Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) are among several companies expected to announce plans to begin servicing Cuba as the Obama administration pressures Havana to complete pending deals before president-elect Donald Trump takes office.
The cruise line companies are projected to announce the deals in the upcoming weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Norwegian Cruise spokeswoman Vanessa Picariello said in an e-mail that the company is "in continued talks with appropriate authorities in Cuba on behalf of all three of its brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises."
The company "remains optimistic" that the deals will pass and Norwegian will be able to offer cruise lines to Cuba, Picariello said.
The report comes as commercial air service between the U.S. and Havana began this week after nine days of mourning in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro, which shut down much of the country's commerce. Eight U.S. airlines are planning to begin flights from 10 American cities to six Cuban cities, but some are already experiencing limited demand. American Airlines (AAL) said yesterday that in February it will cut back to 10 daily Cuba flights from 13.
Even before the election, the White House began pushing Havana to seal the trade deals set forth by President Barack Obama, aimed at building U.S. relations with Cuba. Angela Mariana Freyre, senior vice president and general counsel of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, was tapped to focus on the effort.