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jlauntz January 18th, 2009 08:44 PM

Visiting Cuba
 
Many years ago I was stationed in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay.I would once again like to visit there. My question is this: as a U.S. citizen am I permitted to visit Cuba? Fred Olsen cruise line has a cruise that leaves Bridgetown Barbados with a stop in either Havana or Santiago de Cuba, and no stops in any U.S. port.Since the U.S. has this antiquated embargo against Cuba would I be allowed to disembark there?

Trip January 18th, 2009 09:41 PM

I think the short answer is no. Americans do go via other countries, and I believe, they don't stamp their passports. I have always said, one the goverment changes, I will bo on one of the first cruise ships in..but I don't think I would go till then.......check out the laws and penalties...probably nothing would happen, but, i'm a chicken;)

Manuel January 19th, 2009 07:21 AM

As of now, American citizens are not allowed to go to Cuba, but I hope that the law will change as soon as possible.

TM

seabreeze January 19th, 2009 08:10 AM

I feel Change will happen under the new President
 
I would love to visit Cuba, even though the comunist rule is there. I sont think this the best time. I live in Miami and the trip would be a jump and skip to get there. I think most cruises lines in the back of there minds are hoping one day to open such visiting ports. The US never thought we would see our day to get alected a black president, we got one. I really dont think the trade imbargo will change soon, neither will the countries problems if either President Castro or brother dies. I also think there way of governing wil adapt not just dissappear in our life times either. I think if both sides relize the beneifits of trade, travel, interest desired of both countries and the finicial beneifits things might gradually open for change. Perfert example, we are at war with Iraq, they have a new govenment, many people still support the old way of thinking or have been around only to witness the old way only. Change is good, it just takes time and acceptance. We are creatures of habit some times. For the people of Cuba, Cuban descent, and all the possible future tourists, I pray change is fast for the Island Country. Alan in Miami shipahoy@bellsouth.net

Trip January 19th, 2009 09:14 AM

Alan, remember the old magazine South Florida? I have a copy from 1993. The entire issue was devoted to Cuba, and, what will happen when........It's so interesting to thumb through it now. Carnival said they would be the first cruise line into Cuba, people were waiting to pounce on business ventures, etc...When this day comes....look out:)

Landlubber January 19th, 2009 01:14 PM

We were in Cuba in '04, legally as Canadians.There were a couple of U.S. citizens who flew in with us ,illegally for them,from Toronto. I spoke with them about this and they said it is not technically illegal to enter Cuba from the U.S. but it is illegal to spend any money there.Since they paid to stay at resort ,they were breaking U.S. laws. They thought it worth the risk just to use the beaches of Veradero. If you ever get the chance to go there you would agree.Best beahes I've ever seen!The Cuban people are very friendly and contrary to propaganda they seem to have a genuine affection for Fidel as they call him.

C-Tiger January 19th, 2009 02:35 PM

I came across the following information in Peter Greenberg's book, Travel Detective Bible.
"Most Americans assume that Cuba is off-limit- and technically, with the America embargo still in place, it almost is..... The "trading with the enemies act," passsed in 1963, specifically prohibits American from visiting, however thousands go through third countries - including Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, and Europe. They buy all-inclusive travel and tour packages from companies in these third countires - which include airfare, hotels, ground tranportation, tips, and meals. Therefore they are not technically spending any US dollars there, since they are going through third-party, third-country tour operators. The Cubans do not stamp US passports.

If you choose to visit Cuba and omit the fact when you fill out your blue-and-white US customs form to re-enter the United States, you are in fact commiting perjury.
A number of bills have been introduced in Congress calling for an end to the ban on travel to Cuba and it's only a matter of time. Every single US cruise line has quietly charted eight viable harbors in Cuba, preparing to divert their ships to the island the minute the ban is lifted.
If you want to go legally, know that permission for travel from the US to Cuba is rarely granted and generally restricted to journalists, researchers, and specialty groups. US citizens wanting to travel to Cuba need a specific license to enter the country (Visit www.travel.state.gov for more information)
For offical sanctions policy go to http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enfor...uba/cuba.shtml

The Cuban Tourism web site is www.cubatravel.cu

Other websites are RJ's Tours, Ltd - www.rjstours.shawbiz.ca/cuba.htm and Cubalinda.com -www.cubalinda.com"

Hope this helps.


mehawk January 19th, 2009 02:39 PM

Why would someone want to visit a country where its citizens are downtroddened by their government and are a communist country?

Landlubber January 19th, 2009 04:54 PM

:roll: :D :D :D :D :D :roll:

jlauntz January 19th, 2009 07:22 PM

Mehawk.
Not to sound disrespectful but look at the countries in the Caribbean. Many of them have some of the most deplorable living conditions I have ever seen.
To answer your question. I want to visit Cuba to see for myself how beautiful the country really is. Having been to the beaches at Guantanamo Bay I can only imagine how beautiful some of the other beaches and mountains must be. Since it is obvious that "our", and by that I mean the U.S. governments, embargo of Cuba has done nothing to deter the regime in place, nor has it convinced them that our way of life is the best. Maybe it is possible that the easing of restrictions may have a positive effect. After all Americans can visit other communist countries. ie: Russia, Vietnam, China you get my point. I believe that it is possible that ordinary citizens can accomplish things that governments cannot. [/b]

Manuel January 19th, 2009 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mehawk
Why would someone want to visit a country where its citizens are downtroddened by their government and are a communist country?

We are buying many parts for our military aircraft that say (made in China).
I see those parts everyday, and our taxpayers are paying for them. Of course we are all wearing Chinese made clothes and shoes while we assembly engines for the US Airforce. All the stores that I go to are loaded with Chinese merchandize.

The way I see it Cuba seems to be the only communist country that is being penalized.

TM

misguidedangel January 19th, 2009 08:34 PM

I am Canadian, so I can go to Cuba any time I want, but I have yet to go. My aunt/Uncle have gone almost every year for 20 years (they skipped one year in the late 90's when there was problems in Cuba and it was not a good time to go). Each time they go they have heavier suitcases than when they come back because they met so many locals that they let them know a few months before they come down and ask them what they want and how many. They bring down minimal clothes and stuff the suticases full of health/beauty/hygiene items. The family in turn treats them as family and lays on a spread to welcome them. They never lack for things to do in Cuba as they have met so many people.

I am sure that as soon as the embargo is lifted the cruise lines will be there and substituting Cozumel (highly overrated and overvisited) for one of Cubas beautiful resort areas!!!!!

As for Americans travelling to Cuba, there is no law that states that they can't come to Canada and book a Cuban vacation in Canada and pay in Canadian dollars. If they pay in Canadian money and depart/return via Canada then the government never knows they went anywhere else. I doubt Westjet, Air Canada, or the other charter airlines that go to Cuba from Canada would willingly turn over the passenger manifests to Homeland Security as it is none of their damn nosy business!!!!!

I look forward to Cuba being added, I would dearly love to see Havana and the other areas of Cuba. I can imagine when the embargo is lifted and everything catches up (after a few years) Cubas will be flocking BACK to Cuba to be with the rest of their family and Miami will suddenly get smaller and English will be the first language again!!!!

Aidan January 20th, 2009 12:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manuel
The way I see it Cuba seems to be the only communist country that is being penalized.
TM

You're right, and it seems a personal thing with Castro. Most remaining communist nations don't get the same treatment.

Of course China is the most obvious example, which in many respects doesn't seem like a communist country to Americans, as judged by Soviet standards. But never forget that civil right are non-existant there, no matter how much glitter and wealth.

A much more bizzare case I think is Vietnam, which of course is open to American tourists. The mixed French-Viet influcence has produced a fascinating culture (not to mention architecture and food). I find it crazy that the Vietnamese, who suffered far more than Amercans during the war, are, generally, eager to move past the "American War" and are open, while many Americans remain indignant about having soldiers killed and missing whilst invading a foreign nation. Of course, civil rights are also none-existant there.

And then there is Cuba.

The key aspect in all communist nations is that they can send people to camps like Guantanimo and hold them *without a trial*. The communists' rational is that these people are terrorists or a danger to the state.

Crazy world, eh?

Cheers, Aidan

skymaster January 20th, 2009 08:18 AM

I too served at Gitmo back in the 60's, and I too would love to see it all again, however, I won't go back until things change there. I know a couple who visited there by going through the Bahamas, and they were led around and shown all the GREAT things there. (Isn't it strange that they were led around and shown only what their companion wanted them to see?) Anyway, when things change there, I too would love to visit this beautiful island.

Ken
"SKY"

2Littletime January 20th, 2009 11:12 AM

As Canadians we too have visited Cuba. It is a beautiful island as are many of the surrounding islands. On our last trip there we were seated on the plane next to a couple from Texas who just happened to end up at the same resort we are staying in. While I know that one experience does not make up a norm, let me say that the Texans enjoyed the scenery and the beaches but not their stay in Cuba. There were many occasions where they were subjected to inconveniences that were based solely on the fact that they were American. It is my opinion that until things change "officially" taking so called "legal" trips through other countries is not the solution. IMHO things will change and people with brains will analyze this situation and Cuba will no longer be off limits for US citizens. Until that time I'd say just wait and dream. I know that this is harder for us since we are so accustomed to "living free" but sometimes there are rules and laws that we must follow even if they are based in a very demented version of reality.
Cuba is beautiful, but I found it disconcerting to get to the beach at the end of my resort to find armed guards asking us to turn back. But truth be told I didn't like this when I ran into it to a lesser degree in the Dominican Republic.

mehawk January 20th, 2009 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jlauntz
Mehawk.
Not to sound disrespectful but look at the countries in the Caribbean. Many of them have some of the most deplorable living conditions I have ever seen.
To answer your question. I want to visit Cuba to see for myself how beautiful the country really is. Having been to the beaches at Guantanamo Bay I can only imagine how beautiful some of the other beaches and mountains must be. Since it is obvious that "our", and by that I mean the U.S. governments, embargo of Cuba has done nothing to deter the regime in place, nor has it convinced them that our way of life is the best. Maybe it is possible that the easing of restrictions may have a positive effect. After all Americans can visit other communist countries. ie: Russia, Vietnam, China you get my point. I believe that it is possible that ordinary citizens can accomplish things that governments cannot. [/b]

Point taken... but, in the Carribbean islands, the government is not communist. Last time I looked... communist governments had one HUGE thing in common... the desire to destroy the American government! My opinion... why do people want to visit these countries when the government wants to destroy us? Crazy!

mehawk January 20th, 2009 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manuel
Quote:

Originally Posted by mehawk
Why would someone want to visit a country where its citizens are downtroddened by their government and are a communist country?

We are buying many parts for our military aircraft that say (made in China).
I see those parts everyday, and our taxpayers are paying for them. Of course we are all wearing Chinese made clothes and shoes while we assembly engines for the US Airforce. All the stores that I go to are loaded with Chinese merchandize.

The way I see it Cuba seems to be the only communist country that is being penalized.

TM

Manuel, read my previous post.

mteague January 20th, 2009 04:22 PM

My brother goes to Cuba via Jamaica.....he asks customs to not stamp his passport. They don't. He visits and has a good time. He really likes the cigars...YUCK! I'm a chicken. I'll wait til it's legal.

Melody

nurseypoo5 January 20th, 2009 09:27 PM

I'd go visit, but sure wouldnt want to live there....

If a cruise ship wanted to take me on a day pass, i'd love to see cuba, its a place on the map i havent been, and is very close...

Landlubber January 20th, 2009 09:35 PM

"I found it disconcerting to get to the beach at the end of my resort to find armed guards asking us to turn back. But truth be told I didn't like this when I ran into it to a lesser degree in the Dominican Republic."




I didn't much care for it at LAX either.[/quote]

Aidan January 21st, 2009 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mehawk
Last time I looked... communist governments had one HUGE thing in common... the desire to destroy the American government!

I'm no fan of communism, but as a stand-alone statement, that is simply not true. Ho Chi Minh, for example, adored the United States in his younger years. He was a romantic and naive man, and honestly expected the U.S. would support his nationalist struggle against the French, despite his being a communist. He was a student of the American Revolution and compared his situation with the French to that of Washington with the British. Even after the U.S. intervened in the Vietnamese civil war, he remained focused on Vietnam only, and certainly never had any notion of "destroying the American government". Your comment about a goal of destruction is ironic in light of who invaded who!

I think if your focus is on those who desire to destroy the American government, you might look to those who sympathize with the American Confederate traitors. As you might recall, they actually raised an army and almost did destroy the United States. In some parts of the country, their treason is still revered. In the current era, that seems a more potent danger than communism.

Cheers, Aidan

Kuki January 21st, 2009 01:03 AM

Quote:

Last time I looked... communist governments had one HUGE thing in common... the desire to destroy the American government!
rofl rofl

C-Tiger March 12th, 2009 06:02 PM

The following article (in part) appears on Peter Greenberg's website:

It is still possible that U.S. policy may eventually soften even more. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has publicly stated that the Obama administration is “reviewing” its policies towards Cuba.

Others point to the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, which the U.S. and 22 other nations will attend, as a prime opportunity for America to further redefine its relationship with Cuba.

Many feel that it’s just a matter of time until restrictions are substantially eased. Some believe that cruise companies quietly started charting viable harbors around the island after Raul Castro took over the reins of power from his ailing brother Fidel in February 2008, in anticipation of the country opening up to American tourism.

There is even a pier being built in Key West, which many think is a future ferry port to Cuba.

Cuba is already a hugely popular tourist destination amongst nationals of countries which allow travel there. The island’s beautiful beaches, lush greenery and hospitality have attracted large numbers of visitors from Canada, Europe and South America.

brad813 March 12th, 2009 09:01 PM

Personally I can't wait until the embargo against Cuba is ended. Cuba is no longer a threat and to be honest, most of the citizens seem to be happy. The Cuban government no longer stops their citizens from leaving. I think it will become a vacation hotspot again like it was in the precommunist days. From my understanding, it is illegal to go directly from the United States to Cuba but from a third country it is legal, you just have to ask Cuba not to stamp your passport.

colorcrazie March 13th, 2009 02:19 PM

I'll be on the first cruise ship that is allowed to go to Cuba. I lived in Miami for years and have many Cuban friends. Some of the warmest, most upbeat people I have ever met. And, I have never felt that the citizens of a country are responsible for the actions of their government, especially not in a country where democracy is not even pretended at. Plus, I love Cuban food!
Marty

brad813 March 13th, 2009 02:25 PM

Plus there is the fact that, for us single men, Cuban women are among the most beautiful women in the world. Just look at Christina Milian and Eva Mendes. Both of them are of Cuban descent and absolutely gorgeous. That and Cuban Salsa dancing are of interest to me in that country. Though it does seem Raul Castro is far more American friendly than Fidel Castro. It seems he may recognize that a change is coming.

msblackjack March 13th, 2009 02:58 PM

there was a "blip" on the news this week about travel restrictions being lifted, ... lifted for who, when where I am not sure, I wish I had been paying more attention to the news

I would love to go to see Cuba as it is now before it is revamped for tourists

Trip March 13th, 2009 04:32 PM

If, ,when this does happen, cruising will be the best way to see the island, as the infrastruvture has a long way to go to support all the tourists chomping on the bit, as I am:)

Having the ship as a base, with all the creature comforts, we know and love, will make Cuba, an awesome port of call. Poor Jamaica, when this happens!

brad813 March 13th, 2009 04:41 PM

I think the surrounding islands will still have their place. Each island has it's own personality. What this means for cruisers is more cruise option. I can see this port being a stop for all 3 types of Caribbean itineraries.

Trip March 13th, 2009 04:45 PM

I could easliy see some lines dropping Jamaica....this is one port that has gotten low marks from cruisers over the years, including from me....

We should do a poll:)


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