HAVANA, March 31th. (PL) Azamara Quest Cruise arrives in Havana and joined today the list of vessels of this type that arrive in Cuba from the United States and consolidate the favorable image of this port destination.
Belonging to RoyalCaribbean Cruise Line Ltd., based in Miami, Florida, Azamara docked at the capital’s Sierra Maestra cruise ship terminal on Friday.
Royal Caribbean is one of the largest cruise operators in the world and is the fourth US company that sails to Cuba.
Carnival Cruise Line (March 2016), and Pearl Seas Cruise last January, in addition to Norwegian Cruise Line Holding (NCLH) on March 9 also traveled to the island, under special permission by the US Government.
This company has scheduled ports of call to Havana from Miami, with the Azamara Quest and the Empress of the Sea that carry respectively 694 and 2,005 passengers.
The arrival of the ship gives continuity to operations by US cruise ships, despite the fact that Washington’s commercial and economic restrictions against Havana have been maintained for more than 50 years.
As a result, US citizens cannot freely travel to the island as tourists, but under 12 special categories.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the inaugural voyage was led by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line president Adam Mark Goldstein and the general manager of Aries Transportes S.A. of Cuba, Captain Angel Diaz, who welcomed the visitors.
Diaz welcomed the directors of the shipping company and the travelers and showed his satisfaction with the increase of cruise ships coming to Cuba.
It is important for local authorities to continue promoting cruise ship operations by US companies as part of the process of reestablishing relations between the two nations, he said.
The cruises visit Havana, the central-southern city of Cienfuegos and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.
Cuba -local officials asserted- has the port infrastructure and qualified personnel to carry out this tourist modality with efficiency and security, and also provides for the modernization of such facilities. They anticipated that for this year they foresee a substantial increase in the arrival of cruise ships. The island received in 2016 for the first time 4.2 million foreign visitors.