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Seatrade Cruise Global, is the cruise industry's biggest annual conference and trade show. It is going on this week in Florida a panel of the four powerhouse CEO in the business talked about Cuba. Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corp. & PLC; Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; and Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.

 

These four gentleman control the cruise industry Worldwide. And they seem to be looking at one target in the North American market Cuba. Really this comment from Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd says it all.

 

"What [Cuba] will do, and it's already doing in some sense, is create a halo of interest, and as people start to go and talk about Cuba, I think it will raise the Caribbean in total... It adds 2 percent or 5 percent to the supply of places to go, and it will add 10 percent to 20 percent to the demand for cruising."

 

A new port within 90 miles of the United States with strong ties to southern Florida will be available. Cuba is within on short nights cruising from any of the ports in Florida, it is also a great option for the cruises from the Gulf of Mexico. The lines are no longer tied to the hop to the Bahamas, which so many cruisers have already done. The lines can now run short (once approved) with a stop in Cuba to meet the International requirements.

 

A 20% increase in cruise interest is almost unbelievable these CEO must look at it like hitting the lottery. I'm sure Royal will be a big player in this market and maybe the biggest. Before some jump in and talk about the past history with Cuba, the people, the Cuba Americans, please remember Japan and Germany did far worst things to the Untied States and the West. No one is calling for cruises to Japan to be stopped because of the past.   

 

It going to be a very good thing for cruise lines, passengers, and the people of Cuba.

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Cuba will be the death of the Bahamas.

 

 You may be right but I do not think so. I look at it as another very interesting port that is close and can be added to many itineraries.  Puerto Rico is not the death of St Thomas, they seems to both work hand in hand. It will be interesting to see.

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There are already cruise lines that visit Cuba.....docking in Havana usually for an evening or two.

 

On my last cruise, during the top tier event the Captain announced that RCI would start going to CUBA in 2017 using Empress of the Seas.

 

As someone who has been to Cuba many many times and stayed all over.....I can tell you most ppl will be in for quite a shock when they visit compared to any other Caribbean country they have visited while cruising.

 

It is very very poor with very little infrastructure. It is unique, but not up to most cruiser's standards I can assure you!

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So is the Empress small enough that it can get in and out of Cuba ports whereas Majesty's size or any other Sovereign ship could not?  You would think they would have used a Sovereign ship if it could get the job done.

 

I bet every major cruise line is trying to figure out how they can get a tiny slice of Cuban land and make a private destination out of it, especially while the infrastructure is so poor there.

 

I hope it doesn't take too long for the Cuba option to evolve but I bet it's longer than we'd all like it to be.  Not to get political but a changing US administration could have a huge impact one way or another on this deal.  When it finally does become a major mainstream option it will bring more cruisers to the Florida region in particular which will increase cruiseline competition to the region, bring more total ships, bring more varied itineraries, and hopefully give all cruisers in this market more value.  More competition between both the major companies and Caribbean countries for our business should benefit customers.

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We'd love to visit Cuba, mostly because we were never allowed to, but I think if we could we'd opt for a land stay there.  I remember last July when Carnival got a go ahead from the state department, waiting for a go ahead from Cuba (which never came), they were going to charge from $3k pp plus port and taxes.  A little steep for just a port call.

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So is the Empress small enough that it can get in and out of Cuba ports whereas Majesty's size or any other Sovereign ship could not?  You would think they would have used a Sovereign ship if it could get the job done.

Pretty much.  Not saying Majesty cannot, but Sovereign class is larger than Empress and in the case of Cuba, the smaller the ship, the better in terms of docking ability.

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More information about Cuba from Royal:

 

Vicki Freed, Royal's senior vice president of sales, trade support and services, recently told a group of travel agents that inventory on the Empress will likely be parceled out month by month.
 
“We’re not going out too far, because we’re waiting for Cuba to open up,†Freed said at a CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. training seminar. “The minute Cuba opens up, we know this is the right-sized ship for Cuba.â€
 
 
“As of this moment, the Cuban government has not granted permission for any America-based cruise line to call to Cuba,†said Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman for RCCL.
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Reported by News Network Fox:

 

"The United States is removing Cuba from its list of countries deemed to have insufficient security in their ports, eliminating a major impediment to free flow of ships in the Florida Straits. The move marks one more step toward normalized relations ahead of President Barack Obama's historic trip to Cuba.
The shift clears the way for U.S. cruise ships, cargo vessels and even ferries to travel back and forth with much less hassle."
 
We should see Major US Lines in Cuba within the next few months.
 
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Carnival Corporation is the first American cruise line to receive permission from the government of Cuba to offer cruises.Donald  "the first cruise company in more than 50 years to be granted approval to sail from the U.S. to Cuba."  The cruises first voyages from the USA to Cuba will start in May. They will use the 704-passenger Adonia the only ship in  Carnival's new Fathom brand, a one-ship cruise line. 

 

Royal should have approval within the next few days and can be ready for sailings if they have a ship. Since Empress has already canceled all cruises until the end of the month, it could enter service in May with Cuba trips. Which seems to have been Royals plan all along.

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The cost carnival is charging is absurd.....not sure if this is because of demand or because they still have to sell it as some kinda "humanitarian" type trip to allow Americans to visit Cuba still as it is not completely open and free to visit yet.

 

If Royal is going to charge similar prices....my advice will be to wait a  few years before visiting...it's not worth that kinda cost imho.

 

And I have been there many times so speaking from multiple first hand experiences.

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The cost carnival is charging is absurd.....not sure if this is because of demand or because they still have to sell it as some kinda "humanitarian" type trip to allow Americans to visit Cuba still as it is not completely open and free to visit yet.

Yes the cost is high starting at $1800 pp 7 days. But I believe it is a complete cost including all tours, ship fees etc. If it really is a complete turn key package it is not that costly, also on a much smaller ship so very personal service.  That said I do agree I would not pay $1800, I would wait until prices come down.

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Current 5 day cruise on Empress runs about $400.......

 

There would have to be ALOT of extras to justify that kinda cost...

 

That being said..I can fly 2000 miles to Cuba....have a week in  resort......all flights, meals and drinks included for around $500 USD or less.....

But I hate flying and love cruising. :rolleyes:

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Just wait till the ferries ( aka Fast Cruise) gets a hold of that market. No worries about draft or number of passenger overwhelming the port. You'll be able to go from Lauderdale/Miami/Key West in about two hours, spend a full day and be home by 10 PM. It's coming. The fast ferry out of Ft.Myers Fl to Key West (about same distance, perhaps a little less) has been doing it for years and it's always booked. Cuba is on everyone's radar now. In 2-3 years, it'll be " just another" port with SOS.

 

For example, the Key West Express cruises at 33knts (almost 40 mph) and is a big success. The move from Key West to Cuba is just another short hop for that vessel.

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Well, this is disturbing: 

 

As it stands now, if you were born in Cuba you can't book on Carnival. And Carnival is citing Cuban law as the reason.

 

From the Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article70622582.html

 

Key portion:

 

 

 

After the agent said that my deposit was due in 24 hours, I asked the usual consumer questions: What happens if there’s a hurricane? I’ll get my money back or be rebooked. Finally, we get around to the passport. When I tell her it says I was born in Cuba, she asked me to hold. She returned to read me a statement from the legal department: “Current Cuban law prohibits Cuban-born individuals from entering Cuba via ship or other sea vessel, regardless of U.S. citizenship status. For that reason, at the present time, Fathom cannot accommodate Cuban-born individuals.â€

 

This is ridiculous and repugnant. Cuba isn't denying an individual a visa based on that individual's actions, history, etc., they are banning an entire class of people.

 

US Gov and Carnival should be ashamed for letting this happen. 

 

I'd love to visit Cuba, but I won't go as long as they are allowed to do this.

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Well, this is disturbing: 

 

As it stands now, if you were born in Cuba you can't book on Carnival. And Carnival is citing Cuban law as the reason.

 

From the Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article70622582.html

 

Key portion:

 

 

This is ridiculous and repugnant. Cuba isn't denying an individual a visa based on that individual's actions, history, etc., they are banning an entire class of people.

 

US Gov and Carnival should be ashamed for letting this happen. 

 

I'd love to visit Cuba, but I won't go as long as they are allowed to do this.

 

You cannot blame Carnival or any cruise line for this. Cuba has the right to have their own laws and to enforce then as they see fit. When you travel  and present your passport to a country for entry, they have the right to allow or not allow that entry for any reason. US laws are meaningless in other countries, and even the US Embassy can do very little. The US Government and the cruise lines are not allowing this to happen just following and respecting the laws of Cuba. 

 

This is not unique to Cuba, I was dealing with a Oman Visa issue and was told that the group visa good for all passengers on the ship does not cover travelers with  Israel passports. What would happen if Cuba wanted to enforce Cuban laws in Miami ?  While I do not agree with Cuba in this case I respect their right to make laws and govern the country of Cuba.

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The US is currently facing similar criticism from the EU regarding Visas. There are many countries those of us from the US can visit without a visa and the EU wants us to reciprocate by allowing the same for more EU countries. They're threatening to start requiring visas for US citizens if we don't comply.

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I certainly get that Cuba is a sovereign nation that can impose whatever laws and restrictions it desires. The question is should the cruise industry enable it?

Many companies that do business in China have to deal with government restrictions.  There have been numerous examples with Yahoo and Google and filtering search results out that the Chinese government does not approve of.

 

Of course as Americans, we disapprove but at the end of the day, RC, Google and Yahoo are all about making money there.

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This kind of thing happens all the time.  

 

During the 80's and the first half of the 90's, I worked for an oilfield services company.  We sent crews all over the world.  The company had exemptions from many EEOC laws because of who foreign governments would or would not allow into their countries. Right or wrong, it was reality.

 

To me it seems that carnival is doing what it can to offer a product to as many as possible, while conforming to the laws of the local country.  If an individual objects to that, they can (and should) vote with their dollars and not participate.  The market will determine where things go.  

 

To me, this is Cuba saying to those that left (justified is in the eye of the beholder) they are not welcome back.  The US government or a cruise line don't get much say on the mater.

 

American values/opinions/wants are not important to most of the world.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Welcome to a new age in cruising:

 

The first passengers to cruise from the U.S. to Cuba in almost 40 years entered the Havana Harbor Monday with a large cheering crowd to greet them. The Cruise business has been reborn in Cuba, with other companies soon to follow with ships.

 

The Cuban government also dropped the longstanding ban on Cuban-born people returning to their homeland by sea. On the ship it is reported 16 Cuban-Americans to make the cruise from Miami.

 

"This is history," said Mercedes Lopez, a 54-year-old nurse who waited for hours to see Carnival Cruise Line's 704-passenger Adonia pull up to Havana's two-berth cruise terminal. "We Cubans must unite, all of us. This is a step forward, a little step toward normalization, peace, family unification."

 

The passengers on the Carnival Cruise Adonia were welcomed by music and dancing inside Havana's the cruise terminal. The police outside needed to clear a lane for the passengers to pass because of hundreds of Cubans waiting in Old Havana's Plaza San Francisco. Walking tours of the restored colonial center seem to be a popular choice.   

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