Carnival has become the first cruise line to receive approval to operate cruises directly between the United States and Cuba in more than 50 years.
The cruise giant announced on 7 July that the licences, granted by the US Treasury and Commerce departments, authorise travel itineraries to Cuba “for the purpose of providing cultural, artistic, faith-based, and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens” according to the company.
Carnival said it intends to offer service to Cuba beginning in May 2016 under its “fathom” brand, which was launched on 4 June. The brand, which will initially offer sailings to the Dominican Republic, is “a new social impact travel brand providing purpose-oriented, social impact experiences”, Carnival stated.
Carnival noted that following inaugural weekly Dominican voyages in April 2016 from Port Miami aboard the 710-passenger Adonia, fathom intends to offer regular Dominican and Cuban itineraries for educational and cultural exchange.
Prices for seven-day trips to Cuba will start at USD2,990 per person, according to Carnival, which includes all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, and certain on-the-ground cultural immersion activities.
Carnival more than doubled its most recent quarterly profits as a result of a greater than expected rebound in passenger spending. The company in June reported net income of USD222 million for 2Q15 versus USD98 million in 2Q14.