The Obama Administration's recent efforts to build ties between the United States and Cuba have led to quite a few historic firsts in recent days -- from the deal paving the way for a US hotel chain's expansion there to the painfully awkward handshake turned limp-wristed fist pump thing between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. Now, Carnival is poised to make history with the first commercial cruise from the US to Cuba in more than 50 years.
The world's largest cruise company announced Monday it will make a week-long voyage from Miami to Cuba on May 1st, according to a report by The Los Angeles Times. The ship, known as the Adonia, will carry 704 people, and will stop at ports in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba throughout the trip, which Carnival plans to make every other week. Additionally, the move could pave the way -- or sail the way? -- for more and even bigger ships to the small Caribbean nation.
Visiting Cuba as a tourist is still prohibited under the longstanding embargo, but a Carnival executive said the company will help American customers fill out the necessary paperwork and "make it very easy" for them to make the trip. Just last week, federal authorities punched another hole in the embargo by further loosening travel restrictions to Cuba, essentially allowing more Americans to travel there just by claiming the trip is for educational purposes. In addition to educational activities, Americans can travel to Cuba for 11 other reasons such as family visits, religious celebrations, and official government business. In other words, it's easier to visit Cuba now than it has been for several decades.
And if a cruise to Cuba isn't in the cards for you just yet, the new rules have made it slightly easier to get your hands on Cuban cigars and booze.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and certainly wouldn't mind going on a nice cruise Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.