Published On: Mon, Jul 11th, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is Heading to Cuba

getawayNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings plans to send ships to Cuba soon, CEO Frank Del Rio said Sunday.

“I am literally waiting for the phone to ring to get final, final approval from the Cuban government,” he said during a press conference aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new Seven Seas Explorer.

If and when that approval comes, NCLH would most likely send Oceania’s Regatta there first, followed by sister ship Marina in early 2017. It’s also likely other NCLH vessels would visit Cuba next year, he said.

The ships would operate circumnavigations of the island, but also call at Havana as part of Western Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries, Del Rio said.

“We want to use Havana as much as we can,” he said. “It’s a star attraction.”

NCLH is the parent company of Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Del Rio lived in Cuba until about age 7, when his family emigrated to the U.S. in 1961. “It’s an incredible place,” he said. “I cried more than once when I was there in September.” He noted that Cuba has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Seven Seas Explorer is Regent’s first new ship in 13 years and one billed as “the most luxurious ship ever built.” Highlights include the $10,000-per-night Regent Suite, which includes a $250,000 grand piano, a $150,000 bed, more than 4,000 square feet of space, and unlimited spa treatments.

Del Rio said is booking well. “I quite frankly believe we’ll be raising the price,” he said. “It’s selling too easily.