Norwegian Cruise Line In CUBA Frequently Asked Questions
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 authorized travelers, directly or indirectly, between the United States and Cuba ( OFAC FAQ # 24 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 people to people exchanges . However, all of the freedom and flexibility components that Norwegian is known for will still be included.
What is a people-to-people exchange? An individual traveler may travel to Cuba under the people-to-people authorized travel category, as a self-certified traveler, so long as he/she maintains a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.
When will Norwegian sail to Cuba? Norwegian will offer sailings starting in May of 2017 aboard Norwegian Sky.
Click here for important Cuba visa requirement information.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE IN CUBA Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Cuba?
There are both U.S. and Cuba import regulations that travelers must comply with when traveling 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.co.cu/.
CURRENCY 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, tourist 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 favorable 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.
Can I use my credit cards in Cuba? While 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.
Will there be Wi-Fi while 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 while 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 while 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 while in Cuba? There are no per diem limits on authorized expenses.
Are excursions included in the cruise fare? While 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 people to people exchanges.
What ports will the cruise be visiting? Norwegian Sky 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.
Are the buses/coaches for excursions air conditioned? Yes. All of our touring motor coaches are of recent vintage and are fully air conditioned.
How much free time is there? OFAC requires that individuals traveling under a people-to-people license participate in a full-time schedule of people-to-people exchange activities that result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba. As all guests will be self-certifying that their travel complies with the people-to-people license (or one of the other eleven travel categories authorized under general licenses), guests are free to create their own itinerary and to determine what full time constitutes, which may or may not include excursions offered by Norwegian Cruise Line. After completion of people-to- people activities, guests are free to explore as they wish.
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 and are 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 will continue to offer guests a range of entertainment, dining options and bars and lounges to enjoy throughout their cruise in addition to customized Cuban dining and entertainment experiences.
HEALTH & SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS Is medical insurance required?
All travelers 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 while in Cuba? The provision of health insurance, life insurance and travel insurance related services to authorized U.S. travelers, as well as the receipt of emergency medical services and the making of payments related thereto are authorized 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 while traveling in Cuba.
Does Medicare cover medical expenses while in Cuba?
It is advisable to check with your Medicare provider prior to departure to ensure that you are covered while traveling 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 traveling in any urban area, keep your valuables in sight at all times and be aware of the possibility of petty crime.
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