Here's what you need to know.
New 13- or 14-Night Cuba Cruises From Victory Cruise Lines
Victory Cruise Lines is planning a series of 13- and 14-night circumnavigation cruises of Cuba on Victory I between January and April 2019, with a special spring weekend three-day cruise to close the winter cruise season.
Victory Cruise Lines offers special winter reduced pricing and early booking discounts on the Miami-Cuba sailings. For instance, all-inclusive fares for 13-night voyages start at $5,995 per person, double occupancy, including the early-booking discount. In addition, select value-season departures qualify for an overnight hotel or air credit of $500 per person.
All Cuba circumnavigation sailings are roundtrip from PortMiami, including five 13- or 14-night cruises departing January 29, 2019; February 15; and March 1, 15 and 29.
Every sailing includes a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities, including interactions with Cuban musicians, artists, naturalists and its new generation of entrepreneurs. Victory Cruise Lines follows all the guidelines and meets all requirements for Americans visiting Cuba established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department.
The Victory I has a crew of 84 and a capacity of 202 passengers.
For full itinerary details, click here.
Complimentary Cuba Pre-Cruise Packages From Pearl Seas
Pearl Seas Cruises has announced it is offering complimentary pre-cruise packages for new bookings on 2018 Cuba sailings from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The complimentary package includes a one-night premium hotel stay in Fort Lauderdale and transportation to the ship. Currently, the cruise line also has savings of up to $3,000 off per stateroom on select 2018 sailings and is waiving port charges and fees. The 11-night Cuba Cultural Voyages are scheduled November through December, with additional sailings in 2019. All cruises are round-trip from Fort Lauderdale.
Pearl Seas Cruises said it is one of the only lines that circumnavigates Cuba and offers two days to enjoy historic Havana. The 11-night Cuba Cultural Voyage stops in Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Casilda, El Cobre, and Santiago de Cuba. Pearl Mist guests experience an all-inclusive cruise with onboard lecturers and experts, guided shore excursions, cuisine, cocktails every evening, and beer and wine served with lunch and dinner.
Pearl Mist’s 11-night Cuba Cultural Voyage follows a “people-to-people” cultural exchange program during which guests engage directly with the Cuban people at each port. Pearl Mist passengers have the opportunity to meet local musicians, historians, and artists; experience Havana in a classic American car; enjoy a pottery demonstration in Trinidad; and take a guided excursion in Cojimar, the fishing village that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s famous novel The Old Man and the Sea.
MSC Adds First U.S. Homeport for Cuba Cruises: Miami
MSC Cruises is adding its first U.S. homeport for Cuba cruises. Starting December 10, the MSC Armonia will sail from Miami on a seven-night Caribbean itinerary that includes two days in Havana. The MSC Armonia will join fellow Miami-based MSC ships, the MSC Divina and MSC Seaside.
MSC Cruises said that the move will make it the only cruise line to offer a seven-night program regularly including two days in Havana. On the new seven-night itinerary, the MSC Armonia’s guests will embark in Miami on Mondays, with the ship then calling Montego Bay (Jamaica), Georgetown (Cayman Islands), and Cozumel (Mexico) before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, on Saturday and staying through to Sunday. Upon departing Havana, the ship will return to Miami.
In a written statement MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said that having Miami as a homeport will offer U.S.-based guests a greater array of inbound and outbound travel options. It will also give European and international guests an opportunity to add a pre- or post-cruise portion to New York, Orlando or other U.S. cities.
While in Cuba, guests will be able to choose from a number of culture- and history-focused shore excursions. All visits comply with the U.S. Department of Treasury and OFAC people-to-people regulations regarding Cuba travel.
MSC Armonia was the first ship in MSC Cruises’ $250 million Renaissance Program, undergoing an extensive overhaul in late 2014. The ship has been tailored with a wide range of amenities and services for families; varied dining offerings; all-hours entertainment and a broad choice of relaxation and wellness options.
Carnival Adds Roundtrip Miami Cruises to Cuba for 2019
Carnival Cruise Line reports it will offer 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019. The five-day Cuba voyages will be the line’s first to operate roundtrip from Miami and will include a day-long call in Havana, as well as stops at popular Caribbean and Bahamian ports, including Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Nassau, and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.
The voyages complement a series of voyages to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018-19.
“Our inaugural cruises to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa were met with exceptional guest response,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a written statement.
For the full details on Carnival Sensation’s Cuba schedule, click here.
United, Mesa Airlines to Increase to Service Between Houston, Havana
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively awarded United Airlines and Mesa Airlines the authority to begin offering daily nonstop service between Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Havana's José Marti International Airport.
Subject to final government approval, United will expand from Saturday-only service to daily service.
"On behalf of United Airlines, we applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation's decision to increase United service between Houston and Havana from Saturday-only to daily," said Steve Morrissey, United's vice president of regulatory and policy, in a United news release.
United's Saturday-only service between Houston and Havana was first launched in December of 2016. United's increase in service will aim to ensure greater competition in the marketplace and will also aim to improve air service opportunities to Havana for customers in Houston and 44 other destinations in the central and western United States.
United plans to operate service between Houston and Havana with either Boeing 737-800 mainline aircraft or Embraer E175 regional aircraft. Mesa Airlines will operate regional jet aircraft as United Express. Embraer E175 two-cabin regional jet offers 12 seats in United First and 64 seats in United Economy, including 16 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats.
From Houston, United provides the only service to Havana from the entire central and western United States. In 2017, United Airlines opened its first city ticket office in Havana enabling United to provide Cubans and other international customers the opportunity to purchase travel on United Airlines.
United Airlines and United Express operate roughly 4,500 flights a day to 338 airports across five continents.