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About Cienfuegos

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    South Florida
  • Interests
    Cooking, food, music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Viking Ocean

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  1. Cienfuegos

    Finally Gave In

    Good luck on the Havana trip. Do you anticipate traveling out into the countryside?
  2. The Washington Post describes the current situation in a recent article. Briefly, the regulations remain a sloppy mess, with many gray areas. Few bright lines in this area, even for experts. Detailed record keeping, day by day, is required. Awareness of which hotels and restaurants are on the no-go list, too. A full time schedule of activities which meet the requirements is essential. Volunteer activities like building a school, or teaching in a program may qualify. Going to a school, or viewing a presentation may not. In one particularly insensitive comment, a tour organizer indicated that a period of "re-education" would be required. There's no assurance that more stringent regulations may be imposed. (In the US, when a law is enacted or an executive order is issued, it references the issuer's authority under the US legal code. The relevant agency (Treasury, State, Commerce, etc) or authority then drafts regulations describing how the law will be applied, often to minute detail. The regulations are published, and eventually have the force of law. In many cases, affected interests like tour operators, Congress people, lobbyists, etc will offer their views on implementation.) https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2019/07/01/where-travel-us-cuba-currently-stands/?utm_term=.6e7e2194bedc
  3. I mentioned on one of the other Uber / Lyft threads that the company occasionally invokes surge pricing at Fort Lauderdale cruise port when drivers avoid the port. At some times, the crush of traffic on 17th street makes the trip into the terminal a time-suck. So, it may take 20 minutes to arrive at the ride share pick up. For a $10 ride. There was a discussion about it on one of the ride share driver boards. The traffic construction in the area may make things worse for a while.
  4. The US banks we checked before our cruise do no exchange Cuban money. I agree on the suggestion to ho!d on to it. Perhaps you can spend it in the Trump Grande Havana Hotel someday...
  5. Agreed. there wasn't a lot of infrastructure investment by the cruise lines. But companies like HavanaTur are at risk. The Chinese repo'd locomotives when Cuba didn't pay. My guess is the buses go home.
  6. The Cruise lines have begun to release information on the earnings impact of the Cuba ban. Carnival says 4% reduction in revenue, less than their Vista being out of service. Others should be releasing info soon. https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2019/06/20/carnival-corp-reveals-estimated-revenue-loss-from.html
  7. My recollection is the schloss schonbrunn subway stop is very close to the palace. Several hundred feet, less than a quarter mile.
  8. My Global Entry shows as renewed, with a 2024 expiration. Still waiting on the card after 60 days.
  9. Alaska is a relatively new market for Viking, isn't it? Perhaps Viking needs to follow up with all customers , or a good sized sample, after cruises. Asking a few well chosen questions could identify areas where the company could do a better job. I had the feeling on our Cuba trip that Viking was largely "winging it". With little experience on the ground, and the government presenting them with packaged tours, Viking was accepting what was offered. Mass tourism is new for Cuba, and Cuba is new for Viking.
  10. The Cuban people who are guides, restaurant, bar, hotel, b&b owners, etc will suffer. As they did when the Russians cut off cheap oil. The elites will do fine. I'm curious as to all these brand new Chinese tour buses. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them. When Cuba defaulted on payments for their new Chinese locomotives, the Chinese came for the locomotives. They may come for the buses next.
  11. John Bolton made it clear months ago that penalties would be imposed on Cuba if Cuba continued on the same course. Tourism, remittances, etc. While reasonable people can argue these terms, he didn't launch a surprise. it is easy to see which cruise lines developed a contingency plan and established refund exceptions, and which did not.
  12. The lawsuit against Carnival for using "stolen" Cuban port facilities had another hearing this week. I believe Holland American has also been served. The suit seeks money damaged and an injunction against using the port facilities.
  13. Yes. We were in the outer harbor. With the omnipresent police boats nearby.
  14. Viking used five tenders in Santiago de Cuba last year. The dock to ship run was about a half hour.
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