MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A day after Carnival cruises announced it will be sailing to Cuba, the CEO of the company speaks out about the historic change between the island nation and the U.S. and what to expect in their new voyage.
Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald says this will not be your typical cruise vacation. He believes Americans are curious about Cuba and want to visit the island whether it’s on a plane or a cruise ship.
“There’s lots of pent up demand in the U.S., lots of curiosity,” said Donald. “Cuba has always been of interest, it was a great destination from the U.S. more than 50 years ago and people would love to go there.”
Carnival has gotten U.S. government approval to operate cruises to the island as a provider of cultural exchange programs.
Starting next may, the ms adonia, a 700-passenger ship, will sail to Cuba on what’s called fathom cruising, during which passengers take part in volunteer work programs and cultural exchanges.
“There’s no casino on board, no Broadway shows, this is truly a cultural immersion, cultural exchange traveler experience facilitating exchanges between U.S. Citizens and Cubans,” said Donald.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has said he opposes cruises to Cuba as long as Raul Castro is in power.
“The Obama administration is rewarding the Castro brothers for not doing the right thing. They don’t believe in democracy. They don’t believe in political freedom,” said Scott.
Donald said his cruises are intended to help the Cuban people, not the Cuban government.
“It’s already occurring. U.S. citizens are going under these guidelines and now instead of going on a chartered aircraft you’re able to go on a ship,”