If you’d like to know President Donald Trump’s political agenda, it’s a pretty simple strategy: undo everything former President Barack Obama did during his eight-year term. Trump’s latest unraveling against Cuba is no different. The Trump Administration has renewed travel restrictions on Cuba. The new restrictions, that will go into place as of today, forbid cruise ships to go to Cuba. According to the administration, this rule will avoid giving dictatorship U.S. money.
“Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”
Now travel agencies and cruise companies are scrambling to figure out what these new restrictions mean for travelers who are in the process of making their final payments on the cruise vacations or people who are scheduled to be in Cuba in the coming days. The good news during this chaotic mess is that cruise companies are equipped to handle last minute changes due to weather delays or because of region changes. This new restriction falls under those categories, somewhat. While the restriction forbids cruise ships to go to Cuba, travel to the island is still possible in other ways.
NPR reports that “commercial flights will continue to be permitted and ‘travel for university groups, academic research, journalism and professional meetings will continue to be allowed.'”
Erica Silverstein, an editor at Cruise Critic, told CNN they too are in a “holding pattern waiting on next steps as cruise lines work to decipher what today’s announcement means for their specific products.” She went on to say, “It’s worth noting that cruise lines are able to swap itineraries relatively quickly. We see it often during inclement weather, or in the wake of disruption in particular regions. While nothing is definitive right now, if the lines are mandated to cancel sailings to Cuba, we’ll likely see changes in the form of itinerary adjustments.”
People on social media were quick to tweet at their respective cruise company to ask what they should do about their travel plans already in place.
@RoyalCaribbean hi I have a cruise booked to Cuba next month. Will the travel ban impact my travelling?
— Coco Brown (@FemFataleCutie) June 4, 2019
“A day before my trip to Cuba a travel ban has been imposed…I’ve been planning this trip for over a year ? Words can’t explain how much a loath [Trump] this man,” one Twitter user said.
Another said, “The Cuba travel ban is confusing. Starting tomorrow, a ban on educational/recreational travel under ‘people to people’ licenses. But you can still fly and enter Cuba under 12 categories. Cruise ships are affected, but Carnival Cruise and Royal Caribbean are still selling trips.”