travel

Carnival Corp.

What would a U.S. tourist invasion of Cuba be without yanqui cruise ships – especially cruise ships owned by the Miami-based Carnival Corporation?

Last summer the Obama Administration gave U.S. cruise lines the green light to drop anchor for the communist island. Pending Cuba’s approval, Carnival plans to have its Fathom brand’s 710-passenger ship Adonia heading to Havana’s port by May. It will mark the first time in more than half a century that a U.S.-owned cruise vessel has docked there.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

Since the Monroe County Tax Collector took over enforcement of unlicensed vacation rentals Jan. 1, the agency has collected $52,000 in taxes and resolved hundreds of cases, according to Tax Collector Danise Henriquez.

Carnival Corporation / Courtesy

The Cuban travel market bandwagon has recently gotten fuller.

The latest entrant, Carnival Corporation, joins multiple ferry companies and airline companies working to offer trips to the island.

Here's a list of all the ways people dreaming of Havana nights can travel to Cuba, how much they cost, and possible destinations.

HOW TO GET THERE

1. Carnival cruises

Port Everglades To Handle Larger Cargo Ships

Jul 8, 2015
Port Everglades / Courtesy

South Florida’s main entry point for gasoline and jet fuel and one of the busiest cruise ports in the world is widening its channels.

The alteration to the port’s existing infrastructure is a response to the evolving shipping industry.

Carnival Plans To Begin Cruising To Cuba

Jul 8, 2015
Miami Herald

The world’s largest cruise line is the latest entrant to the Cuban travel market. Carnival Corporation announced Tuesday that it had received permission from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Department of Commerce to launch cruises to Cuba beginning in May 2016.

Franklin Reyes / AP

As part of his effort to normalize relations with communist Cuba, President Obama wants to make it easier for Americans to travel there. But there’s still some confusion. So the Administration wants folks to bring their questions to the Twittersphere.

U.S. tourist travel to Cuba is still illegal. But Americans have long been able to travel there if they obtained U.S. government permission for purposes like family visits or academic exchanges.

Alexander Gonzalez / WLRN

It was a scene from something cooked up in a Hollywood film set: A black helicopter emerged from a cloud of red smoke, and inside the cockpit was Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

He landed outside the Pérez Art Museum Miami, where he announced that PortMiami will house the first ship from Virgin Cruises. It is expected to set sail in 2020.

“We have always loved Miami,” said Branson at a press conference held Tuesday. “And now it will partner with us for an even bigger role in our future.”

Monroe County Public Library

Every day, ferries come and go from the ferry terminal at Key West's historic seaport. For now, they're carrying passengers to Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west, or from Fort Myers Beach and Marco Island on Florida's Gulf Coast.

But many on the island hope the ferry traffic to Key West will soon regain one of its historic destinations: Havana. Earlier this month, the Obama administration took another big step toward normalizing relations with Cuba when it issued licenses to at least four companies to run ferries between the U.S. and Cuba.

The tourism business is booming in South Florida.

The Sunshine State could welcome close to 100 million visitors this year.  They come from all over: the Northeast, the Midwest, Latin America, Europe, Russia and, increasingly, Asia. These visitors directly support hundreds of thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the regional economy. 

Tom Hudson

South Florida is known around the world for its sun, sand and surf. Those natural attributes are responsible for thousands of jobs, millions of visitors and billions of dollars. But what about service? South Florida may invite the world to come play on its beaches, stay in its hotels and eat in its restaurants, but what kind of hosts are its people?

Julie Grimes gives the overall customer service experience three out of five stars. She is the owner of two hotels in Miami: the Doubletree Hilton and the Hilton Bentley South Beach, where she also is the managing partner.

Eluveitie / Wikimedia Commons

About 2,500 American Airlines passengers landed without their luggage at destinations worldwide on Friday, Feb. 20. 

The airline blames the baggage-handling system’s conveyor belts, which had several mechanical issues.

Hannah Sampson, a business reporter for the Miami Herald, wrote on the topic. She says the baggage-handling system was initially used by American Airlines in 2012 and then fully handed over to the airline in 2014. 

Tom Hudson

A LITTLE HISTORY

Ian Schrager and Lloyd Mandell used to be neighbors. 

One is an iconoclast who made a fortune (and went to prison for tax evasion) as co-founder of the famed Studio 54 nightclub in New York, and the other a Miami Beach native whose dad owned a gas station where a Starbucks now stands on West Avenue.

The two men are in the same business now, technically. But they came to it in different ways.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

freedigitalphotos.net/Arvind Balaraman

A promise that travel to Cuba would be easier for Americans was part of President Obama’s historic announcement this week that he’s taking steps to normalize relations.

What will the easing of sanctions against Cuba mean for the average traveler -- as well as for people who want to do business there?

We asked reporter Mimi Whitefield, who covers the Latin American economy for the Miami Herald.

Here are a few things you need to know.

Below is an edited transcript.

freedigitalphotos.net/salvatore vuono

Among those cheering President Obama’s plans to ease up on sanctions against Cuba are fans of the island’s legendary cigars and rum.

The president announced on Wednesday that the United States will be re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.  That includes relaxing certain trade and travel restrictions.

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