An American-based tour company plans to launch trips to Cuba that would transport U.S. citizens there by ship. Road Scholar, a Boston-based non-profit company formerly known as Elderhostel, will be offering cruises originating from two foreign countries—Jamaica and Miami. :>). According to an Associated Press article, “Most travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba is outlawed, but tens of thousands of Americans now visit the island legally each year on people-to-people tours, which are licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department. People-to-people trips must have educational and cultural exchange itineraries in order to be approved by the U.S. Government.” I checked the Road Scholar website (RoadScholar.org), but I didn’t find any information yet about these cruises. The company continues to advertise several land tours, which are typically 9 days at a cost of $3795 (including the flight from Miami). I’ll check back periodically and post the results.
It is encouraging that more varieties of Cuba tours are being offered by American companies. Cruises which circle Cuba have been available for several years, although they’ve been offered by cruise lines based in other countries. Several recent cruises have been cancelled on short notice, due to unknown factors. It’s funny that cruises from the U.S. will now be “allowed.” During my visits there over the past 14 years, I have often encountered Americans living on sailboats and yachts docked in Cuban ports in the Hemingway Marina near Havana, at marinas in Varadero, and at the marina at Maria la Gorda in a remote part of far western Cuba. It’s always fun to think about exactly which guidelines these Americans are traveling under. I guess schmoozing with Cuban fishermen and sailors from various other Caribbean countries is definitely a people-to-people activity. I’m sure there is a lot of educational and cultural exchanges happening into the wee hours every night.
To read the article about Cuban cruises offered by Road Scholar, please go to: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23687776/company-plans-people-to-people-cuba-trip-by-ship?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com