cuba ferry
A man drives his convertible car beside the Maltese flagged 'Thomson Dream' cruiser docked at Havana's port December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

High-fives flew around ferry offices this week after the Obama administration approved multiple boat services that could soon take travelers from Florida, to Cuba, and back. At least four companies were a proved in the initial round of applications, with more expected to be approved in the coming weeks. The news follows an announcement by Jet Blue that it will offer direct low-cost flights from New York City to Havana starting this summer. While ferries will likely facilitate tourism, the biggest news if for Cuban expats who can now take more stuff to Cuba, more cheaply. Today, those types of travelers need to charter small planes with high prices and not a lot of space. That could change as soon as Cuban officials give the go-ahead.

“People can bring in computers and flat screen TVs and things of that nature where they couldn't do that before,” Joe Hinson of Baja Ferries told NPR.

Americans are still not allowed to travel to Cuba for general tourism, but President Obama loosened restrictions last December. There are now 12 categories of acceptable visitors. The Administration also scrapped a previous requirement that travelers had to obtain a license. For Americans who ignored the embargo in the past, that means no more connecting flights through Cancun and no more lying to get back in the U.S.

How much will ferries cost, and when will they start? It all depends on the mood in Havana, will also have to approve the boat services.

"We don't know the costs yet, because we don't know the costs on the Cuban side," Leonard Moecklin Sr. of Havana Ferry told the Sun Sentinel.

Round-trip tickets are expected to start at around $300 to $400 dollars. In addition to Miami, other cities will have direct ferries to Cuba as well. Carries are already planning routes from Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, Port Manatee and Orlando. Cuban citizens are likely to use the ferry service as well after officials ended the requirement for “exit visas” in 2014.

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