Cuba Travel Port Cruise Calls Blocked By U.S. State Department – Beginning today, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, (see video below) your cruise ship vacation to Cuba just became political and got more confusing than the 2020 elections. The U.S. State Department is barring cruise ships from going to Cuba as part of a crackdown on travel to the island, citing government repression and its role in the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
Azamara Journey, Carnival Paradise, Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas, MSC Opera, Norwegian Sky, Oceania Cruises Insignia, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Navigator all sail to Cuba
Shares of cruise operators reacted on Tuesday after being up earlier in the day. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. fell as much as 5.1%, while Royal Caribbean declined almost 3%. Carnival also erased earlier gains, leaving it little changed for the day.
Given the political flip-flop, it’s unclear how long this decision will continue to affect travel to Cuba and if it will be reversed before high season travel to the Caribbean nation is set to peak from November 2019 to April 2020.
What is clear is this – If you were booked on a cruise to Cuba from the United States, it will likely be canceled as passengers cancel and the cruise line does not meet the minimum occupancy for profitability, in order to continue the sailing. If you are an American, please watch this space for ways to work around typical travel to Cuba going forward. There WILL be ways to legally get around the new regulations, of that you can be sure. If you are Canadian or from Europe including the United Kingdom, worry not, you can enjoy travel to Cuba, as always.
The U.S, State Department website states on June 4, 2019, “Today, the United States took strong action to prevent U.S. travel to Cuba from enriching the Cuban military, security, and intelligence services by announcing new restrictions on authorized travel and vessels to the island.
Going forward, the United States will prohibit U.S. 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.
The United States holds the Cuban regime accountable for its repression of the Cuban people, its interference in Venezuela, and its direct role in the man-made crisis led by Nicolas Maduro. Despite widespread international condemnation, Maduro continues to undermine his country’s institutions and subvert the Venezuelan people’s right to self-determination. Empowered by Cuba, he has created a humanitarian disaster that destabilizes the region.
These actions are directly linked to the tourism industry, which has strong economic ties to the Cuban security, military, and intelligence sectors in Cuba. Veiled tourism has served to line the pockets of the Cuban military, the very same people supporting Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and repressing the Cuban people on the island. In Cuba, the regime continues to harass, intimidate, and jail Cubans who dare to voice an opinion different from the one the regime wants them to have. The United States calls on the regime to abandon its repression of Cubans, cease its interference in Venezuela, and work toward building a stable, prosperous, and free country for the Cuban people.”
U.S. Treasury Department
“Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) unveiled amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further implement the President’s foreign policy on Cuba. These amendments complement changes to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which Commerce is also unveiling today. These regulatory changes were announced on April 17, 2019, and include restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba.
“Cuba remains communist, and the United States, under the previous administration, made too many concessions to one of our historically most aggressive adversaries,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “The Trump Administration recognizes the threat Cuba’s government poses in the region, and the Commerce Department is acting to limit commercial activity that provides revenue for the Cuban regime. Holding other countries accountable remains a focus for this Administration and we will remain vigilant.”
These actions mark a continued commitment towards implementing the National Security Presidential Memorandum signed by the President on June 16, 2017 titled “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.” These policies continue to work to channel economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services. The Treasury changes will take effect on June 5, 2019 when the regulations are published in the Federal Register.”
Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) unveiled amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further implement the President’s foreign policy on Cuba. These amendments complement changes to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which Commerce is also unveiling today. These regulatory changes were announced on April 17, 2019 and include restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba.
U.S. Commerce Department
“Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.
These actions mark a continued commitment towards implementing the National Security Presidential Memorandum signed by the President on June 16, 2017 titled “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.” These policies continue to work to channel economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services. The Treasury changes will take effect on June 5, 2019, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register.
Major elements of the changes in the revised regulations include:
Ending Group People-To-People Travel
- In accordance with the newly announced changes to non-family travel to Cuba, OFAC is amending the regulations to remove the authorization for group people-to-people educational travel. OFAC’s regulatory changes include a “grandfathering” provision, which provides that certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019. Please note that travel-related transactions continue to be permitted by general licenses for certain categories of travel and certain authorized export transactions.
Ending Exports Of Passenger Vessels, Recreational Vessels, And Private Aircraft
- BIS, in coordination with OFAC, is amending the EAR to make passenger and recreational vessels and private and corporate aircraft ineligible for a license exception and to establish a general policy of denial for license applications involving those vessels and aircraft.”
- United States Restricts Travel and Vessels to Cuba
- Treasury and Commerce Implement Changes to Cuba Sanctions Rules
- Commerce and Treasury Departments Implement Changes to Cuba Sanctions Rules
- Cuba Cruise Ship Tracker
Past Cuba Cruise Articles:
- Grand Classica Denied Entry Cuban Constitutional Referendum
- Havana Cuba Norwegian Sky Passengers Left High-Dry
- State Department Changes Cuba Travel Advisory
- Norwegian Getaway Crew Treads Water Off Cuba 22 Hours
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Cuba Sailings
- Cuba Cruise Ship Travel Medical Costs
- Cruise Ships To Cuba is adding ports and a Cuba Cruise Ship Tracker
- Ferries To Cuba Becoming Reality
- Americans Hot For Cuba Travel
Video: New restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba