Ready for a Ferry Ride to Cuba? As the U.S. approves ferries between Florida and Cuba, some companies say service may be up and running in just a few weeks. Budget Travel Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 5:00 PM Street musicians entertain passersby in Havana, which may soon be reachable by a four-hour ferry ride from Southern Florida. (Courtesy Buckhead720/myBudgetTravel) Budget Travel LLC, 2016

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may 06 2015

Ready for a Ferry Ride to Cuba?

A street musician entertains passersby in Havana, which may soon be reachable by a four-hour ferry ride from Southern Florida.

(Courtesy Buckhead720/myBudgetTravel)

For those of you who've enjoyed ferry rides to prime destinations like Sausalito, Nantucket, and Mackinac Island, hold on to your hats: The U.S. just approved ferry service between Florida and Cuba.

Granting licenses to several cargo and passenger companies, the federal government opened up the possibility of ferry service in the Florida Straits for the first time in more than a half century. The Miami Herald reports that some ferry companies say they may offer service within weeks from ports like Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, and the Tampa area.

The Sun Sentinel reports that one company, CubaKat, hopes to offer high-speed catamaran service from the Florida Keys to Havana by December. CubaKat's multimillion dollar craft would transport about 200 people to Havana in approximately for hours for $338 (considerably less than the $500 airfares common at the moment).

While there are still plenty of hoops to be jumped through and red tape to be cut (not to mention the fact that Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba only for family visits and educational/professional purposes), the prospect is enticing. Back in the 1950s, ferry travel to and from Cuba was a normal part of many Americans' and Cubans' travel experiences.

If you're ready to dive into the "purposeful travel" that is currently permitted to Cuba, you don't have to wait for ferry service to begin. A group tour such as Intrepid Travel's 9-day Hola Cuba People to People package might be right for you. You'll meet real Cubans, including top chefs, local artists, salsa dancers, historians, and tobacco farmers, as you travel from iconic Havana to the countryside.

We want to know: Have you visited Cuba? Are you one of the many travel fanatics eagerly researching a future Cuba excursion?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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