‘Cuban’ cruise passengers discover they will spend less than a day on the island


Thousands of passengers who booked a “Cuban Fusion” cruise with the cruise line Marella are discovering they will now spend less than a day on the island. 

Marella, the cruise operation of TUI, originally promised 31 hours in the Cuban capital, Havana – arriving early in the morning of day four of the week-long cruise, leaving at lunchtime the following day.

But many customers with confirmed bookings have contacted The Independent to say that they have learned via social media that the arrival time has been delayed until 2pm. The total time in Havana is now 22 hours, with no other cruise ports on the island visited.

One passenger, Mary Harwood, said she had discovered the change on Facebook. “They have knocked nine hours off our stay in Cuba,” she said.

“Most people booked just because of the Cuba stay, hence the name Cuban Fusion. Most of us have not been informed and those that have have been given different reasons

“We are already at sea for four days, so really unhappy with this.”

Cruise passengers will lose 30 per cent of their time in Havana.

The first cruise sets sail on 20 November, for a price of £1,284, with frequent departures for the rest of the winter season. 

The voyage aboard Marella Discovery 2 begins and ends in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Apart from Havana, the only ports of call are George Town on Grand Cayman and the Mexican island of Cozumel – for 11 and 12 hours respectively.

Earlier this year, a Marella transatlantic cruise from Jamaica to Spain bypassed Cuba completely, because of what the company said was a double booking at Havana’s cruise terminal.

Both Royal Caribbean and Marella were selling the same day in Havana, even though the cruise terminal was not big enough for both the firms. Marella deleted the Cuban capital from the itinerary, along with Nassau and Lisbon. 

Linda Rollinson said: “They have waited until people have booked and some have paid in full before publishing the changes.”

The Independent has asked Marella for a response.

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