JA Resorts

Published on Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Trump's Cuba clampdown bans cruise ship calls

The latest bullying tactic by the Trump administration has effectively sunk the US-Cuba cruise industry, but there is still uncertainty over cruise lines' current schedules.

The State Department announced 'going forward, the United States will prohibit US travelers from going to Cuba under the previous 'group people-to-people educational' travel authorization. In addition, the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft."

It is a move which 'steers American dollars away from the Cuban regime, and its military and security services, who control the tourism industry in Cuba.'

However there is a waiver for customers who have already made a transaction, such a cruise booking, or perhaps even just a deposit payment may suffice, although this is still unclear.

Even more unclear is whether cruise lines will still operate Cuba calls in the short term.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said it is 'closely monitoring these recent developments and any resulting impact to cruise travel to Cuba.'

"We will communicate to our guests and travel partners as additional information becomes available."

"MSC Cruises is currently reviewing and working through the details of the administration's Cuba policy announcement made earlier today to assess the scale and timing of its effect on its cruise sailings from the US to Cuba," MSC Cruises said.

It is also uncertain whether the cruise lines' current permits to dock in Cuba will still be valid.

There will likely be a large number of itinerary adjustments in the coming weeks as lines scramble to reroute ships to other Caribbean ports of call.

"The federal government should not be policing where Americans go on vacation. Our core freedoms should not be held hostage by politicians for naked partisanship," said James Williams, president of Engage Cuba.

"Today's news is especially damaging for the Cuban people, particularly the burgeoning Cuban private sector, who rely on American travelers to support their businesses and families."

Commercial air service from US airports will still be allowed as it 'broadly support family travel and other lawful forms of travel.'

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