Carnival Cruise Line reports it has received approval to sail to Cuba – Havana will be added to select Carnival Paradise voyages from Tampa beginning in June 2017.
There was no mention of Carnival’s experiential brand, Fathom. Less than a year ago, Carnival’s small ship, Adonia, was the first cruise ship to travel to Cuba in more than fifty years. Fathom’s Adonia alternated weekly itineraries between Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Last year, Roger Frizzell, SVP & Chief Communications Officer, Carnival Corporation, commented, “Fathom is continuing, but just in a different form working through all our brands,” adding, “The Fathom experience has been expanded across our many Carnival Corporation brands sailing to the Dominican Republic and beyond, and the Adonia is being scheduled to sail in the UK for the summer season for our P&O guests.”
Carnival Paradise’s overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 four- and five-day cruises departing from the Port of Tampa.
Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, and October 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages will depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.
Cuba’s Growing Influence
Within weeks of Fidel Castro’s death, brother Raul opened the gates for a wave of thousands more Americans to visit Cuba via cruise ship.
Three cruise companies — Pearl, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean — were among several that were rushing to conclude deals with Cuba before the start of Donald Trump’s administration.
The Cuban transport ministry confirmed earlier this year that the number of cruise ship visits rose from 24 in 2012 to 139 in 2015. Cruise passengers jumped from 6,770 to 37,519 over the same period. Up to May of 2016, there were 174 port calls and 62,183 passenger visits, according to the ministry. For at least the first six months of 2017, Cuba’s exponential growth is likely to continue.
Cuba’s newness to the American market is emerging against the backdrop of an upswing in regional cruise demand, at least in terms of top line passenger numbers. The Caribbean in particular headlines the cruise industry’s global success. In 2015, it ranked as the dominant cruise destination, accounting for more than 35.5% of the global deployment capacity market share, according to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.