Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced it was applying to serve Cuba after Carnival Corporation struck a deal for the ban to be lifted to allow Americans born in Cuba to sail on its ‘social impact’ new brand Fathom.
Norwegian is still in talks with Cuban officials to allow its wholly-owned line Oceania Cruises to start operating on sailings to the island from US later this year.
This would be followed by Regent Seven Seas Cruises and NCL Norwegian Cruise Line “in the near future”.
Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive of NCL Holdings, was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1961. He shared:
"I am extremely pleased with the announcement that all Americans, regardless of their place of birth, will be able to travel to Cuba aboard cruise ships.
"Our Oceania Cruises brand continues discussions with Cuban officials seeking approval to commence cruises to Cuba later this year.
“I had every confidence that the Cuban government would allow its natural born citizens to visit the island nation by cruise ship as they have allowed Cuban Americans to travel by air for years.
“I am encouraged to see that the governments of both Cuba and the United States continue to institute constructive resolutions to issues across a wide spectrum, including the lifting of remaining restrictions on travel for American citizens.
“I am very much looking forward to sailing to Cuba soon aboard one of our ships in the company of many fellow Cuban Americans and other fellow Americans who wish to share in the excitement and passion that cruising to Cuba brings."
The move of NCL follows Carnival Corp. winning the right for its Fathom brand to become the first cruise line based in the United States in more than 50 years to operate to Cuba from the US carrying Cuban Americans.
The specially adapted small ship of P&O Cruises, mv Adonia, is scheduled to make her first cruise from Miami to Havana and a couple of other ports in Cuba from May 1, alternating with 7-night voyages to the Dominican Republic.