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Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?

Detroit, MI
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3 posts
15 reviews
23 helpful votes
Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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We are U.S. citizens who will be taking a cruise to Havana in May 2018. The cruise line advises us that we must have a tour arranged -- either through the cruise line or privately -- to be able to disembark in Havana. Is this true? What has been your experience? We prefer to just walk around Havana without a tour, although we would be agreeable to a short 2 - 3 hour tour. Any advice or tips are welcomed.

Calgary, Canada
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11,733 posts
135 reviews
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1. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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In a word, NO. Heres the explanation from our good friend spunkyNB earlier this month.

You will need to purchase the Tourist Visas and you will sign a form and check the box that says: "Support for the Cuban People" Then you do as you want when ashore.

Here is the form used by Royal Caribbean:

https:/…Cuba.Guest_.Cert_.Final_.Nov_.14.pdf

On that form you check #4 and choose "Support for..."

Hope this helps

Cheers

Fredericton, Canada
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18,149 posts
13 reviews
32 helpful votes
2. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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Try this link for the Royal Caribbean form:

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cuba/content/uploads/2017/11/Cuba.Guest_.Cert_.Final_.Nov_.14.pdf

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1 post
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
3. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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We are cruising royal Caribbean in March to Cuba and the cruise line says we have to book an excursion through them. We understand we need to meet the people to people requirement but do you know if we are allowed to do that through a private tour company not affiliated with the cruise line?

Artemisa Province...
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30,083 posts
25 reviews
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4. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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You do not need to meet the requirements of the people to people tours if under a different category.

I am not aware of any US based organisations providing tours to cruise passengers other than the cruise lines. Have you found one ?

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Cuba
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10,151 posts
4 reviews
16 helpful votes
5. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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@3 Actually, RC does not say you have to book an excursion through them. They imply it, but what they actually say is:

"The new regulations do not affect any of our sailings to Cuba. However, self-guided “people-to-people” travel will no longer be allowed. This means that in order to enjoy Cuba, guests will need to participate in a group “people-to-people” tour that complies with the new regulations if they do not qualify for the other categories of authorized travel or hold a specific license issued by OFAC."

The key wording is, "if they do not qualify for the other categories of authorized travel." Almost everybody qualifies for the support for the Cuban people category. In fact, basically you do qualify if you say you do.

Reread Bergerman's post @1, and go the the link given by Spunky @2, and it should all be clear.

On the form, check box 4 and select the general license category "support for the Cuban people."

Edited: 4 years ago
Tampa, Florida
2 posts
6. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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The printed material on the RCC website isn't so ironclad, but the lady I talked to by phone at RCC bookings was very clear (if arguably wrong) that you *have to* be booked on an excursion in order be allowed off the boat. She actually said this was a requirement of the *Cuban* government - which I find hard to believe as elsewhere I read that the Cuban gov encourages all tourism to the island; even that of us USA-ers. If anyone knows if the Cuban government is enforcing such a requirement on cruise passengers, please comment? The lady did not give any evidence that she had ever heard of the "Support for the Cuban People" option in US law and on the RCC form where you identify the category of authorized travel..

I plan to select the "Support for the Cuban People" option to travel to Havana; would like to hear from anyone else who has used this option during when cruising to Cuba, particularly if they traveled with Royal Carribean.

Artemisa Province...
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30,083 posts
25 reviews
10 helpful votes
7. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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That was no lady that was a saleswoman and she lied to you to try to sell their excursions. The website is more reliable because they cannot lie outright there.

Melbourne, Australia
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8,979 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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No wonder these people get so confused regarding all this when their compatriots are so duplicitous.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Cuba
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10,151 posts
4 reviews
16 helpful votes
9. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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The Cuban government is absolutely NOT enforcing any restrictions on USA tourists. All you will need to enter Cuba is your passport, tourist card, and proof of health insurance. The insurance is included in your cruise fare.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Cuba
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10,151 posts
4 reviews
16 helpful votes
10. Re: Cruise to Cuba shore excursions required?
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If I had talked to the "lady" and she told me that, I likely would have told her, "Pull the other one."

Here is the RC form that you fill out to go ashore:

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cuba/content/uploads/2017/11/Cuba.Guest_.Cert_.Final_.Nov_.14.pdf

And here are the instructions for filling it out:

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cuba/content/uploads/2017/11/Cuba.Guest_.Instructions.Final_.Nov_.14.Rev_.pdf

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