French ferry operator proposes Caribbean link
And then who will take the ferry from Cuba?
A French ferry operator that plans to launch passenger service between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico March 16 would like to extend a leg from the Dominican Republic to Cuba and — ultimately — from Cuba to Florida, Diario Dominicano reported.Daniel Berrebi, who controls America Cruise Ferries Inc., said he perceives the three island nations as the major tourism destinations in the Caribbean; his idea is to replicate ferry operations in the Mediterranean that live off multi-destination tourism.
Berrebi met with officials at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, according to the Dominican newspaper. He said his company also obtained a U.S. Treasury Department license to operate direct ferry service between Cuba and Florida; however, the current license is restricted to cargo shipments. America Cruise Ferries is incorporated both in Puerto Rico, which is subject to U.S. sanctions against Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
The company, which is co-owned by Mexican and Puerto Rican investors, uses the 1,100-passenger Caribbean Fantasy for its three-times-a-week Santo Domingo-Mayagüez/San Juan service. The 650-foot ferry can carry 70 vehicles and 165 containers.
A previous service by Ferries del Caribe between Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo was suspended after three years in 2009.
Florida-Cuba service has been in the sights of cruise operators from the United States, Canada and Argentina throughout the past decade. None of these companies managed to establish a U.S.-Cuba connection; without this backbone, their other routes to Florida ports have not been sustainable.