Eoin Treacy's view -
The world's largest cruise company could be heading to Cuba.
Starting in May, Carnival Corp. plans to offer trips from Miami to the Caribbean island nation, the company announced Tuesday. Carnival says it would become the first American cruise company to visit Cuba since the 1960 trade embargo. The trips will be through its new brand, fathom, which focuses on trips where passengers sail to a destination in order to volunteer there.
"This is an important first step for our company and the cruise industry," CEO Arnold Donald told The Associated Press in an email. "It begins our efforts to shape a long sustained industry experience in Cuba."
The weeklong cruises will be aboard the Adonia, which carries 710 passengers. The ship is relatively small for the industry; ships sailing under the company's namesake line carry nearly 3,000 passengers.
Carnival is expecting high demand for the voyages and has priced them accordingly. Prices start at $2,990 per person plus taxes and port fees. A similar service-oriented trip on the same ship to the Dominican Republic starts at $1,540 per person.
Closer ties between the USA and Cuba are not without controversy but the tourist industry is a clear beneficiary not least because so few Americans have had the opportunity to visit one of the Caribbean’s largest islands. Carnival is also keenly aware of the demand growth represented by the Chinese tourist market and is shaping its Asian offering accordingly.
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