Carnival Expects to Begin Cruising To Cuba Next Year
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Here's a sure sign that relations are really thawing between Washington and Havana. Carnival Cruises has received permission from the U.S. government to take passengers to Cuba. NPR's Sam Sanders has this story.
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: These trips will not be traditional cruises.
DOUG PARKER: It's not your grandma's and grandpa's cruise. The ship they're deploying will not have casinos in it at all.
SANDERS: That's Doug Parker. He hosts Cruise Radio, his own podcast all about cruises. There are no casinos because these trips to Cuba will only be allowed if they serve a higher purpose, like educational activities or aid projects. Carnival says its Cuba trips will provide cultural, artistic, faith-based and humanitarian exchanges.
PARKER: I'm seeing a lot of mission work, church groups, colleges who do mission trips, local organizations.
SANDERS: It'd be easy to look at this as a gimmick. Do you really need to ride a cruise ship to do good around the world? Stewart Chiron is the CEO of cruiseguy.com, and he says some people might.
STEWART CHIRON: There's a lot of people that don't want to sleep in a tent, and they don't want to eat, you know, very, very bad food and they don't want to be in unsafe surroundings.
SANDERS: If the Cuban government gives the OK, Carnival says it will start making trips to Cuba in May of 2016. Sam Sanders, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.