MSC Cruises has revealed that, starting in December 2015, it will be the first mainstream cruise line to homeport in Cuba.
Its 2,120-guest MSC Opera will homeport in Havana for the winter 2015-16 season to offer guests 16 Caribbean cruises.
The new itinerary will give holidaymakers from around the world the opportunity to visit Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico with two nights and two and a half days in the Cuban capital.
Gianni Onorato, chief executive, MSC Cruises, commented: “We are particularly proud to make this exciting new destination available to our guests.
“For this, I wish to personally thank all those who worked with us over the past several months to make it possible for MSC Cruises to launch Cuba as a destination to its guests.
“In particular, I wish to thank the Ministers of Transportation and Tourism of the Cuban Government and their representatives for their continued, highly professional contribution.”
Onorato added: “The move to Cuba proves our commitment to offer our guests and holiday-makers the best and most sought-after destinations as they become accessible – thus further enhancing our global offering while providing travellers best-in-class experiences and service.”
“The inaugural cruise will take place in less than six months from now,” Onorato continued, “but we can definitely confirm the strong demand for the product, due to the combination of the attractiveness of Cuba as a culture-rich destination, coupled with the fact that it is offered through our distinctive MSC Cruises experience.”
The sailings will be available to UK guests on a cruise-only basis, going on sale across all channels on Thursday July 9th.
To offer local ground services and shore excursions MSC Cruises will partner with Cubanacan, the Cuba-based group created more than 20 years ago known for its experienced professionals and high quality of service.
The first cruise will depart from Havana on December 22nd 2015, following MSC Opera’s Grand Voyage to Cuba from Genoa, departing on December 2nd 2015.
To ensure that guests can enjoy and discover the capital city, the Grand Voyage will include a call in Havana on December 18th, and resume its itinerary in the region before heading back to Cuba for its final call of the journey on December 21st.