Travellers on Thomson cruiser receive red carpet treatment in Havana, Cuba
The nine-deck British cruise ship, Thomson Dean, pulled into Havana Harbour on Wednesday 5th January, where 1,500 tourists on Cuba holidays arriving on the Caribbean island received red carpet treatment as part of a welcoming party.
A nine-deck British cruise ship arrived in Havana Harbour in Cuba on Wednesday 5th January 2011, bringing 1,500 travellers on their two-night Cuba holidays.
A recent policy change in Cuba's government which formerly banned cruisers from the Caribbean island has enabled cruise liners to add Cuba to the list of destinations.
Cruise visits were previously banned because former Cuban President Fidel Castro believed that visitors brought large amounts of rubbish to the region but did not spend much money during their Cuba holidays.
The Thomson Dream cruise ship sailed into Havana and guests onboard received the red carpet treatment from Cubans as they arrived in Cuba with a welcoming party comprising a salsa band, showgirls in bikini tops and colourful feather headdresses, and dancing schoolchildren.
Jose Manuel Bisbe, a Cuban tourism official, said that the new deal with the Thomson Cruise Ships has also been expanded to additional agreements with other European tour operators.
Bisbe added that "each passenger spends an average of $50 to $200 per day on the island," which is a welcome boost in tourism revenue after recent hard times within the travel industry.
Guests onboard the Thomson Dream will get the chance to visit a number of attractions and beautiful landscapes during their holidays in Cuba including a trip to Vinales Valley in western Pinar del Rio province and the Zapata wetlands in Matanzas. Tourists will also get the chance to attend the famous Tropicana Cabaret Show and the nightly cannon shot ceremony at the historic Spanish San Carlos de la Cabana Fort.
The Thomson Dream cruise begins in Cozumel in Mexico where it will then head off for a journey around the Caribbean stopping off at Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Curacao, Aruba and Santa Marta, a city in Colombia.
The cruise ship business within Cuba saw a significant decline when the Spanish-based Pullmantur Cruises was bought by the Florida-based Royal Caribbean Cruises. Because of the ongoing U.S – Cuba travel embargo, tourists from the United States were unable to visit the Caribbean island and the company was banned from doing any business in the area.
The Russian cruise ship, Adriana, has also recently started providing around Cuba with Tropicana Cruises Company Ltd.
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