By Stacey Leasca
June 04, 2019

On Tuesday, the United States government announced new restrictions on travel to Cuba, specifically banning all cruise ships from the U.S. from stopping in the country.

In the announcement, the State Department said "going forward, the United States will prohibit US travelers 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."

In an additional announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained that the new restrictions are a result of Cuba continuing "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."

According to CNN, the Treasury Department later clarified the statement by saying that "certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019." 

Megan King, a spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association told USA Today,"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." 

NurPhoto/Getty Images

While it's unclear if criuses that have already been booked will be allowed to sail, if you do have a Cuba sailing booked, it's best to reach out to the criuse line directly.

This news is just the latest in President Donald Trump’s efforts to rollback previous efforts by the Obama administration to ease relations between the U.S. and Cuba. In April, President Trump announced other restrictions for non-family travel to Cuba as well as a limit on how much money Cuban Americans can send to relatives still living on the island.

"American foreign policy should be based on the pursuit of American national interest. I think that’s what this decision with Cuba reflects,” national security adviser John Bolton said in April as to why the administration implemented the new restrictions. “Sometimes regimes that look alike are treated differently because in the constellation of American interest, our relationship with them and the circumstances we face is different, and I don’t think we need to make any apologies for that," he added. "Not this administration, or not other administrations.”

Of the latest restriction on cruise ships, 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. It is the main obstacle to our development and a flagrant violation of the human rights of all Cubans.”

Advertisement