If a cruise to Cuba is on your bucket list, you may soon be in luck. Although there are currently travel restrictions that do not allow cruise ships to dock on the Caribbean island, new regulations may lift many of the travel bans.
News of the new regulations by the Obama administration send the shares of Carnival Cruise Line ($CCL up 3.42%), Royal Caribbean International ($RCL up 6.61%) and Norwegian Cruise Line ($NCLH up 4.52%) soaring on Wednesday.
Although there is currently no timetable set that will allow cruise ships to dock in Cuba, investors are betting that the new regulations will be a healthy boost for the cruise industry. The idea of new ports opening in the Caribbean would make the itineraries much more appealing to past cruisers who are looking for something new.
All three cruise lines rely on the Caribbean market as it is the most popular cruise destination. Since ships have to sail around Cuba to get to most of the ports in the Caribbean, adding port stops in Cuba would be an easy and profitable task for the cruise lines.
Cuba is known for its spectacular beaches and averages 330 days of sunshine a year. With over 300 beaches on the island, the white sand and clear turquoise water would extremely popular with cruise passengers.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and is home to 11 million people. The new tourism would be a boom for the local economy where the average salary is only $20 (471 pesos) a month.
While tourism is still banned, it will be easier to travel to Cuba for educational and family reasons. Bans on Cuban tobacco have been lightened and travelers may now bring back $100 worth of tobacco and alcohol, and up to $400 in total goods.
If the tourism banned is lifted, would you take one of the first cruise ships to Cuba? Let us know in the comment section below.
Cruise Fever will continue to monitor this breaking story and will have all updates about tourism and cruises to Cuba when information becomes available.