Cruise Lines scramble to deal with Cuba cruise ban

The United States has confirmed an Executive Order, which will see the end of travel to Cuba, including the ban of cruise ships visiting the island.

Cruise travel from the United States to Cuba began in May 2016 with more than 140,000 people travelling to Cuba in the first four months. Cruises Lines Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC, Norwegian and Oceaina Cruises are now reviewing their Cuba operations, which will likely mean cruise ship visits to Cuba will be phased out over the coming days, however, Royal Caribbean has already cancelled visits this week.

The news will be a blow for Virgin Voyages, who had planned to operate cruises to the Island when it launches voyages next year.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said: “We are aware of the new U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba and we are analysing the details to understand the impact to future sailings.  We expect to know more within the next 24 hours and will communicate any changes as soon as we are able.  In the meantime, we are adjusting the itineraries of our June 5 and June 6 sailings, which will no longer stop in Cuba. We are communicating with our guests about those changes.”

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line said: “The U.S. government announced new travel restrictions to Cuba. We are closely monitoring these recent developments and any resulting impact to cruise travel to Cuba. We will communicate to our guests and travel partners as additional information becomes available.”

A spokesperson for the cruise industry trade body – Cruise Lines International, said: “CLIA and its cruise lines are currently reviewing and working through the details of the Administration’s Cuba policy announcement made earlier today to assess the scale and timing of its effect on cruise sailings from the U.S. to Cuba.”

A spokesperson for MSC said, “MSC Cruises is currently reviewing and working through the details of the Administration’s Cuba policy announcement to assess the scale and timing of its effect on its cruise sailings from the U.S. to Cuba. We will advise all guests and travel partners when additional information becomes available.”

More to follow…

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