Cruise ships

Cuba Is Ready to Welcome Cruise Ships, According to Authorities

MADRID, Spain. – During a press conference that took place last week at the Cuban Embassy in Madrid, Cuba’s Tourism advisor in Spain, Niurka Pérez Denis, stated that the island is ready to welcome cruise ships.
“We have all the health measures and the required infrastructure in place. The conditions have been readied for welcoming those ships,” added the official.
She also explained that Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba have already welcomed cruise ships from various destinations, although “not in the same volume as prior to the pandemic,” according to Excelencias magazine.
Early last March, with the arrival of the British cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 in Havana, Cuban authorities had indicated that they expected to revive this tourism segment of the travel market.
Also, last March, it was learnt that a federal judge in Miami ruled against cruise lines with links to South Florida, namely, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, due to their participation in “prohibited tourist activities” and “human traffic” by transporting passengers to Cuba and benefitting from the port installations in Havana that Fidel Castro’s government had confiscated.
The case will go to trial by jury this coming May, where damages the cruise ship companies will have to pay will be decided.
During the press conference, Pérez Denis insisted once again on the regime’s projections to welcome 2.5 million tourists in 2022. The statistics already show that the actual numbers will be much lower, especially due to the drop in the Russian market as a result of the cancellation of Russian airline flights due to the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is Cuba’s principal source of tourists.
As has been happening ever since the Cuban government announced the upcoming International Tourism Fair FITCuba-2022, this advisor again referred to this event as one to present to the world “the improvement to the tourism product that has resulted from investments in that sector that have accomplished 4,000 additional guest rooms in 4 and 5-star hotels.”
“As part of the Fair, we are developing a program that will not only address the “sun and beaches” aspect of tourism, but also cultural events, some of them to be held live and others dedicated to the business segment, in addition to a program for the airlines,” Pérez Denis explained.
Two weeks ago, Cuba’s Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, considered that FITCuba-2022 “is a great opportunity to highlight “the benefits and strengths of the sector in the country, and also reinforce the strategic nature of this industry to the Cuban economy.”
For Cruz Marrero, “the event will serve to tell the world that –in his opinion- the country is alive, it is resisting, and it is making progress.”
The prime minister also stated that Varadero, the fair’s headquarters, needs “a transformation,” “a night-life, discos, retail stores and stores with extended hours,” as well as “a redesign of its products” to “infuse new life to the city.”
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Miami Judge Rules Against Cruise Companies for Their Travels to Cuba

MIAMI, United States. – A federal judge in Miami ruled this Tuesday against four important cruise companies in South Florida (Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises) for participating in “prohibited tourism activities” and “trafficking” by transporting passengers to Cuba and benefitting from the use of docking installations in Havana that were once confiscated by Fidel Castro’s government.
According to information published by the daily El Nuevo Herald, the case, which is the first decision of its kind that could affect similar lawsuits, now goes to trial by jury which is scheduled for May. At the trial, damages that the cruise lines will have to pay will be decided.
“By using the Terminal and one of its docks in various manners, Carnival, MSC SA, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian committed trafficking acts,” stated federal judge Beth Bloom, whose ruling was in favor of Havana Docks, a company that holds operations privileges at Havana’s port.
According to Bloom, the cruise ship trips to Cuba “constituted tourism activities” and not activities that were adequate for the promotion of people-to-people contact. In addition, they paid “millions of dollars to the Cuban government in order to carry out inadmissible trips,” she added.
According to court papers, quoted by El Nuevo Herald, the companies made at least US$1.1 billion in earnings and paid US$ 138 million to Cuban government entities.
Bloom’s ruling states that after the U.S. government authorized “transport services via ships” that allowed cruise lines to travel to Cuba during the “thaw period” started by the administration of Barack Obama, these four companies did not follow regulations and laws that enforce compliance with the U.S. embargo against Cuba, and they ventured to travel to the island.
The cruise company could only transport U.S. passengers under 12 legal categories, and tourist activities were prohibited by law and by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations managed by the U.S. Treasury Department. There was no compliance with any of those regulations, stated Bloom.
“The four companies contracted Cuban government agencies to offer “tourist services’ that included trips to the beach, visits to night clubs and tourism tours that were classic tourism activities,” stated Bloom.
The cruise companies’ defense was based on how they interpreted “people-to-people” contact, and the Helms-Burton Law, which calls for an exception of responsibility if the use of confiscated property is related to “legal trips”.
“The fact that [the Department of the Treasury] promulgated licenses to travel to Cuba, and that officers of the Executive Branch, including the president, encouraged the Defendants to so, does not exempt them automatically from responsibility if they engaged in tourism prohibited by law,” stated Bloom.
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British Cruise Ship Arrives in Havana This Friday

MADRID, Spain. – British cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 will arrive in Havana today to continue its tourism program that includes four visits to the island, according to the official news agency Prensa Latina.
The cruise ship, which belongs to Marella Cruises Restricted, had already stopped in Cuba on March 4th, as part of its itinerary denominated “Flavors of the Caribbean”. Next visits will take place on April 1st and 15th.
According to details given by Carlos Alberto Rivera, Cubatur West’s director, the cruise ship with 975 passengers aboard, will remain in the country until next Saturday.
Activities organized for the travelers include touring tourism enues such as La Bodeguita del Medio, the Finca Vigía Museum, where American writer Ernest Hemingway lived, the Tropicana nightclub and the Viñales Valley in Pinar del Río.
The Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship, formerly the Celebrity Century and SkySea Golden Era, is part of TUI Group’s fleet. TUI Group is a leading tourism travel entity. The Marella Explorer 2 is 246 meters long and has capacity for 1,814 passengers.
According to Carlos Alberto Rivera, these visits “strengthen the country’s tourism recovery that we established on November 15th last year.”
Following the initial arrival of the British cruise ship, Excelencias magazine indicated that “Cuba is working toward reigniting the tourism sector, heavily affected by COVID-19 since 2020,” and among its plans are included the celebration of the 40th edition of International Tourism Fair FITCuba 2022 between May 3rd and May 7th at the Varadero beach resort.
At the end of 2021, Juan Carlos García Granda, Cuban Minister of Tourism, stated that, for 2022, Cuba expected to welcome no less than 2.5 million tourists, the same number of visitors it reported welcoming in 2019.
However, tourism in Cuba has not yet managed to recover since its borders were reopened.
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Cuban Government Hopes to Reignite Cruise Tourism in 2022

MIAMI, United States. – With the arrival of the British cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 in Havana last Friday, March 4th, the Cuban government hopes to reignite this type of tourism, according to official new media in the island.
The Empresa de Transporte Turístico (Transtur) informed that the Marella Explorer 2 arrived at the capital with 641 passengers aboard.
The visitors will get a tour of Havana’s iconic places like Bodeguita del Medio and Finca Vigía, among others. They will also visit the iconic nightclub Tropicana and the Viñales Valley in Pinar del Río province, according to Transtur.
The official magazine Excelencias reports that Marella Explorer 2 is part of the TUI Group fleet. TUI Group is a leader in tourism travel. This is a cruise ship for adults only –the newest in the fleet- which features a spa, a casino-club, bars and restaurants.
The Marella Explorer’s itinerary, named “Flavors of the Caribbean” as it appears on the TUI Group web register, started last March 1st in Montego Bay, Jamaica. On Friday, March 4th, it travelled to Cuba and from there (on Sunday, March 6th) to Cozumel, Mexico.
According to Excelencias, “Cuba is working on reactivating the tourism sector, which has been affected harshly by COVID-19 since 2020.” Its plan includes the celebration of the 40th edition of the International Tourism Fair FITCuba 2022 from May 3rd to 7th at the Varadero resort.
On another note, in mid-February there was news about four U.S. cruise lines having been retained by the Cuban government to provide tourism services during the U.S.-Cuba Thaw, according to information revealed by El Nuevo Herald.
That involved Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC Cruises, which were accused by the U.S. company Havana Docks before federal court in Miami of using its three docks in Havana Harbor without authorization.
In spite of being warned by the Treasury Department about their violation of the law, the cruise lines continued its operations and derived no less than US$11 billion in earnings for trips to Havana between 2016 and 2019. The Cuban government benefitted in the amount of US$138 million from their business.
According to El Nuevo Herald, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida judge, Beth Bloom, will decide if the lawsuits will go to trial after she analyzes the data provided by Havana Docks.
If it is confirmed that the cruise companies were engaged in tourist activities, Havana Docks will have to be compensated in the millions for the illegal use of their property in Cuba.
Recibe la información de CubaNet en tu celular a través de WhatsApp. Envíanos un mensaje con la palabra “CUBA” al teléfono +1 (786) 316-2072, también puedes suscribirte a nuestro boletín electrónico dando click aquí.

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In Spite of Omicron, Cuba Announces the Arrival of the First Cruise Ship of Tourism High-Season

MIAMI, United States. – The first cruise ship to arrive in Cuba during tourism high-season will dock in the city of Cienfuegos in the morning of December 27th, after a previous stop in Santiago de Cuba, according to Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism territorial delegation in the south-central province.
According to a note published in Travel Trade Caribbean, the European cruise ship, which is carrying German clients, belongs to Nicko Cruises cruise line, will remain in Cienfuegos harbor until 6:00 pm December 28th.
Once in Cienfuegos, Havanatur travel agency will propose various excursions in the city and its surroundings to tourists, according to official information.
Nicko Cruises is one of the main providers of river cruise travel in Europe. It has a modern and comfortable fleet. The company travels along the river routes most wanted by tourists in the world, as well as in coastal areas, as indicated in Travel Trade Caribbean.
Cienfuegos harbor is one of the principal destinations for European cruise lines that travel to Cuba, making it the second safe harbor in the country in volume of operations.
News about the arrival of the cruise ship to Cuba was made known in the middle of a rapid rise of coronavirus Omicron variant cases in the world, and amidst the return of new restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease.
In Cuba in particular, in mid-December the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) announced it had detected four new Omicron cases in the country, all originating in South Africa.
The first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Cuba was made public on December 8th. It was the case of a Cuban doctor returning home from Mozambique through Havana on November 27th, who then traveled to Pinar del Río province where he resides.
The COVID-19 Omicron variant was first reported on November 29th in South Africa by the president of the medical association in that country, Angelique Coetzee.
Recibe la información de CubaNet en tu celular a través de WhatsApp. Envíanos un mensaje con la palabra “CUBA” al teléfono +1 (786) 316-2072, también puedes suscribirte a nuestro boletín electrónico dando click aquí.

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New British Cruise Line Will Arrive in Cuba in 2023

MADRID, Spain. – The cruise ship Ambience, belonging to the British company Ambassador Cruise Line, with a 1,400-passenger capacity, will arrive in Cuba in 2023.
In the winter, the Ambience will sail on a long journey to the Caribbean and Cuba, according to CruiseNews magazine, a publication that reports on the cruise ship tourist industry.
The cruise ship’s itinerary includes the Norwegian fiords, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.
The cruise ship features every possible comfort on board: two swimming pools, an elegant Indian restaurant, a steakhouse, a pub, cocktail-reception rooms and a library.
“The Ambience is a genuine and classic cruise ship, the type we know is very pleasing to the sector of the market to which we are pitching it,” according to the cruise ship director, Christian Verhounig.
The company has confirmed that all passengers and crew must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure.
Right after the re-opening of land and maritime borders on November 15th, the Norwegian ecological sailboat, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl docked in Havana on November 24th.
Cuban authorities stimulate the arrival of tourists to the country as another solution to the economic crisis. The arrival of cruise ships is a main source of foreign tourists to Cuba.
In August 2021, the Cuban government approved the construction of a cruise ship terminal in Havana Bay, as well as a luxury hotel in the old Customs building, located in Avenida del Puerto.
Recibe la información de CubaNet en tu celular a través de WhatsApp. Envíanos un mensaje con la palabra “CUBA” al teléfono +1 (786) 316-2072, también puedes suscribirte a nuestro boletín electrónico dando click aquí.

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