Sail to Cuba with Royal Caribbean International and the Empress of the Seas

Photo: Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean is fueling my desire to explore Cuba with its latest itinerary news (well, it’s been a month, but I’ve been a bit preoccupied with planning imaginary trips to post about it). So, here’s the scoop.

After undergoing a $50 million revitalization, Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas will make history for the cruise line with its first visit to Cuba. The inaugural 5-night sail departs from Miami, Florida on April 19, 2017. The ship then repositions to Tampa, Florida and will offer two itineraries to Havana on April 30 (7-night sail) and May 20 (5-night sail).

Empress of the Seas will be ported in Tampa for the 2017 summer season where it will offer a series of 4 and 5-night sailings, which includes port calls to Cuba. This will provide travelers with the unique opportunity to discover the sights, sounds, and culture of this island nation. Summer itinerary details will be released later.

Via the press release …

“Royal Caribbean is the world’s most exciting adventure company, and we’re thrilled to introduce culture-seeking travelers to Cuba. As the unrivaled innovators of the cruise experience, no company is better positioned to help adventurers explore and experience this culturally rich destination,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Guests sailing to Cuba aboard Empress of the Seas can enjoy people-to-people experiences created with the intent to immerse travelers in the natural beauty of Cuba, its architecture, cuisine, music, and art. All cruises to Cuba are designed in accordance with current U.S. to Cuba travel regulations.

Guests will explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Old Havana, some of the city’s squares, neighborhoods, local artisan markets, Havana’s rum museum, and Hemingway’s former residence and favorite hangouts. Local experts will be on hand to immerse travelers in the history, culture, and people of Cuba.

Cuban sites and attractions:

  • Plaza de Armas
  • El Capitolio Nacional
  • Plaza Vieja
  • Plaza de la Catedral
  • The Hotel Nacional
  • The Malecon waterfront
  • Ernest Hemingway’s home
  • Cojimar – the fishing village that inspired “The Old Man and the Sea”

Photo: PRNewsFoto/Royal Caribbean International

Cuba’s vibrant culture extends to the Empress of the Seas ship itself with cortaditos, café con leche, the Boleros Lounge, and salsa music as well as a wide range of onboard activities. Along with Cuban flair, signature amenities of Empress of the Seas includes a rock-climbing wall, new pools and whirlpools, an adults-only Solarium, a spa, and a complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program. Dining options include the Windjammer Café casual dining, the family-friendly Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shop, and the fine dining at Royal Caribbean’s steakhouse Chops.

My imaginary trip planning (come on, you know you do it too) led me to find out that travelers will also get to experience other unique and interesting ports of call along the way. The 4-night itinerary includes Key West, Havana, and Cozumel. The 7-night sail adds in Belize.

Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas sailings to Cuba are now open for sale. Please visit RoyalCaribbean.com/Cuba, call Royal Caribbean at 1-800-ROYAL-CARIBBEAN, or contact your favorite travel agent for more information or to book.

I believe it’s about time to dust off that old passport. How about you?

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