March 21 (Reuters) – Cruise operator Carnival Corp said on Monday it received approval from Cuban authorities to begin operations to the country, starting May 1.
The approval comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba.
Carnival said this was the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship was approved to sail from the United States to Cuba.
The company will use the 704-passenger vessel, the MV Adonia, for its Cuba cruises, on the small side for the company, whose ships typically carry 2,000 to 3,000 people.
Carnival had received U.S. approval last July to operate cruises to Cuba under its Fathom brand, set up to run cruises with humanitarian and cultural themes to the Dominican Republic.
Carnival is the first major U.S.-based cruise ship company to venture into Cuban waters. Two other Miami-based companies, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, have expressed interest but say the U.S. embargo remains an obstacle. (Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)
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