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Cruising to Cuba – US Citizens Can’t But Others Can, Here’s How

If you are considering a cruise to the Caribbean you may be wondering if you are able to cruise to Cuba. I’ve visited Cuba and it was brilliant, I’d recommend it to anybody who is able to go.

That said, not everybody is able to cruise to Cuba.

Can You Cruise to Cuba?

Citizens of the US cannot cruise to Cuba and as a result most US-based cruise lines no longer offer cruises to Cuba. People from outside the US are able to cruise to Cuba and there are a number of non-US cruise lines that still offer itineraries to Cuba. 

For passengers from outside of the US, it is still possible to cruise to Cuba. The number of options has decreased dramatically but the option is still there for those who want it.

emma cruises in cuba cruise
Me in Cuba

Cruising to Cuba Pre 2019

Between 2017 and 2019, US cruise ships were able to dock in Cuba. In June 2019 the regulations were changed to make it illegal for people from the US to travel to Cuba under the ‘people to people’ category.

It also made it illegal for any American-owned cruise line to visit Cuba, so overnight all of the big American cruise lines pulled out of Cuba.

British UK Cruise to Cuba

British Cruise Lines Cruise to Cuba

British cruise lines are still able to provide cruises to Cuba. The British cruise line Fred Olsen are currently one of the biggest providers of Cuba cruises. They focus on providing a traditional cruising experience on small and medium sized cruise ships.

To learn more about Fred Olsen, and other British and American cruise lines, check out this video:

Another cruise line which cruises to Cuba is Marella, Marella are another British cruise line who provide all inclusive cruises and focus on a family market.

It is in theory possible to cruise to Cuba from the UK, however this in rarely happens in reality.

Most transatlantic cruises that were traveling from the UK to the Caribbean would usually stop in the US on the way. In the majority of cases, passengers have to fly to a destination in the Caribbean in order to cruise to Cuba.

Can You Still Cruise To Cuba? Yes

The above itinerary is an example of a cruise offered by the British cruise line Fred Olsen.

Most Cuba Cruises Include an Overnight Stay

Most cruises cruising to Cuba include an overnight stay in the country’s capital Havana. This allowed guests to experience an evening in the city and really experience the culture of Havana.

I have been to Cuba but not on a cruise, we spent a week in Havana and it was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been to. It was quite a culture shock for me being from the UK but I’m very glad that I went. We saw a lot of the country and I’d love to return one day to see how the country has changed.

For me one of the biggest things to get used during my time in Cuba was the lack of toilet seats, toilet paper and locks on the cubicle doors!

It was also VERY eyeopening to see people queuing up for their food allowances and hearing from our guide about her and how her family lived.

Cuba Cruise Options For Non-US Citizens

There are a couple of options when it comes to cruising to Cuba from outside of the US.

The first option is as shown above, to fly to the Caribbean to take a Cuban cruise.

The second option is to combine the Cuba part into a longer itinerary. The itinerary below shows a ‘Grand South America voyages’ which departs from Southampton and lasts for 79 nights.

Can You Cruise To Cuba? Yes

Note how the above itinerary doesn’t dock in the US.

If the cruise came across and docked, for example, in New York before moving down to the Caribbean, the cruise would be unable to visit Cuba.

Could an American Book a Cruise to Cuba From Outside The US?

No. If an American tried to book onto a cruise that is going to Cuba it should flag up on the cruise line’s system.

A potentially murky area is where a person has dual citizenship. However, the US wouldn’t let you back into the country if you had come from Cuba, so it’s probably best not to try and exploit passport citizenships in your favour.

Canadians Cruise To Cuba

Can Canadians or Australians Cruise to Cuba?

Cuba has more tourists from Canada than from any other place. There are no restrictions on Canadians visiting Cuba so most simply fly down.

There is no reason why a Canadian, or Australian or anybody of any other nationality other than American should be unable to book on a cruise visiting Cuba.

Of course, in reality, this is much easier said than done. A number of British lines are still cruising to Cuba but for a Canadian, this isn’t usually very practical.

It is possible that they could fly down to the Caribbean to join a ship but long cruises from the UK or Europe would be very difficult for the majority of Canadians.

Can Americans Still Visit Cuba if Not on a Cruise?

There is a way that Americans can still visit Cuba. The regulations change affected only ‘people to people’ travel and traveling under the ‘Support the Cuban People’ category is still allowed.

There are many companies that focus on providing trips like this.

‘People to people’ is basically any group tour for the purposes of tourism such as organized guided tours and cruise ships.

On the other hand ‘Support of The Cuban People’ is designed for individual travelers. In order to come under this category, the traveler is required to provide support to the Cuban people and promoted activities intended to strengthen society in Cuba.

It definitely is difficult for Americans to visit Cuba, although not impossible.

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