Americans Can Now Travel to Cuba By New Ferry Routes

cubaAmericans hoping to jet down to Cuba could soon have the option of going by ferry instead. And if one company has its way, travelers will ride in style on a vessel filled with gambling, restaurants and other amenities.

Two Florida companies — Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale and Baja Ferries USA of Miami — said Tuesday they have received approval from the U.S. government to start offering commercial service to the communist island nation, the Sun Sentinel first reported.

Baja Ferries is looking to provide rides out of Miami, Key West and Port Manatee in Tampa Bay, with Havana as the main destination, President Joseph Hinson told NBC News. The company, which has operations in Mexico and Puerto Rico, still needs to hold formal talks with Cuba.

“This is a big hurdle to overcome,” Hinson said of the license, adding that he is very thankful.

Before a timeline can be firmed up, he added, there are hurdles to overcome: All the ships have to be compliant with U.S. Coast Guard requirements and Homeland Security issues, as well as meet Cuban standards.

“Nothing’s to say it couldn’t happen by September-October,” Hinson said.

The ride from Miami — about 225 miles — would take about 10 hours by ferry, he added, estimating a round-trip ticket costing about $250-$300. He said plans include plying passengers with food and possibly casino gaming.


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