Carnival Corp. said that it may have to push back the May 1 start of travel to Cuba on its Fathom brand of cruises if an agreement isn't reached with Cuban authorities that will allow Cuban-born passengers to travel to and from the island nation by boat. "As we continue our discussions with Cuba, and in anticipation of Fathom travelers being on equal footing with those who travel by air, we are accepting bookings from all travelers, including Cuba-born individuals," said Carnival Chief Executive Arnold Donald in a note to employees obtained by MarketWatch. "However, if Cuba's decision is delayed beyond May 1, we will delay the start of our sailings." Cuba-born travelers are allowed to enter and leave the country by air, but the island nature has not allowed Cuba-born people to travel to or from the country by boat for decades, Arnold continued. Fathom, the newest Carnival brand that adds cultural immersion to the cruise experience, is set to begin sailing the 704-passenger Adonia cruise ship to Cuba every other week on May 1, the first time in more than 50 years that a cruise ship has traveled from the U.S. to Cuba. Carnival is asking that travelers by ship "be on a level playing field with air charter travel to Cuba," according to a press release. Carnival shares are up 1.6% in premarket trading and up 8.5% over the past 12 months. The S&P 500 is nearly flat for the past year.
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