(10:42 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its offerings to Cuba, deploying Carnival Sunshine to sail the first-ever Cuba cruises from the Port of Charleston, in South Carolina. Carrying just over 3,000 passengers and measuring 102,853 tons, Carnival Sunshine will be the largest cruise ship to call on Havana when it arrives in late November 2019.
In total, Carnival will offer 23 sailings to Havana during the 2019/2020 season, aboard five different ships: Carnival Sunshine from Charleston; Carnival Triumph from Fort Lauderdale; Carnival Paradise from Tampa; and Carnival Victory and Carnival Sensation from Miami. Sailings will last from three to five nights.
"Cuba has proven to be extremely popular with our guests and we're delighted to provide even more opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating destination with these new voyages departing from four key East Coast homeports, including the first Cuba cruises from Charleston," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a news release.
Carnival Paradise will kick off the 2019/20 season on November 18, with a five-night cruise that calls in Havana overnight and includes a stop in Key West.
On November 21, Carnival Sunshine will sail its first Cuba cruise from Charleston -- a four-night itinerary with an all-day call on Havana. Eight more sailings that also include a call at Freeport, Bahamas, will last for five nights and depart January through April, 2020.
Carnival Triumph will also feature eight, five-night cruises, from Fort Lauderdale. Sailings -- departing December 2019 through April 2020 -- will include an overnight stay in Havana and either an all-day call in Nassau or a visit to sister brand Holland America's private island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay.
From Miami, Carnival cruisers looking to sail to Cuba can board Carnival Victory's three-night voyage on November 22 (2019), or choose from three sailings aboard Carnival Sensation: a four-night cruise (Havana and Nassau) departing March 19, 2020, a five-night sailing (Havana, Nassau and Freeport) departing February 15, 2020 or a five-night cruise (Havana, Nassau and Freeport) departing February 29.
As part of the Cuba cruise experience, Carnival offers about 20 different shore excursion experiences; Havana-themed deck parties; trivia contests; salsa lessons; and the insights of an onboard Cuba expert who will lecture on the country's history and culture.
These departures are the latest shuffling done by the cruise line. Earlier this week, Carnival announced it is repositioning Carnival Legend from Australia to Tampa following a two-week dry dock.
--By Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor