Royal Caribbean International confirmed that it will deploy the 1,580-passsenger Empress of the Seas on voyages to Cuba, with the first cruise departing April 19.

The five-night sailing will depart Miami, but will be the only Empress cruise to do so. Thereafter, the ship will reposition to Tampa offering two itineraries with calls to Havana on April 30, a seven-night sailing, and May 20, a five-night sailing. These trips are now open for sale, Royal said.

Royal said Empress will homeport in Tampa for the summer, offering four- and five-day Caribbean cruises with Cuba ports included on the itineraries. It will be Royal Caribbean's first ever summer program from Tampa.

Two other Royal Caribbean ships, the Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas, will offer Caribbean itineraries from Tampa during the winter season.

Prices for the April 19 voyage are listed as $569 per person for an inside cabin, $659 for an outside and $1,888 for a suite. The itinerary also includes Costa Maya in Mexico.

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