MIAMI (June 7, 2016) — The list of cruise operators sailing to Cuba continues to grow and now a new Miami-based cruise line is set to begin sailing Florida-Cuba itineraries starting in November. The newly formed Victory Cruise line will begin sailings this July 8th from Montreal, Canada, to ports in Canada and on the U.S. Great Lakes. Victory Cruise Lines Ltd. plans to operate m/v Victory I on cruises from three to 14 days in length.
The 5,000-gross-ton, 300-foot-long Victory I — the former Saint Laurent –has been renovated and has 101 4.5-star staterooms and a maximum guest capacity of 202.
“We intend to make our product the standard of excellence for small-ship cruising to the Great Lakes and Cuba, while providing great value for our guests,” said Bruce Nierenberg, president and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines. “The senior management of Victory Cruise Lines has over 100 years of experience operating some of the most successful and loved cruise products.”
Nierenberg is no newcomer to the industry. He has quite an impressive resume going back to his work at Norwegian Caribbean Line…which became Norwegian Cruise Line. Additionally he helped form Premier Cruise Lines in the early 1980s which became famous for their “Big Red Boats.” Sailing from Port Canaveral and offering cruises in conjunction with trips to Walt Disney World…Premier’s success spurred the Walt Disney Company into forming their own cruise line. Additionally, he help executive positions with Delta Queen Steamboat Company and Orient Lines.
Victory Cruise Lines will feature high-quality personal service onboard. Shore excursions in port will be included in the cruise fare, along with wine and beer at lunch and dinner at no additional charge.
Victory I’s inaugural cruise to the Great Lakes is slated to depart from Montreal, Canada, July 8, 2016, and is scheduled to sail in that region through the summer and early fall of 2016 and 2017.
The competition among cruise lines to get into Cuba has been fierce. At present there are just a handful of company’s sailing there, these include MSC Cruises, Celestyal Cruises and Carnival Corporation’s Fathom Cruises. Many other cruise lines are awaiting their permit from the Cuban government, this includes Pearl Seas Cruises. There are also rumors that Royal Caribbean may soon offer cruises to Cuba aboard their former vessel Empress of the Seas (ex: Nordic Empress) which will be returned to the RCI fleet from subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises.
Vivtory Cruise Line’s first planned cruise to Cuba is a seven-day, six-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Florida, departing Oct. 28, 2016. It will be the first cruise ever to Cuba to depart from a Central Florida port. Following the cruise from Port Canaveral a fall/winter series of cruises of three to 14 days in length are scheduled depart from Port of Miami to Cuba through April 2017.