Another cruise operator is lining up to send a ship to Cuba.
Haimark Line, a one-ship operation with administrative offices in Colorado, announced plans this week to sail a 210-passenger vessel between Miami and Cuba starting in February.
The cruise line intends to operate the voyage in conjunction with United Caribbean Lines, which is based in Central Florida.
United Caribbean Lines already has approval from the U.S. government to ferry passengers between ports in the United States and Cuba, but must have that approval amended so it can take passengers from port to port within Cuba and use the ship as a place to stay during people-to-people programs.
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UCL founder Bruce Nierenberg said in an email that he expects the amendment to get the thumbs up, given the government’s recent approval of Carnival Corp.’s plan to send its fathom brand to Cuba for cultural exchange trips.
Nierenberg said discussions about the plan have been “favorably received” by authorities in Cuba.
“It is a good project for Cuba as this ship will bring additional people to people tourism and the foreign currency resulting from their trip during a time of the year, peak winter, when there is extremely limited hotel capacity in Cuba,” he wrote.
If all approvals are granted, Haimark will send its 105-cabin MS Saint Laurent on 15 voyages starting Feb. 20. The nine-night trip, which includes stops in Havana, Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and other destinations, will cost $4,599 per person, not including port charges and fees.
Passengers would have to participate in an approved cultural itinerary to comply with regulations that still govern how Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba. Travel for the purpose of tourism is not allowed.
Doral-based Carnival Corp. announced earlier this month that it had received U.S. approval to operate week-long cultural exchange itineraries between Miami and Cuba. As long as Cuba approves the plan, the cruise giant expects the fathom brand to start sailing to the destination in May.