Carnival kicks off Tampa-Cuba cruises

- A historic cruise to Cuba set sail Thursday from Port Tampa Bay amid uncertainty regarding future Cuba travel regulations put in place by President Trump.

The Carnival Paradise made its inaugural voyage to Havana, leaving the port at about 5 p.m. with 2,400 people on board.

"We got married back in April and we've just been looking forward to it since," said Justin Zovath, who was on his honeymoon with his wife, Bianca. "That was kind of a little bit appealing to be the first group of people to get to go down there."

Some passengers had been waiting a lot longer than a couple months to make this trip.

"I've been wanting to go on a Cuban cruise, or just go to Cuba, since I was a little kid," said Casey Voorhees.

The ship is expected to arrive in Cuba at around 11:30 Friday morning.

The trip comes after President Trump issued an order to his administration to come up with tighter travel regulations to Cuba.

The President's announcement left some passengers a little anxious.

"It was kind of initially a worry for us but once we actually read up on it kind of eased our minds a little bit," Zovath said.

The Zovaths said they quickly realized the cruise won't be impacted by President Trump's plan, which hasn't yet gone into effect.

Once it does, however, Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson expects a positive impact on cruises.

"We think it'll funnel passengers to our two cruise lines that have vessels with a stop in Cuba," Anderson said. "Under the guidelines that were issued, you can travel on a cruise. It's a lot less work as an American citizen to get on a cruise ship. They handle the paperwork."

Some passengers want to make sure, with all the fun they expect to have, their money is helping the Cuban people.

"The people have suffered for a long time and hopefully what little money we do bring in there they do get to keep," said Dianne Voorhees.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Carnival kicks off Tampa-Cuba cruises
  • Helping America's heroes, one step at a time
  • Rape suspect arrested in two St. Petersburg cold cases
  • Polk detectives look for lotto ticket scammers
  • Tampa police search for skimmer suspect
  • Clearwater police seek help finding missing teen
  • Smart meters could slow power restoration in Lakeland
  • Fire investigation underway at Gibsonton mobile home
  • St. Pete mayor extends invite to Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • FHP: Bradenton pedestrian critically injured in hit-and-run