Tourism & Cruises

Royal Caribbean becomes the second cruise company to gain approval for U.S. to Cuba trips

Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas, the ship that the cruise line has previously said would sail to Cuba.
Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas, the ship that the cruise line has previously said would sail to Cuba. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean Cruises will set sail for Cuba, the company announced Wednesday.

The Florida-to-Cuba cruises will launch aboard cruise lines Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises for people-to-people trips, the Miami-based cruise company said. Itineraries will be released in the near future, Royal Caribbean said.

The line has previously said that its 2,270-passenger Empress of the Seas likely would sail to Cuba.

“Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, in a statement. “Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travelers.”

Carnival Corp.’s Fathom brand was the first American cruise line to gain approval to sail to Cuba. It began offering trips in May that circumnvavigate the island, but announced last month that its 704-passenger Adonia would stop sailing to Cuba in June, pending approval for another Carnival line to take its place instead.

Minutes after Royal Caribbean’s announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced its three cruise lines will also start sailing to Cuba.

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