Carnival to cruise to Cuba
Carnival Corp has won US approval to operate culturally-themed cruises to Cuba and plans to start taking travellers there next May, joining a growing list of maritime companies hoping to profit from a thaw in relations between Washington and Havana.
The United States and Cuba have been working for months to improve relations after more than five decades of animosity that led to a trade embargo against the communist-led country.
The countries formally agreed last week to restore diplomatic relations on July 20.
Miami-based Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, said it was still in talks with Cuba for approval to start specialized humanitarian and cultural visits there that fall within US embargo guidelines.
Americans are still banned from going to Cuba as tourists but are allowed to go for a dozen approved motives such as visiting family or participating in academic, professional, religious or educational programmes.
Despite the ongoing restrictions, the news was welcomed by the travel industry, Reuters reported. ?A lot of Americans want to visit Cuba and this is one of the first real mass ways to get to Cuba,? said Brad Tolkin, chief executive of World Travel Holdings, a major booker of cruises.
Carnival will use the 710-passenger vessel, the MV Adonia, for its Cuba cruises, on the small side for the company, whose ships typically carry 2,000 to 3,000 people.