Cruise Lines are reacting to the news of changes to the US travel policy to Cuba. Yesterday, the US announced new restrictions on travel to Cuba and this includes cruises.
According to the Department of Treasury, all Group People to People travel is now banned with a grandfathering exception. If at least the air travel has been purchased or accommodations reserved prior to June 5, 2019, then they may continue. They have also banned all passenger and recreational vessels as well as private and corporate aircraft.
At this point, the cruise lines are working to figure out how this will impact future cruises. Most likely there will be adjustments in itineraries when possible rather than full cancellations but this can get messy.With Nassau, Grand Turk and other islands already on schedules, fitting in my be a struggle.
Prior to this announcement, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL all made calls on Havana. Below are the responses from Royal Caribbean and Carnival and how they are responding. At the time of writing, I was unable to find a statement from NCL.
Here is Royal Caribbeans latest announcement from Twitter. Cuba Travel Update: We're aware of the announcement and are analyzing the details to understand the impact on our itineraries. For now, we're adjusting the 6/5 and 6/6 sailing itineraries, which will no longer stop in Cuba. We are communicating the changes with our guests.
This was the notice from Carnival and found on the page of Brand Ambassador, John Heald. "The U.S. government has imposed a series of new sanctions on Cuba prohibiting travel via cruise ship and rescinding certain categories of authorized travel, which previously allowed U.S. citizens to visit Cuba under the People-to-People program. Effective immediately, cruise ship travel is no longer allowed and we are required to cancel our visit to Havana. We have replaced our call to Havana with a replacement port to provide our guests with the best experience ashore. Guests currently aboard Carnival Sensation’s June 3rd sailing will be calling on Cozumel this Thursday instead of Havana. We recognize Havana is a unique destination and may have been the reason for the selection of this itinerary. Along with our apologies, guests will receive a $100 onboard credit posted to their Sail & Sign® Account. We are in the process of notifying our other guests of their new itineraries and their options, in the order of sailing date proximity. Mailings for sailings through the end of July 2019 are now in progress and include the following options:
Remain on the sailing and receive a US$100.00, per person, onboard credit (no need to call us if you are continuing with your plans to sail with us)
Move to another itinerary and receive a US$50.00, per person, onboard credit
Cancel and receive a full refund
We are working as quickly as possible to secure alternative itineraries for the remainder of our Cuba voyages and expect to have information for sailings further out in the next 2-3 days. In the meantime, please check back on our website for further updates. We sincerely apologize to our guests for this unexpected change and thank them for their understanding. We look forward to welcoming them on board a Carnival cruise in the near future."
This is a fluid situation so there will be more to come. For more information on the announcement, you can see the press release from the Department of Treasury. There are several reasons for the change so its important you visit the Department of Treasury page.