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Cruise ship possibly bound for Cuba makes first call at Port of Palm Beach

Cruise ship possibly bound for Cuba makes first call at Port of Palm Beach
Arlene Satchell
Sun Sentinel

The Port of Palm Beach welcomed a new cruise ship this month, but it’s
not yet known whether the stop was a one-time occurrence or the
beginning of a long-term relationship that will culminate in regular
sailings to Cuba.

The 210-passenger Pearl Mist cruise ship made its first stop at the
Riviera Beach seaport on Nov. 4 with 97 passengers onboard.

The cruise ship’s passengers spent the following day in the destination
visiting area beaches and downtown shopping and dining districts, a port
spokeswoman said.

“The captain and passengers we spoke to while at Port of Palm Beach had
a positive and pleasant experience and indicated they would be pleased
to return,” said Jarra Kaczwara, the port’s senior director of
development and communications, in an email Friday.

The Pearl Mist had arrived at the Palm Beach County port after earlier
stops in Savannah, Ga., North and South Carolina and the Boston area
after departing on this voyage from Quebec.

More visits from the Pearl Mist might be on the horizon.

In July, Pearl Seas Cruises of Connecticut, the ship’s operator,
announced plans to start a series of seven- to-10-night cultural voyages
to Cuba from South Florida aboard Pearl Mist, pending U.S. and Cuban
approvals. The company said it hoped to start sailing to Cuba in March.

The round-trip sailings would depart from South Florida and visit
several Cuban ports including Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba,
according to Pearl Seas Cruises.

In August, port and cruise line representatives acknowledged preliminary
discussions had been held, but said no decision had been made yet on a
final South Florida port of departure for the Cuba sailings.

At that time, the cruise line was also awaiting approvals from the
Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury, the Department of
Commerce and the Cuban government.

As of Friday, the Port of Palm Beach had not been informed by Pearl Seas
of any final decision on its South Florida port or approval to sail to
Cuba, Kaczwara said. However, the cruise line’s website now lists Miami
listed as the port of departure for the Cuba cruises, and not South
Florida as it did in August.

Efforts to contact Pearl Seas for an update on the approval status of
its Cuba cruises and its final South Florida port of departure were not
successful at the time this story was posted.

A PortMiami official could not be reached for comment early Monday.

Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise ship operator, is also
planning cultural voyages to Cuba via its new Fathom brand. The company
in July said it received U.S. approval for the sailings, but in October
said it was still engaged in talks it expected would lead to approval by
the Cuban government.

asatchell@sunsentinel.com, 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport

Source: Cruise ship possibly bound for Cuba makes first call at Port of
Palm Beach – Sun Sentinel –
www.sun-sentinel.com/business/tourism/fl-pearl-seas-palm-port-update-20151116-story.html

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