HAVANA.-The drive of the Cuban tourist industry and last year’s arrival of more than 3 million international travellers show signs that some of the developing methods like that of the cruise ships, can take wing in the near future.
This unusual drive will shortly be supported by announcements from the biggest company in this sector in the world, the Northamerican company Carnival.
At the beginning of July, this cruise ship company informed the public that in 2016 trips to Cuba will begin, making the most of the links between Washington and Havana, initiated last December 17 and confirmed with the opening of the embassies in both countries on July 20.
Carnival will not use their traditional cruise ships which hold a capacity of nearly 3,000 passengers, but instead they will use relatively small embarkations of just over 700.
This Northamerican company announced that they had received approval from Washington to start trips to Cuba from May 2016 onwards, which represents the first activity of this kind for more than half a century.
The biggest cruise company in the world is still waiting for approval from the Cuban authorities for their cruise trips.
If Cuba agrees, the passenger ships will travel to the island in compliance with certain restrictions due to the fact that the blockade is still in place and free transit to the Caribbean island is not permitted for Northamerican tourists, the authorities remind us.
This type of trip, could cost $2,990, excluding taxes and other charges, but given the present circumstances, this could change within a year.
The activity of cruising in Cuba is growing, if one takes into account the most recent declarations from executives of the Island, according to which from 2012 until the present day, the movement of this type of boats has grown, despite the mentioned restrictions.
Norberto Pérez, general director of Aries Transportes S.A (A company that operates the cruises in Cuba) confirmed that a sustained progression in this type of trip is reflected when comparing the period between 2012 and 2014 where we can see 6 times as many trips. In 2012, only 24 embarkations occurred for 6,770 passengers.
A year later, there were 82 embarkations with 12,502 passengers, and last year 139 embarkations were registered with 37, 519 people.
In terms of 2014, the executive described that from January until May 2015, 174 embarkations occurred with 62, 183 passengers and foresees the arrival of ships with larger capacities which will influence the number of passengers.
The cruise ship terminal in Havana stands out in the Caribbean as having one of the best structures and functionality in terms of its hydrotechnical conditions as well as its location on the side of the capital’s historical centre, Pérez pointed out.
He also outlined the other two ports where cruise ships are in operation: in the south central city of Cienfuegos, and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, as well as the other points of embarkation as is the case for the western Island of Youth.
This information and the announcements from Carnival, as well as other proposals for ferries to travel to the island, form a hopeful outlook, as Miami – only 90 miles away from Cuban territory- constitutes the main cruise ship port in the world and annually an important commercial fair foShare on FB Share on TT