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Carnival 1st to offer US-Cuba cruise 5/1/16

Carnival 1st to offer US-Cuba cruise 5/1/16

Old Mar 22, 16, 1:17 pm
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Carnival 1st to offer US-Cuba cruise 5/1/16

Looks like Carnival is already taking bookings for a cruise departing Miami May 1. Cleverly, they have planned "architecture tours, meetings with artists and musicians, discussions with local entrepreneurs, visits to coffee plantations and farming communities, and opportunities to try local rum and cigars" to fit within the current US restrictions.

Seems like a smart move on their part, since one of the biggest issues I hear about for tourism to Cuba is hotel space. A cruise ship would solve that and the tours allay peoples' fears of being on the wrong side of US policy. It's ridiculously expensive at $1800+ for a week, but people seem to be buying.
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Old Mar 22, 16, 4:43 pm
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I'm not sure how many cruise ship visits Cuba can handle. I'm thinking the limited shops will be mobbed with Americans buying every last cigar and rum bottle in sight.

When I visited recently, even without a cruise ship present, 4 shops we visited in Havana had no bags of coffee available for sale, whether ground or beans, including a shop that specialized in cigars, rum, and coffee.
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Old Mar 22, 16, 7:37 pm
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Awesome. The last sanctuary in the Caribbean gone.

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Old Jul 5, 16, 9:16 pm
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Not sure if the qualifying activities is doing Carnival's business any good

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Old Oct 7, 16, 10:07 am
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Rumors of any hotel room shortage are unfounded afaik from a recent trip. You will not be forced to sleep on the street. LOL However, star rating may be an issue. Some properties, hotels, but especially those less expensive rooms in private homes (casas particulares) which allow the visitor to have an excellent experience with Cuban people, may not be quite up to the standards of some first world visitors, mostly due to shortages of certain construction materials. If you wish to be insulated from any and all discomfort on a ship or at a 5* property or within the confines of a resort, and being hauled around to sights in a large air-conditioned bus full of other foreigners, you will pay a premium, and you will also IMO lose a good deal of the flavor of the country and its warm-hearted people.

There is currently NO real reason to have fears about "being on the wrong side of US policy" by traveling. Applying for a pink "tourist card (visa), you simply check a box indicating the reason for your trip; while tourism is still not one of them, there are cultural activities reasons as well which fit with the interests of most travelers. NO ONE (US government) is checking or has been for quite some time, or asking for any proof at any time after the trip. On return, at Miami airport, the immigration officer merely asked where I'd been, how much rum and how many cigars I was bringing back, and wished me a welcome home.

It's a wonderful country with wonderful people, and I hope you decide to visit.
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