A day after Royal Caribbean International received permission to dock in Cuba, the cruise line has announced that it will offer the destination this spring aboard the Empress of the Seas.
The inaugural Empress cruise will leave Miami April 19, and then be repositioned to Tampa offering two itineraries with calls to Havana on April 30 (seven-night sailing) and May 20 (five-night sailing). Agents can book clients now.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises this week received approval from the government of Cuba to sail to the island nation beginning next year.
The Empress of the Seas will homeport in Tampa for the 2017 summer season – the cruise line’s first-ever summer program from the Florida port – offering a series of four- and five-night sailings, including port calls to destinations in Cuba. The Empress will be the largest ship to sail to Cuba from the United States.
“We’re thrilled to introduce culture-seeking travelers to Cuba,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
Royal Caribbean said that while in Cuba, its guests will be able to explore Old Havana – a UNESCO World Heritage site – some of the city’s most notable squares, historic neighborhoods, a local artisan market, Havana’s rum museum as well as Hemingway’s former residence and favorite haunts.
“Local experts will immerse guests in the history, culture and people of Cuba. These authentic encounters will give guests an unforgettable taste of what has made Cuba the gem of the Caribbean,” the cruise line stated.
On board, the line will build on the cultural experience, with immersive cultural offerings like cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal and salsa music.