Carnival Corp. may have to delay the start of its Fathom cruises to Cuba unless it's allowed to carry Cuban-born travelers on the trips.
The cruise company has been facing strong criticism for not allowing Cuban Americans to book the ‘social impact’ sailings of Fathom from Miami to Cuba under rules laid down by Cuban government.
The first departure by a United States' cruise line to Havana from Miami in over 50 years is due to be run by Fathom onboard the 704-passenger ms Adonia on May 1.
Carnival Corporation is continuing discussions with Cuba to allow ships to operate in the same way as air charter operations from the US, that transport Cuban-born people to/from Cuba.
Carnival Corp. also announced that it is accepting Fathom bookings from all cruisers to Cuba, regardless of their country of origin. The company said in a statement:
“While optimistic that Cuba will treat travellers with Fathom the same as air charters today, should that decision by Cuba be delayed past May 1, Carnival Corporation will delay the start of its voyages to Cuba accordingly.
“Carnival Corporation continues active discussions with Cuba, asking that travel on Fathom be on a level playing field with air charter travel to Cuba and remains confident its discussions with Cuba will result in a positive outcome for everyone who wants to travel to Cuba, including those who are Cuba-born.”
Carnival Corp. chief executive, Arnold Donald, said:
"We want everyone to be able to go to Cuba with us. We remain excited about this historic opportunity to give our guests an extraordinary vacation experience in Cuba."
Donald was speaking after mv Adonia set off to Dominican Republic after gaining clearance from US Coast Guard which prevented the first sailing of the ship a week ago due to concerns over fire doors.
Fathom plans to run alternate 7-night cruises to Cuba and Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. Tara Russell, Fathom president, added:
"We have already seen tremendous consumer interest in the incredible Cuba journey we have put together.”