Carnival Adds More Cuba Cruises for 2019-2020

Taxi in Havana (file image courtesy Andy Newman / Carnival)

By The Maritime Executive 05-11-2018 07:40:00

Carnival Cruise Lines is further expanding its roster of cruises to Cuba. For the 2019-2020 season, it is adding 23 more sailings aboard five ships out of four homeports, including Charleston, South Carolina. These new itineraries are in addition to the previously announced voyages aboard the Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sensation. 

"Cuba has proven to be extremely popular with our guests and we're delighted to provide even more opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating destination with these new voyages departing from four key East Coast homeports, including the first Cuba cruises from Charleston," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Under American restrictions on Cuban tourism, most U.S. citizens must travel with an organized group when they visit Cuba. Carnival offers nearly 20 different shore excursions that comply with federal regulations, giving passengers a convenient way to experience the island.

The 3,000-passenger Carnival Sunshine will be homeported in Charleston for nine cruises to Havana and Freeport, with departures in November 2019 through April 2020. She will be the largest cruise ship ever to call in Havana. 

In addition, the Carnival Triumph, based in Fort Lauderdale, will offer nine five-day cruises December through April. Carnival Victory, based in Miami, will offer a single three-day voyage to Havana in November 2019. Carnival Sensation, also based in Miami, will offer three more itineraries to Havana in February and March 2020. Finally, Carnival Paradise will add one more voyage to Havana in November 2019. 

The announcement doubles down on Carnival's previous decision to add 20 voyages departing Tampa (on top of its original schedule for 17 voyages departing Miami). The business case for Cuba cruising appears to be strong: according to a recent outlook report from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), over 40 percent of travel agents say that they are seeing increasing interest in Cuba. The trend appears to have strong demographic link, with nearly 70 percent of Baby Boomers showing interest in traveling to the island.