By Ted Scull.
The thrust of President Trump’s recent directives on travel by Americans to Cuba will close some doors and will likely slow down the visa permission process for those who will ultimately be allowed to go. The good news is that, for now, the cruise lines that have developed Cuban itineraries may continue their programs, and if passengers have to fly to reach their ship they will be allowed to take advantage of the present direct flights between the US and Cuban airports. What they will not be allowed to do is to patronize any Cuban establishments, particularly restaurants and hotels, that are Cuban military-controlled. Private businesses are exempted from this clampdown.
US citizens who previously were able to arrange private trips under a complex permission system will no longer be able to do so, and presumably that would apply to cruise-bound passengers who might like to fly to Havana in advance of joining their cruise and spend a few days as independent travelers. Some cruise lines have Cuban land portions with hotel stays as part of a cruise-tour, and as that is a pre-approved group package, there should be no problem taking advantage of wiggle room with perhaps a few hours of independent exploring on foot.
If you wish to take a cruise to Cuba, be sure to start the vetting process as early as possible so as to not literally miss the boat. If there are any changes involving cruises, you will see it here.
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