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Kelownabccan

Veendam to Cuba for Canadians

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Just booked one for January......for 7 days......do Canadians need to follow the rules for Americans on the ship and have organized tours that are for "cultural  support the peoples of Cuba" reasons.....was looking at some tours available and get some rules from the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) .....does anyone know if this applies to us also.....thanks...

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My Canadian friend and I went to Cuba on the Veendam last year and I am still hearing about the fact that HAL made her pay $75 for a visa that is not necessary for Canadian residents.  We took a ship's tour because I was nervous about being in compliance with OFAC (and whether they would let us off the ship).  This year another friend and I went to Cuba on a different line and even though they hounded (threatened) us with the possibility of OFAC audits, we walked off the ship and did an independent tour.  I guess we are supposed to wait for a knock on our door any time in the next five years to check out our people to people paperwork.

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IF the Cuba ports are not eliminated because of Trump's directive, you should just be able to follow Canadian rules. 

 

We (US citizens) also have a Cuba cruise scheduled, and I have already booked private tours in both Cuban ports and am planning to use "support for the Cuban people" for the visa IF our cruise is not cancelled.  Cuba could be removed from the Cuba itineraries if US citizens aren't allowed to go there, strange as that may seem.

 

Also, because of the policy change by Trump, Carnival Corporation (owner of Holland America) is being sued for using Cuban port facilities that were confiscated from American owners in 1960.  

 

So, everything can change.

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You might want to go to the Cuba section on CC. You will find a link to a newspaper article about the Carnival-Cuba lawsuit filed on May 2, 2019. May 2 was the first day Cuban Americans could sue for property stolen by Fidel Castro. 

 

The lawsuit could go on for years or Carnival may decide  they don’t need the aggravation.

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 Support for the Cuban people is supported by the private tour programs.  However, the Cuban government has pressured them, arrested their agents and effectively shut some of them down.  

We spent four days with a private guide in November,  the pressure had begun and the police routinely pulled over the vehicles.  Passengers were not bothered but the driver/guide stepped to the rear for what seemed to be a shakedown.  

The wages in Cuba do not vary much per skill or education.  Salaries are thirty to forty dollars a month.  They get food stamps, other socialist benefits but not much cash. Physicians, engineers, accountants were quitting their job to get into the tour industry, tipping industry.  We heard this from multiple experts.  

 I wouldn’t place any bets on what will happen.  

Have no idea what rules are for Canadians but doubt they could fill a ship.  We were on another cruise line, not sure if I met any Canadians.  Holland America does seem to have a higher percentage of Canadians than other lines we’ve sailed.   

 

It was a fascinating four days but we will never go back.  

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7 hours ago, Kelownabccan said:

Just booked one for January......for 7 days......do Canadians need to follow the rules for Americans on the ship and have organized tours that are for "cultural  support the peoples of Cuba" reasons.....was looking at some tours available and get some rules from the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) .....does anyone know if this applies to us also.....thanks...

I was on the Veendam last January.  Yes, Canadians had to pay $75US for a visa. There is also a HAL form one had to fill out and hand in at embarkation time (I choose 'support for the Cuban people.')  It was very confusing for some Canadians at the shore excursion desk as HAL was trying to tell them they had to book a HAL shore excursion.  I did my own thing and booked a private tour.  No problems at all getting off ship in either port.  Note:  In Cienfeugos it took about 40 minutes lined up before you could change your dollars into CUCs (bring CDN dollars).  In Havana, it was much faster at the cruise terminal (which is very nice; benches, washrooms, vendor carts).  Misc.:  from talking to other passengers, if you're going to go to the Tropicana Cabaret don't bother with the expensive seats; it was also a spectacular show.

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5 minutes ago, sammiedawg said:

 

Thanks for posting the link.   We heard a little about this.

I never understood why some nationalities flocked to Cuba.  

Just a despicable  situation.  

 

It is interesting that you would use such words to describe Cuba.  I have met many foreigners who have used the exact same phrase to describe parts of the United States. I think it is essential for Americans to meet people from other cultures and nationalities.  This is the best way to understand the world and promote global peace.  Cruising is not just about relaxing; it can also be about learning and interaction. 

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Just now, ChinaShrek said:

 

It is interesting that you would use such words to describe Cuba.  I have met many foreigners who have used the exact same phrase to describe parts of the United States. I think it is essential for Americans to meet people from other cultures and nationalities.  This is the best way to understand the world and promote global peace.  Cruising is not just about relaxing; it can also be about learning and interaction. 

 

I said the situation (pedophilia) was despicable.  I stand by that.  We heard some other unsavory things that I have never posted.  I could say a lot more. 

i previously posted we spent four days there and it was a fascinating place to visit one time.  We were with a private guide and saw the country in unsanitized fashion.  Non cruise bus reality.  

We interacted with lovely people. 

We have no plans to return.  

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9 minutes ago, sammiedawg said:

 

I said the situation (pedophilia) was despicable.  I stand by that.  We heard some other unsavory things that I have never posted.  I could say a lot more. 

i previously posted we spent four days there and it was a fascinating place to visit one time.  We were with a private guide and saw the country in unsanitized fashion.  Non cruise bus reality.  

We interacted with lovely people. 

We have no plans to return.  

 I'm sorry.  I did not read the article about prostitution in Cuba before positing.  I was quick to jump the gun. 

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4 hours ago, sammiedawg said:

 

Thanks for posting the link.   We heard a little about this.

I never understood why some nationalities flocked to Cuba.  

Just a despicable  situation.  

Wow...and not in a good way.... Now I see why all the cruise lines are hitting Cuba...  Its more than  Rum and cigars.....   Count me out ever wanting to go

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4 hours ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

It is interesting that you would use such words to describe Cuba.  I have met many foreigners who have used the exact same phrase to describe parts of the United States. I think it is essential for Americans to meet people from other cultures and nationalities.  This is the best way to understand the world and promote global peace.  Cruising is not just about relaxing; it can also be about learning and interaction. 

Right..... I have heard this fair tale  before...Maybe we all should  book a trip to Afghanistan, Syria, Bangladesh  Pakistan.....

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4 hours ago, sammiedawg said:

 

Thanks for posting the link.   We heard a little about this.

I never understood why some nationalities flocked to Cuba.  

Just a despicable  situation.  

that is  a pretty broad brush you are painting  with

not everyone goes to Cuba for exploiting the children some actually go to enjoy the beaches & the culture

https://www.thetrumpet.com/17188-pedophilia-is-more-common-than-you-think

Maybe look in your own country

 

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Wow....not quite the responses that I expected.....thanks "Sue from Canada"...that is the one I was sort of expecting....some info on what to expect when getting off the ship and the hows.......I am not a fan of Cuba but my wife and I like to broaden our experiences and a few days there will let us see what it is like and then we can make our own decisions as if we like it or not.....lots of our friends have gone but only to "all inclusive resorts" and we have heard mixed reviews.....Thanks again to those who responded....

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Posted (edited)

I think this reason is more akin to someone saying we will not visit the US because of the epidemic drug use problem, high crime in some cities, or the huge amount of deaths from firearms.

 

If someone does not want to visit a country, they will always find a reason not to other than personal safety.

Edited by iancal

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4 minutes ago, iancal said:

I think this reason is more akin to someone saying we will not visit the US because of the epidemic drug use problem, high crime in some cities, or the huge amount of deaths from firearms.

 

If someone does not want to visit a country, they will always find a reason not to other than personal safety.

Sometimes we need to listen to all sides.

 

I encouraged friends and family not to visit us in Venezuela when we lived there. I could not guarantee their safety. I had a body guard who guided me the whole time we lived there. He kept me out of a lot of trouble. He knew the no go zones and how to use an ATM without being robbed.

 

We always went to the US to visit friends and family.

 

 

We have traveled the world including some of the worlds most “ interesting” places. We have lived in Europe and the Caribbean. There is only one place I refused to live....Lagos, Nigeria.

 

We had hoped to visit Cuba to see how the Caribbean was before the cruise ships arrived. Cuba is frozen in time.  Not going at this time but hope to some day. 

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Posted (edited)

A parent could just as  easily make a case not to have their child participate or attend any faith based events or any adult lead  activities such as scouts or sports teams because of the very high incidence of child sexual abuse and sex abuse of adolescents in North America.  Would that be reason not to visit North America?

Edited by iancal

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Posted (edited)

 

If you go to Cuba and are American c hange your cash ino  Canadianb efore going.

 

NO  U.S. cred it  cards can be used   Our banks cannot (will not)   process

 

 

 

(Please verify, if you care) but I also think banks wil not wire you money to Cuba.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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Lol.....this is one time that the Can $ is better than the US $......easy for us to keep our own money.....but worth lots less.....wonder why we need to spend $75 for a US based visa....will check to see if we really need one to get into the country......thanks again

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Posted (edited)

The Americans I spoke to in Cuba several years ago flew from Canada.  They did not use their US credit cards and their passports were stamped by Cuban officials on a piece a loose paper tucked into their passport.  They used Canadian currency and  appeared to be well versed in how to do it. 

 

I had the distinct impression that this was not their first time in Varadero, far from it in fact.  One would think that the authorities would have much more pressing and serious issues to deal with rather than chasing down a few folks that simply wanted a week or two of sun by the beach.

Edited by iancal

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