Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
BIG_Steve

Getting off-on-off ship in Havana

Recommended Posts

We have a long daytime tour that fulfills the people to people rule.  When it's over, we might like to go back on the ship to change clothes, clean up. 

 

If we get back off, do we have to fill out a 2nd "guest affidavit for travel to Cuba?"   

 

When we reboard after the first tour, are we required to convert our CUCs back to dollars? 

 

And lastly, is the Visa okay for going in and out of the port all day?  Or do you need a new Visa each time?

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, your OFAC travel affidavit is only lodged once for travel to Cuba, and that sole reason for travel then applies to all ports of call.

Not that it will matter, but if you choose "people to people" as your OFAC reason, then whenever you go ashore you must always be accompanied by your excursion organiser's representative/s, and never by yourself. 

For cruise line passengers the theoretical best OFAC travel reason will nearly always be "support for the Cuban people".

With regard to converting currency the only "rule" is that you are not supposed to carry back home any CUC, so convert back after your last shore visit. (I still have a few CUC and nobody from Cuba is chasing after me 😇.)

With regard to your visa, it's good for your whole voyage - Cuban immigration will check your passport each time you leave your ship to go ashore as it will have been "stamped" at your first disembarkation. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please see rederob's previous post:

It has a reference to the BEST explanation of what OFAC category a cruise passenger should use:
http://forums.debbiescaribbeanresortreviews.com/t/cruise-line-passengers-to-cuba-which-ofac-category/23708

 

There are hundreds more postings on this subject. Scroll down on this forum and you will see many. Or just do a search on Cruise Critic or TripAdvisor. Here is a good long one: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147270-i91-k11260185-Cruise_to_Cuba_shore_excursions_required-Cuba.htmle 

 

Don't be persuaded by the cruise line that you MUST take only their people to people excursions. The cruise lines likes the confusion since it steers people to take their expensive excursions.  Select the "Support the Cuban People" OFAC category and take a private tour or select both if you are going to take the cruise's tour and also roam around yourself. 

 

BTW on your other thread you asked if it is safe to walk around at night. If you are looking for places to go at night there are plenty of bars and clubs with entertainment in Old Havana. See my previous thread about Buena Vista Social Club. If you are interested the club is only 15 minutes walk from the port.
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2592064-info-on-the-many-places-with-buena-vista-social-club-shows-ship-excursions/

Quote

 

Buena Vista Social Club at Cafe Taberna

There are multiple Cafe Taberna locations. The Cafe Taberna in Old Havana is directly across the plaza from where the ships dock. It is only 5 minutes walk from the port. Calle Mercaderes #531 | esquina Brasil Teniente Rey, Havana Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/dz8BbZ5zgbT2

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the explanation I had one other question.

 

We're booked on the Norwegian Sky and will be in Havana on New Years Eve. 

 

Not exactly sure why but based on what we're told by Norwegian we checked Educational exchanges - group people to people through Norwegian or other organization.

 

We've booked a 1:00pm excursion with Norwegian. My question is can we leave the ship to walk around Havana on our own prior to the excursion without a problem? 

 

Thanks 

 

Southside 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Southside Mike said:

We're booked on the Norwegian Sky and will be in Havana on New Years Eve. 

Not exactly sure why but based on what we're told by Norwegian we checked Educational exchanges - group people to people through Norwegian or other organization.

The cruise line is selling you OFAC compliant excursion and you are traveling under the license "Educational exchanges - group people to people through Norwegian or other organization." thus that's what NCL wants you to check off.   Under the regulation the cruise line keeps the paper work for 5 years, also under this license "See: (b) General license for people-to-people travel at: http://tiny.cc/7b3ewy "individuals may rely on the entity sponsoring the travel to satisfy his or her record keeping requirements with respect to the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section. These records must be furnished to the Office of Foreign Assets Control on demand pursuant to §501.602 of this chapter"  Thus there isn't anything that you need to do.  It is the cruise line that is maintaining the record.

 

Quote

 

We've booked a 1:00pm excursion with Norwegian. My question is can we leave the ship to walk around Havana on our own prior to the excursion without a problem? 

I don't see why you can't walk around on your own.  The Cuban authority only cares about checking your passport and making sure you have the visa that NCL will provide for you.  There isn't any one monitoring where you go before or after your excursion.  The Cuban authorities don't care about the US required paperwork which the cruise line already collected from you on embarkation.  My guess is the paper work gets put in a box somewhere or the completed forms are scanned and discarded. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Southside Mike said:

We've booked a 1:00pm excursion with Norwegian. My question is can we leave the ship to walk around Havana on our own prior to the excursion without a problem? 

Thanks 

 

Mike, technically you cannot disembark the ship by yourself if you have chosen "people to people".  However, as stated above, nobody will be checking.

(The reason why is that if you are not with your sponsoring organisation all the time, they cannot satisfy OFAC's record keeping requirements - because clearly they do not know what else you did!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We just returned last week on RCCL Empress. We did a private tour with Rommilio (works for Blexie), got off the ship and waited/walked around the plaza for an hour until time to meet him.

 

To give you a practical answer, those OFAC forms will never see the light of day. No way some government agency is going to devote a couple hundred clerks to review each and every one. To do an actual investigation of each would take decades. If they do, there will be hundreds, just from last week's Empress cruise, in trouble.

 

We got off in Cienfuegos and walked around on our own (not much to see), as did hundreds of others passengers. And that is just one ship out of ??? in just one week. It would amount to hundreds of thousands each year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Walk off the ship and go have fun!!! No police or monitors to watch you. It's a wonderful place to visit....don't let people scare you about independent touring. Millions have done it successfully...including me.  We went to a Sunday church service, sat in a park to people watch,  ate in local cafes and had our hair cut in a little local beauty shop!

Edited by Go-Bucks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, rederob said:

 

Mike, technically you cannot disembark the ship by yourself if you have chosen "people to people".  However, as stated above, nobody will be checking.

(The reason why is that if you are not with your sponsoring organisation all the time, they cannot satisfy OFAC's record keeping requirements - because clearly they do not know what else you did!)

 

With respect, I am not sure what you are saying is entirely correct.

 

We are planning to travel to Cuba with Seabourn next year.  They, like some other operators are clearly saying that once you have completed their 'People to People' tour for the day, then you are entirely free to go wherever you want, as an independent tourist, disconnected from the Seabourn lead. This is very clear on their website, and we have also confirmed this with their office. 

  

So - if one is in a Cuban city for a long overnight stop, you can do a 2-3 hour tour with the cruise line first thing in the morning, and then have say 10 hours free to do whatever you want independently.

 

This is before one even considers ignoring the cruise line half truths that are being put out there, and ticking the 'Support for the Cuban People' box instead of/as well as 'People to People'. This is probably what we intend doing, as we plan to arrange a mix of ship tours and independent activities.       

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, machotspur said:

 

  They, like some other operators are clearly saying that once you have completed their 'People to People' tour for the day, then you are entirely free to go wherever you want, as an independent tourist,

 

 

The carnival website says the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, richardb said:

We just returned last week on RCCL Empress. We did a private tour with Rommilio (works for Blexie), got off the ship and waited/walked around the plaza for an hour until time to meet him.

 

To give you a practical answer, those OFAC forms will never see the light of day. No way some government agency is going to devote a couple hundred clerks to review each and every one. To do an actual investigation of each would take decades. If they do, there will be hundreds, just from last week's Empress cruise, in trouble.

 

We got off in Cienfuegos and walked around on our own (not much to see), as did hundreds of others passengers. And that is just one ship out of ??? in just one week. It would amount to hundreds of thousands each year.

 

How was your trip on Empress? We are sailing on her next month. Our itinerary was just changed to include Havana and we are super excited for that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the Empress, but she's not like the bigger ships. We had been on Allure 2 weeks before and it was refreshing to walk from the dining room to the theater in just 2 minutes. That said, she's not a good ship for families with kids. Cabins are smaller than the newer ships but we had good seas, with very little movement.

 

If you hadn't been expecting to go to Cuba, then you need to know about the $75 Visa. They (this pertains to RCCL, don't know about the other lines) hand it to you when you check in, don't lose it!! They are numbered and while you can get a replacement, you will be charged another $75. It will be charged to your sea pass and we were told that if we didn't get off the ship, not to fill it out and we could get the $75 charge taken off upon returning the blank Visa to guest relations (again, this is RCCL).

 

Don't stress over the forms or the Visa. When we arrived in Havana, we were the only ship at that time and were off the ship, through immigration, and our money changed in less than 30 minutes. We were warned that a larger, MCS ship would arrive soon and that lines would then get long.

 

As others have said, do what you want; ship's cruise, private tour, or just on your own. But do enjoy the sites and the people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, richardb said:

I like the Empress, but she's not like the bigger ships. We had been on Allure 2 weeks before and it was refreshing to walk from the dining room to the theater in just 2 minutes. That said, she's not a good ship for families with kids. Cabins are smaller than the newer ships but we had good seas, with very little movement.

 

If you hadn't been expecting to go to Cuba, then you need to know about the $75 Visa. They (this pertains to RCCL, don't know about the other lines) hand it to you when you check in, don't lose it!! They are numbered and while you can get a replacement, you will be charged another $75. It will be charged to your sea pass and we were told that if we didn't get off the ship, not to fill it out and we could get the $75 charge taken off upon returning the blank Visa to guest relations (again, this is RCCL).

 

Don't stress over the forms or the Visa. When we arrived in Havana, we were the only ship at that time and were off the ship, through immigration, and our money changed in less than 30 minutes. We were warned that a larger, MCS ship would arrive soon and that lines would then get long.

 

As others have said, do what you want; ship's cruise, private tour, or just on your own. But do enjoy the sites and the people.

Thanks! We were already scheduled for two stops in Cuba (Cienfuegos and Santiago), now we are scheduled for Havana and Cienfuegos, so we were aware of the visa.  It's our first RC cruise, I'm looking forward to not being on a giant ship! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, machotspur said:

 

With respect, I am not sure what you are saying is entirely correct.

 

We are planning to travel to Cuba with Seabourn next year.  They, like some other operators are clearly saying that once you have completed their 'People to People' tour for the day, then you are entirely free to go wherever you want, as an independent tourist, disconnected from the Seabourn lead. This is very clear on their website, and we have also confirmed this with their office. 

  

So - if one is in a Cuban city for a long overnight stop, you can do a 2-3 hour tour with the cruise line first thing in the morning, and then have say 10 hours free to do whatever you want independently.

 

This is before one even considers ignoring the cruise line half truths that are being put out there, and ticking the 'Support for the Cuban People' box instead of/as well as 'People to People'. This is probably what we intend doing, as we plan to arrange a mix of ship tours and independent activities.       

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, machotspur said:

 

With respect, I am not sure what you are saying is entirely correct.

 

We are planning to travel to Cuba with Seabourn next year.  They, like some other operators are clearly saying that once you have completed their 'People to People' tour for the day, then you are entirely free to go wherever you want, as an independent tourist, disconnected from the Seabourn lead. This is very clear on their website, and we have also confirmed this with their office. 

  

So - if one is in a Cuban city for a long overnight stop, you can do a 2-3 hour tour with the cruise line first thing in the morning, and then have say 10 hours free to do whatever you want independently.

 

This is before one even considers ignoring the cruise line half truths that are being put out there, and ticking the 'Support for the Cuban People' box instead of/as well as 'People to People'. This is probably what we intend doing, as we plan to arrange a mix of ship tours and independent activities.       

 

 

With respect, I rely on what OFAC would use to enforce compliance (which is clearly not presently the case), and is written here in the CACR:  §515.565 b) General license for people-to-people travel. The travel-related transactions set forth in §515.560(c) and such additional transactions as are directly incident to educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program are authorized, provided that:

(1) The exchanges take place under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact;

Cuban Asset Control Regulations- "Educational Activities"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/22/2018 at 5:04 PM, rederob said:

 

With respect, I rely on what OFAC would use to enforce compliance (which is clearly not presently the case), and is written here in the CACR:  §515.565 b) General license for people-to-people travel. The travel-related transactions set forth in §515.560(c) and such additional transactions as are directly incident to educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program are authorized, provided that:

(1) The exchanges take place under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact;

Cuban Asset Control Regulations- "Educational Activities"

 

What does this mean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Go-Bucks! said:

 

What does this mean?

 

It means that the information on many cruise line websites is wrong with respect what is allowable under OFAC's  "people to people" travel authorisations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/23/2018 at 7:46 PM, rederob said:

 

It means that the information on many cruise line websites is wrong with respect what is allowable under OFAC's  "people to people" travel authorisations.

 

You can check Support for Cuban People and either go out on your own, take a private tour or a ship tour.  Don't over think it....have fun instead!!  It's way less complicated than many people try to make it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just back last week.  We did a tour then came back to the ship to eat dinner and freshen up.  We booked an excursion for the Caberet show at 9:00 pm.  We walked off the ship and just showed customs our passports with the pink stamp and walked right on through.  Easy peasy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...