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Ponant cruise line granted approval to bring Americans to Cuba

The French luxury cruise line Ponant will bring Americans to Cuba from 2017, after it was granted approval from the Cuban government. The company will fly passengers from Miami to Cuba's capital Havana, where they will take seven or eight-night sailings on the 64-passenger yacht to various destinations around the Caribbean island.

Ponant cruise line granted approval to bring Americans to Cuba

Ponant is the latest cruise line to be granted approval from the Cuban government to sail holidaymakers around the Caribbean island. The luxury French cruise line will start sailings for American travellers in Cuba from early 2017.

Passengers will be flown in from Miami to Havana, Cuba’s capital, and they will then board the 64-passenger sailing yacht Le Ponant for seven or eight-day sailings around the island.

Navin Sawhney, the CEO of the Americas for Ponant, explained to Fox News Travel:

"Ponant has been introducing Europeans to Cuba in the past and we are now delighted to offer Americans this enriching opportunity."

The cruise line will begin sailings in Cuba from early January 2017 through to April 2017, and holidaymakers will have the chance to visit the city of Havana, the picturesque Isla de la Juventud, the stunning Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. The sailings start from $8,190 per person, and include return airfares from Miami in the United States.

Ponant is the second cruise company to be granted permission by the Cuban government. Last month, Carnival’s new brand Fathom was given approval to provide “voluntourism” and cultural experiences for Americans, and the sailings will depart directly from the U.S.

Americans can take part in people-to-people cultural programmes under one of 12 visa categories that permit them to visit Cuba through licenced tour operators. Cuban-born American citizens, however, are not eligible for these visas.

In 1961, the United States cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba following Fidel Castro’s revolution. The years that followed saw an economic embargo imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. After President Obama and Raul Castro announced at the end of 2014 that diplomatic relations were to be resumed, the two countries have since opened embassies in Washington in the United States and Havana in Cuba.

Scheduled commercial flights between the U.S and Cuba are expected to start this autumn, bringing an influx of American visitors to the Caribbean island.

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