Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today revealed two of its brands will be sailing to Cuba.
The company received approval from Cuba’s government to offer cruises from Florida on Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, in the near future. Further itinerary details and dates are not yet available.
“Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travelers.”
The itineraries will provide people-to-people exchanges, in compliance with U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, that focus on areas such as Cuban culture, art and history.
Earlier this year, it was history in the making as Carnival’s Fathom cruise brand officially began its first-ever cruise to Cuba, the first cruise by a US company to Cuba in more than a half-century.
Fathom is Carnival’s “social impact” cruise brand, meaning a smaller ship and an itinerary focused on what the company calls a “thoughtful cultural exchange experience.”
It appears Fathom’s experiencial and “voluntourism” ethos didn’t quite strike a nerve. Carival recently announced it will end its cruise to Cuba in May 2017. In its April debut, the Carnival offshoot ran two different weeklong itineraries on the ship Adonia, one to Cuba and one to the Dominican Republic. Cruisers going to Cuba had an on-board book club and mojito-making lessons; travelers going to the DR’s Amber Cove participated in local projects—teaching children how to speak English, working at a women-owned chocolate factory, and helping to install water filtration systems.