Cuba has always held an allure for me. Many years ago (1990-something), I was invited to a private party in Miami. The event was being thrown by a magazine that was specifically geared towards twentysomething Cubans in America. That night I learned a lot about Cuban culture. I ate amazing food that was simply fantastic, heard stories that had been passed down through generations, talked to people that were missing loved ones who could never leave and I found myself yearning to visit this country. Near the end of the night, the band that was playing, stopped a song and boldly yelled the phrase, “Viva Mexico!” The man who owned the magazine, walked to the front of the stage and asked the lead singer to bend down to talk with him. After a few seconds, the lead singer, eyes wide and seeming a bit nervous, cleared his throat and yelled… “Viva Cuba!” The crowd went nuts and the rest of the night was a party like none I had ever seen. I’ve been trying to get to Cuba ever since! Now, I might finally be able to make that happen. Carnival is giving us all a chance to say, “Viva Cuba!”
Carnival is Giving us All a Chance to Say, “Viva Cuba!”
Following the history-making launch of cruises from the U.S. to Cuba on Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand last year, the company’s namesake and largest cruise brand — Carnival Cruise Line — has now received approval to sail to Cuba. The Cuban capital of Havana will be added to select Carnival Paradise voyages from Tampa beginning in June 2017.
The overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 four- and five-day cruises aboard Carnival Paradise departing from the Port of Tampa starting June 29, 2017, providing vacationers with a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination.
Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, and October 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages will depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.
Carnival Paradise guests will be able to choose from a range of exciting shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba’s vibrant culture and majestic beauty, along with the island’s warm and friendly people and centuries-old architectural landmarks.
“Cuba is an island jewel unique from anywhere else in the Caribbean and we are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to take our guests to this fascinating destination,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The opportunity to visit Havana, combined with the fun, relaxed ambiance and wide variety of amenities and features offered on Carnival Paradise, will make for a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience,” she added.
Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. A variety of dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside choices. The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide are additional features.
The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The new voyages can currently be booked via travel agents or by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL.
The cruises will also be available on carnival.com. Please note that a passport is required for cruises that call in Cuba. Additional information on all special requirements for these voyages can be found on carnival.com.