Royal Caribbean to call Key West Sunday, Cuba cruises resume as normal

Scenes from Havana during Royal Caribbean's Sept. 20 call. These three pictures are among seven provided by the line Scenes from Havana during Royal Caribbean's Sept. 20 call. These three pictures are among seven provided by the line (Photos: Royal Caribbean International)

Amid all the hurricane-related itinerary changes, Royal Caribbean International announced some encouraging news: Empress of the Seas' Cuba cruises are getting back to normal, and the ship is to call at Key West on Sunday.

The Tampa-based Empress of the Seas' Sept. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 2, Oct. 7 and Oct. 11 Cuba sailings are no longer modified.

On Wednesday the ship called at Havana, where the cruise terminal, port and transportation were ready and all tours ran as scheduled.

'The city is ready and receiving visitors and delivering the authentic experience this historical destination is known for,' Royal Caribbean said, and provided images showing clear streets, intact buildings and standing trees.

The line also received confirmation that Empress of the Seas can return to Key West starting Sept. 24.

This is well ahead of Royal Caribbean's anticipated Oct. 20 resumption of calls there, after the city's devastation by Hurricane Irma.

Immediately following Irma, the line had offered passengers with concerns about visiting Cuba the ability to cancel and receive a future cruise credit.

'As Havana and Key West are both ready to welcome guests, our offer will end by close of business Sunday, Sept. 24. All cancellations to receive a cruise credit must be completed by this time so we can offer the stateroom to another traveler,' Royal Caribbean said.

Empress of the Seas operates four- and five-night Cuba cruises with stops at Havana and Key West; some sailings also visit Cozumel.

Posted 22 September 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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