Majesty of the Seas to sail Cuba cruise in 2019

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Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s Majesty of the Seas will become its second ship to visit Cuba in 2019.

The line plans a four-day voyage from Port Canaveral departing March 25, 2019. The cruise will include a full day in Havana. Prices will start at $549 plus taxes and port fees, Royal Caribbean said.

Thus far, Royal Caribbean has only offered Havana on Empress of the Seas itineraries from Tampa, Miami and Port Everglades.

Carnival, Holland America will sail to Cuba as planned

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Carnival Fathom in Havana

Carnival Corp. said it understands the policy changes on Cuba that President Trump will announce in Miami today do not include any changes for cruises.

In a statement, Carnival said it is “pleased” that its ships will continue to sail to Cuba.

Carnival Cruise Line plans sailings from Tampa to Cuba starting later this month and Holland America Line recently announced plans to visit Cuba in the fall.

Trump is expected to end the ability of travelers to “self-certify” that they comply with rules for traveling to Cuba, which became the practice last year under President Obama.

“We will review the extent of the tightening of the travel rules, but our guests have already been traveling under the 12 approved forms of travel to Cuba since we undertook our historic first cruise to Cuba more than a year ago,” a Carnival Corp. statement said.

The first cruise to Cuba from a U.S. port in decades was by Carnival’s Fathom brand, which has since returned its single ship to P&O Cruises.

“Our experience in Cuba this past year has been extremely positive,” Carnival Corp. said. It also said other Carnival Corp. brands have applied to travel to Cuba.

Costa included Cuba on some itineraries from 1995 to 1998, before it was purchased by Carnival Corp. from its Italian owners.

Other cruise lines chimed in after Trump finished giving his speech in Miami.

“Based on the information shared today, we are very pleased to learn the news that cruises to Cuba will continue under the new guidelines laid out by the administration,” a statement from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said.

NCLH operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, all of which sail to Cuba.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. also praised the new Cuba policy.

“Royal Caribbean is pleased there is no impact to any of our cruises to Cuba as announced in the new U.S. policy toward Cuba today,” said a statement from RCCL, whose Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises brands make stops in Cuba.

Although cruise lines appear to have emerged unscathed from the Cuba policy review, the exact impact will depend on rule revisions forthcoming from the Treasury Department and other U.S. agencies.

“We will continue to review the full and exact scope of the policy changes and any updated regulations during the implementation period which may take several months,” RCCL said.

Both cruise companies emphasized that their shore excursion programs were already in compliance with Treasury regulations governing Cuba tourism.

Both also said that their cruises with Cuba in the itinerary are popular. NCLH said it has 70,000 bookings for future cruises that include Cuba. “We are delighted our guests will continue to have the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and incredible history of Cuba.” the statement said.

Royal Caribbean Commits to Cuba Through 2019

Royal Caribbean Commits to Cuba Through 2019

PHOTO: Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

After the initial success of Empress of the Seas’ arrival in Cuba, Royal Caribbean International has announced its expansion of the ship’s calls to Havana as far out as 2019.

“Since arriving in Cuba for the first time last month, we’ve seen the excitement of our guests when sailing into Havana and the passion they have for the city at sail away – its people, its architecture, its food, its music. This is the enthusiasm we strive to bring to adventure-seekers who vacation with us,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, in a press release.

“The positive reaction to our Cuba sailings is very encouraging, and we are thrilled to expand on the number of sailings for our 2018-2019 itineraries.”

The ship will sail a new batch of 58 four- and five-night itineraries from January 2018 through March 2019, 28 of which will feature an overnight in the Cuban capital of Havana.

Empress of the Seas currently cruises from Tampa, Florida through November 4, 2017, and will next return to Miami, Florida to depart for Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay private island and Nassau, The Bahamas for the winter 2017-2018 season.

By summer 2018, the ship will be back in Tampa heading to Key West, Florida, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, plus Havana, Cuba on most voyages. For the winter 2018-2019 season, it will leave from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Cuba is also featured on board the Empress of the Seas thanks to cortaditos and cafe con leche in Cafe Royal, plus salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge. The 48,563-ton ship accommodates 1,602 guests in 795 staterooms across 11 decks.