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Carnival will soon take you to Cuba from Miami. Just don't call it a cruise.

An inspiring image from Carnival's fathom travel website.
An inspiring image from Carnival's fathom travel website.
Carnival

Beginning in May 2016, Carnival will offer travel to Cuba from Miami, steering "socially good" ships to the island nation of revived American affection. Just don't call Carnival's new offering, fathom, a "cruise." This is a "cultural exchange voyage," which costs $2,990 per person, not including alcohol, according to Carnival's site:

The true value of your fathom voyage to Cuba will be to connect to the heritage of Cuba though an immersive program that encourages cultural, artistic, faith-based, and humanitarian exchanges between American and Cuban citizens. Purpose driven travelers will immerse, learn and flourish.

WATCH: Why the Cuba embargo needs to end

US travelers to Cuba have many "cultural exchange" options

Carnival isn't breaking significant industry ground outside of the locale of interest (and its own investment, which may pressure competitors to offer similar options). It will operate under expanded, but well-exploited, travel allowance. For decades, US-based companies offered humanitarian, educational trips to Cuba during the 50-year US economic embargo.

A primary setback to educational programs operating under the full embargo was that Americans usually needed to travel through another country en route to Cuba, such as Mexico. Given the recent easing of relations, Americans will soon find more direct options, even though commercial travel isn't explicitly allowed by the State Department (yet). Until it is, Carnival will call its fathom trips cultural exchange voyages.

Even so, popular exchanges from the embargo years still exist, though they are not operating on luxury ships leaving from Miami, upon which you can consume while simultaneously discussing the social ills of consumerism. For example, this program from Global Exchange runs about $2,450 per person.

It will soon be easier to get to Cuba directly, but as with any travel, you'll have to plan ahead for the best deals.

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