by Lisa G. Grimaldi | September 22, 2015
The Obama administration has further eased its rules for U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba, according to press reports. Authorized American citizens now will be able to travel by cruise ship or ferry to Cuba without seeking specific authorization from the U.S. government. As of press time, no direct maritime routes had been established, but they are expected to be delineated next year. Carnival's new Fathom brand is awaiting approval from the Cuban government, and Norwegian Cruise Line has applied for a license to operate cruises there.

Also, the U.S. and Cuba are expected to finalize an agreement on resuming direct, commercial airline routes to begin next year. Current flights to Cuba are operated via charter companies.

The latest developments were announced just prior to Pope Francis' visit to Cuba, which ended yesterday. The pope was instrumental in facilitating talks between Cuban officials and the Obama administration, which led to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.