In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Carnival’s Fathom cruise line will be sailing to Cuba starting in May, many are wondering when other U.S. based ships will be sailing to the island. Here at, we are speculating that Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas might be visiting Cuba by the end of the year. Here is why.

Cruises Sailing to Cuba

Since the announcement of the Fathom cruises last year, all eyes have turned to Cuba as a destination for cruising. Several non-U.S. based ships call on the island, including the MSC Opera, but no cruise ship leaving the U.S. has sailed to the island in over 50 years.

Empress of the SeasMorro Castle in Havana, Cuba

Given the warming relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the U.S. government sanctioned Fathom cruises to begin offering People to People cruises to the island back in July 2015. Given the announcement yesterday, it will be a matter of time until other cruise lines start sailing to the island.

In fact, CEO Richard Fain of Royal Caribbean International commented that adding Cuba to the mix would increase the demand for cruises “10 to 20 percent”. Knowing that all cruise lines want to head to Cuba, the speculation now centers on what ships will be in the area?

adonia-ship-carnival-cuba-cruiseFathom’s Adonia – First Ship to Visit Cuba from U.S., Courtesy of Fathom Cruise Line ©

Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas

We here at have no insider track whatsoever, but given the general consensus among many travel professionals “in the know”, there is a strong case to be had that the newly revitalized Empress of the Seas is a perfect candidate to travel to Cuba, starting as early as later this year.

Empress of the SeasEmpress of the Seas (Source)

The ports of Cuba can not handle many of the new, larger cruise ships being built by Royal Caribbean making Empress of the Seas the perfect fit, both in size and deployment schedule, to visit the island.

If you look at the Adonia, Fathom’s first ship to call on Cuba, it is an eight deck, 30K gross ton vessel that holds slightly over 700 passengers. While the Empress of the Seas holds over twice as many passengers, this nine deck ship is only slightly larger than the Adonia weighing in at 48K gross tons. It is by far the smallest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet with the next smallest ship, Majesty of the Seas, being 50% larger than Empress of the Seas.

Plus, cruisers can only book cruises on Empress of the Seas through July of this year.  This is odd as basically all other ships in the Caribbean are booking through the end of 2016 with some ships booking all the way until April 2018.  This would suggest that Royal Caribbean is uncertain where Empress of the Seas will go after only four months in operation. Could it be that RCI is trying to get Empress into Cuba before the end of the summer?

Which Royal Caribbean ship will be in Cuba?

Whether or not Empress of the Seas calls on Cuba, we do know that Royal Caribbean is working hard to get a ship into Cuba ASAP. There is a huge demand for cruising to Cuba. Prices on Fathom are 2 to 3 times the average cost of a Caribbean cruise. Obviously, this indicates that cruisers want to visit the island and are willing to pay a premium to do so.

So what do you think, is Empress of the Seas a prime candidate to go to Cuba? Which ships would you like to see in Cuba? Drop us an anchor below to let us know about your dream cruise to Cuba.

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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