This report was updated on Thursday with more information on compensation for Cuba passengers.
Cruise lines began tearing up their Cuba itineraries a day
after the Trump administration's decision to immediately halt authorizations
for cruise travel to the island from the United States.
Carnival Cruise Line said that guests on the Carnival
Sensation's June 3 sailing would call in Cozumel on June 6 rather than Havana. Royal
Caribbean International said that departures on June 4 and 5 with Cuba in their
itineraries would be similarly rerouted.
Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun was due to call in
Havana on June 5, but instead was rerouted to Nassau. In a letter to travel
partners, NCL said, "We are so sorry for this very last-minute change. We
had no prior notice and were therefore unable to plan accordingly."
It was a theme echoed in a statement from CLIA on behalf of
the cruise industry, which was unprepared for the sudden halt. CLIA said that upwards
of 800,000 bookings will be affected by the new Cuba policy.
bookings had been made under a general license previously issued by the United
States government that authorized 'people to people' travel to Cuba,"
a CLIA statement said.
"The new rules
effectively make it illegal to cruise to Cuba from the United States. While
this situation is completely beyond our control, we are genuinely sorry for all
cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked
itineraries to Cuba."
Carnival said it was
offering guests on the Sensation cruise a $100 onboard credit by way of
compensation. "We recognize Havana is a unique destination and may have
been the reason for the selection of this itinerary," Carnival said.
Carnival added that
it is in the process of notifying other guests of their new itineraries and
their options, in the order of sailing date proximity. Mailings for sailings through the end of July
2019 are now in progress, Carnival said.
Carnival guests with
bookings that include Cuba will be offered a an onboard credit of $100 per person, the option to move to another itinerary with a $50 onboard credit, or the
option to cancel and get a full refund.
Carnival Corp. said in a statement that in addition to Carnival Cruise Line,
Holland America Line also operates Cuba cruises and Seabourn
was scheduled to call there in November.
Holland America Line said new itineraries are in the process
of being finalized. Booked guests who stick with their existing cruise can get
a $100 per person shipboard credit. They can also get the credit if they switch
to another HAL cruise in the Caribbean or get a $50 shipboard credit by switch
to a cruise in another region. They can also cancel for a full refund.
Seabourn, which had been set to sail the Seabourn Sojourn to Cuba
this fall, said details on replacement ports of call will be announced by June
15. Seabourn guests who remain with the Sojourn will receive special pricing
and a shipboard credit of $250 to $500 depending on cabin category. Guests that switch to another Seabourn voyage
of up to 14 days will get a 10% discount and cancelling for a full refund is
also an option.
Norwegian Cruise Line said guests currently sailing on Norwegian Sun who
departed on June 3 as well as all guests booked on Norwegian Sky and Norwegian
Sun cruises to Cuba through and including the Sept. 2 departure will
get a 50% refund of the cruise fare paid as well as a 50% future cruise credit
valid for sailings through Dec. 31, 2021.
Norwegian said it is protecting full commission for
reservations that continue to sail on amended Norwegian Sky and Sun
sailings.It said that shore excursions prebooked for Cuba will be
Beyond the Sept. 2 date, Sun and Sky cruises are canceled.
New itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks. Refunds will be applied
to the original form of payment. Travel Partner commissions will be protected
on all deposited bookings and will be distributed by June 30, 2019.
Guests that rebook can get a 20% discount (off current
cruise fare) on any new bookings on future sailings booked by Aug. 5, 2019,
and sailing no later than Dec. 31, 2020, Norwegian said.
MSC Cruises said the Miami-based MSC
Armonia will forgo Havana calls and visit Key
West, Florida; Costa Maya, Mexico; George Town, Cayman Islands; or Cozumel,
Mexico. Guests will receive a $400 onboard credit that is refundable if not
fully used. Pre-purchased shore excursions in Havana will be automatically
refunded to the guest's onboard account.
Some lines had cruises with multiple stops and
overnights scheduled in Cuba later this year. Azamara Club Cruises had an
11-night "Cuba Intensive" cruise scheduled to depart Miami on Nov. 25
that included two nights in Santiago de Cuba, a stop in Cienfuegos and two
nights in Havana.
Correction: Seabourn had been scheduled to sail the Sojourn to Cuba this fall. An earlier version of this report named the wrong ship.