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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 
 
 
An Important Message from Royal Caribbean:
Per the new regulations that were issued by the United States government on November 8, 2017, we are pleased to inform that we do not anticipate any changes to our cruise itineraries, and we look forward to continuing to sail there. All of the below travel documents and FAQs have been modified to comply with the new regulations.
Travel Certification
Print, complete and bring both copies to the pier
Certification Instructions
Print and follow instructions to complete travel certification
Checklist
Print the checklist for travel to Cuba
Cuba Travel Requirements view26 questions
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:

• Cameroon
• Eritrea
• Ethiopia
• Ghana
• Guinea
• Kenya
• Nigeria
• Sierra Leone
• Somalia
• Afghanistan
• Bangladesh
• Philippines
• India
• Nepal
• Sri Lanka
• Pakistan
• Iraq
•Yemen

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.
travel@abc-charters.com
877-817-1160
www.abc-charters.com
• Airline Brokers Company Inc.
yt@airlinebrokers.net
305-642-5002
www.airlinebrokers.net
• Va Cuba Inc.
info@vacuba.com
305-649-3491
www.vacuba.com

Additionally, guests with citizenship in the following countries do NOT require any visa to visit Cuba:

• Benin
• Bosnia and Herzegovina
• Macedonia
• Malaysia
• Montenegro
• Serbia
• Grenada
• St. Vincent and the Grenadines
• Antigua and Barbuda
• Belarus
• Mongolia
• Russia
• St. Kitts and Nevis
• St. Lucia
• Singapore
• Barbados
• Donimica
• Nimibia

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.
travel@abc-charters.com
877-817-1160
www.abc-charters.com
• Airline Brokers Company Inc.
yt@airlinebrokers.net
305-642-5002
www.airlinebrokers.net
• Va Cuba Inc.
info@vacuba.com
305-649-3491
www.vacuba.com
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.
Medical Coverage view5 questions
Does my medical insurance cover me while I am in Cuba?
While traveling in Cuba it is unlikely that you will be covered by your U.S. health plan. You will need to check with your insurance provider regarding your medical insurance coverage in Cuba.
Will guests be required to purchase separate medical or travelers insurance to go to Cuba?
Your cruise fare includes mandatory coverage required by the Cuban government during your visit to Cuba.
Are there any vaccines required or recommended for travel to Cuba for adults and children?
You do not need any inoculations before visiting Cuba.
What should I know about the Zika Virus before sailing?
Royal Caribbean International is committed to the safety and health of our guests and crew. We are closely monitoring the Zika virus situation and are aware that the CDC has issued a travel alert for certain countries (including Cuba) where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Royal Caribbean will assist any pregnant women who do not feel comfortable sailing to countries affected with the Zika virus by providing alternate itinerary options.

This may include providing guests with a future cruise credit valid for two years so that they may re-schedule their voyage for a later date, with no penalty. Guests seeking additional information on the Zika virus are encouraged to contact their primary care physician or visit the CDC's website.
Can I bring my prescription medications to Cuba?
As some prescription drugs may be illegal in Cuba, we recommend guests check with the Cuban Embassy to verify that all prescription(s) are legal to bring into Cuba. Guests should bring all medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) they might need while in Cuba.

The U.S. embassy website also recommends bringing a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription drugs.

CDC recommends guests should also carry a card that identifies, in the local language, their blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
ADA view1 questions
Is Cuba accessible for wheelchair users?
Accessibility in Cuba is limited due to lack of curb cuts, ramps and accessible vehicles.

While accessible facilities (such as hotels) may exist, these facilities may not be comparable to accessible facilities found in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

For example, wider doors and grab bars may not be available, and wheelchair users may be limited to ground floor facilities as there are often no elevators to access upper levels.
Shopping in Cuba view1 questions
Can I purchase Cuban-origin cigars and/or Cuban-origin rum or other alcohol while traveling in Cuba?
Guests sailing with us to Cuba may purchase alcohol and tobacco products in Cuba for personal consumption.
Banking In Cuba view5 questions
How can I pay for items in Cuba?
Most likely credit cards will not be accepted and guests should anticipate paying for items in local currency.
What types of currencies are accepted in Cuba and what is the exchange rate?
There are two types of currencies in Cuba – CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) and CUP (Cuban Peso). The CUC is the currency used by tourists while the CUP is used by locals.

$0.87 CUC = $1US
cuc-currency

$25 CUP = $1US
cup-currency

Transaction fee of 10-13% will be charged. We suggest that guests bring small denominations of U.S. currency ($1, $ 5, $10, $20.)

Guests should check the currency exchange prior to their sailing.
Where can I exchange U.S. dollars for CUCs?
Money exchange stations are conveniently located at the cruise terminal, at every hotel lobby in the country, and in multiple locations in Old Havana. Please note that we will not be able to convert any Cuban currency back into U.S. dollars onboard.
Are authorized travelers in Cuba permitted to use credit or debit cards issued by a U.S. financial institution?
For further information regarding credit card use and/or transactions in Cuba, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/cuba.html
Can my bank refuse to allow me to use my credit or debit card in Cuba?
Regulations do not require financial institutions or credit card companies to accept, maintain, or facilitate authorized financial relationships or transactions.
Safety, Security and Tips view9 questions
Safety Tips
Visitors to Cuba, like visitors to all foreign countries in the world today, need to be mindful of their personal safety.

We recommend guests consider the following guidance:
• Leave valuables and irreplaceable items inside your stateroom safe.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Carry only the cash that you will need on each outing.
• Use discretion when handling cash publicly.
• Keep your belongings secure and out of sight.
What is illegal in Cuba that guests may not be aware of?
It is illegal to buy cigars on the street; other than at approved retail stores as well as to exchange US dollars into Cuban CUCs (Cuban Currency) any place other than at an official CADECA (Currency Exchange Houses) and hotels.
What are additional tips that I should know when traveling on shore in Cuba?
• Drink only bottled water
• Due to tropical climate, wear loose fitting airy clothes, comfortable shoes and a hat.
• Only a few places are air conditioned; bring a fan and/or mister
• Purchase items only from authorized sellers
• Exchange money only at CADECAs (Currency exchange houses) or hotels
• It is always a good idea to travel with tissues for toilet paper since it can be sporadic and limited in restrooms
What should I carry ashore while in Cuba?
• Passport
• Visa
• SeaPass card (cruise card)
• Cash
• tissues
Is Cuba included in the Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program (RCTPP)?
Guests sailing to Cuba can purchase RCTPP just like with any Royal cruise. The insurance will not be able to cover you while in Cuba but, will reimburse you upon return, if acquired prior to sailing.
Does Royal Caribbean offer tours that comply with one of the 12 general licenses?
The tour programs offered by Royal Caribbean are designed to meet the requirements.
What to wear in Cuba?
It is appropriate to dress casual in Cuba. Cotton shirts and chinos/khakis are appropriate for restaurants and hotels. Ladies are free to wear shorts and tank tops and do not need to worry about covering up.
What type of conditions can I expect in Cuba?
You will be among the first to explore Cuba with Royal Caribbean. Infrastructure is at a minimum and authenticity is at a premium. The food is rich in culture, but potentially unfamiliar. Walking surfaces may be uneven, and depending on the time of year, the intensity of the heat can be significant.
What can guests anticipate during their overnight in Havana?
While the ship is in port overnight, guests will have the opportunity to disembark and re-board as many times as they’d like and at their leisure. You must have your SeaPass card, passport and visa with you at all times. The types of evening activities guests can expect include cabaret shows at the world renowned Tropicana or Cabaret Parisien, live jazz shows at La Bonita Restaurant, special performances by the Buena Vista Social Club, authentic Cuban cuisine at Café Taberna, and the family friendly ceremonial cannon firing at El Cañonazo.
Connectivity view2 questions
Will my cell phone work in Cuba?
You will need to check with your phone provider regarding international coverage in Cuba.
Will I be able to access the internet on this cruise?
Wi-Fi is available onboard. You will not have access to the internet while ashore in Cuba.