Carnival Cruises announced July 7 that it will bring travelers to Cuba starting next year, making a trip to the Caribbean island more feasible for Americans. The announcement comes just months after the Obama administration relaxed travel regulations to the island nation in December.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, the company said that it had received approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce for its proposed Cuba itineraries, for the purposes of "providing cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens."
The trips will begin in May 2016 aboard the company's fathom line, a new brand launched in June that offers vacations with a social impact via volunteer and educational activities. Fathom will also offer trips, beginning in April 2016, to the Dominican Republic aboard the 710-passenger MV Adonia.
Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at $2,990 per person, excluding taxes, port and other government and related fees. Trips can now be booked though a travel agent or by calling 855-9fathom. There is more information on fathom.org.
"We know there is strong demand from travelers who want to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, so this is a historic opportunity for us to enable more people to experience Cuban society," said Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation in the statement.
The cruises will be contingent on the approval of the Cuban government. "We look forward to working with the Cuban authorities for their approval to help make the social, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between U.S. citizens and the people of Cuba a reality," said Donald.
According to CBS News editor Peter Greenberg, who blogs on travel at petergreenberg.com, cruise lines -- "essentially floating hotels" -- were inevitably going to jump at the Cuba travel opportunity since they don't require much infrastructure on the ground, where hotel rooms are limited.