Cruise lines burst into Cuba

Cuba is fast becoming the hottest new cruising destination, with a handful of cruise lines receiving approval to sail to the island destination for the first time this year.

Carnival Cruise Line is one of the latest to be given the go-ahead, deploying Carnival Paradise for a series of four- and five-day voyages out of Port Tampa Bay in the second half of 2017.

But it’s not Carnival Corporation’s first foray into the Caribbean island nation.

In May 2016, the corporation became the first US cruise company to sail to Cuba in over 40 years with its Fathom brand.

Fathom’s operations as a cruise line were short lived and the brand will hand back its only ship to P&O Cruises UK in time for the northern summer season, while Fathom will live on as a shore excursion experience.

Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises all revealed late last year they would begin Cuban operations. At the time, each line either unveiled a sprinkling of initial itineraries or flagged that details were on their way.

Norwegian Cruise Line has since extended its season through to December and Royal Caribbean International has added departures up to November.