Cuba libre for British cruise ships

//Cuba libre for British cruise ships

It’s all very well our American cousins beginning to get excited about the possibility of Congress lifting the ban on US citizens travelling to Cuba.
Even if the 47-year-old law is repealed this year, it could be some time before the island develops the facilities capable of meeting the needs of an influx of cruise passengers, according to MSC president Rick Sasso, in an interview in the Palm Beach Daily News spotted by my colleague Jane Archer.
“Right now, they lack the infrastructure and facilities to handle the huge influx of vessels and visitors,” said Sasso, who is chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association.
“It’ll probably take one, two or maybe three years before the necessary developments are completed. Lots of work has to be done. We also have to be sure there’ll be no political backlash.”
But Sasso, who has been a senior figure in the cruise industry for a generation and was one of the founders of Celebrity Cruises, seems to be forgetting one thing – the ban applies only to US citizens, and British cruise ships have had Cuban ports on their itineraries for some time.
Fred Olsen’s Braemar is a regular visitor, and will be calling at Havana on a number of cruises from November, and through 2011 and 2012, usually for an overnight stay in the island’s capital. Santiago de Cuba, in the south of the island, will be another Braemar desgtination in 2012, and Boudicca will be visiting Cuba during a 35-night voyage from Southampton and back in January 2012.
Thomson Dream will be a regular visitor to Havana this winter. The ship is scheduled for a multi-million upgrade in dry-dock at the end of the summer season in the Mediterranean, and after a brief visit to Southampton will be heading across the Atlantic to spend winter in the Caribbean.
Havana will be a turn-round port for Dream, so passengers will be able to spend extra time in the Cuban capital at the beginning or end of their cruise.
And I’m sure they will be able to tell Mr Sasso – and the rest of the American cruise industry – that the Cuban experience is more enjoyable now than it will be after the island develops the infrastructure he thinks it will need to meet the demands of US passengers.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:24+00:00 20 July 2010|Cruise Destinations|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Nadine 20 July 2010 at 11:37 am - Reply

    There goes somebody else forgetting that there is a world outside of the United States of America, and that the Brits have pioneered so much for so long that they haven’t even dreamt of. I hope it does take a long time before the American ships start visiting Cuba, to give us Brits time to enjoy real culture, before Americanisms start to appear. I just wish there was another option other than Thomson and Fred Olsen, as neither of these cruise lines are really for me. Come on P&O, fill this gap in the market before anybody else does

  2. Kelvin Theobald 21 July 2010 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Bad news. One of the really good things about Cuba is the complete lack of Americans. Now we will have another country they can Americanise and spoil.My heart allways sinks when we pull into port and an American flag is allongside. The thought of soending theday surrounded by arrogant overweight yanks fills me with dread.

  3. Mystified 25 July 2010 at 4:15 am - Reply

    Perhaps you can debark your cruise ship in Cuba, and book passage on one of the makeshift rafts that seem to depart the island with some frequency, in an attempt to escape that “real culture’ you so hope Americans won’t spoil.
    Ahh, but then most of the rafts are headed to the US, which incidentally is full of Americans, so it may not be your cup of tea.
    Enjoy your pleasures.

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