ABOARD THE ADONIA — Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said that confusion created in the past week over the Fathom brand’s cruises to Cuba led the company to “update” its policy about whether to take Cuban-born residents on the upcoming voyages.

"There was a lot of noise going on in Miami,” Donald said Monday at a news conference on the Fathom ship Adonia, which is on its first cruise to the Dominican Republic.

"There was a lot of confusion. People were saying it was all Cuban-Americans, that you guys are discriminatory. We have a lot of people in our company who live in those communities, including Cuban-born Cuban-Americans, and their kids have to go to school and all that, so we just wanted to put something out that would clear everything up and let people know, look, this is all good.”

Carnival’s new approach is that it will accept reservations from Cuban-born residents for the cruises to Cuba, even though the Cuban government’s longstanding policy is not to allow their arrival by sea.

Donald said that Carnival has held talks with Cuba about the restriction “since the very beginning,” and the talks are ongoing. “The conversations look really good. We really expect everything to be fine.”

Carnival said that if it can’t get the restriction lifted by the May 1 scheduled departure of its first Cuba cruise, it will postpone the departure.

"We have never said Cubans can’t go,” added Fathom president Tara Russell. "It’s just the practices in Cuba are such that they have chosen to have very specific restrictions on who can enter the country by sea.  Obviously, from our perspective, we welcome any and all travelers. We welcome people of any nationality."

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