10 JUNE 2019
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Nearly 800,000 passengers could be immediately affected by new dictates from the US president Donald Trump forcing American cruise ships to cancel Cuban port visits.
US citizens have long been banned from taking independent trips to Cuba, but under previous US president Barack Obama's regime new rules allowing 'people to people' were introduced. However, the Trump administration last week said it wants to steer American dollars away from “the Cuban regime, and its military and security services, who control the tourism industry in Cuba”.
"We are disappointed that cruises will no longer be operating to Cuba," said CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) chairman Adam Goldstein. "While out of our control, we are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba."
As reported in last week’s BTN Virgin Voyages plans to use Havana for its maiden voyage next March. Clearly this high profile first destination is flexible given Miami’s Caribbean location and the line should have no difficulty in finding an alternative port.
"Virgin Voyages' existing booking policies allow all sailors the flexibility to move to another voyage date without penalty. When we announce a new port-of-call next week, we will implement a special policy for affected Cuba bookings," the company said in a statement.
Other cruise lines are switching programmes.
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