Norwegian Cruise Line has finished its first summer season of sailings from Port Canaveral, Florida, on board the Norwegian Sun, but will be back with more in 2019.
The ship’s first season came as it debuted from a dry-dock overhaul, sailing on four-night voyages with overnight stops in Havana, as well as Key West, and three-night itineraries to the Bahamas. The 15 sailings to Cuba since May had more than 30,000 passengers, according to the cruise line.
“Since we first sailed to Cuba in 2017 from Miami, it has become one of our most popular destinations,” said Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart.
The Norwegian Sun, built in 2001, had its 968 staterooms upgraded during a three-week dry dock earlier this year and added new venues including the Mexican restaurant Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and the Spinnaker Lounge.
The ship will once again offer four-night service to Havana and three-night Bahamas cruises starting April 15, 2019. The Cuba visits will increase from 16 to 18. Some will make stops in Key West while others have a day at sea. All have an overnight stay in the Cuban capital.
Travel to the communist island, which under the Obama administration had been allowed for individual “people-to-people” visits, had been dialed back because of tighter Trump administration regulations, but cruise lines have benefited and continue to increase sailings to the island nation as part of those regulations. Now, these mostly educational and cultural visits must be done as part of a group, something the cruise lines have banked on.
Carnival Corp. was the first U.S.-based cruise line to visit Cuba on a regular basis in nearly 50 years when it sailed on May 1, 2016, on its Fathom brand. Since then several cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norwegian have scheduled Cuban stops while sailing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
Norwegian is the only line to sail to Cuba from Port Canaveral.
INFO Summer 2019 sailings now available to book; 888-625-2784, ncl.com