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Cuba is now a top-rated Caribbean cruise destination

Cuba is forging ahead as one of the leading ports of call in the Caribbean for cruise ships.

In fact, more than 800,000 visitors to Cuba came via this form of tourism.

Havana, Cuba was rated the top western Caribbean destination. (Photo: caribbeannationalweekly.com)

According to state run news agency Granma, there are 17 cruise lines with 25 ships operating in Cuba today including behemoths like Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

In fact, top cruise website, “Cruise Critic” rated Havana as the top western Caribbean destination.

“The Trump administration placed a ban on Americans making cruise ship visits to Cuba on June 4 this year.”

U.S. cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises was expected to make more visits to Cuba this year and in 2020. Carnival Cruise Line has recently announced that it will be adding 23 more routes with stops in Havana.

As a result of the upsurge in cruises to Cuba, the government there has embarked on the building of four cruise terminals by 2024.

Cuban cruise tourism grew nearly 30 per cent in 2018, that’s a 29 per cent increase over the 619,000 who arrived in 2017 and compares to 541,000 in 2016, the first-year cruise lines resumed sailing between the U.S. and Cuba.

18 per cent of Cuba’s 4.7 million tourists arrived by cruise last year. (Photo: viconsortium)

However, on June 4 of this year, the Trump administration placed a ban on Americans making cruise ship visits to Cuba.

According to industry consultant Joe Luis Perello, Cuba received 4,732,280 tourists last year, with 18 per cent of that figure arriving by sea.

In 2019, 30 million passengers are expected to cruise with the Caribbean being the most popular destination for deployment. The majority of cruise ship passengers come from the United States, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The Florida- Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) is reporting that the industry generated $126 billion in total economic impact and 1 million jobs paying $41 billion in wages and salaries in 2016. Demand for cruising has increased 20.5 per cent in the last 5 years.

The cruise ship order book from 2018-2025 includes 50 new ocean-going vessels from FCCA/CLIA member cruise lines, representing 220,000 lower berths and an investment value of $51 billion.