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What happens to the Cuba cruises?

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We’re reviewing today’s statements to evaluate their impact on our guests and our company. For now, we are sailing our Cuba itineraries as scheduled and will keep our guests updated if anything changes.

 

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I read in the Ports of Call Cuba forum that Fernando of FerTours, who we booked our tour with on last year's Cuba cruise and who we were planning to tour with in November has abruptly shuttered his business.  So has Blexie and a couple of the other tour operators that a lot of us who read Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor were using.  Just yesterday, all tours cancelled and facebook pages removed.  Not 100 percent sure it's true, as I haven't tried to reach Fernando, but that's what's being discussed over there.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, amyr said:

I read in the Ports of Call Cuba forum that Fernando of FerTours, who we booked our tour with on last year's Cuba cruise and who we were planning to tour with in November has abruptly shuttered his business.  So has Blexie and a couple of the other tour operators that a lot of us who read Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor were using.  Just yesterday, all tours cancelled and facebook pages removed.  Not 100 percent sure it's true, as I haven't tried to reach Fernando, but that's what's being discussed over there.  

 

 

 

I emailed Fernando a couple of days ago and got a response within a couple of hours. His business was closed down "overnight". Closed down by the government I assume. He was diplomatic and didn't elaborate. He hopes to have a new business some day.

Norris

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Hopefully this will all blow over and the cruises will continue and we can tour with Fernando again.

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It could be two separate issues but my guess it they are intertwined.  The current US administration continues to crack down on Cuba including increasing travel restrictions that make it difficult for US citizens to travel there.  The Cuban government has begun cracking down on people being entreprenuers  and capitalists.  It is a communist country and everyone is supposed to work for the common good aka the government. Apparently Blexie, Fernando and others started their own cottage industry of running tours and they have grown and profited and my guess is the Cuban government is not getting what they feel is their fair share of the take so they are cracking down on these businesses now.  It is a strange time to be doing it because contracts have been signed to expand the cruise terminal from one pier serving two ships to three piers service 6 ships.   Maybe the Cuban crack down is in retaliation to the US changes? I know the Cuban crack down came first but I am sure the Cubans knew or expected more of the crack down from the US.   Please, I am not trying to be political here, just trying to put some ideas out for consideration without making any judgements  I am really glad we got to Cuba with Azamara last January.  It was just an amazing trip all around and we hope to go back soon.

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Interesting, Mr. Click. Thanks.

 

There's a thread over on the O board (which has rather deteriorated and I guess I'm partially to blame) which claims it is two fairly separate issues because as you write the Cubans were cracking down on their own people before Christmas.

 

If there is a relationship, it may be that State is rolling back the Obama-era liberalisations as retaliation for the Cuban crackdown. I think the Cuban government went first. 

 

One wonders if the current US administration has a taste for a quick war to change the subject of the nightly news. Cuba is infinitely less risky than North Korea or even Venezuela--it may be just as well that Cruise Ships are being forced to pull out, rather than be in crossfire.

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Hmmmm. Just checked FB. Blexie Havana Tours still listed. 

We r booked with them in May. A waiting game. 

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1 minute ago, josumello said:

Hmmmm. Just checked FB. Blexie Havana Tours still listed. 

We r booked with them in May. A waiting game. 

I was reading somewhere that Blexie's tour guides were detained for a day for being 'unlicensed' and they briefly shut down, lots of panic that day (this week or last) but that maybe now they've just changed the meeting spot from the San Francisco square right by the ships do further into Old Havana.  So maybe they're back up and running?  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
 

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Got an e-mail from Az today advertising Cuban cruises.

Gutsy stuff.

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7 hours ago, Shawnino said:

Interesting, Mr. Click. Thanks.

 

There's a thread over on the O board (which has rather deteriorated and I guess I'm partially to blame) which claims it is two fairly separate issues because as you write the Cubans were cracking down on their own people before Christmas.

 

If there is a relationship, it may be that State is rolling back the Obama-era liberalisations as retaliation for the Cuban crackdown. I think the Cuban government went first. 

 

One wonders if the current US administration has a taste for a quick war to change the subject of the nightly news. Cuba is infinitely less risky than North Korea or even Venezuela--it may be just as well that Cruise Ships are being forced to pull out, rather than be in crossfire.

The current administration announced in November that they were rolling back the Obama era policies.  I did not hear anything about a Cuban crack down around Christmas and I was watching closely because we sailed on the Journey on Feb 2. That does not mean it did not happen but I did not hear anything about it. We did two days with Blexie and an evening walking tour with Strawberry Tours in Havana, a day with Caribbean Pearl Tours in Cienfuegos. All private tours, all small companies trying to make their way and all were really great tours. In Santiago de Cuba we spent the evening and the next day just walking around the city on our own with no problems.  

 

Policies on both sides of this argument are vague and the leadership is a bad joke at best with no clear plans or ideas. Just a lot of gimmie I want from what I can see as an average Joe.  It is sad. We really want to go back to Cuba but I guess for now we will settle for being thankful we went this past winter.

 

Side note, 7 year old Havana Rum is so smooth it can put you on your butt without any warning, especially for someone like me who is not normally one to drink.

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On 4/18/2019 at 1:28 AM, BBMacLaird said:

We’re reviewing today’s statements to evaluate their impact on our guests and our company. For now, we are sailing our Cuba itineraries as scheduled and will keep our guests updated if anything changes.

 

Thanks Bonnie

i hope if the decision is made to change plans it’s communicated soon so alternative plans can be made.

i was amused on another post that Lahore said not to book when she sails because trouble follows her, well our Azamara cruising buddies now say always have plan b if you book the same cruises as us, we hold the record in our group of frequent cruisers for cancellations, charters after booking and itinerary changes.  Add to that price drops (and missed ports once onboard, ok can happen) and you have to say we are well and truly jinxed! 

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Posted (edited)

Related questions:

Is Azamara a U.S- based/owned company? 

If yes, then the company itself may be subject to further sanctions prohibiting its ships from docking in Cuba, or from embarking in a U.S. port.

FYI: One cruise marketed to Canadians in the recent past, which was Cuba intensive for a week, had one embarkation port stop in Jamaica as a work-around (not a ‘luxury’ line btw). It also had been a long-time strategy for intrepid Americans to make their way north, and book all-inclusive resort or diving packages in Cuba with charter flights originating out of a Canadian airport.

 

What’s the percentage of American citizens sailing on the Cuba cruises?

It will be interesting to see if the demand from Azamara’s other target markets would be enough to fill a ship with port calls in Cuba. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not sure that Azamara’s client-base is broad enough to sell out a North American cruise to Cuba without them, if this political blustering does result in enforced sanctions.

 

It will be fireworks on this board if Azamara implements a Caribbean itinerary change on these marketed ‘Cuba cruises’ that would exclude port calls in Cuba, without extending a full reimbursement policy for already booked cruises.

Edited by snowglobe
Typo

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1 hour ago, snowglobe said:

Related questions:

Is Azamara a U.S- based/owned company? 

If yes, then the company itself may be subject to further sanctions prohibiting its ships from docking in Cuba, or from embarking in a U.S. port.

FYI: One cruise marketed to Canadians in the recent past, which was Cuba intensive for a week, had one embarkation port stop in Jamaica as a work-around (not a ‘luxury’ line btw). It also had been a long-time strategy for intrepid Americans to make their way north, and book all-inclusive resort or diving packages in Cuba with charter flights originating out of a Canadian airport.

 

What’s the percentage of American citizens sailing on the Cuba cruises?

It will be interesting to see if the demand from Azamara’s other target markets would be enough to fill a ship with port calls in Cuba. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not sure that Azamara’s client-base is broad enough to sell out a North American cruise to Cuba without them, if this political blustering does result in enforced sanctions.

 

It will be fireworks on this board if Azamara implements a Caribbean itinerary change on these marketed ‘Cuba cruises’ that would exclude port calls in Cuba, without extending a full reimbursement policy for already booked cruises.

I believe that it’s been asked in the past regarding Azamara and Cuba and the answer was it’s a US based company.

From our personal perspective being in the U.K. there are much easier ways to visit Cuba than with a US based company or from a US port. Although we are interested in visiting Cuba at some time in the future we actually cancelled an Azamara cruise when the itinerary was changed to make it Cuba Intensive.

There are cruises on Marella (Thomson) & MSC that would provide us with suitable itineraries without any potential complications.

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1 hour ago, snowglobe said:

Is Azamara a U.S- based/owned company? 

If yes, then the company itself may be subject to further sanctions prohibiting its ships from docking in Cuba, or from embarking in a U.S. port.

FYI: One cruise marketed to Canadians in the recent past, which was Cuba intensive for a week, had one embarkation port stop in Jamaica as a work-around (not a ‘luxury’ line btw). It also had been a long-time strategy for intrepid Americans to make their way north, and book all-inclusive resort or diving packages in Cuba with charter flights originating out of a Canadian airport.

snowglobe, that is two separate and distinct questions and does make a difference.  Azamara like many if not all ocean cruise lines are NOT registered or incorporated in the United States so your answer is yes, US based but, not registered or incorporated in the United states.  Actually Azamara is owned by Royal Caribbean which itself is US Based however incorporated and registered outside the US.

 

In fact, based on the US Regulations regarding cruise ships going to Cuba, it really doesn't matter if they are a US company or foreign company.  The regulations are about cruise ships leaving from a US Port and going to Cuba so not even about only US citizens.   The regulations affect any and all cruise ships departing any US Port whether they are based in the US, owned in the US, etc.  This would include MSC, Tui, and other European or world wide cruise ships departing a US port and then going to Cuba.

 

So, all cruises no matter the cruise line departing a US port then going to Cuba will be affected should the regulations change.  Think this answer your complex question. 

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6 hours ago, rallydave said:

 

So, all cruises no matter the cruise line departing a US port then going to Cuba will be affected should the regulations change.  Think this answer your complex question. 

 

I also think it means that Azamara is not allowed to transport US citizens to Cuba even on cruises not departing from a US port.  

 

I'm not sure why anyone believes any of this will change anytime soon.

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23 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

 

 

I'm not sure why anyone believes any of this will change anytime soon.

 

Are you claiming the cruises keep going, or that they stop?

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I think the cruise lines will work something out where this season's cruises will move forward, but at the end of 2019, there will be no more cruises to Europe until political winds shift.  

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32 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

I think the cruise lines will work something out where this season's cruises will move forward, but at the end of 2019, there will be no more cruises to Europe until political winds shift.  

Cuba?

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14 hours ago, snowglobe said:

It will be fireworks on this board if Azamara implements a Caribbean itinerary change on these marketed ‘Cuba cruises’ that would exclude port calls in Cuba, without extending a full reimbursement policy for already booked cruises.

 

Is that the change that people thing would be made, if a change was to be made?  I mean, would a cruise go forward to SOMEWHERE, or would a cruise just be cancelled?

 

- Joel

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18 minutes ago, cl.klink said:

 

Is that the change that people thing would be made, if a change was to be made?  I mean, would a cruise go forward to SOMEWHERE, or would a cruise just be cancelled?

 

- Joel

 

We had a cruise that started in Turkey and instead of just starting in Athens or changing a couple of ports, Azamara changed the entire itinerary.  We were pretty upset.

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Sadly May 2nd is the end of Americans cruising to Cuba. Wonder where the people booked on a Cuba cruise will go.  Unfortunately,  when you take a cruise, you are not guaranteed a stop at a listed port.   I have missed many ports.  When you cruise, the cruise ship is your major destination. While where it goes is important, the ports are secondary.  If the destination is primary, don't cruise.  Fly in and stay.

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