Ferry service between the U.S. and Cuba could soon be a transportation option for U.S. travelers.

Several companies received approval May 5 from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to operate scheduled passenger and cargo services to Cuba. Licenses will be issued on a case-by-case basis.

Havana Ferry Partners, based in Fort Lauderdale, posted on its website that its 300-passenger ferry would offer available cargo space for extra luggage. Amenities would include food, beverages, entertainment and possibly gaming.

Baja Ferries USA, a Florida company with routes to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, also received authorization. 

Departure points from Florida could include Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Key West with arrival in Havana 10 hours later.

Florida-based United Caribbean Lines is looking at several ports in South Florida and Central Florida for its services to Cuba. International Port Corp. plans regularly scheduled passenger ferry from Miami to Havana.

Before any services can begin, the U.S. Coast Guard has to approve Cuban points of entry and docking requirements. Ferry companies have to obtain a series of permits from both American and Cuban authorities.

Ferry costs could run approximately $300 round trip, according to Baja Ferries; the cost of a roundtrip charter flight from Miami to Havana is approximately $500.

U.S. citizens will still be authorized for Cuba travel under one of 12 categories of allowed visits.


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