Carnival Cruises has announced plans to begin sailing to Cuba beginning in May 2016. The cruise line’s move was granted approval this week by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
But Carnival won’t be sailing its “Fun Ships” to Cuba. Instead, they’ll be sailing a new brand called “Fathom” for these trips. Seven-day voyages from Miami will be onboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger ship, much smaller than Carnival’s usual size. Trips begin in April 2016 to the new Dominican Republic port of Amber Cove with Cuba service to begin in May.
Because travel restrictions between Cuba and the United States are still somewhat strict, the Adonia won’t offer Broadway shows or a casino to passengers. Rather the emphasis will be on Spanish classes, Cuba history workshops and other cultural activities.
Related: 6 Surprises in Cuba Right Now
Prices for the Dominican Republic itinerary start at $1,540 per person, with fares varying by season. Prices for the 7-day trips to Cuba start at $2,990 per person.
“We are excited about receiving U.S. approval as the very important first step to ultimately take travelers to Cuba under the existing 12 criteria for authorized travel. We look forward to working with the Cuban authorities for their approval to help make the social, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between U.S. citizens and the people of Cuba a reality,” said Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We know there is strong demand from travelers who want to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, so this is a historic opportunity for us to enable more people to experience Cuban society.”