(10 a.m. EDT) -- When Norwegian Sky pulled into Havana this morning, it became the first ship in Norwegian Cruise Line's fleet to visit Cuba, a country long off-limits to American travelers because of a long-standing embargo.
The ship arrived to port at about 8 a.m., and passengers snapped photos from the top decks and waved at Cubans watching from ashore.
To commemorate the arrival of the ship, a ceremony took place in Havana's terminal, in which Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio cut a red ribbon along with top port executive Angel Diaz Albertini Alonso.
Speaking in Spanish and wearing a traditional Cuban guayabera shirt, Del Rio thanked the people for their warm welcome, while Alonso expressed hope that U.S. and Cuba relations will continue to warm so that passengers can travel more freely in his country.
Behind the ceremony, excited passengers disembarked Sky, walking between Cuban and American flags and pausing for selfies.
Del Rio, a native Cuban who left the country 55 years ago to move to the United States, told a group of VIPs, friends and journalists gathered Monday night that the trip was "very emotional" for him. NCLH is the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; both have sent ships to Cuba this year: Oceania's Marina visited in March, and Seven Seas Mariner sailed there in April.
Built in 1999, Norwegian Sky holds 2,004 passengers and is the cruise line's only ship that includes an unlimited beverage package in all cruise fares. Sky will sail four-night cruises to Cuba weekly, overnighting in Havana before visiting Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay.
--By Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor