Oceania Cruises announced yesterday ten new sailings, called Journeys to Cuba, for 2018.
Sailing roundtrip from PortMiami, itineraries range in length from 7 to 10 days and include calls in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba.
Earlier this month, Marina became the first of Oceania Cruises’ ships to call on Cuba.
The small ship cruise format appears to be a sweet spot for the cruise industry’s focus on Cuba’s novelty as a new, exotic destination.
At an industry event this month, industry icon Frank Del Rio stated, “I think that Cuba’s going to be a home run for us.”
Del Rio, the Cuban-born co-founder of Oceana Cruises, is today the CEO of parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
The first five sailings from Miami and Havana on Norwegian Sky that opened for sale “have sold like nothing else we’ve seen before,” he said. Trips on Oceania and Regent sold at “meaningfully higher prices.”
RELATED: What to Expect as a First Time Visitor to Cuba
“We’re not sure whether those meaningfully higher prices will be sustained as we add more,” Del Rio said. “Havana and Cuba in general have been very well received by our guests.”
Sirena’s small ship luxury format is limited to 684 guests supported by 400 staff.
In addition to the sailings listed below, Oceania Cruises recently added six Journeys to Cuba aboard Insignia in the autumn of 2017 and added calls to Havana on four Regatta sailings in the spring and autumn of 2018. In total, Oceania Cruises offers a choice of 20 voyages to Cuba from autumn 2017 through autumn 2018.
Facts About Americans Traveling to Cuba
In January, U.S. travelers to Cuba totaled 43,200, a 125% increase compared to the same month in 2016, according to Cuba government statistics.
From January to June 2016, non-family visits (excluding Cuban-Americans) increased from 76,183 to 136,913, according to Cuba government statistics. And newly-restored commercial air passenger service between the U.S. and Cuba didn’t start making a real impact until the forth quarter 2016.
Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s chief negotiator in talks with the U.S., estimated recently that the combined total of visits by Cuban-Americans and other U.S. travelers last year was 614,433, a 34% increase over 2015. Final statistics for 2016 will not be available until March or April.