Boston-based Road Scholar, which offers people-to-people educational trips to Cuba, canceled three such programs that were to have transported U.S. citizens on sailings aboard a Canadian cruise ship out of Miami and Jamaica to Havana, after learning that the U.S. government would not permit travel to Cuba “aboard a vessel.”
Three seaborne trips had been scheduled from December through March.
After announcing the programs on July 18, Road Scholar received an email several days later from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) saying that “travel to and from Cuba, whether originating or terminating in the U.S. or a third country, may not be aboard a vessel.”
The provision was written into an amended license.
Road Scholar is the name given to programs developed and offered by Elderhostel, which, according to its website, offers adventures in lifelong learning.
The vessel in question was the Louis Cristal, a cruise ship operated by Cuba Cruise, a Canadian company.
The ship has a capacity of 996 passengers. Other than the 24 participants on Road Scholar’s programs, the remaining passengers were Canadian and European travelers.
Yves Marceau, Road Scholar’s director of program development, said that the port programs in Cuba had been designed to be consistent with OFAC’s regulations.
“We continue to offer exceptional people-to-people educational experiences to Cuba with five different land-based educational programs,” Marceau said. “We will continue to follow all regulations and guidelines to the letter as we develop new itineraries.”
Road Scholar offers 4,000 programs in the U.S. and Canada; 1,500 trips are international.
Since its founding in 1975, more than 5 million participants have signed on for its educational adventures worldwide, including 95,000 in 2012, according to Marceau.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.