The Trump administration suddenly decided to ban cruise ships from visiting Cuba and US-based cruise lines are set to change their Caribbean to avoid Cuba.
In 2016, former US president Barack Obama partially lifted the ban on US citizens visiting Cuba which allowed US cruise ships to begin calling at the island again.
The US has changed its policy on Cuba due to the island’s government’s support for the regime of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
The US Department of State announced on 4 June 2019 that from 5 June 2019 in a statement it would:
Prohibit US travellers from going to Cuba under the previous ‘group people-to-people educational’ travel authorisation. In addition, the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.
Some cruise lines have already rescheduled cruises that were due to call at Cuban ports during the next few days.
Royal Caribbean tweeted:
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
Other cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line have said they were monitoring developments to see how the new Cuba ban would affect their itineraries.