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Castro Resignation - New Cruise Destination?

Cruise lines already knocking on Cuba's door

Cruise Ship AlleyCruise Ship AlleyAmerica has cruise fever and Castro's announcement this week has cruise lines salivating.

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and a short 230 miles from the busy port in Miami. Since the island is largely underdeveloped and shy on the quality and quantity of hotels that Americans are looking for, cruise lines will be the obvious winners.

Robin Farley of UBS notes that major cruise lines that cater to Americans, like Carnival, are ready to add Cuba as a port of call. And all it's going to take is lifting the US embargo on Cuba.

"New leadership could be a positive event for the cruise industry if diplomatic relations resulted in the opening of Cuba to American tourism," Farley wrote in a research note.

He went onto say that Americans are frustrated with being denied access to Cuba and won't waste time flocking to the island once the embargo is lifted.

"Allowing for it to be part of a variety of itineraries and has long been in the cross-hairs of the American cruise lines," he wrote. "Havana is a natural deep-water port and we believe operators could build dockside infrastructure on a much faster timeline than it would take to build US branded hotel."

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told USA TODAY is treading Cuban speculation cautiously. "It's premature to judge how events will unfold there, and (we) don't have anything to say at this time."

Do you think change is in the air for Cuba? Will you travel there as soon as the embargo is lifted?

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Cuba is a travelers dream. IT is now a dream only because it is not possible for mass US tourism. But it is also a dream in that the country is unspoiled by mass commercialism. It is a land lost in time!

I certainly think Cuba will open up within 5 years -- also, the embargo doesn't have to be completely lifted, but perhaps travel restrictions could be eased: http://www.foxnomad.com/2008/02/21/travel-boom-will-hit-cuba-5-years-after-castro-resignation/

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