The US government has granted Carnival Corporation the licences it needs to open a direct route between America and Cuba.
The licence, which has been granted to Carnival’s new company, fathom, is for the purpose of cultural exchange. It is also an indicator of improving relations between the two countries.
Fathom will begin to take travellers to Cuba from May 2016, following on from a launch itinerary in the Dominican Republic.
According to a release from the company, Carnival has been granted the licence on the basis of providing cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens.
Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation said: “We are excited about receiving US approval as the very important first step to ultimately take travellers to Cuba under the existing 12 criteria for authorised travel. We look forward to working with the Cuban authorities for their approval to help make the social, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between US citizens and the people of Cuba a reality.
“We know there is strong demand from travellers who want to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, so this is a historic opportunity for us to enable more people to experience Cuban society. It is also an important opportunity for our new fathom brand to expand its positive influence in the world with this potential to add full-week immersion sailings to Cuba to its already planned full-week social-impact itineraries to the Dominican Republic beginning in the spring of 2016.”
Tara Russell, president of fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation, added: “We’re incredibly excited and humbled by this potential opportunity to help travelers experience the amazing beauty and culture of Cuba, while being able to provide educational and cultural exchange activities that will benefit both the traveler and the Cuban people.
“After establishing the Dominican Republic as our first partner destination, Cuba represents an important step for us to expand our ability to offer meaningful and enriching experiences to purpose-driven travelers. Our goal remains the same for both destinations – to enable travelers to immerse, learn, serve and flourish while making enduring, sustainable contributions on a scalable and systematic basis. We are looking forward to building what we intend to be a beautiful and lasting friendship with the Cuban people.”