Five New Ways for Americans to Book Trips to Cuba
Flights, ferries, and cruise packages between the U.S. and the formerly off-limits island nation are popping up left and right.
Ever since the federal government announced new rules for visiting Cuba in early 2015, opening up the possibility of Cuban tourism for a broad range of Americans, eager travelers have been instructed to be patient. The tourism infrastructure in Cuba is limited, and airline and tour operations needed time to figure out the logistics of the nation opening up to Americans for the first time in half a century.
Now that a few months have passed since the big policy change was announced, we are starting to see more and more ways for Americans to visit Cuba. Here are a handful of new developments:
JetBlue Flights from New York
Starting on July 3, passengers will be able to fly from New York-JFK to Havana on JetBlue planes. While the trips are being operated by JetBlue, they’re being sold as charter flights through Cuba Travel Services. Sun Country Airlines began flying the New York-Havana route in March, though some have balked at the $849 round trip ticketprice. Meanwhile, another service, ABC Charters, already usesJetBlue aircraft for flights to Cuba from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.
Flights from Baltimore-Washington
Cuba specialist Island Travels & Tour, which already runs charter flights to Cuba from Miami and Tampa, is expanding with flights from Orlando in July and flights from BWI (Baltimore-Washington) in the fall. The initial two departures from Baltimore to Havana will cost $695 round trip, and after that the regular price will rise to $775.
New Small-Ship Cruise to Cuba
Starting in late 2015, International Expeditions is welcoming passengers aboard the 48-passenger, three-masted Panorama for a sail to Cuba that features three days in port at Havana. The 10-day adventure begins with a charter flight from Miami to Cuba, followed by a small-ship cruise with stops in Trinidad and the Cuban ports or Cienfuegos, Cayo Largo, Maria La Gorda, and Havana. Cuba’s shallow ports are generally not equipped to handle today’s large ocean liners, so the Panorama voyage is one of very few options for seeing Cuba by ship. It doesn’t come cheap. Prices start at $4,599 per person.
Ferry Services from Florida
The (South Florida) Sun Sentinel recently reported that four companies have received licenses from the U.S. government to run ferries between Florida and Cuba. Among them is Havana Ferry Partners, which could launch 200-passenger ferries from Key West to Havana within weeks, and later add longer, overnight trips from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and perhaps Tampa on vessels holding 300 to 500 passengers. Ferry prices are expected to start at around $300 round trip.
First Way to Book Flights Online
For the most part, charter flight reservations are handled on the phone or even with paperwork sent through the mail. They’re not readily bookable online. Because visiting Cuba is particularly complicated for Americans, there has been no way to book a flight from the U.S. In mid-April, though, that changed according toCheapAir.com, which claims to have become the first online travel agency to sell Cuba-bound flights from the U.S. on the Web. A round trip ticket from Miami handled by Sun Country costs $471—a fare that some consider outrageous because it’s only a one-hour flight—plus $85 for a visa and a $25 departure fee in Cuba.
This article originally appeared on Time.com.