises line, will sail from Miami on March 7, 2017.

The company’s two other brands, Norwegian and Regent Seven Seas, will also serve the market. Royal Caribbean said it would announce its Florida-to-Cuba itineraries in the near future, including ones on its Azamara Club line.

The approvals mean all three of the world’s largest cruise companies can serve the market. Carnival Corporation, the industry’s biggest operator, has been sailing to Cuba under its Fathom brand.

Last month, the company said it would stop using a dedicated ship for Fathom with that vessel’s last voyages set for May.

The company aims to offer trips to Cuba on some of its other lines beginning next summer. The two thousand passenger Norwegian Sky will begin four-day voyages to Cuba in May, including an overnight stay in Havana.

Cuba is a fresh destination for the thousands who have sailed to the Caribbean on several occasions, as a result, cruise operators have been eager to add the Spanish-speaking island to their itineraries.

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