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For a long time, traveling to Cuba was both complicated and seldom attempted by US citizens. Still, Cuba has been an intriguing destination for many people. Some are fascinated with the old cars that line the streets – a result of Fidel Castro’s prohibiting the import of new cars after 1959. Others want to indulge in authentic Cuban cooking or experience the incredible music scene in Havana (I’m actually listening to Buena Vista Social Club as I write this – check them out if you haven’t already!)
In recent years, as interest in this country, one of the last vestiges of communism, has increased, restrictions have simultaneously become more lax and a large number of people are finding ways to tour through Cuba. Million Mile Secrets team member Jasmin visited Cuba with her family and Emily has been there as well.
There are still limitations for visitors attempting to enter the country on a US passport. One new, simple way to bypass the extensive process of obtaining a visa to visit Cuba is to plan a trip on a cruise ship. Let them sweat the details for you.
Several luxury cruise lines have introduced itineraries that now include Cuba, making this destination much more accessible for those who aren’t comfortable figuring out the visa and passport rules and restrictions (or simply don’t want to bother with it).
In fact, when Regent Seven Seas Cruises launched their new immersive Cuban voyage, the cruise was so popular that it sold out in just two weeks. They have since added a second itinerary departing Miami on October 22, 2019. The immersive cruises have proved to be popular because you won’t be just stopping at port for a few hours. They give you the opportunity to spend several days in a city and you’ll still have the convenience and amenities of the cruise ship.
The Benefits of Traveling to Cuba on a Cruise
Booking a cruise to visit Cuba is a smart idea for several reasons. Since Cuba is still in the early stages of developing their infrastructure for tourism, having your meals, accommodations, transportation, and excursions planned by just one company can be immensely helpful. While Airbnb is starting to evolve their network in Cuba, and classic car rental companies are on the rise, the idea of organizing an entire trip can be overwhelming for some travelers.
Additionally, this is a good option for those that don’t have the luxury of unlimited vacation time. As always, a cruise offers a great way to see large snapshots of the country in a short amount of time. But one of the best aspects of traveling to Cuba on a cruise ship is that all of your entry and exit arrangements will be taken care of by the cruise line. This helps eliminate the most common roadblock of visiting Cuba.
Restrictions Still Apply to US Citizens
Yes, there are still restrictions for US citizens traveling to Cuba. Here are a few things to remember before booking your Cuban cruise adventure:
- You’ll need to have a current US passport to enter the country
- In order to enter Cuba, you must be able to meet one of the 12 categories of eligible travel. Entry requirements can be found on the US Embassy website.
- Typically, the easiest category for those traveling on a cruise ship to qualify for is the “educational activities and people-to-people activities.” This is how most cruise companies help their passengers enter Cuba. Educational activities can include a tour of the city, a marriage ceremony, etc. For example, Carnival Cruise Lines provide an extensive list of all their cultural excursion options onshore in Cuba.
Again, a huge benefit of traveling to Cuba on a cruise is that the cruise company will typically take care of all the details so once you arrive, you’ll be able to enter the country. There are several different cruise lines that offer trips to Cuba with itineraries ranging from 4 to 10 days on average. Some cruise lines offer longer trips as well.
Although some people might grimace at the idea of taking a vacation on a cruise ship, I think it would be a relaxing and easy way to tour around a country that US tourists had a hard time visiting until very recently. Beautiful beaches, great music, and a complex history make Cuba a truly enticing destination. Plus, it will be interesting to see how tourism develops in the next few years. With many cruise lines operating voyages to Cuba, it’s a pretty good indication that this country is about to see some real change. The gates are open. Let’s go!
Have you ever considered traveling to Cuba? Do you think visiting on a cruise would be a good way to go? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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