What do I need to know to Travel to Cuba?
How can Norwegian Cruise Line offer cruises to Cuba?
Under regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Norwegian may offer carrier services by vessel to authorised travellers, directly or indirectly, between the United States and Cuba (OFAC FAQ # 38 and 31 CFR § 515.572).
How does a Cuba cruise differ from other cruises offered by Norwegian?
Norwegian is offering cruises to Cuba that comply with OFAC regulations for group people-to-people exchanges. However, all of the freedom and flexibility components that Norwegian is known for will still be included.
What is a group people-to-people exchange?
This general license authorises persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in certain educational exchanges in Cuba under the auspices of an organisation that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. Guests using this general license must ensure they maintain a full-time timetable of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people and that will result in meaningful interaction between the guest and individuals in Cuba.
What if I booked my cruise on or after June 16, 2017?
Guests who booked their cruise on or after June 16, 2017 can travel to Cuba under the group people-to-people general license and participate in OFAC-compliant people-to-people exchanges through Norwegian or a third party U.S. sponsoring organisation accompanied by a U.S. individual of the sponsoring organisation to ensure a full-time timetable of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people and that will result in meaningful interaction between the guest and individuals in Cuba.
What if I booked my cruise before June 16, 2017?
Guests who booked their cruise before June 16, 2017 may choose to still engage in individual people-to-people travel or group people-to-people travel.
What if I want to engage in an individual people-to-people exchange?
Effective November 9, 2017, individual people-to-people exchanges are no longer authorised by OFAC. However, guests who booked their cruise before June 16, 2017 may choose to still engage in individual people-to-people travel or group people-to-people travel. We also refer you to FAQ "What if I booked my cruise prior to June 16, 2017?" above.
- Is it legal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba?
- Do I need a passport to travel to Cuba?
- How do I certify that I am travelling under one of the OFAC-approved categories of travel?
- How do I prove compliance with OFAC requirements during my cruise?
- Will non-U.S. guests be allowed to travel on these sailings?
- Click here for more information on Cuba Travel Documentation.
- Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?
- Requirements for Travellers Born in Cuba
- Click here for important Cuba visa requirement information.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILST IN CUBA
Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Cuba?
There are both U.S. and Cuba import regulations that travellers must comply with when travelling and bringing items into Cuba.
For information on U.S. import regulations, please click on the following link for the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security’s Export Administration Regulations https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/regulations/export-administration-regulations-ear.
For information on Cuba import regulations, please click on the following link for the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba http://www.aduana.gob.cu/.
CURRENCY & FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS
Cuba operates as a dual currency system. Cuban convertible peso (CUC$) is the currency which you will exchange and use in Cuba. CUC$ come in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Please note that CUC$ 1 comes in both a coin and paper money configuration. There is a second currency, the Cuban peso, also called moneda nacional or CUP which is used only by Cuban citizens.
Can I exchange money in Cuba?
Yes. Once in Cuba, the port, some hotels, banks, and CADECA bureaus (Cuban government exchange bureaus) can exchange currency (U.S. and Canadian dollars, Euros, British pounds, etc.) for a fee. Non-U.S. currencies such as Euros and Canadian dollars usually have a more favourable exchange rate than the U.S. dollar. Be sure to have proper ID (passport) on hand. Do not accept offers to exchange currency with anyone who approaches you on the street. This is particularly applicable due to the dual currency system used in Cuba.
The U.S. State Department advises that the export of CUCs is strictly prohibited, regardless of the amount.
Are there entities with which I am restricted from engaging in financial transactions?
Effective November 9, 2017, certain direct financial transactions (i.e., payments by credit card or cash) with restricted entities designated by the U.S. Government appearing on the Cuba Restricted List found at https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/275331.htm are prohibited. We recommend that you review this website to familiarise yourself with these restrictions as some locations including hotels may be on the Cuba Restricted List.
Can I use my credit cards in Cuba?
Whilst U.S. citizens are allowed to use debit and credit cards in Cuba, the vast majority of U.S. banks are still considering whether to allow for these transactions to take place. Thus, it is advisable to assume that all transactions in Cuba will be done using cash. We also refer you to the FAQ "Are there entities with which I am restricted from engaging in financial transactions?" above which discusses recent changes in U.S. law applicable to certain direct financial transactions.
Will there be Wi-Fi whilst in Cuba?
All vessels docked in Cuba will provide Wi-Fi service; however, service may not be guaranteed at all times. Cuba has limited Wi-Fi services, although certain hotels and internet cafes may provide service for a fee.
Will I have cellular service whilst in Cuba?
Several carriers in the U.S. and abroad have signed roaming agreements with Cuban telecommunications firm ETECSA, which allows for voice, data and text services whilst in Cuba. Please check with you cellular provider for details.
What am I allowed to bring back from Cuba? Can I bring back cigars, rum and other items from Cuba?
U.S. persons are allowed to return with certain Cuban-origin items, including cigars and rum, for personal use only and pursuant to OFAC regulations. These items remain subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported as accompanied baggage and for personal use. We refer you to the link in the FAQ "Is it legal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba?" above which provides guidance on items that can be imported from Cuba.
How much can I spend whilst in Cuba?
There are no per diem limits on authorised expenses.
Are excursions included in the cruise fare?
Whilst excursions are not included in the cruise fare, Norwegian Cruise Line will offer a variety of excursions to assist guests in meeting the requirements of group people-to-people exchanges.
What ports will the cruise be visiting?
Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun will be calling on Havana.
What types of excursions will be offered?
A variety of excursions will be offered focusing on the unique attractions and characteristics of Havana and its environs in compliance with the requirements of group people to people exchanges.
Are the buses/coaches for excursions air conditioned?
Yes. All of our touring motor coaches are of recent vintage and are fully air conditioned.
Will I be able to move about Cuba freely?
Norwegian Cruise Line will offer a variety of shore excursions at each of our ports of call. Guests are not required to participate in these excursions to meet their group people-to-people travel requirements so long as they use another U.S. sponsoring organisation to meet those requirements and are, otherwise, free to move about Cuba as long as their activities comply with the general license they are travelling under. Entry to some government buildings may be restricted; it's best to ask your guide about the building's specific entry protocol before trying to enter on your own.
What will the onboard experience be like?
Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun will continue to offer guests a range of entertainment, dining options and bars and lounges to enjoy throughout their cruise in addition to customised Cuban dining and entertainment experiences.
HEALTH & SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
Is medical insurance required?
All travellers to Cuba must show proof of Cuba approved medical insurance. This medical insurance will be included in the price of your cruise fare.
Does my insurance cover medical expenses whilst in Cuba?
The provision of health insurance, life insurance and travel insurance related services to authorised U.S. travellers, as well as the receipt of emergency medical services and the making of payments related thereto are authorised by OFAC. However, insurance providers may decide whether or not to participate and provide such coverage in connection with Cuba. It is advisable to check with your insurance provider prior to departure to ensure that you are covered whilst travelling in Cuba.
Does Medicare cover medical expenses whilst in Cuba?
It is advisable to check with your Medicare provider prior to departure to ensure that you are covered whilst travelling in Cuba.
Is there additional medical and/or travel insurance that I can buy through Norwegian Cruise Line?
Yes. Norwegian Cruise Line will offer additional medical and/or travel insurance to guests at an additional fee.
Is it safe to travel in Cuba?
Cuba is a safe country where violent crime is rare. As when travelling in any urban area, keep your valuables in sight at all times and be aware of the possibility of petty crime.