Cuba By Cruise Is Still The Best Way
Carnival Corporation had a conference call this week with investors. While most of the talk was financial or COVID-related, there was one question from an analyst regarding Cuban Cruises and whether Arnold Donald thinks the company will be returning to Cuba under the new administration. Donald reacted as follows:
Cuba was a focal point for the Obama administration, opening up Cuba, etc. Well see what happens with the incoming administration.
We obviously will be well prepared. We were very active and the first ones to sail to Cuba. And well be well prepared to operate in whatever the guidelines and rules and regulations are. But well be prepared to help people who want to go to Cuba to see it in the best possible way. Which is arriving via cruise and then experiencing what Cuba has to offer when it opens.
So far, thats a lot of ifs. But if we take Joe Bidens comments and previous actions into account, we could very well be looking at Cuban cruises once again. Joe Biden was instrumental during the Obama administration for the thawing of relations with the Island nation.
As Cruise Hivereported late last year while being interviewed by a Miami Radio Station, the President-elect was asked if he would consider going back to the Cuba-policies put in place during the Obama-era Biden said:
Just Travel Under An Appropriate Category Get A Cuban Tourist Card And You’re Set
Anyone traveling to Cuba must have one thing in addition to a passport: a Cuban Tourist Card. Its a simple piece of paper that you must purchase before you reach Cuba. Airlines that fly to Cuba will give you the option to purchase your tourist card through them. But you can also purchase one online to save yourself the hassle through a company like Cuba Visa Services. Once you have your Tourist Card in hand, keep it with your passportits just as important for legal travel to Cuba.
No Currency Surcharge Onboard
All visitors to Cuba must use the CUC money, which was created especially for tourists . Due to the lack of ATMs and credit cards issued by American-owned banks in Cuba, youll need to carry cash in the form of Euros, American or Canadian dollars to exchange for CUC.
However, for Americans, there is a 10% fee on USD. When you include in the 3% change fee that most exchange bureaus charge, youre looking at 87 cents to one USD.
As a cruise guest, you will continue to be charged with the things you spent onshore. However, since most of your purchases will be made onboard, you will not lose as much money as you would on a lengthy land trip.
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Keep Your Receipts And Records For 5 Years
For up to 5 years after your Cuba trip, the US Government can ask you about your travel records and receipts.
This sounds kind of spooky, but anecdotally, it doesnt seem to happen very often. But its better to be safe than sorry, so keep your records stored in a safe place for 5 years in case youre questioned about your trip.
How To Travel To Cuba From The Us : Planning A Trip To Cuba
There is so much confusion about exactly what you need to do to travel to Cuba as an American and the current Cuba travel restrictions. Lets try to simplify the process of planning a trip to Cuba from the US:
Now, lets go further on each step!
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Taking A Cruise To Cuba Read This First
Due to the new restrictions on Cuba travel imposed by the White House on June 5, 2019, American cruise ships are no longer allowed to dock in Cuba. Read on for more information on how cruises have been affected, and see this Cuba travel policy update to learn more about the policy change. If you had a cruise to Cuba planned for June 5th or later, contact your cruise company for instructions.
Taking a cruise is an incredible way to get a first taste of what Cuba has to offer, but sadly, American cruise ships are no longer allowed to dock in Cuba. However: that doesn’t mean Americans are banned from traveling to Cuba. In fact, it is still 100% legal if you do so properly. Read on for more info, and talk to a Cuban travel planner for help planning your legal trip.
Want to explore Cuba differently? Have a local plan your trip.
Cruise Options For Non Us Citizens
There are a couple of options when it comes to cruising to Cuba from outside of the US. The first option is as shown above, to fly to the Caribbean to take a Cuban cruise. The second option is to combine the Cuba part into a longer itinerary. The itinerary below shows a Grand South America voyages which departs from Southampton and lasts for 79 nights.
Note how the above itinerary doesnt dock in the US. If the cruise came across and docked, for example, in New York before moving down to the Caribbean the cruise would be unable to visit Cuba.
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What To Know About Cuba Cruise Ban
Between 2015 and 2019, cruise ships from the United States were permitted to visit Cuba. This is no longer the situation as of June 5, 2019, due to President Trumps revisions to the Cuba travel policy.
If you booked your vacation before June 5, contact your cruise line for details.
All nationalities can travel the beautiful sights of Cuba as visitors except Americans. Americans still need to travel under 12 approved reasons the most common is the People to People visa. This is also used by cruise companies offering different shore excursions for Americans.
Essential Travel Resources For Cuba
Travel Insurance Travel insurance is an entry requirement for Cuba, so you cant skip it. US travelers can get travel insurance for Cuba via RoamRight.
Essential Items to Pack Bring the essential travel necessities that you may not be able to get in Cuba:
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Cuba Cruise Options For Non
There are a couple of options when it comes to cruising to Cuba from outside of the US.
The first option is as shown above, to fly to the Caribbean to take a Cuban cruise.
The second option is to combine the Cuba part into a longer itinerary. The itinerary below shows a Grand South America voyages which departs from Southampton and lasts for 79 nights.
Note how the above itinerary doesnt dock in the US.
If the cruise came across and docked, for example, in New York before moving down to the Caribbean, the cruise would be unable to visit Cuba.
Popular Cruise Lines For Cuba Cruises
Cunard Line takes off with its luxury steamers in the port of Havana and brings its guests on their travels through the Caribbean to many holiday islands and port cities in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Amongst other things, NCL visits the metropolis of Miami in the US state of Florida and the Bahamas, where the name stands for beach experience and relaxation. MSC Cruises departing from Cuba call at popular destinations such as the Bahamas, Mexico and Honduras. With Oceania Cruises travel in the American style and even book a trip to appreciate what Cuba has to offer. Your cruise ship does not only dock in Havana, but also in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba in Cuba.
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Support For The Cuban People
Most people plan trips under the Support for the Cuban People category
The Support for the Cuban People category is the most common category for independent travel to Cuba. Under this category, you must adhere to a full-time schedule of activities that support the Cuban people.
- Activities that “support the Cuban people” can range from eating in privately-owned restaurants, to visiting local artists, to spending money in locally-owned businesses, to staying at casas particulares.
- Under Support for the Cuban People, you also need to avoid staying at hotels banned by the US State Department and spending money at military-owned businesses.
- You must keep all of your records and receipts for 5 years.
- Wondering how to create a full-time schedule of Support for the Cuban People activities? Have one of our Cuban locals plan your personalized trip. They’ll include tons of insider recommendations and hidden gems, plus all the stuff you already wanted to do and see in Cuba, all while adhering to the requirements of Support for the Cuban People
Remember: You can no longer travel under the People to People category or take cruises to Cuba
What if I have existing People to People or cruise plans?
If you have existing plans to travel to Cuba that were arranged before June 5, 2019, you can still travel to Cuba without making any changes to your plans.
How Close Can You Sail To Cuba
Groll said the invisible border of Cuban territorial waters extends 12 miles from the coast of the island nation. That means if you enter those areas without a proper permit, you could face up to 10 years in prison, penalties up to $25,000 per day, and the seizure of your boat, according to the Coast Guard.
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Can Americans Still Visit Cuba If Not On A Cruise
There is a way that Americans can still visit Cuba. The regulations change affected only people to people travel and travelling under the Support the Cuban People category is still allowed. There are many companies that focus in providing trips like this.
People to people is basically any group tour for the purposes of tourism such as organised guided tours and cruise ships. On the other hand Support of The Cuban People is designed for individual travellers. In order to come under this category the traveller is required to provide support to the cuban people and promoted activities intended to strengthen society in Cuba.
It definitely is difficult for Americans to visit Cuba although not impossible.
Why Are Cruise Ships Closed Cuba
In an additional announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained that the new restrictions are a result of Cuba continuing to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up US adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting
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Could Cuba Be A Cruise Destination Once Again
A cruise to Cuba with cigars, rum, salsa, daiquiris, and Hemingway. For years and years, Cuba was a closed and ultimately unreachable destination for cruise ships.
In 2016, Fathom cruise ship Adonia became the first cruise ship since the 70s to call in Havana. While Adonia is now the Azamara Pursuit and Fathom Cruises is no more, the same is true for cruises to Cuba after the ban was re-instated in 2019. But could this change?
Cuba remains one of those cruising destinations that has kept the feel and look you would expect of it. The Spanish architecture has that slightly run-down feel, and poverty is undoubtedly an issue that cannot be denied, but there is also no denying that walking the streets of Havana makes you want to come back for more every time.
So what is the situation right now with cruises to the island, which is only 110 miles from Florida? According to a statement from Joe Biden last year and Carnival Corporation CEO Donald Arnold this week, Cuba cruises could be closer than ever.
What Can You See In Cuba
Cuba has a distinct culture, with food, music and architecture that are celebrated around the world. It also has pristine beaches, wonderful diving and snorkeling spots, beautiful natural landscapes, a wonderful colonial architectural legacy and an extraordinary history. For more details on what a cruise to Cuba is like, check out our Pictures From a Cuba Cruise photo album and our article on Cuba Cruising Tips.
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Cruises To Cuba Are Abruptly Canceled After New Travel Ban
A day after the Trump administration revised its travel regulations to Cuba, prohibiting cruises, companies began canceling sailings.
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Cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Norwegian said on Wednesday that they will no longer sail to Cuba, joining Carnival Corporation, which announced earlier in the day that it will no longer operate cruises to the island, effective immediately.
The companies decision came one day after the Trump administration banned cruises, private yachts and fishing vessels from visiting Cuba, and left many travelers frustrated and confused, especially those currently en route to Havana.
Im one of hundreds of very angry passengers aboard a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean, wrote. We all planned this cruise anticipating our stop in Cuba. Very upset!
The new regulations affect nearly 800,000 bookings that are scheduled or already underway, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, an industry group. These bookings were made under a license issued by the United States government that allowed people to people travel to Cuba. This category has been banned by the new regulations.
Norwegian Cruise Line rerouted its Norwegian Sun cruise to the Bahamas and, in a statement, thanked guests for their patience as we navigate this unexpected, last-minute change.
Is There Still An Embargo On Travel To Cuba For Us Citizens
Yes, although it’s much easier to go since relations with Cuba warmed in early 2015. Before, official travel to Cuba was restricted to certain types of trips. Individuals had to apply, and they could only go with licensed tour operators. Now, while the types of trips are still limited to 12 categories of travel, people no longer have to apply for individual visas. Travelers to Cuba can now also use U.S. credit and debit cards during their travels, although many American banks have yet to catch up with this. Bring enough cash to convert.
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Can Mainstream Cruise Lines Sail Directly To Cuba From Miami What About Other Ports
Yes. Since 2016, cruise ships have been allowed to sail directly to Cuba from Miami, with the government granting permission on a case-by-case basis. In 2017, cruise lines began receiving the go-ahead from Cuba to sail from other U.S. ports as well, including Tampa. Havana is now included on Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries, leaving not only from Miami but other ports such as New Orleans.
Which Cruise Should You Take To Cuba
Editor’s Note: Effective June 5, 2019, Americans are no longer permitted to travel to Cuba by cruise ship due to U.S. government policy changes.
Cruising to Cuba has undergone great changes in just a few years. American cruise ships, which began visiting the Caribbean’s largest island in 2016, keep adding more and more sailings, as regulations fall away. Cruise lines with a longer-running stake in the Caribbean nation are continuing to develop new and more immersive itineraries in Cuba, due to interest.
Currently, the only thing stopping a U.S. mainstream cruise line from visiting Cuba is the country itself there are no U.S. government regulations forbidding cruise ships from going, thanks to measures taken by the Obama administration. Although the Trump administration is tightening up individual travel, Cuba continues to approve cruise line sailings throughout 2018 and into 2019.
All nationalities can visit Cuba as tourists except Americans. Americans still need to travel under one of 12 approved reasons the most common — and the one used by cruise lines currently offering itineraries for Americans — is the People to People visa. (For more details, read
Below, we take a look at the cruising options in Cuba, so you can decide what’s best for you.
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Who Will Sail To Cuba
Carnival Cruise line was one of the first to sail to Cuba a few years ago. Amongst others, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Paradise made calls in Havana, while Royal Caribbean had both Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas sailing to the Cuban capital.
The same cruise lines will surely sail to Havana again if they have the chance. Other cruise lines that have experience with or plans for Cuba are Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, Viking Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, and Oceania Cruises.
It looks unlikely that cruise lines will be able to sail to Cuba immediately, though. The American Society of Travel Advisors that Joe Bidens election would see Cuba opening up, but it would be a slow process.
A top Biden foreign policy adviser reported that Biden would reverse the policies from the current administration. Still, it wont happen right away: Given all that will be on President-elect Bidens plate, we expect action on Cuba to come slowly, according to ASTA.
So, positive noises all around for Cuban Cruises to resume. Whether its this year or next year, one thing is sure. We cant wait to walk around in old Havana and have a Daiquiri in El Floridita.
Main Photo Credit: Arodel / Shutterstock.com
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