Norwegian Cruise Line extends Cuba cruises through 2018

Miami-headquartered Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will further extend its offering of weekly round-trip cruises from Miami to Cuba through 2018.

Countering the move taken by many of the nation’s airlines, which overestimated demand for travel to the island nation, NCL will add 33 new voyages of the all-inclusive Norwegian Sky.

“Cuba is a spectacular destination and we are seeing incredible demand from our guests to experience the beautiful and cultural-rich city of Havana and her warm and friendly people,” Andy Stuart, president and CEO of NCL, said in a statement announcing the extended schedule.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky at sea
Norwegian Sky at sea
Norwegian Sky will begin her 2018 Cuba cruise season on March 28, sailing four-day round-trip cruises from Miami, with 32 of the cruises to include an overnight stay in Cuba’s historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana. These new cruises are in addition to the previously announced 30 calls that Norwegian will offer through December 2017.

Norwegian Sky will transport guests to the heart of Havana, offering guests the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors will also be able to view Cuban art and experience the vibrant local music scene. They will also meet Cuban residents through people-to-people exchanges.

Norwegian will offer a selection of 15 half and full-day shore excursions that are compliant with rules for Cuban travel established by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to have a farm-to-table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, and tour modern Havana in an American classic car, among other activities.

Despite the easing of strained relations dating to the Kennedy administration, the embargo by the OFAC remains in place. That embargo requires that travelers either obtain a license from the Department of Treasury or self-certify that their travel falls into one of 12 categories that are permitted to visit Cuba under the OFAC’s “general license.”

Those 12 categories are:
  • Family visits
  • Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  • Support for the Cuban people
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and
  • Certain authorized export transactions
More information is available at the website of the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The bottom line is likely that many would-be travelers are unwilling to stretch the truth, especially where the government is concerned.

In addition to calling on Cuban ports, Norwegian Sky’s sailings will also feature a call on Great Stirrup Cay. Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas and offers white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, a wide variety of watersports and beachside cabanas available for daily rental.

Additional information can be obtained, reservations made, or frequently asked questions reviewed on Norwegian’s website.

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