PHOTO: Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky. (photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
Norwegian Cruise Line will expand its Cuba offerings into next year, adding 33 sailings to the Caribbean island during 2018, most of which will feature overnight visits to the Cuban capital of Havana.
The four-day roundtrip cruises from South Florida's PortMiami aboard the Norwegian Sky will go on sale April 20, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
"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," said Norwegian president and CEO Andy Stuart in a statement. "We are excited to provide even more opportunities for our guests to experience this incredible destination into 2018."
Two months ago, Norwegian announced additional Cuba cruise offerings from Miami for the second half of 2017 amid tremendous demand. The cruise line will operate a total of 30 four-day roundtrip voyages to Cuba through December 2017, with the first Cuba cruise taking place next month.
Next year's Cuba voyages will begin two months earlier, however, coinciding with the start of cruise season during late-March 2018 aboard the Norwegian Sky.
This year's sailings to Cuba will also include a call in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. For Havana calls, Norwegian is offering 15 half- and full-day shore excursions that are compliant with the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. initially received approval to sail to Cuba last December, announcing that three of its brands were given the green light. Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises were cleared for departure in addition to Norwegian. Oceania Cruises completed the corporation's inaugural Cuba cruise last month.
READ MORE: My Cuban Journey: Havana Adventure
Interestingly, Norwegian is adding sailings to Cuba at a time when several airlines are cutting back or dropping flights between the U.S. and Cuba amid underwhelming demand.
In November, American Airlines cited weak demand for its decision to cut nearly one-quarter of its scheduled flights to Cuba for early 2017. In February, JetBlue revealed it would be reducing service to the country by using smaller aircraft beginning in May. Last month, Silver Airways and Frontier Airlines dropped their Cuba service because of a lack of demand and profitability.
While Americans' desire to go to Cuba may not be quite as strong as the travel industry originally anticipated, Norwegian's expansion indicates that it remains a strong passion for many travelers and that cruises to Cuba have taken hold in the short period of time since Fathom made history last spring.