Carnival is going to Cuba.
The cruise liner has received permission from the United States to operate limited cruises into Cuba starting as soon as 2016. The liner received a nod from the U.S. under pre-existing laws that allow Americans to travel to Cuba for humanitarian and cultural exchanges.
The Cuba-bound cruises, which will start at $2,990 a person for a seven-day trip, will be part of Carnival’s new social impact initiative. The brand, called Fathom, will take passengers to countries were they perform volunteer work like teaching English, or contributing to water purification projects.
Carnival has already announced its first Fathom trips will send an estimated 35,000 passengers to the Dominican Republic in 2016.
The social impact brand is designed to market cruises to consumers who might not otherwise be inclined to vacation on a cruise. The company expects a global market of about $1.6 billion each year for social impact travel.
Carnival’s addition of Cuba to Fathom will expand the social impact brand further, especially as the Obama administration moves to normalize relations with the country. CEO Arnold Donald told USA Today that operating the humanitarian line prepares Carnival to expand its Cuba offerings when the embargo between the two countries is lifted. As long as Cuba green-lights the humanitarian cruise plans, Carnival would be the first cruise ship to sail regularly between Cuba and the United States in decades, according to USA Today.
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