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Port and Ferry Operators Want to Offer Transport for Cuba Holidays

  • 21-Mar-11 10:15
  • Cuba
  • Caribbean News Now

Ferry operators want to introduce a new and cheaper way for travellers to enjoy Cuba holidays by offering a deluxe ferry boat service which would depart from Florida and carry passengers and their luggage to the Caribbean island of Cuba.

Port and Ferry Operators Want to Offer Transport for Cuba Holidays

Florida port officials and ferry operators are pushing the Obama administration to allow them to provide transport for Cuba holidays onboard luxury slow ferries which will operate between Florida and Cuba.

As several airports are granted permission to provide charter flights for travellers taking holidays to Cuba, ferry operators are now looking to jump on the Cuba travel bandwagon by offering cheaper travel options to the Caribbean island.

Earlier this year, President Obama eased restrictions on American travellers taking Cuba holidays for educational, academic, cultural and religious purposes. Since these changes, several airports are now planning their new routes to Cuba including Tampa International Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, O’Hare in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and San Juan.

Ferry operators are keen to provide an alternative option for travellers planning their holidays in Cuba and are planning to offer return ferry trips from Florida which will cost between $150 and $300.

The port promoters and ferry operators are also developing plans to provide ferry services to several other destinations throughout Mexico and the Caribbean.

Former cruise line executive, Bruce Nierenberg from Orlando, has applied to the U.S Treasury Department for permission to operate a low-cost Cuba ferry service from Port Everglades, Tampa and the Port of Miami.

"The Cuba part requires government approval, but we are talking about ferry service throughout the Caribbean," he said.

Nierenberg added that the ferries would carry approximately 1,200 passengers with prices starting from $150 for a reclining chair, and about $300 for a cabin

Wade Elliott, Senior Director of Marketing for the Tampa Port Authority, said: "Eventually, somebody is going to make this happen. And Tampa would be the right fit.

"We're ready. We have the terminal facilities. Whenever we get the green light, we will look for an opportunity to do it."

With nearly all of the flights to Cuba full for almost every trip, this could be the perfect time to introduce more affordable Cuba travel options for Americans travellers and Cuban-American who are returning home to visit their families.

The introduction of ferry services could also lead to a rise in Cuba hotels being built close to ports on the island to meet the demand of new tourists.

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