Anyone still worried about the importance of the Caribbean to cruise lines should be reassured by these results.
This decision was down to the wire, but Carnival won in the end.
This is more about muscling Cuban officials than it it appealing to PR concerns in the U.S., but it doesn't hurt that either.
Outside of a sports stadium, we can think of few things outside of a cruise terminal which do more to negatively impact the people who live next door in a way that only benefits people who live far away.
Nothing's perfect with travel to Cuba right now, and we'll likely see all sorts of issues until the Castros move on, as do the U.S. politicians who benefit from the Cuban bogeymen.
Travel companies that want to grow are rightly keeping a focus on China; 130 million outbound travelers can't be ignored.
Carnival gets to be the first cruise company to sail from the U.S. to Cuba in decades — but it also has to be the first to navigate some tricky territory. Even if Cuba's government eventually allows those who were born in Cuba to cruise to the island, this will sour some potential customers on the idea.
Cruise operators say one of their biggest challenges is raising awareness of cruising as a vacation option. Getting their product in front of new audiences is a start.
The handy thing about floating hotels is they can go where they are needed. It's just a shame the ships — and temporary residents — will be surrounded by "fetid waters."
The news from MSC Cruises shows that cruise lines aren't shrinking their ambitions — or the size of ship orders — as they plan far into the future.