The Louis Group’s Celestyal Cruises has increased its holding in the recently created Cuban cruise operator Cuba Cruises in the wake of the recent thaw in relations between the US and the Caribbean island.
Celestyal Cruises told IHS Maritime that it was already the majority partner in Cuba Cruises, which was set up by Canadian entrepreneur Dugald Wells and began operating in December 2013 using a Louis Group vessel.
Public relations manager Frosso Zaroulea declined to say what Celestyal’s new stake in the joint venture was but confirmed that it had increased its shareholding “so as to support the venture’s continued growth and to further commit to this unique product”.
“As a global cruise line and after a successful 2015 cruise season in Cuba, we decided the synergy was there between our Eastern Mediterranean cruises and our Cuba product, and that there was significant untapped market share,” he said.
Cuba Cruises specialises in seven day round-the-island cruises. It was originally aimed at Canadian tourists who had previously been used to static holidays on the island.
Wells, an engineer by training, was a specialist Canadian Arctic cruise operator before starting his Cuban venture. He was head of Marine Expeditions from 1993 to 2001 and then of Cruise North Expeditions from 2004 to 2011.
Louis Cruises, a subsidiary of the Cyprus-based Louis hotels and tourism group, was rebranded Celestyal Cruises in September last year.