Confusion Over Cuba Cruising

President Trump announced tighter restrictions on traveling to Cuba, but what does that mean for sailors?


Classic Havana

A street scene in Old Havana; the classic cars are everywhere.Jon Whittle

Despite changes to America’s Cuba travel policies announced by President Trump in Miami on Friday afternoon, June 16, 2017, new regulations will not come into effect until they are written and complete. That process will begin within 30 days but no deadline has been set for completing the process. If past experience is any guide, you probably have several months in which to get your trip in.

The new policies announced will prohibit Americans spending money with any Cuban entity that is a part of the Cuban military, the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group. This includes Cuba’s marinas, which are run by Gaviota, the tourism arm of the group.

Under the current regulations, US travelers are able to "self certify" that they qualify to travel to Cuba under one of 12 exemptions by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Such self-certified trips will be eliminated under Trump’s new policy, but group trips will continue to be permitted. Some individual travel for religious, artistic and journalistic activities will still be permitted according to officials. It is as yet unclear just how the new regulations will affect cruisers wishing to visit Cuba on their own vessel.

Cruising World will be following this announcement and will analyze the new rules over the weekend with sailing charter operators and others knowledgeable about the situation, and update readers early next week. Some good news however - the new regulations will not affect the importation by returning cruisers of rum and cigars.