Should more cruise lines visit Cuba

The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line's Grand Classica has been rejected by the authorities in Cuba, despite prior permission to enter. The cruise ship was not allowed to dock in the port of Havana and had to continue to Nassau, Bahamas, without going ashore. This was all the more bitter for the passengers, as not only a port of call with excursions was canceled, but the tour operator Viva Travel, which had launched a full charter of the Grand Classica, had lured the guests to Cuba with a special attraction: as a special offer for Valentine's Day The Miami Herald reported that Cubans living in the United States should be able to visit their loved ones. The advertisement for the cruise with prices starting at US $ 599 offered to enjoy a concert with the Cuban relatives and to be able to eat together.

The Cuban authorities did not provide any official reason for rejecting the ship. However, experts suspect that it is due to doctors among the passengers who have fled Cuba. Because doctors with Cuban citizenship trained on the island who have fled Cuba or their areas of operation in Africa, South America or Asia and have asked for asylum in other countries are viewed by the Cuban government as deserters and are not allowed to stay on the island for eight years to return. It is not clear whether the decision to refuse the cruise ship was due to a misunderstanding, or whether the Cuban authorities changed their minds when the ship tried to dock. Because the passenger lists have to be submitted long before the call.

Viva Travel insists that it had permission from Cuba to dock in Havana and allow Cuban relatives to come on board: "Our company has all the necessary contracts with the Cuban government," said Eduardo Castillo, Vice President of Viva Travel. “At first they said that we could enter the island without any problems. A little later, the port authorities informed the crew that the Minister of Transport had forbidden the visit and that the ship must leave national waters immediately. ”Castillo said he could not produce the documents signed by Cuba because they were on board the ship found. But he wants to publish it as soon as the Grand Classica arrives in the port of destination. The ship's owner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, also said that the necessary permits were all in place and that the Cuban government was responsible.

More information at https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article226355605.html