Victory Cruise Lines is reporting that all of Cuba’s port facilities are operational, and that planned tour venues and shore excursions are available and functioning following damage the island sustained during Hurricane Irma.
“Our first concern was for the people of Cuba and their safety during Hurricane Irma,” said Bruce Nierenberg, president and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines, in a written release. “Our hearts go out to those who have experienced loss.”
The cruise line reports that recovery efforts are well underway and that its ability to operate its People to People Cuba cruises beginning February 2018 will not be impacted.
A State Department travel warning remains in place for Cuba. The updated version, which was issued September 18, advises travelers that some parts of the country may be without power and running water, and that the north-central region of the country in particular suffered severe damage and should be avoided until further notice.
At the same time, major cruise lines with calls at Havana were able to resume cruises there shortly after the storm. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky resumed Cuba cruises September 18, while Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas resumed itineraries with Havana calls starting September 23. MSC Cruises’ MSC Opera was able to resume operating regular cruise service out of Havana as of September 16.
Victory Cruise Lines offers a circumnavigation of Cuba, with calls at Havana, Maria La Gorda, Cienfuegos, Trinidad de Cuba and Santiago de Cuba. The itinerary also includes visits to five UNESCO World Heritage sites, onboard lectures, local entertainment and local cuisine.
The Victory I will depart Miami February 8 and 24, March 9 and 24 and April 7 and 20, 2018. All-inclusive full fares start at $7,457 per person, based on double occupancy. The 2018 winter season ends with an 11-day “Cuba and Colonial America” repositioning cruise that begins May 5 with a short flight from Miami to Havana (included) and an overnight stay at Havana. Victory I then departs Havana May 6 and will call at Jacksonville (St. Augustine), Florida; Charleston (Mount Pleasant), South Carolina; Norfolk (Yorktown), Virginia; Newport, Rhode Island; and Gloucester (Boston), Massachusetts, ending in Portland, Maine. Fares start at $6,890 per person, double occupancy.
Victory I will then reposition with an 11-day voyage from Portland to Toronto, Ontario, for a summer season of “Great Lakes Grand Discovery” cruises between Toronto and Chicago, Illinois.
All Victory cruises to Cuba comply with U.S. People to People regulations, including recent regulatory changes announced by President Donald Trump and the State Department, the cruise line said.