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Norwegian on verge of receiving approval for Cuba cruises

By Tom Stieghorst of travelweekly.com

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) is on the verge of receiving permission from authorities in Havana to sail to Cuba, company CEO Frank Del Rio said.

“I’m literally waiting for the phone to ring to give the final, final approval,” Del Rio said in a press briefing on Sunday morning.

The briefing was held on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest ship as it was docked in Sardinia. Regent, Oceania Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line make up the three brands in the NCLH portfolio.

Del Rio said he has tentative approval to begin cruises to Cuba with the 684-passenger Oceania Regatta before the end of 2016. That would be followed by cruises aboard another Oceania ship, the 1,260-passenger Marina, in 2017.

Del Rio also hinted that Norwegian Cruise Line, which sails much larger ships, would also get approval to sail from Miami to Havana and elsewhere. He told a group of travel agents on Seven Seas Explorer that the Norwegian Sky would be used in Cuba service.

“We will have a variety of itineraries,” Del Rio said. “We will have a ship dedicated that will do circumnavigation. We have itineraries that normally go to the Western Caribbean that will now call on Havana as a stop.”

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