The cost of Cuba cruising, yesterday and today
By Tom Stieghorst / October 27, 2015
A veteran travel editor recently lamented to me the expense of cruising
to Cuba, and wondered why it is so pricey.
There’s no doubt that at this stage, the choices for cruising to Cuba
are not cheap.
For example, Vacations by Rail’s recently announced Cuba by Rail &
Cruise itinerary, which involves two days of rail travel and a 10-day
cruise around Cuba, was priced starting at $5,353 per person.
Part of it is the odd rules that govern U.S. tourism to Cuba. They
almost require that cruise lines include shore excursions in the price,
which is not customary in the contemporary cruise segment, where prices
The underdeveloped ports in Cuba also accommodate small ships, which
don’t benefit from the economies of scale that help make fares cheap on
a Carnival or Royal Caribbean ship.
Cuba is becoming well supplied with cruise options in the 49- to
200-passenger range, but for bigger ships being marketed to Americans,
the choice boils down to Carnival Corp.’s Fathom brand, which isn’t yet
sailing, and Cuba Cruise by Celestyal, which starts its seasonal cruises
The Cuba Cruise begins at $1,263 for an inside cabin on a seven-night
cruise during low season aboard its 960-passenger Celestyal Cristal
ship. Fathom’s rates begin at $1,800 for an inside cabin during its
off-peak cruises on the 710-passenger Adonia, starting next April.
While researching another story recently, I came across a 1929 newspaper
ad for a Cunard Line cruise to Cuba aboard its 1,550-passenger RMS Caronia.
The fare for a 13-night New York-Havana roundtrip cruise was advertised
as $210; adjusted for inflation, that cruise would be priced at $2,922
Now compare that to an upcoming Queen Mary 2 cruise, which covers six
Caribbean ports from New York over the same time frame. Cunard still
lists space on the Nov. 12 departure with an inside cabin starting at $999.
The only hitch is that Havana is not among the six ports visited. One
can only hope that someday there will be a boat leaving from New York
that will stop in Cuba like it did 86 years ago.
Source: The cost of Cuba cruising, yesterday and today: Travel Weekly –