Carnival Corporation & plc will sail as planned from the U.S. to Cuba with all travelers, including Cuba-born passengers, the company said, having received approval from Cuba to allow its cruise ships to operate in a similar manner as current air charter operations.
Carnival’s brand Fathom is scheduled to embark on its first voyage to the island on May 1, 2016.
Last week, Carnival Corporation announced Fathom was accepting bookings to Cuba from all travelers, including individuals born in Cuba.
The decision was announced after filing of a class-action lawsuit for allowing “discriminatory practices” regarding the cruises to Cuba.
Namely, two Cuban-Americans filed a lawsuit against the company with the Miami federal court claiming their civil rights were violated as they were banned from purchasing tickets for a cruise from Miami to Cuba based solely on their place of birth, as the Cuban government prohibited Cuban-born Americans to visit the island by sea in accordance with provisions of a law dating back to the Cold War Era.
Now that the ban has been lifted, Fathom’s 704-passenger Adonia luxury cruise ship is set to begin sailing to Cuba every other week, marking the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship has been able to sail from the U.S. to Cuba, as well as the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals will be able to sail to and from Cuba.
“We made history in March, and we are a part of making history again today,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “This is a positive outcome and we are extremely pleased. We want to extend our sincere appreciation to Cuba and to our team who worked so hard to help make this happen.”
According to Tara Russell, president of Fathom, the company has already seen “tremendous interest in the incredible Cuba journey”.
During each sailing, Fathom will visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval.