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Cruise lines began tearing up their Cuba itineraries a day after the Trump administration’s decision to immediately halt authorizations for cruise travel to the island from the United States.
Carnival Cruise Line said that guests on the Carnival Sensation’s June 3 sailing would call in Cozumel on June 6 rather than Havana. Royal Caribbean International said that departures on June 4 and 5 with Cuba in their itineraries would be similarly rerouted.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sun was due to call in Havana
It was a theme echoed in a statement from CLIA on behalf of the cruise industry, which was unprepared for the sudden halt. CLIA said that upwards of 800,000 bookings will be affected by the new Cuba policy.
“All these bookings had been made under a general license previously issued by the United States government that authorized ‘people to people’ travel to Cuba,” a CLIA statement said.
“The new rules effectively make it illegal to cruise to Cuba from the United States. While this situation is completely beyond our control, we are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba.”
Carnival said it was offering guests on the Sensation cruise a $100 onboard credit by way of compensation. “We recognize Havana is a unique destination and may have been the reason for the selection of this itinerary,” Carnival said.
Carnival added that it is in the process of notifying other guests of their new itineraries and their options, in the order of sailing date proximity. Mailings for sailings through the end of July 2019 are now in progress, Carnival said.
Carnival guests with bookings that include Cuba will be offered a an onboard credit of $100 per person, the option to move to another itinerary with a $50 onboard credit, or the option to cancel and get a full refund.
Parent company Carnival Corp. said in a statement that in addition to Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line also operates Cuba cruises and Seabourn was scheduled to call there in November.
A Holland America spokeswoman said it is still working out its solution to the change in Cuba policy. A spokesman for Seabourn said much the same.
Some lines had cruises with multiple stops and overnights scheduled in Cuba later this year. Azamara Club Cruises had an 11-night “Cuba Intensive” cruise scheduled to depart Miami on Nov. 25 that included two nights in Santiago de Cuba, a stop in Cienfuegos and two nights in Havana.