Declining Interest in Cuba Hasn't Stopped Cruise Ships From Sailing
by Joe Pike, Adam Leposa | May 4, 2017 11:14am
Despite a recent study by Allianz Global Assistance that showed a
declining interest in Cuba from last year to this year, suppliers
continue to pump out new Cuba products and offerings.
According to the study, 40 percent of Americans would be interested in
taking a trip to Cuba (two percent fewer than in 2016) while the easing
of travel restrictions made just 26 percent of Americans more interested
in visiting the country (nine percent fewer than 2016). Seventy-six
percent reported being unlikely to plan a trip to Cuba (six percent more
While safety concerns (38 percent in 2017/ six percent lower than in
2016) and fear of communist government (12 percent in 2017/ three
percent lower than in 2016) were major anxieties for Americans in 2016,
those worries appear to be weakening this year, according to the study.
Instead, lack of information on Cuba's travel experiences (22 percent
in 2017/ four percent higher than in 2016), travel infrastructure (13
percent in 2017/ one percent higher than in 2016) and Internet/mobile
connectivity (nine percent in 2017/ two percent higher than in 2016) are
the factors making Americans less interested and likely to travel to Cuba.
But that hasn't stopped cruise companies like Azamara Club Cruises,
which recently announced four new sailings to its lineup of Cuba
itineraries, from continuing to churn out new offering to the
once-forbidden destination at a rapid pace.
Read on to learn more about Azamara's new sailings as well as other new
offerings to the destination as Travel Agent breaks down the latest
batch of Cuba news and notes.
Azamara Club Cruises Adds Four New Cuba Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises has announced the addition of four new sailings to
its lineup of Cuba itineraries. Departing from Miami, the new sailings
will overnight in Havana and call at new maiden
ports Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.
In Cuba guests will have the chance to participate in people-to-people
cultural exchanges, including chances to experience the destination at
night. Experiences will include a visit to the open air
cabaret, Tropicana, a Nelson Dominguez art gallery tour, Havana by
classic car along the Malecón waterfront and Hemingway's Havana, with
more coming soon. All tour programs offered by Azamara are designed to
meet U.S. requirements for travel to Cuba, the cruise line said.
Norwegian Sky Makes Inaugural Call in Havana, Cuba
Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Cruise Line's first ship to sail to Cuba, made
its inaugural call in Havana earlier this week. Norwegian Cruise Line
executives were onboard to celebrate the voyage, including Norwegian
Cruise Line Holdings President & CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian Cruise
Line President & CEO Andy Stuart.
The call was the first of Norwegian Sky's weekly roundtrip cruises
from Miami to Cuba. The ship will sail a total of 53 four-day voyages to
Cuba, with 52 including an overnight stay in the capital city of
Havana. Norwegian Sky will bring guests to the very heart of the city,
offering them the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old
Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view art and listen to the local
music scene; and visit with Cuba's residents through people-to-people
The all-inclusive Norwegian Sky will also call on Great Stirrup Cay,
Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas, during its four-day cruises
to Cuba. Great Stirrup Cay was recently enhanced to offer guests
exciting new ways to enjoy the island with additional pathways, seating
and shaded lounge areas, with additional amenities still to come,
including a private luxury lagoon enclave for suite guests and guests
of The Haven.
Refurbished in 2013, Norwegian Sky offers accommodations for 2,004
guests with 10 dining options, an onboard spa and casino. Guests sailing
on Norwegian Sky can also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages at one
of 12 bars and lounges as part of the ship's all-inclusive program.
Book any four-day cruise from Miami to Cuba and get $50 for onboard
spending on all staterooms on Norwegian Sky , plus reserve cruises with
50 percent reduced deposits.
Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas Makes First Visit to Cuba
Royal Caribbean International recently made its inaugural visit
to Cuba on the newly revitalized Empress of the Seas as part of a
five-night sailing from Miami. In the new port of call, cruisers
participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in
1950's classic American cars to some of the city's famous stops, like
the Old Quarter and the Havana Club Museum.
Onboard, a set of activities have been curated to bring the spirit of
the island to the entire voyage. Guests will be able to enjoy cortaditos
and café con leche in Cafe Royal and salsa music and dancing in Boleros
After returning to Miami, Empress of the Seas will reposition
to Tampa, Florida, for the summer season - the cruise line's first ever
summer program from the port - offering a series of four, five, and
six-night sailings with day and overnight visits to Havana and stops
in Key West, Florida; Belize City, Belize, Costa
Maya; and Cozumel, Mexico. Sailings from Tampa are available through
November 4, 2017, when Empress returns to Miami for the winter season,
adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas.
Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks and accommodates 1,602 guests
at double occupancy in 795 staterooms. The also ship offers five bars
and lounges, complimentary entertainment and lie music, daily brunch
with a complimentary Mimosa or Blood Mary and a full-service spa.
For a limited time, guests can take advantage of the extended 'royal
refund' sale with up to $300 back to spend at sea.
Visit www.royalcaribbean.com and keep visiting
www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest Caribbean news.
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