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Travel - July 26, 2017
Norwegian Sun cruises to Cuba from Port Canaveral now on sale
Norwegian Cruise Line will offer cruises to Cuba from Port Canaveral starting in summer 2018.
The cruise line will send Norwegian Sun fresh off a dry-dock overhaul to the port, offering four-night voyages with overnight stops in Havana, as well as Key West, and three-night itineraries to the Bahamas.
“We felt that Port Canaveral was the ideal location to offer our guests a value-rich onboard experience and exciting action-packed ports of call, including an overnight call in Havana, Cuba,” said Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stewart in a news release.
Travel to the communist island, which under the Obama administration had been allowed for individual “people-to-people” visits, is being rolled back under President Trump. Now, these mostly educational and cultural visits must be done as part of a group, something the cruise lines are banking 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. In 2017, the company shifted service to Carnival Cruise Line, which began sailing to Cuba last month from Tampa. Royal Caribbean also sails from Tampa, while Norwegian this year offers Cuba sailings from PortMiami.
The Port Canaveral plans are something new for Norwegian Cruise Line, which had always previously vacated the port in the summer months. Currently sailing from the port, Norwegian Epic will migrate to Europe next April for Mediterranean service before its return in November.
“Port Canaveral is proud of our cruise partner, NCL, and we welcome their growth plans for the future,” said port CEO John Murray. “Today’s announcement validates the port’s ongoing investments in state-of-the art facilities and continuous improvement in cruise operations. Our record numbers of passenger movements year after year demonstrates we are working hard and meeting the expectations of today’s largest and most sophisticated cruise ships.”
Before its arrival, the 1,936-passenger Norwegian Sun will sail the fall and winter season in South America, and then undergo a 2½-week dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. On April 19, the ship will make its way to Port Canaveral via the Panama Canal on a 17-night sailing from Seattle.
The 78,309-gross-ton ship, which was built in 2001, will begin Port Canaveral sailings May 7 with Monday-Friday voyages to Cuba and Friday-Monday Bahamas trips with stops that include Nassau, Freeport and the line’s private island Great Stirrup Cay.
Both the Cuba and Bahamas itineraries will include free drinks as part of the price point, including wine, beer and some premium alcohol for those 21 and older. The line said booking for the new itineraries will be available at the end of the month. Call 888-625-2784 or visit www.ncl.com for details.