From hola to adiós. All your questions, covered.

American travelers have long imagined what it would be like to experience the captivating energy of Cuba’s musicians and dancers, or sit down for an authentic ropa vieja (shredded beef) and moros y cristianos (rice and beans). Devoted to bringing our guests to ‘bucket list’ destinations, Azamara Club Cruises brings you Cuba, a country that has been on our own destination bucket list for years. Well, the tide has finally turned, and Azamara has been granted approval to begin voyages to Cuba, making it one of the first American cruise lines to sail to this exciting destination. And along the way, you’ll enjoy our signature Destination Immersion® experiences, the heartbeat of our brand. Our programs provide authentic experiences that dive deep into the cultures of the destinations we visit, and this will be no exception! But as we introduce Cuban ports into our sailings, our valued guests may have a few questions.

Please download our Guest Travel Certification and bring two completed copies per guest to the pier on embarkation day. This document is required by the U.S. government to certify the reason for your travel to Cuba. An instructional document is available to assist guests in completing the Guest Travel Certification.

New Policies as of November 2017

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  • 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 for any guest that booked on June 16, 2017 or after. 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 Azamara Club Cruises shore excursions have been designed to comply with the regulations.

    In addition, OFAC published a list of prohibited hotels, stores, and other entities where direct financial transactions are not permitted. The list can be found on OFAC’s Cuba Restricted List.

  • 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 full day tour with Azamara or a third-party program offered by a U.S. sponsoring organization. Guests are personally responsible for ensuring they meet these requirements.

  • What if I do not want to disembark the ship? What box should I select in the Travel Certification (Affidavit)?

    All guests must complete the Guest Travel Certification prior to embarkation and certify which category of authorized travel they will be traveling under, regardless of whether they intend to disembark in Cuba. For information on how to complete the Guest Travel Certification, visit the following link: http://bit.ly/azatravelinformation

  • If I booked a shore excursion with Azamara 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 OFAC regulations.

  • If my cruise overnights in Cuba, 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 U.S. 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 Azamara. Does this qualify as a group “people-to-people” tour, per the new regulations?

    All of our Azamara shore excursions are designed to meet the necessary qualifications for authorized group “people-to-people” travel.

  • Will additional documentation be required to go on an Azamara tour?

    Nothing more would be required for any Azamara Cuba shore excursion, beyond the travel documents that a guest is required to have to cruise to Cuba.

  • 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)

    For the full list, please visit the link provided here: OFAC’s Cuba Restricted List.

  • Do I need to fill out the Guest Travel Certification?

    Yes, in order to board the ship, all guests must complete and submit the Guest Travel Certification to Azamara Club Cruises. All guests should keep a copy of the Guest Travel Certification for their records for at least five years. The Guest Travel Certification can be found on the following link: http://bit.ly/azatravelinformation

  • Is travel to Cuba for tourist activities permitted?

    No. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited.

About Our Cuba Voyages

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  • When did Azamara Club Cruises begin visiting Cuban ports?

    Itineraries with Cuban ports began on March 21, 2017.

  • When were the Cuba itineraries first opened for sale?

    Our first sailing was open for sale on December 6, 2016.

  • Which Cuban ports of call does Azamara Club Cruises sail to?

    At this time, Azamara Club Cruises calls on Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba.

  • Are group bookings open for sale on Cuba itineraries?

    At this time, group inventory remains closed and only individual reservations are available.

Travel Regulations and Requirements

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  • Who is able to travel to Cuba?

    Currently, there are 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba that are permitted under a general license. All guests sailing to Cuba with Azamara must fall within one of the 12 categories of authorized travel or have a specific license issued from OFAC.

    The 12 categories of authorized travel are listed below. Detailed information about each category, including the requirements of each, can be found in this instructional document.

    • 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.

    A person subject to U.S. jurisdiction may travel to Cuba with a specific license issued by the U.S. 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.

  • If my cruise overnights in Cuba, what are the requirements for how I spend my evening hours?

    You can experience Havana in the evening after your tour, as long as you engaged in a full-day schedule of educational exchange activities as set forth by OFAC regulations, such as an Azamara shore excursion or a tour with a compliant third-party organization.

  • What are the twelve general licenses?

    The general license categories are listed below, and all guests sailing with us to Cuba must meet the requirements of one of these general license categories in order to disembark while onshore in Cuba. We plan to offer a variety of organized activities while onshore in Cuba that meet the requirements of one of these categories, which in most cases will be the license for “people-to-people” travel.

    1. Educational activities, including people-to-people travel
    2. Humanitarian projects
    3. Religious activities
    4. Professional research and meetings
    5. Family visits
    6. Official government business
    7. Journalism
    8. Public performances, clinics, workshops, exhibitions and athletic competitions
    9. “Support for the Cuban people”
    10. Activities of private foundations or research for educational institutes
    11. Exporting or importing information or “information materials”
    12. Travel related to some authorized export transactions
  • What is “people-to-people” travel?

    “People-to-people” travel tours are sponsored, education-based trips designed to promote meaningful interactions between travelers and the Cuban people. Qualified programs require a full-day schedule of activities. Azamara Club Cruises offers for purchase a variety of compliant “people-to-people” programming.

  • If desired, am I able to remain onboard and not disembark the ship while in Cuba? If so, is the purchase of a visa required?

    Guests may remain onboard the ship while in port, and it is at each guest’s discretion whether to disembark while in Cuba. Guests who choose to remain onboard the ship do not need to purchase a Cuban visa (also called a tourist card). However, all guests are required to have a passport book valid for at least 6 months after the date of their Cuba sailing and to complete the Guest Travel Certification prior to embarkation.

  • Are international guests allowed to sail with Azamara Club Cruises to Cuba?

    Yes. However, all guests regardless of country of residence will be required to meet one of the 12 categories of authorized travel and complete the Guest Travel Certification prior to embarkation.

Documentation For Cuba

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  • Will I be required to have a visa to enter Cuba?

    Travelers to Cuba that were not born in Cuba are required to have a Cuban visa, sometimes called a tourist card or visitor card. Azamara Club Cruises can facilitate this for guests at a cost of $75 per person. Guests will receive their visa at the embarkation terminal or onboard, 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.

    U.S.-Cuban dual citizens have special requirements that are outlined in more detail below.

  • Are U.S.-Cuban dual citizens allowed to travel to Cuba with Azamara Club Cruises?

    Yes. U.S.-Cuban dual citizens are permitted to arrive in Cuba by vessel. If you are a U.S.-Cuban dual citizen, you will need additional documentation.

    U.S.-Cuban dual citizens who departed Cuba on or after January 1, 1971 must enter Cuba using their valid Cuban passport book. Such persons must use their U.S. passport book to enter and depart the United States. They do not need a visa; however, they must also complete and submit the Guest Travel Certification. Please refer to the U.S. Embassy in Cuba website (https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/) for more information.

    U.S.-Cuban dual citizens who departed Cuba prior to January 1, 1971 must travel to Cuba with a special type of visa, which they must apply for in advance. They also need their U.S. passport book to enter and depart the United States, and must complete and submit the Guest Travel Certification. Azamara Club Cruises does not administer the type of visa required for U.S.-Cuban dual citizens who departed Cuba prior to January 1, 1971. There are several companies that offer visa processing services to guests to assist in obtaining a visa. Below are some suggested companies.

  • What kind of documentation will be required by U.S. Customs and Border patrol for international guests?

    A passport book is required for all guests sailing to Cuba with us. Guest passports must be valid for six months after their travel date to Cuba. All guests, including international guests, are required to complete and submit the Guest Travel Certification prior to embarkation.

    U.S.-Cuban dual citizens will need additional documentation.

  • Can I travel with a driver’s license and birth certificate?

    No. A passport book valid for at least 6 months after the date of your Cuba sailing is required to travel to Cuba. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not allow U.S. guests to travel to Cuba with a driver’s license and birth certificate or enhanced driver’s license. A passport book (NO passport cards or other forms of I.D. will be accepted) is required for all guests including minors.

  • How will I certify that I am traveling to Cuba under an OFAC General License?

    In accordance with U.S. law, all guests (including children) traveling to Cuba will be required to complete the Guest Travel Certification identifying the category of authorized travel under which they are visiting. The Guest Travel Certification must be completed prior to boarding the vessel. Guests should present two printed and completed copies per guest at the pier.

    The “Part A. Authorized Cuba Travel Categories” are organized into 5 segments with convenient check boxes for selecting your type of authorized travel category.

    Box 1. Full Day Azamara Program. Guests exclusively participating in Azamara Club Cruises tour programs should select Box 1.

    Box 2. Full Day Third Party Program. Guests participating in a full day schedule of group educational exchange activities with a U.S. sponsoring organization (other than Azamara) should select Box 2.

    Box 3. Self-Guided Program. Only guests that booked prior to June 16, 2017 may select Box 3 if they are visiting Cuba for a self-guided program of people-to-people educational exchange activities.

    Box 4. Other General License Categories. Guests visiting Cuba under any of the categories of U.S. authorized travel listed beneath this section should select Box 4.

    Box 5. Specific License. Guests that have a specific license from OFAC authorizing travel to Cuba should select Box 5 and provide the license number and a copy of the license.

    All guests must select one of the boxes in Part A and complete “Part B. Guest Information” and “Part C. Guest Signature”.

    For additional information regarding the regulatory requirements, please refer to the OFAC website.

Medical Insurance, Inoculations, and Accessibility

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  • 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 Azamara Club Cruises offer travel insurance for sale or will I need to obtain coverage on my own?

    Your cruise fare includes mandatory coverage required by the Cuban government during your visit to Cuba.

  • Will I 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.

  • What vaccines are recommended for travel to Cuba?

    You do not need any inoculations before visiting Cuba.

  • What should I know about the Zika Virus before sailing?

    Azamara 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 Center for Disease Control has issued a travel alert for certain countries (including Cuba) where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Azamara will assist any pregnant women who do not feel comfortable sailing to countries affected with the Zika virus by providing alternative itinerary options.

  • 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.

  • Can I bring my prescription medications to Cuba?

    As some prescription drugs may be illegal in Cuba, we recommend you check with the Cuban Embassy to verify that all prescription(s) are legal to bring into Cuba. You should bring all medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you 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.

    The CDC recommends you should also carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.

Practical Info

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  • What to pack?

    Many consumer products may not be readily available, so we recommend you bring what you need, in particular insect repellent, sun tan lotion, toilet paper, a fan, a wide brimmed hat, and spare batteries and chargers.

  • What to wear in Cuba?

    We recommend casual dress for a tropical climate. Ladies do not need to worry about covering up and are free to wear shorts and tank tops. Some restaurants and hotels require guests to wear a blazer. Well-to-do Cubans tend to wear cotton shirts and chinos/khakis.

  • What practical aspects should be considered?
    • Air conditioning is very rare
    • Drink only bottled water
    • Purchase items only from authorized sellers
    • Exchange money only at CADECAs* or hotels

    *CADECA (Casa de Cambio S.A.) is a currency exchange bureau approved by the Banco Nacional de Cuba to purchase and sell bills and traveler’s checks, exchange traveler’s checks, exchange cashier’s checks, engage in credit card operations and provide other services related to its activities in national currency and in freely convertible currency.

  • What is illegal in Cuba that I may not be aware of?
    • Do not buy cigars on the streets, other than at approved retail stores.
    • Do not take photographs of military or police installations or personnel;
    • Do not exchange U.S. dollars into Cuban CUCs (Cuban Currency) other than at the CADECA* and hotels.

    *CADECA (Casa de Cambio S.A.) is a currency exchange bureau approved by the Banco Nacional de Cuba to purchase and sell bills and traveler’s checks, exchange traveler’s checks, exchange cashier’s checks, engage in credit card operations and provide other services related to its activities in national currency and in freely convertible currency.

  • Is there an age limit for children traveling to Cuba?

    The minimum age for children is eight years old. Each stateroom must include at least one traveler who is 21 years of age or older.

Shopping and Purchase Allowances

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  • Can I purchase Cuban-origin cigars and/or Cuban-origin rum or other alcohol while traveling in Cuba?

    You may purchase alcohol and tobacco products in Cuba for personal consumption, from authorized retailers.

  • What are U.S. guests allowed to bring back from Cuba?

    U.S. persons (i.e. U.S. citizens or residents) are generally authorized to bring into the United States, as accompanied baggage, merchandise acquired in Cuba with a value of $400 per person or less, including no more than $100 in alcohol and tobacco products.

  • What are non-U.S. guests allowed to bring back from Cuba?

    A non-U.S. person (i.e. not a U.S. citizen or resident) arriving in the United States is authorized to import Cuban-origin merchandise, other than tobacco and alcohol, as accompanied baggage, provided the merchandise is not in commercial quantities and not imported for resale. If the non-U.S. person is on a trip that included travel to Cuba, the person also is authorized to import as accompanied baggage alcohol or tobacco products purchased or otherwise acquired in Cuba with a value not to exceed $100 for personal use only.

  • Are there any spending limits for authorized U.S. travelers while in Cuba?

    Authorized travelers to Cuba are not subject to daily spending limits. However, if you plan on purchasing gifts or items in Cuba to bring back to the United States, be sure the merchandise does not exceed a value of $400 per person (and alcohol or tobacco products must not exceed $100).

Money & Banking in Cuba

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  • What currency is used in Cuba?

    Two currencies circulate in Cuba—CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) and CUP (Cuban Peso). The CUC is the currency used by visitors while the CUP is used by locals. Most, if not all, expenditures will be in CUCs, but tourists should be aware, especially when bargaining, that Cubans refer to both as pesos.

  • How can I pay for items while traveling in Cuba?

    Credit cards are not likely to be accepted. Guests should anticipate paying for items in local currency.

    There are two types of currencies in Cuba—CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) and CUP (Cuban Peso). The CUC is the currency used by visitors while the CUP is used by locals.

    Cuban CUCs (Cuban Currency) can only be legally transacted at an official CADECA (Currency Exchange Houses) and hotels. You’ll find these official exchange stations 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.

  • What is the current exchange rate?

    Exchange rates change daily.

  • Am I permitted to use credit or debit cards issued by a U.S. financial institution?

    It is not likely that shops and vendors will have necessary infrastructure to process credit cards.

  • 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.

Connectivity

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  • 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.

Your Cuban Cruise Awaits

Talk to an expert

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