SS Florida from Miami to Havana


In the 1950s, you could cruise from Miami to Havana, Cuba for $42.00 per person aboard the S.S. Florida.  This fare included all transportation, two nights aboard ship, a day in Havana and all meals.

YouTube video of cruise ship arriving in Havana – this was recent – but it would have been the same view in 1958 aboard the S. S. Florida.  Nothing much has changed including the cars which are mainly American – vintage 1950s.

Sailing to Cuba aboard the S.S. Florida.

Up until now, due to the US embargo, no cruise ships visit Cuba from the States, and any ship that calls there cannot dock in the USA for six months afterwards.

The 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.

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.


The S. S. Florida approaching Havana and picking up the pilot.

Today, Americans can travel to China but not Cuba. Seems one kind of Communist regime is okay for the current administration but not another.

Aboard the S.S. Florida.

Maybe that will change should President Obama lift the ban for travel to Cuba and Americans will be able to sail again to Havana!



Painting of the SS FLORIDA.


The S. S. Florida, P&O Steamship Company’s Flagship during the 1950’s. The ship was a favorite sailing between Havana and Miami.  It also carried cars, so Cubans could bring their cars along when they came up to Miami to shop and visit.





  1. I sailed on the SS Florida in 1955 from Miami to Havana and back.. I was about 15 at the time. I remember the ship shining it’s search lights on Morrow Castle at night, and youg boys in the water begging for passengers to throw coins which they dove for. I remember all of the old cars, the drivers used their horns more than the brakes. My mother and I visited a rum factory. I had been sampling a banna daquri (sp? but when my mother realized I was drinking rum, that ended that. Another thing I remember in Cuba was that their capitol building was a scaled down copy of the US Capitol building. There were armed guards posted around the residence of Juan Batista.

    Note to Gloria who made previous post. I have 8mm footage taken on the Isle of Pine in 1957 of sugar cane processing, if anyone on the Cuban history page would be interested in that.

  2. Thanks a lot! This is a beautiful blog with meaningful info. I have shared the poster of the cruise and the link in Cubahistory page.
    Thanks, again.

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