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.
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