US cruise company to sail to Cuba

The world's largest cruise company, Carnival Corp, says it has received approval from the US government to offer trips to Cuba from Miami.

The world's largest cruise shipping company, Carnival Corp, says it has received approval from the United States government to offer trips to Cuba from Miami.

The company said it was still seeking clearance from the Cuban government but the trips could start early next year.
Last December Cuba and the US announced a historic thaw in relations.

Americans are able to travel to the island, but only for humanitarian visits or to see relatives.

Carnival says it is offering educational tours focussing on education, the environment and Spanish language courses.
The tours would cost about three thousand dollars before taxes.

The news comes as the US state department expresses concern about the detentions of around 100 people in Cuba this week.

State department spokesman John Kirby said members of their interest section in Havana had confirmed the reports of the detentions which took place on Sunday.

Mr Kirby said the reports would not change US policy concerning the restoration of diplomatic relations with Havana.

"In fact, it reinforces the need to move forward with re-establishing diplomatic relations because opening that embassy, we believe, will advance our human rights agenda by opening up channels of official engagement."

Short term detentions occur regularly in Cuba, where officials often hold dissidents for a few hours or sometimes days to dissuade them from further protests.

A leading human rights watchdog in Cuba, the CCDHRN reported 563 such detentions in June - there have been an average of 470 short-term detentions each month this year.

BBC News |

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