As the political and economic tensions between Cuba and the USA continue to ease, the former’s capital city of Havana could once again become a major cruise port. Alabama Tourism Department Director, Lee Sentell, believes that Alabama’s port in Mobile Bay could provide the perfect base to cruise from when travelling to the island of Cuba.
“Mobile, when you look at the map, it’s a straight shot to Cuba. I would encourage the local tourism associations here to start thinking in that direction.”
Mobile Bay and Havana are only 626 miles apart, potentially creating a popular cruise route with the new atmosphere of political and economic rest. The creation of a new route would also provide a huge boon for Mobile Bay, a port which has not hosted a cruise ship since October 2011, when Carnival Cruises ceased operations out of the region.
The political U-turn could signify the end of 53 years of political tension between the two nations, and could represent mutually beneficial trade opportunities. Cuba has claimed to have lost a staggering $1.126bn as a result of a trade embargo placed upon the nation by President John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Carnival Cruises have already announced plans to consider cruising to Cuba following the dissolution of the embargo. Roger Frizzell, Carnival’s spokesman, explained: “Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean, so there’s some exciting possibilities from a cruise industry perspective. Some infrastructure for cruising already exists in the country, along with several ports, so it offers great potential, but there are other issues that will need to be taken into consideration if this market opens up.”
Other cities and states have also talked up their respective ports as possible candidates to act as home ports for cruise trips to Cuba, including New Orleans and Galveston.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: eutrophication&hypoxia, Artur Staszewski