Who is permitted to travel to Cuba?
Currently, there are 12 authorized categories of travel to Cuba that are permitted under a general license. These categories are the following:
• Family visits
• Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
• Journalistic activity
• Professional research and professional meetings
• Educational activities
• Religious activities
• Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
• Support for the Cuban people
• Humanitarian projects
• Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
• Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials and certain authorized export transactions
Also, a U.S. person may travel to Cuba with a specific license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), or Cuban nationals in certain instances. Please refer to the OFAC website
for additional information regarding the regulatory requirements.
Will guests be required to have a visa to enter Cuba?
Guests are required to have a visa to travel to Cuba, however Royal Caribbean will facilitate this for our guests at a cost of $75 per person. This fee will be added to your onboard account on Day 1 of the cruise. Each guest will receive their Visa during embarkation in Miami and will be responsible for providing their Visa to the Cuban authorities upon arrival in Cuba. If a guest loses their Visa, they will be able to purchase a new Visa onboard at an additional cost of $75. Should guests opt to remain onboard the ship and decide not to disembark while in Cuba, the purchase of a Visa is not required.
Will international guests be allowed to sail with Royal Caribbean to Cuba?
Yes. However, all guests regardless of country of residence will be required to meet one of the twelve general license categories while onshore in Cuba. Additionally, guests born in the following countries must obtain an A-1 Visa to visit Cuba:
• Sierra Leone
• Sri Lanka
There are several companies that offer visa processing services to guests to assist in obtaining a visa. Below are some suggested companies.
• ABC Charters Inc.
• Airline Brokers Company Inc.
• Va Cuba Inc.
Additionally, guests with citizenship in the following countries do NOT require any visa to visit Cuba:
• Bosnia and Herzegovina
• St. Vincent and the Grenadines
• Antigua and Barbuda
• St. Kitts and Nevis
• St. Lucia
What kind of documentation will be required by US Customs and Border patrol for international guests?
A passport will be required for all guests sailing to Cuba with Royal Caribbean. Guest passports must be valid for six months after their travel date to Cuba.
Guests with citizenship in one of the eighteen (18) countries listed above will require an A-1 Visa to visit Cuba.
Can guests travel with a driver’s license and birth certificate?
No. In order to travel to Cuba, all guests, including children, will be required to have a passport. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not allow U.S. guests to travel to Cuba with a driver’s license and birth certificate. Guest passports must be valid for six months after their travel to Cuba.
How will guests certify that they are traveling to Cuba under one of the 12 General Licenses?
In accordance with U.S. law, all guests (including children) traveling to Cuba will be required to complete a travel certification
identifying the category of travel under which they are visiting. This must be completed prior to boarding the vessel.
For ease of completion, we have arranged the certification
into 5 boxes:
Box 1. Full Day Royal Caribbean Program. If, during your visit to Cuba, you intend to participate in a program with a full day schedule of group educational exchange activities that you have purchased through Royal Caribbean, you should select Box 1 in Part A.
Box 2. Full Day-Third Party Program (Tours Not Sponsored by Royal Caribbean). If, during your visit to Cuba, you intend to participate in a program with a full day schedule of group educational exchange activities that you have purchased through a U.S. sponsoring organization (that is not Royal Caribbean), and the predominant portion of activities is not with a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist party, you should select Box 2 in Part A.
Box 3.Self-Guided People-to-People Program (ONLY PERMITTED FOR BOOKINGS BEFORE JUNE 16, 2017): If you are visiting Cuba for self-guided program of people-to-people educational exchange activities, you should select Box 3 in Part A.
Box 4. Other general license categories. If you are visiting Cuba under any of the other categories of permitted travel listed you should select Box 3 in Part A.
Box 4. Other general license categories. If you are visiting Cuba under any of the other categories of authorized U.S. travel listed under Box 4 of the Guest Certification, you should select Box 4 in Part A.
Box 5. Specific License. Guests who have obtained a specific license from OFAC authorizing travel to Cuba should select Box 5 in Part A, and provide the license number and a copy of the license.
What is people-to-people travel?
People-to-people travel tours are education-based trips designed to promote interactions between travelers and the Cuban people. Guests are responsible for collecting and retaining for five (5) years sufficient supporting documentation and evidence to validate their “people-to-people” exchanges in the event of an OFAC inquiry to include any books of account, contracts, letters, or other papers as well as the travel certification.
What are the new Cuba regulations?
The new regulations do not affect any of our sailings to Cuba. However, self-guided “people-to-people” travel will no longer be allowed. This means that in order to enjoy Cuba, guests will need to participate in a group “people-to-people” tour that complies with the new regulations if they do not qualify for the other categories of authorized travel or hold a specific license issued by OFAC. All Royal Caribbean tours have been designed to comply with the regulations.
In addition, OFAC published a list of prohibited entities where direct financial transactions are not permitted. The list can be found on OFCA's Cuba Restricted List website
When do the new regulations go into effect?
The new regulations went into effect November 9, 2017.
Do I have to purchase a tour to disembark the ship in Cuba?
To enjoy Cuba, guests must qualify for one of the 12 categories of authorized travel or hold a specific license issued by OFAC. One of the 12 categories, Educational Activities, allows “people-to-people” activities, which can be satisfied by purchasing a tour with Royal Caribbean or a third-party program offered by a U.S. sponsoring organization.
What if I booked before June 16, 2017?
If you booked before June 16, 2017, you are exempt from the new regulations for your booked sailing and may choose to select Self-Guided Program, which is box #3 of the Travel Certification.
What if I do not want to disembark the ship? What box should I select in the Travel Certification?
All guests must self-certify by indicating which category of authorized travel they will be traveling under. Should you wish to remain onboard, you may select either box #1 or box #2 in the Travel Certification.
If I booked a shore excursion with Royal Caribbean or a third-party U.S. sponsoring organization, am I allowed to roam Havana before and/or after the tour?
Yes, you can enjoy Havana before or after your tour, as long as you are engaged in a full-day schedule of educational exchange activities as set forth by the new regulations.
If my cruise overnights in Havana, will I have to purchase a tour for each day?
The new regulations require a full-day schedule of educational exchange activities when traveling in Cuba. If you will be in Cuba for two full days, then you should be participating in a tour for each day.
Can I purchase a tour through a third-party company?
You may purchase a tour with a third-party company. However, it is the responsibility of the guest to ensure the purchased tour complies with the new US regulations, is sponsored by a U.S. organization, and offers a full-day schedule of educational exchange activities.
I am an international guest, do the new regulations apply to me?
The new regulations apply to all guests – regardless of nationality or country of residence – boarding a vessel in a U.S. port. This portion of the regulations are not new and have always been applicable to International guests.
I booked a shore excursion with Royal Caribbean. Does this qualify as a group “people-to-people” tour, per the new regulations?
All of our Royal Caribbean shore excursions are designed to meet the necessary qualifications for authorized group “people-to-people” travel.
Will additional documentation be required to go on a Royal Caribbean tour?
At this time, requirements to travel to Cuba include a valid passport, acquiring the appropriate Visa, and the completion of the Guest Certification for Authorized Travel to Cuba identifying which of the 12 general licenses you are traveling under.
What are some frequently visited places I should know about that are now prohibited?
There are approximately 178 places listed as prohibited entities. Under the new regulations, guests are not permitted to engage in “direct financial transactions” with these entities. Some popular locations frequently visited by guests, which are included in the list of prohibited places, are:
• Gran Hotel Manzana (Kempinksy)
• Hotel Ambos Mundos (Habaguanex)
•Hotel Raquel (Habaguanex)
• Casa del Abanico (Habaguanex)
• Colección Habana (Habaguanex)
• Florería Jardín Wagner (Habaguanex)
• Joyería Coral Negro (CIMEX) – Additional locations throughout Cuba
• La Casa del Regalo (Habaguanex)
• San Ignacio 415 (Habaguanex)
• Soldadito de Plomo (Habaguanex)
• Tienda El Navegante (Habaguanex)
• Tienda Munecos de Leyenda (Habaguanex)
• Tienda Museo El Reloj Cuervo y Sobrinos (Habaguanex)
Do I need to fill out the Travel Certification?
Yes, in order to board the ship, all guests, including children and international guests, must fill out and submit the Travel Certification to Royal Caribbean. All guests should keep a copy of the certification for your records for at least up to five years.
Have the new regulations impacted Visa requirements?
No, the new regulations have not impacted Visa requirements, and all guests are still required to acquire the appropriate Visa to enter Cuba.
Are Cuban-Americans allowed to travel to Cuba with Royal Caribbean?
Yes. Cuban-American persons born in Cuba are permitted to arrive in Cuba by vessel. If you are a Cuban-born traveler, you will need additional documentation.
Cuban-born citizens who came to the U.S. on or after January 1, 1971, must travel to Cuba using their Cuban passports; however, such persons must use their U.S. passports to enter and depart the United States. They do not need a visa. They do however need a Passport Habilitation. Please refer to the U.S. Embassy in Cuba website (https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/) for more information.
Those who left Cuba prior to January 1, 1971, must travel to Cuba with their U.S. passports. But unlike U.S. born Americans, they will need a special type of visa; an HE-11 visa, which they need to apply for prior to travel. The visa application process can take up to 90 days.
In addition, there are several companies that offer visa/passport processing services to assist in obtaining a visa and/or a Cuban passport including:
• ABC Charters Inc.
• Airline Brokers Company Inc.
• Va Cuba Inc.
Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Cuba?
There are both U.S. and Cuba import regulations that travelers must comply with when traveling and bringing items into Cuba.
For information on U.S. import regulations, please review the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security’s Export Administration Regulations.
For information on Cuba import regulations, please review the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba
What are U.S. guests allowed to bring back from Cuba?
Guests are generally authorized to bring into the United States merchandise acquired in Cuba for personal use as accompanied baggage.
Should a guest opt to sail on back-to-back Cuba itineraries, what are the Visa requirements?
Each Visa is valid for single entry into Cuba. Therefore, guests sailing on back-to-back Cuba itineraries will require separate Visas for each leg of their cruise.
Is a guest able to remain onboard the ship should they prefer not to disembark while in Cuba? If so, is the purchase of a Visa required?
It is at each guest's discretion whether to disembark while in Cuba; guests do have the option to remain onboard the ship while in port. Those guests opting not to disembark should avoid completing the Visa forms and in turn, will not be required to pay the $75 Visa fee.