With the arrival of the British ship Marella Discovery 2 in Havana, cruise operations in Cuba have restarted.
The vessel (owned by TUI UK and operated by the subsidiary Marella Cruises) arrived on Friday, November 18, at Havana cruise terminal with ~1600 passengers of different nationalities. They stayed on the Island for 27 hours prior to continuing the Caribbean voyage.
Carlos Alberto Rivera (Cubatour's director of the western branch) told the official press that the company had brought the Marella Explorer 2 in March 2022 and together with Marella Discovery 2, regular cruises would be maintained every 15 days in Cuban ports during the high season (November 2022-April 2023).
On November 15, the ship set sail from Montego Bay Jamaica. The first stop was on Grand Cayman Island, and the second was in Havana, from where Marella Discovery 2 left for Cozumel Mexico. On November 22, the ship returned to Jamaica.
For the rest of 2022, the arrival of other ships is expected, and thus a successful season for tourism is expected to begin in January 2023.
Cuba received a total of 123,588 tourists in October, the 5th best data in the ten months of 2022. However, the result is below the initial projections and the numbers recorded in 2019, before COVID.
From January through October 2022, a total of 1,198402 million international tourists arrived, a figure that exceeds the same measure in 2021 by 540%, but that year restrictions on the entry of foreigners were maintained due to the crisis. In October, the Government had to recognize it will not reach the goal set at the beginning of 2022 of receiving 2.5M visitors, and it lowered the forecast to 1.7M.
Although November and December are the best months for tourism, it is unlikely that the goal will be reached. Even if it is achieved, the sector will have recovered just 40% of the levels recorded back in 2019, when a little more than 4.2M travelers arrived on the Island.