Tourism & Cruises

Make space at Havana Harbor: Pearl Seas Cruises joins the cruise frenzy to Cuba

The 210-passenger Pearl Mist will sail to Cuba on 10-day trips beginning Jan. 17.
The 210-passenger Pearl Mist will sail to Cuba on 10-day trips beginning Jan. 17. Pearl Seas Cruises

Havana Harbor is getting crowded for 2017.

On Thursday, Connecticut-based Pearl Seas Cruises announced that it gained approval to sail to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on 10-night voyages to the island’s capital city and several other cities on Cuba’s sourthern border.

The line is scheduled to depart for its first voyage on Jan. 17 aboard the 210-passenger Pearl Mist. The full trip will circumnavigate the island, staying overnight in Havana, and stopping in Isla de la Juventud, Trinidad, El Cobre, Santiago de Cuba and Parque Baconao. Eleven Cuba voyages are planned between January and May.

“There is significant demand to visit Cuba on a smaller ship and we are honored to be among the first cruise lines to have access to the country,” said Timothy Beebe, vice president of Pearl Seas Cruises, in a statement.

$7,810 Starting price of Pearl Seas Cruises Cuba voyages

Pearl’s announcement brings the number of American cruise lines that gained Cuban approval this week to six. The others — Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, and Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises — were approved within minutes of each other on Wednesday.

The three cruise companies — Pearl, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean — were among several that were rushing to seal deals with Cuba before the start of President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, which has promised to roll back engagement with Cuba.

All three cruise lines will be participating in “cultural” voyages, as Pearl calls its Cuba trips, which fall under the people-to-people social exchange visa category of approved travel to Cuba from the U.S.

Trips on the Pearl Mist start at $7,810.