PHOTO: Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner in Havana, Cuba. (photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises)
Airlines may be pulling back on Cuba, but cruise lines continue to push forward in all segments.
Making inaugural calls for 2017, upscale Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest arrived in Havana on March 31, while on April 12, luxury Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner visited the capital city as well.
Plus, mainstream Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas just departed Miami, Florida on April 19 to be there for the first time on Sunday.
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Present for Azamara’s first visit and ceremonial plaque exchange was Azamara Club Cruises President & CEO, Larry Pimentel; Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. President & COO Adam Goldstein; Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. Vice President of Business Development, Global Government and Community Relations, Jorge Delgado; Captain Angel Albertini; Chief of Havana Cruise Terminal and other Cuban dignitaries.
“Azamara takes pride in bringing guests to new and remarkable destinations and we’re especially proud to be the first RCCL brand to bring our guests to Cuba, a magical country with such inner beauty. We’ve put together memorable land experiences for our guests to connect to the local people on this first visit to the island nation, a country rich in history, culture, education and the arts.” said Larry Pimentel, in a press release.
“Today’s ceremony demonstrates our commitment to Cuba and our eagerness to help guests discover the many aspects of Cuba by connecting guests to the people and places that make the country so vibrant and full of rich history.”
Azamara is already set to return to Cuba on November 20 and November 27, 2017.
Meanwhile, Regent Seven Seas is now the first North American luxury line to have called on Cuba, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. President and CEO Frank Del Rio was present on the Seven Seas Mariner’s navigation bridge for the historic arrival.
READ MORE: Norwegian Gears Up for More Cuba Cruises in 2018
The ship departed Miami on April 11 with 700 guests who were greeted with a Cuban celebration onboard and ashore. She left again on an identical weeklong sailing on April 18, including another overnight stop in Havana.
Next will be Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ corporate cousin Norwegian Cruise Line and its mainstream Norwegian Sky leaving for Havana on May 1. (I’ll be aboard to cover the proceedings.)
In fact, Norwegian now has sailings to Cuba scheduled through 2018, as does Carnival Cruise Line, which will begin picking up the corporate slack for Fathom once its Adonia leaves the region. The Carnival Paradise sets sail beginning on June 29, 2017.