It’s never been easier for Americans to visit Cuba. At the direction of President Obama, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has introduced new general licenses within 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba that require no formal application, prior permission, nor post trip report to U.S. officials.
Cuba Cruise now welcomes Americans on board by offering two easy ways to travel: book a comprehensive program with a U.S. tour operator partner, like Road Scholar and InsightCuba, or book directly with Cuba Cruise and register for a People-to-People Cuba Cruise program with U.S. non-profit organization Fund for Reconciliation and Development (FFRD). Commissions are available.
“Our People-to-People Cuba Cruise program qualifies for the general license and is designed to immerse U.S. travelers in Cuban culture and history,” said John McAuliff, Executive Director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, and Coordinator of the Cuba/US People to People Partnership. “The exclusive cruise program circumnavigates the island, fostering genuine interaction and cultural exchange both ashore and onboard. It is the most accessible and affordable introduction to Cuba currently available to Americans.”
Educational activities available include Cuban-led dance and Spanish workshops; one-on-one cultural exchanges with Cuban crew and performers; day-trips to historical places of interests like Biran (the birthplace of Fidel Castro), Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos; onboard lectures and film screenings delivered by a University of Havana professor; and more.
How to book your clients on Cuba Cruise
By joining the FFRD group on the cruise, Americans will receive a participant letter from the organization authorizing travel to Cuba under the new general license for people-to-people travel. The process is simple:
1. Travel Agents can book their client’s Cuba Cruise directly online (yourcubacruise.com) or by phone (1-855-364-4999)
2. Clients must then register for the FFRD’s People-to-People group travel program online at tinyurl.com/P2Pcruise and receive a participant letter of authorized travel.
All visitors to Cuba require a Cuba Tourist Card, which can be obtained from most airlines flying to Havana or from Cuba Cruise on departure from Montego Bay. Travelers must provide proof of travel health insurance and passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of departure.
In partnership with Road Scholar and InsightCuba, both licensed and registered with OFAC, Cuba Cruise has and continues to successfully host groups of Americans onboard the cruise vessel since December 2013. During those comprehensive 12 or 13-day programs, Americans spend five nights aboard the Louis Cristal, embarking from Cienfuegos and visiting unique destinations around the island like the Isle of Youth, Havana, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba.
Cuba Cruise is experiencing a surge in interest from the U.S. and expects to sell out the remaining 2015 departures soon. Rates for the 7-night People-to-People Cuba Cruise, sponsored by the FFRD, start at CAD$782, plus port fees (CAD$178) and the cost of registration (US$75). Weekly departures from January 30 to March 23, 2015 are available to book now. Passengers can embark from either Montego Bay or Havana.
There’s never been a better time to visit Cuba. For more information about Cuba Cruise, visit yourcubacruise.com.