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Holland America to sail to Cuba cruises from Fort Lauderdale in December

Holland America Line is the latest cruise brand of Doral-based Carnival Corp. & PLC to receive approval for sailings to Cuba from a U.S. seaport. This time, the ship will sail from Port Everglades.

On Wednesday, Seattle-based Holland America said it plans to offer Caribbean cruises from the Broward County seaport with port calls in Havana and Cienfuegos aboard its ms Veendam starting Dec. 22.

In all, Holland America’s series of Caribbean voyages with Cuba itineraries will include seven, 11-and 12-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale through April 2018.

The Cuba cruises, based on departure dates, will also offer several Caribbean port calls including Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos and Montego Bay, Jamaica, Holland America said.

“For many, travel is about seeking new places to explore and discovering meaningful new cultural opportunities, and Cuba is one of the most sought-after new destinations for many of our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America’s president, in a news release. “We are excited to finally be able to include Cuba in our itineraries.”

Holland America will become the second U.S.-based cruise line to offer cruises with Cuba itineraries this year from Port Everglades.

In January, Pearl Seas Cruises’ 210-passenger Pearl Mist was the first to sail from Fort Lauderdale to Cuba offering a series of 10-night cultural voyages through April. The vessel visited Havana and several other ports around the Communist-led island.

Holland America’s new Cuba-inclusive cruises are offered in compliance with current U.S. Department of Treasury regulations that allow travel to Cuba under 12 approved categories such as educational and religious activities, family visits and humanitarian projects.

The decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba still bans general leisure tourism to the island.

Reservations for the Cuba cruises -- priced from $899 per person, double occupancy (excluding taxes, fees and port expenses) -- open Friday, Holland America said.

With the deployment of its 1,350-passenger Veendam, Holland America becomes the third Carnival Corp. brand to offer Cuba cruises, behind Carnival Cruise Line and Fathom.

Select cruise brands from competitors Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also offer Caribbean cruises from South Florida and other Florida ports with stops in Cuba., 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport

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