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Travel to Cuba coming to an end?

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The advice to stay calm is good advice. There's lots of posturing underway, on all sides.

 

Cuba is in the midst of significant political and economic change, arguably the most significant since 1959. 

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43 minutes ago, v3cruiser said:

At least Cuba does support small entrepreneurial efforts as long as you pay taxes on some of your earnings to support the free healthcare, schooling, and food the government provides. Been reading a lot about the country hoping to be able to relate to those who we interact with when we hopefully cruise there. We know very little about the rules and regulations for these tour operators setup as small businesses.

 

The small business initiatives are not universally supported among Party leadership. Steps by regional authorities to  both expand or restrict local activities have been widely reported.

 

Blexie etc may simply have been caught in an internecine battle among Cuban factions. Or not.

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2 hours ago, d1k said:

 

 I am hoping against hope that you are right.  I either want Cuba or my money back.  I know it doesn't work like that but we would not be on this ship without the Cuba destination.  So many other ships we could have spent that money on.

 

 

Unfortunately that's true for us too.we only booked for Cuba.i prepaid my tour so I may be out that money if it all goes south.the tour company doesn't respond to my emails.i can do a charge back maybe.honestly I don't like carnival enough to do a cruise that goes to ports we have already done twice.final payment is due in October.we will see.

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36 minutes ago, scpirate said:

Unfortunately that's true for us too.we only booked for Cuba.i prepaid my tour so I may be out that money if it all goes south.the tour company doesn't respond to my emails.i can do a charge back maybe.honestly I don't like carnival enough to do a cruise that goes to ports we have already done twice.final payment is due in October.we will see.

Just emailed our TA. Told her if Cuba is removed from the Veendam we are out.

Final payment isn’t until October so have time for things to play out.

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23 minutes ago, Granny DI said:

Just emailed our TA. Told her if Cuba is removed from the Veendam we are out.

Final payment isn’t until October so have time for things to play out.


If we had that option I would be bailing too.  We are 50 days away so we have already paid in full.

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3 minutes ago, d1k said:


If we had that option I would be bailing too.  We are 50 days away so we have already paid in full.

Hopefully we will all get to see Cuba!

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I just heard from Blexie about our mid May tour.  He now has a new meeting place and we have a pass code number for the driver. I've been planning this cruise since last July  I'm hoping this all goes well.

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I just booked a freebie cruise to Cuba on Tuesday. Of course, it was that afternoon that my husband asked if I had heard what was going on with traveling to Cuba! Argh!!! I just want to get excited again about my cruise rather than feeling like Cuba may be cancelled and then I'd be going to who knows where on a tiny cruise ship. I'll take Coco Cay as a substitute! 

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12 minutes ago, Lorey2007 said:

I just heard from Blexie about our mid May tour.  He now has a new meeting place and we have a pass code number for the driver. I've been planning this cruise since last July  I'm hoping this all goes well.

I know I am going to be flamed, but I am going to say this anyway.  We as Americans go into a foreign country and disregard or flaunt laws that we think are wrong, and then are surprised and outraged when we are subjected to those laws and what that country considers justice.  We do not get to make the rules for everyone else.  I hope it goes well also.

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21 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

I know I am going to be flamed, but I am going to say this anyway.  We as Americans go into a foreign country and disregard or flaunt laws that we think are wrong, and then are surprised and outraged when we are subjected to those laws and what that country considers justice.  We do not get to make the rules for everyone else.  I hope it goes well also.

 

Amen.  We Americans are arrogant and not afraid to show it

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2 hours ago, MrMarc said:

I know I am going to be flamed, but I am going to say this anyway.  We as Americans go into a foreign country and disregard or flaunt laws that we think are wrong, and then are surprised and outraged when we are subjected to those laws and what that country considers justice.  We do not get to make the rules for everyone else.  I hope it goes well also.

 

I'm not going to flame,  and I'm not even going to disagree with your comments.  :)   

....but I am wondering what your comments have to do with Blexie making changes to his meeting place?  The Cuban government hasn't said that these tours are illegal. They aren't trying to discourage tourists from taking them. If anything they are trying to discourage the tour guides themselves from operating.  

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there is a MAJOR cruise lobby in DCA as well as airline lobby that will do all possible to not interfere with their bottom lines. Most of the cruises that call  on Cuba are sold out well in advance...not going to stop overnight.

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10 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

The small business initiatives are not universally supported among Party leadership. Steps by regional authorities to  both expand or restrict local activities have been widely reported.

 

Blexie etc may simply have been caught in an internecine battle among Cuban factions. Or not.

Unfortunately what I heard from 4 separate private tour guides during our last December cruise is private tour operators and private businesses are constantly getting squeezed from changing Cuban government regulations also.  New rules came into play just before our arrival.  e.g. one of the tour operators said that private restaurants can no longer bring in musicians without going through a government agency and paying a booking fee.  "That's why less private restaurants have live music".   

 

What's happening with Blexie?  They no longer can pick up passengers where they used to?  

 

Laurence

 

 

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We sail 01/20/20 and I am going to be very disappointed if we can't do Cuba.   I have made reservations with OldCarTours but have not paid.   I guess they will know if we show or not show at that time.  I wanted to buy tickets to Tropicana but looks like I will be waiting until the first of January before I push the button for on line purchase!   Hope all goes well for everyone.  

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4 hours ago, ebslcc said:

Unfortunately what I heard from 4 separate private tour guides during our last December cruise is private tour operators and private businesses are constantly getting squeezed from changing Cuban government regulations also.  New rules came into play just before our arrival.  e.g. one of the tour operators said that private restaurants can no longer bring in musicians without going through a government agency and paying a booking fee.  "That's why less private restaurants have live music".   

 

What's happening with Blexie?  They no longer can pick up passengers where they used to?  

 

Laurence

 

 

 

Some Cuban bureaucrats are very supportive of small business owners. Others see the very concept of a business ownership a betrayal of Revolutionary values. 

 

There are many levers to use, including rules on taxes, who they can employ, where and if they can advertise, where they can grow. Even possessing dollars can be a concern for guides. 

 

This converges at a point where an attractive but foreign cultural force cascades into a somewhat closed society. 

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I know I am going to be flamed, but I am going to say this anyway.  We as Americans go into a foreign country and disregard or flaunt laws that we think are wrong, and then are surprised and outraged when we are subjected to those laws and what that country considers justice.  We do not get to make the rules for everyone else.  I hope it goes well also.
Not flaming but we are likely dealing with two different things happening.

1. I suspect the private tour guides not being officially permitted businesses are not paying the hefty taxes like the classic car people pay. They told us the car people still make money even with the huge taxes (payoffs, whatever you want to call them). If the private tour guides aren't plugged into that system that may explain the crackdown.

2. Trump adminstration announcing unspecified travel restrictions. Until they put some specifics behind this, it just may be rhetoric.

I am still optimistic for all of your that things will be ok, although I'm glad we did ours a few weeks ago before all this came up.

The individual ship's cruise directors manage this cruise to cruise, things change down there and they learn each cruise and do a great job adapting. We had a pretty normal experience on our cruise, left us with the feeling hey Cuba's not so bad, then all this happened

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15 hours ago, MrMarc said:

I know I am going to be flamed, but I am going to say this anyway.  We as Americans go into a foreign country and disregard or flaunt laws that we think are wrong, and then are surprised and outraged when we are subjected to those laws and what that country considers justice.  We do not get to make the rules for everyone else.  I hope it goes well also.

 

On this occasion it isn't about being subject to the laws of the country you're visiting, this potential disruption is down to Trump/USA changing the travel rules.

Our cruise was also booked purely for the visit to Cuba and we'll be very disappointed if this cannot happen because the departure port is Miami and Donald has changed his mind this week.

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47 minutes ago, CruisingFox27 said:

 

On this occasion it isn't about being subject to the laws of the country you're visiting, this potential disruption is down to Trump/USA changing the travel rules.

Our cruise was also booked purely for the visit to Cuba and we'll be very disappointed if this cannot happen because the departure port is Miami and Donald has changed his mind this week.

I am talking about the Cuban's closing down the tour companies, not the new travel restrictions.

 

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9 hours ago, ebslcc said:

Unfortunately what I heard from 4 separate private tour guides during our last December cruise is private tour operators and private businesses are constantly getting squeezed from changing Cuban government regulations also.  New rules came into play just before our arrival.  e.g. one of the tour operators said that private restaurants can no longer bring in musicians without going through a government agency and paying a booking fee.  "That's why less private restaurants have live music".   

 

What's happening with Blexie?  They no longer can pick up passengers where they used to?  

 

Laurence

 

 

 

From my understanding,  Cuban authorities did a sweep of waiting tour guides in Plaza de San Francisco one day a couple of weeks ago.  Held about 10 of them in jail for a full day and fined them (I assume for operating without proper Cuban licenses?).  
Since then,   Blexie has changed his meeting spot for his groups,  FerTours has gone out of business, and CubaOutings has closed due to "injuries to all employee in a vehicle accident".  

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3 hours ago, mac1_131 said:

Not flaming but we are likely dealing with two different things happening.

1. I suspect the private tour guides not being officially permitted businesses are not paying the hefty taxes like the classic car people pay. They told us the car people still make money even with the huge taxes (payoffs, whatever you want to call them). If the private tour guides aren't plugged into that system that may explain the crackdown.

2. Trump adminstration announcing unspecified travel restrictions. Until they put some specifics behind this, it just may be rhetoric.

 

 

This, especially # 1. 

Our guide told us they all very much want to be licensed (and are willing to pay the fees) but for now, Gov't won't put it in motion. 

 

On my first visit, I learned that the monthly license fee for the old car taxis is $600 / month.

License for the regular taxis - $40 /month.  So, yeah, entrepreneurs are willing to pay for the privilege.

In the case of the tour guides, the Gov't is actually losing out on revenue. 

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45 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

I am talking about the Cuban's closing down the tour companies, not the new travel restrictions.

 

Ah, I see. Sorry, we were on different topics in the thread 😣

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Heard from Blexie and he is giving a secure confirmation to give the driver so as to be safe. It is by the church . I am still doing a cruise tour the first day just to cover our bases. 

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Next, you are going to have to find the trash can that Agent 13 is in, say the code phrase, and use the secret handshake.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jkeller527 said:

Heard from Blexie and he is giving a secure confirmation to give the driver so as to be safe. It is by the church . I am still doing a cruise tour the first day just to cover our bases. 

  Good luck.  If they can give you an unlisted email address or phone number while you are there, please let us know (just in case the government goes after their webpage).  I have no idea how closely the cuban government is monitoring individual email/text messages.

Edited by kitkat343

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My daughter and I are supposed to take a cruise to Cuba in June.  Like many of you I would not have booked this ship if Cuba was not part of the equation.  I had arranged to do a tour with Blexie but I have to admit I am concerned about the risk factor of my teenage daughter and I getting swept up in some raid.  I could just be letting my anxiety take over my head but what is the risk factor to tourists? 

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