Carnival Eyes Return to Cuba as Trump Places New Obstacles

Carnival Corp. is prepared to restart cruises to Cuba when Joe Biden becomes president, potentially reviving voyages launched under the Obama administration and then stopped after a change to the rules in 2019.

“We’ll see what happens,” Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said Monday in a conference call with analysts. Provided that new rules allow for it, “we’ll be prepared to help people who really want to go to Cuba,” he said.

But the comments came as two State Department officials said President Donald Trump will place Cuba back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, making any such change of course more complicated.

Carnival Eyes Return to Cuba as Trump Places New Obstacles

U.S. cruise travel to Cuba started in 2016 as part of Barack Obama’s rapprochement with the communist government. The Trump administration reversed course, saying it wanted to cut off revenue to the government.

After the cruise industry came to a halt in March because of the pandemic, Carnival and its rivals are seeing demand rebound. The company said earlier on Monday that bookings for the second half of this year are “within the historical range.”

If Biden wants to go back to Obama-era policies, a formal review to take Cuba off the terrorism-sponsors list could delay efforts to rekindle relations by months.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.