The United States Government has placed new travel restrictions on Cuba banning all USA Cuba cruises from stopping in the country, reports Travel + Leisure. Private cruise companies like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have also announced that they will no longer sail to Cuba. These new rules will affect nearly 800,000 bookings that are scheduled or already underway, leaving travellers angered and frustrated.
In an official announcement, the State Department said:
“Going forward, the United States will prohibit US travellers 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.”
Why was the travel ban imposed?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered an explanation for the government’s decision to impose the ban.
“Cuba continues 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 instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes.”
However, there are a few exceptions to this travel ban. The Treasury Department clarified that certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized. This will imply where the traveller had already completed at least one travel-related transaction prior to June 5, 2019. Such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation.
A spokesperson for Cruise Lines International explained how its cruise lines were currently reviewing and working out the details of the Administration’s Cuba policy.
An announcement made earlier today “to assess the scale and timing of its effect on cruise sailings from the U.S. to Cuba.”
Trump has been involved in serious efforts to undo Obama’s attempts at fixing the USA’s relationship with Cuba. In April, President Trump announced other restrictions for non-family travel to Cuba and also placed a limit on how much money Cuban Americans could send to relatives still living on the island.
In response to the cruise ban, Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla tweeted:
“The tightening of the US blockade against Cuba and its extraterritorial implementation is an attack on International Law and the sovereignty of all States.”