Great news for those who cruise: Royal Caribbean International will begin offering trips to Cuba from Port Tampa Bay on April 30, 2017.

The recently revitalized Empress of the Seas will home-port in Tampa Bay for the 2017 summer season – the cruise line’s first ever summer program from Tampa Bay. The Empress will run a series of four- and five-night sailings including port calls to destinations in Cuba.  Details of the summer itineraries are TBA at the moment. 

Here's what RCI President & CEO on the new program: “The Tampa Bay market has always been important to us, and the entire family at Royal Caribbean is excited to give our guests great year-round options to travel on one of our beautiful ships from a world-class port like Port Tampa Bay. We are thrilled to introduce culture-seeking travelers to Cuba from Tampa and we look forward to continuing to grow our business in Tampa for years to come.”

As part of the historic event, Empress of the Seas will be the largest ship to sail to Cuba from the United States.

The additional itinerary will raise Royal Caribbean's Tampa Bay program to three ships in 2017. Royal Caribbean guests will be able to sail out of Port Tampa Bay all year long for the very first time.

The Empress of the Seas will join the 2,543-passenger, Brilliance of the Seas, and 2,416-passenger, Rhapsody of the Seas for 2017. The three ships will offer a variety of four-, five- and seven-day itineraries. She will arrive in Tampa on April, 30, 2017 and start the season with a seven-day cruise, and then finish the season with a variety of four- and five-day itineraries.