Speaking during the inaugural voyage of Regent’s new Seven Seas Explorer, CEO Frank Del Rio said that he was just ‘waiting for the phone to ring’ before inaugurating a series of Cuba sailings with ships from right across the Norwegian/Regent/Oceania Cruises portfolio.
One source states that the Cuban born Del Rio actually named the Norwegian Sky as being the ship to probably start regular, year round Cuba cruises beginning in 2017. Other sources say that he refused to name any specific ship.
Assuming that the right ship has been identified, it would mean the 78,000 ton, 1999 built Norwegian Sky forsaking her usual, year round itinerary of three and four night Bahamas cruises from Miami. With several alternative dining venues and a reasonable number of balcony cabins, there is no question that the Norwegian Sky could work well as an immediately available start up ship, though it seems doubtful that Norwegian would completely abandon the lucrative, short Bahamas cruise run.
How might it work? Probably, the Norwegian Sky would sail on seven night, round trip cruises to Cuba from Miami. The ship could spend two, or even three, nights docked in Havana, where the revenue stream to be tapped from shore excursion sales must be extremely tempting to Norwegian Cruise Line. The ship could also offer one, perhaps even two calls at ports such as Grand Cayman and Key West.
In any event, it would be gratifying to see this still beautiful ship running on something more demanding than short, pedestrian jaunts around the Bahamas.
Stay tuned for updates.