Lifestyle

Carnival Cruise Lines to Launch Miami to Cuba Cruises in May 2016

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Today, Carnival Corp. announced plans to offer trips from Miami to Cuba. According to Carnival, pending approval by the Cuban government, it would be the first American cruise operator to visit Cuba since the 1960 trade embargo. The trips will be offered through its new brand, fathom, which focuses on trips where passengers sail to a destination in order to volunteer there.

[Related: Carnival Cruise Line Promotes ‘Voluntourism’]

On the heels of the Obama administration’s recent decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and soften rules for U.S. travel to the Caribbean island nation, this is a huge step in the right direction. “In the US there’s so much pent up demand and curiosity about Cuba, said Company CEO Arnold Donald during an interview with Bloomberg Markets. So we are very much looking forward to honoring what guest and travelers are seeking, which is basically immersion in the Cuban culture—to experience the arts, culture, food, as well as the environmental, educational and religious aspects going in. Whether it’s millennials or people who are older who have traveled, there’s a high demand for Cuba, but we also know there is huge demand for our Dominican Republic itineraries as well.”

According to a statement released by Bloomberg.com, “While the U.S. government has set a goal of expanding travel between the countries, visits are limited to 12 categories, such as religious activities, journalism and humanitarian projects.

If Carnival gets the OK from the Cuban government, the world’s largest cruise operator will start service in May 2016 with its new fathom brand, a line aimed at socially conscious tourists. Seven-day voyages from Miami on the 710-passenger MV Adonia will cost $2,990 a person, including food but not taxes or other government-related fees, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The itinerary is still being finalized as Carnival waits for approval from the Cuban government. The ship is expected to visit several ports and passengers will sleep onboard each night.