Carnival CEO Ready to Readjust for Cuba, If Necessary

Carnival Paradise in Havana

Carnival Corporation is prepared to readjust its cruise sailings to Cuba depending on the new rules that may come with the change of the U.S. government, said the company’s CEO, Arnold Donald, during the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call.

“Obviously, Cuba was a focal point for the Obama administration opening up Cuba... We'll see what happens with the incoming administration. We obviously will be well prepared,” he said.

In 2015, as a result of licensing decisions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury under Barack Obama’s administration, cruise sailings were allowed after cessation of more than 50 years. The Adonia, a cruise ship operated by a Carnival brand, was the first to sail from the port of Miami to the Cuban capital, Havana, in 2016.

Donald added on Jan. 11 that Carnival will be “well prepared” to operate in “whatever the guidelines and rules and regulations are.”

“We'll be prepared to, again, help people who really want to go to Cuba, see it the best way we feel, which is arriving the cruise and then experiencing what Cuba has to offer when it opens,” he explained.

In June 2019, the incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration issued new Cuba restrictions, overturning Obama’s move. These restrictions banned cruises from the U.S. to the island. On Jan. 11, 2021, Trump reclassified Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who served as the vice president during Obama’s tenure, previously hinted that he would be reversing Trump’s Cuba policy, calling it “failed” and that which “inflicted harm on Cubans and their families.”

Corrections and Amplifications: An earlier version of this article incorrectly suggested that the 2015 removal of Cuba from the U.S. list of “state sponsors of terrorism” was the enabling factor for reallowing commercial cruise sailings from the U.S. to Cuba. We have made corrections to the article to represent the specific reasons for the change.

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