CARNIVAL CORP and cruising to Cuba in 2015…

CARNIVAL CORP and cruising to Cuba in 2015…


SS FLORIDA sailed to Havana, Cuba in 1952 for $42.00 per person… A history of taking a cruise to Havana today and yesterday…


  • Florida’s Peninsular and Occidental Steamship Company was a pioneer in today’s billion-dollar Florida cruise business.
  • Until Castro’s regime closed Cuba to cruise ships in 1960, the SS FLORIDA was sailing three times a week from Miami.
  • The SS FLORIDA had first sailed from Key West to Cuba until the 1934 devastating hurricane destroyed the terminal and rail connections to Miami.


Carnival Corp. wants Cuba as a new destination…

  • Carnival Corp. can’t wait to get into Havana, shallow port and all, if the U.S. Congress eventually overturns the Cuba embargo.
  • Arnold Donald, the Carnival Corp. CEO, said there is pent-up demand for Americans to cruise to Cuba and the cruise line is “excited” about the prospects.
  • Donald envisions altering Caribbean itineraries to include port calls in Cuba, adding that there are about 11 ports in Cuba, and Carnival could get into some of them with ships of various sizes.
  • Speaking during Carnival’s fourth quarter of 2014 earnings call today, Donald said the Havana port has “narrow drafts,” but some of the line’s ships could visit.
  • Investment and infrastructure improvements would be needed over time, Donald said.
  • Donald’s statement on Cuba follow President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will normalize relations with Cuba and take steps to loosen current travel restrictions.
  • The Carnival Corp. CEO also commented on its announcement that it would run an advertisement in the upcoming Super Bowl.
  • He said marketing spend would increase 25 percent in 2015 and would be geared to attracting first-time cruisers and turning them into “lifetime advocates” for cruising.
  • He noted that Carnival benefitted from an increased number of positive mentions in the press in 2014, and there will be increased public relations and marketing efforts in 2014 to keep that going.


  • Built in New Port News, Virginia, in 1931, the SS FLORIDA accommodated 612 passengers in first class and 130 in second class.
  • After World War 2 the overnight ship was turned into a one class liner.


Americans will soon be heading to Cuba from Florida.  The ships will be 20 times the size of the SS Florida…


Painting of the SS FLORIDA.


Postcard from the SS FLORIDA arriving in Miami, Florida.





About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…