Cruising Cuba holidays still a very distant possibility for American cruisers
Despite some new rumours and moves signalling an end for the travel ban imposed on Cuba holidays for American travellers, the future of Caribbean cruising holidays in which Cuba would form part of the itinerary looks still very distant for cruise lines.
The possibility of Cuba holidays for the American cruising industry is looking very far off. Even when counting on the scenario that the U.S. finally lifts the Cuba travel ban, it could still take very long for cruising become a full reality since a lot of works and developments would neet to take place in the island for it to become cruise-friendly.
Experts are advising those in the cruising sector to hold their horses and for now and "don't expect Havana to be a port of call for American cruise lines any time soon", said Richard Sasso, board chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association, an organisation that also is the trade group for 25 cruise lines serving North America.
But it's not all hopelessness and disilusion for those looking forward to Cuba holidays provided by cruising ships lining the island's pristine shores. Heartened by news reports, Sasso foresees the day when Cuba will be on the Caribbean holidays itinerary of every major cruise line.
"Right now, though, they lack the infrastructure and facilities to handle the huge influx of vessels and visitors," he added.
"It'll probably take one, two or maybe three years before the necessary developments are completed. Lots of work has to be done."
The association chairman, one of Celebrity Cruise line's founders, came out of retirement several years ago to serve as president of the Mediterranean Shipping Co.'s North American section.
Senators of both political parties have indicated they have sufficient votes to lift the American ban on Cuba travel, a motion has been going since last November 2009 and since then U.S. Congressmen have promised to achieve the lifting of the restrictions to allow Americans to be free to go on Cuba holidays.
President Barack Obama modified the travel restriction last year, allowing Cubans to visit relatives in Cuba and if the congress doesn't manage to get enough supporters to end the ban, President Obama could act on his own, as he did last year when he lifted some of the restrictions.
Under existing law, only American journalists, university employees and students, Cuban-Americans (or American citizens from Cuban descent) and people on humanitarian missions are permitted to travel to Cuba or enjoy Cuba holidays at leisure.
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