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