In a significant move to bolster US-Cuba relations, a US cruise ship began its historic journey to Cuba on May 1 for the first time in 38 years. Carnival Corp’s ship Adonia left Miami port and sailed to Havana with 704 passengers aboard. The passengers on the ship included several Cuba-born passengers.
The ship will visit ports of Cienfuegos in south-central Cuba and Santiago de Cuba in the southwest during its seven day journey. The cruise to Cuba by Carnival Corp will be operated by its tenth and newest line Fathom. According to the company, the Adonia will cruise every other week from Miami to Cuba. The company has also promised to engage passengers in an ongoing cultural exchange programme that gives the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people.
The decision to begin the cruise came after Cuba had decided to ease its policy of forbidding Cuban-born people from travelling to the country by sea. The last cruise from a US port to a Cuban destination was in 1978. Carnival Corp got the go ahead from the Cuban government to begin sailing from the US to the island on May 1 after US President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Havana on March 20-22. While the US Congress is yet to approve the lifting of the economic embargo, the two countries have made tangible progress in other areas after the restoration of diplomatic ties in December 2014.
The US has relaxed restrictions on travel and trade to Cuba. This has allowed Carnival, which prides itself as the world’s largest cruise ship operator, to apply and get permission from the US government back in July 2015. This is a major move by the two countries after Mr Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro decided to reestablish ties.
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