Cruising to Cuba

By | Category: Travel news

The US government has announced a ban on US cruise ships going to Cuba. In fact the ban is wider than that. It stops pleasure vessels (including yachts) from going there. As of writing, commercial flights taking passengers from the US to Cuba are unaffected.

cruise ship Adonia docking in Cuba
Adonia – the first cruise ship of many to dock in Cuba. Will it be the last for a while? Image: www.amirinia.com

A number of Britons will be amongst the 800,000 people that have booked cruises out of Florida and other states which were scheduled to dock in Cuba as part of Caribbean cruises.

How will they be affected?

Those with paid bookings can continue to complete them. But that is of small comfort if the cruise line on which you are travelling decides to alter the ports-of-call immediately. What cruise company can afford to dock at a port knowing that it will have a dwindling number of passengers? My bet is that most cruise companies will plug-in alternative ports as soon as possible.

If you had your heart set on visiting Cuba and you are sailing out of a US port then contact the cruise company about what alternatives are on offer. If you don’t like what you are told check your insurance to see if you can claim. Some cruise companies may offer a refund but will more likely hope that you will accept the change in the itinerary.

Once again, tourists are political pawns. Whereas in our story yesterday about China using tourists as an economic weapon against the USA, today it is the USA doing precisely the same thing with Cuba.

The announcement came not from the Commerce Department which overseas tourism but the US Treasury. In its announcement it said, “These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”

You might have thought you just wanted a peaceful cruise around some islands in the Caribbean! You have a much more important role now. You are now an instrument of political will!

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