Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings plans to send ships to Cuba soon, CEO Frank Del Rio said during a recent press conference.
“I am literally waiting for the phone to ring to get final, final approval from the Cuban government,” he said while aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer.
If and when that approval comes, NCLH would most likely send Oceania Regatta there first, followed by her sister ship Oceania Marina in early 2017. It’s also likely other NCLH vessels would visit Cuba next year, according to Del Rio.
The ships would operate circumnavigations of the island, as well as stopovers in Havana as part of Western Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries.
“We want to use Havana as much as we can,” Del Rio said. “It’s a star attraction.”
Del Rio lived in Cuba until about age 7, when his family emigrated to the U.S. in 1961. “It’s an incredible place,” he said. “I cried more than once when I was there in September.” He noted that Cuba has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
NCLH is the parent company of Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.