The United States Treasury Department today announced new regulations that will end group travel to Cuba for “people to people” educational purposes and prohibiting visits to the island via cruise ships.
According to a new Department of Commerce rule, “private and corporate aircraft, cruise ships, sailboats, fishing boats, and other similar aircraft and vessels generally will be prohibited from going to Cuba.”
Owen Torres, Manager at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Corporate Communications, issued a statement to RoyalCaribbeanBlog of the short-term impact, "We are aware of the announcement and are analyzing the details to understand the impact on our itineraries. In the meantime, we are adjusting the itineraries of our June 5 and June 6 sailings, which will no longer stop in Cuba. We are communicating with our guests about those changes. We will provide other updates as needed."
Royal Caribbean's website was updated at 6pm EST to add, "We are aware of the new U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba and we are analyzing the details to understand the impact to future sailings. We expect to know more within the next 24 hours and will communicate any changes as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we are adjusting the itineraries of our June 5 and June 6 sailings, which will no longer stop in Cuba. We are communicating with our guests about those changes."
Cuba Travel Update: We're aware of the announcement and are analyzing the details to understand the impact on our itineraries. For now, we're adjusting the 6/5 and 6/6 sailing itineraries, which will no longer stop in Cuba. We are communicating the changes with our guests.— Royal Caribbean (@RoyalCaribbean) June 4, 2019
The new regulation closes off all “people to people” travel. The change includes a grandfather provision saying that previously authorized travel can be undertaken, provided “the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation)” before Tuesday.
6:50PM update: The Majesty of the Seas June 5th sailing has swapped out its scheduled stop in Havana to Costa Maya, Mexico.
In an email sent to guests, the cruise line added guests on this sailing will receive a refund in the value of 50% per stateroom the your cruise fare paid as a credit to their onboard account during the cruise.
8:00PM update: Royal Caribbean has indicated a new update will be available by June 6, at 6:00PM EST.