said it will deploy the 2,120-passenger MSC Opera on weeklong cruises from
Havana, beginning Dec. 22.
will include two nights and two-and-a-half days in Havana, and also visit
Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Georgetown in the Cayman Islands. The
seasonal schedule will end in April.
excursions will be offered through Cubanacan, a Cuba-based travel group.
become the largest cruise line offering cruises from Cuba. Previously,
the largest operator had been Canada’s Cuba Cruise, which sailed the
1,200-passenger Celestyal Cristal ship last winter in Cuba and is scheduled to
do so again in 2015-16.
MSC said it
will have fly-cruise packages for passengers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany,
Canada, Brazil and Argentina.
Privately owned MSC does not currently sail from the
U.S., although it has plans to return a ship to Miami in November.
In order to
travel on a cruise to Cuba, U.S. citizens have to fit into one of 12 categories, including travel for educational, cultural and religious purposes.
is currently in dry dock as part of a $220 million plan to upgrade four of
MSC’s older ships.
statement, MSC chief executive Gianni Onorato thanked the transportation
and tourism ministers in Cuba for "their continued highly professional
“The move to Cuba
attests to our steadfast commitment to offer our experienced guests and
holidaymakers the best and most sought-after destinations as they become
accessible, thus further enhancing our global offering while providing
travelers best-in-class experiences and service,” Onorato said.
The MSC Opera’s
previously scheduled winter itineraries in the Canary Islands, Madeira and
Morocco have been canceled.