Cuba welcomes Thomson passengers

//Cuba welcomes Thomson passengers

Cuba rolled out the red carpet for Thomson Dream and her 1,500 passengers yesterday on the cruise ship’s first call at the capital, Havana. Showgirls in sequinned bikinis and feather head-dresses, a salsa band and dancing schoolchildren were among the welcoming party, and disembarking passengers were handed shots of rum.
The visit was a rare event for the Cubans. A US trade embargo prevents American ships from making calls in the Communist state, and other ships have been put off visiting since 2006 when former president Fidel Castro complained that they flooded the island with rubbish, but little income.
The country, now led by Fidel’s younger brother, Raul, has instituted a change of policy, hoping to entice ships and their passengers to bring much-need cash.
Tourism ministry commercial director Jose Manuel Bisbe expects each visitor to spend up to £150 a day, and is hoping cruise visitor numbers will increase from the 10,000 who arrived last year to numbers approaching the 100,000 fgure achieved in 2005.
Passengers were encouraged by the warm welcome. One said: “People were leaning out of windows waving at us and we were waving back. It was really enthusiastic.”
Thomson Dream stayed in Havana overnight and will make several more visits during its Caribbean season. Other British ships visiting Cuba in the next few months include Saga Pearl II, and I hope to join her in Havana at the end of February.

By | 2011-01-06T01:56:49+00:00 6 January 2011|Cruise Destinations|0 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.

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