Carnival Cruise Line announced yesterday it had received approval to sail to the island out of Tampa beginning in June, making it the 3rd major line to announce sailings to the Cuban capital since December. The others, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line, also have Cuba sailings planned starting this spring.
Carnival’s Cuba trips will kick off on June 29 for a series of 4- and 5-night sailings from Port Tampa aboard the 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise. That will make it the largest American ship sailing to Cuba, just edging out the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky.
The 4-night itineraries — leaving June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, October 5 and 19, and May 3, 2018 — will only call on Havana for an overnight stay. The 5-night trips also include a stop in either Key West or Cozumel, Mexico. Those depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9.
Passengers will have a choice of daytime and nighttime cultural exchange excursions, Carnival said in a news release, one of the 12 categories of travel approved for Americans visiting Cuba.
Carnival’s parent company Carnival Corp. made history in May 2016 when it sailed to Cuba aboard its social impact Fathom line, marking the first time in five decades that an American cruise company made the voyage to the Caribbean island. But Carnival Corp. announced in November that it was discontinuing trips on Fathom and its 704-passenger Adonia. The cruise company expected to instead get approval for another cruise line to start visiting the island in June.