From hola to adiós. All your questions, covered.

American travelers have long imagined what it would be like to salsa, mambo and rumba the night away in Havana’s many clubs 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, 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.

View Frequently Asked Questions for recent policy changes below or download the PDF.

Your Cuban Cruise Awaits

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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. 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 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 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 tour with Azamara 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 (Affidavit)?

    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. Travel Certificates can be found on embarkation day or by clicking on the following link: http://bit.ly/azatravelinformation. For information on how to complete this document, 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 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 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?

    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. Visas will be provided onboard for a cost of $75 per person.

  • 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 on question #1.

  • Do I need to fill out the Travel Certification?

    Yes, in order to board the ship, all guests must fill out and submit the Travel Certification to Azamara Club Cruises. All guests should keep a copy of the certification for your records for at least up to five years. The certificate can be found on the following link: http://bit.ly/azatravelcertification

  • Are sanctions on Cuba still in place following the June 16, issuance of the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba?

    Yes, the Cuba embargo remains in place. Most transactions between the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and Cuba continue to be prohibited, and OFAC continues to enforce the prohibitions of the CACR. OFAC is issuing regulatory amendments to implement the changes to the Cuba sanctions program outlined in the NSPM. Specifically, OFAC is issuing changes to: restrict persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba (“Cuba Restricted List”), with certain exceptions; add requirements to certain categories of educational travel; remove the authorization for individual people-to-people educational travel; add requirements to the travel authorization Support for the Cuban People; and amend the definition of “Prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba.”

  • 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 will Azamara Club Cruises sail to?

    At this time, Azamara Club Cruises will only call 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?

    Also, a U.S. person may travel to Cuba with a specific license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets

    While the Cuba embargo remains in effect, regulatory changes now permit certain types of travel to Cuba by U.S. persons. 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.

    Control (“OFAC”), or Cuban nationals in certain instances. Please refer to the OFAC website (https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf) for additional information regarding the regulatory requirements.

  • Am I allowed to leave the ship and explore Cuba on my own? If so, is there a curfew?

    Yes. In accordance with U.S. law, all guests (including children) traveling to Cuba will be required to complete a travel affidavit 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 affidavit Into 3 parts:

    • Part A: Guests exclusively participating in the Azamara Club Cruises tour program
    • Part B: Guests traveling on a self-guided people-to- people exchange program. Part B does allow for guests to split their full-day schedule between tours purchased from Azamara Club Cruises and activities organized on their own.
    • Part C: Guests that have not certified in Part A and B
  • 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” 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 plans to offer for purchase a variety of qualified “people-to-people” programming involving approximately eight hours per day of cultural exchange activities.

  • If desired, am I able to remain onboard and not disembark the ship while in Cuba?

    Yes, should you choose not to disembark from the Azamara Quest, you are able to remain onboard while stationed in Cuba.

  • Will international guests be 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 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.

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, books and magazines, a wide brimmed hat, and spare batteries and chargers.

  • What to wear in Cuba?

    Women do not need to worry about covering up and are free to wear shorts and tank tops. 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?
    • Drink only bottled water
    • Purchase items only from authorize 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 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.

Documentation and Purchase Allowances

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

    Guests are required to purchase a visa to travel to Cuba. Azamara Club Cruises will facilitate this for our guests at a cost of $75 per person. Guest will receive their Visa 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.

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

    A passport will be required for all guests sailing to Cuba with us. Guest passports must be valid for six months after their travel date to Cuba. Guests born in one of the eighteen countries listed below will require 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
  • Can I travel with a driver’s license and birth certificate?

    No. In order to travel to Cuba, you 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 or enhanced driver’s license.

  • 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 a travel affidavit identifying the category of travel under which they are visiting. This must be printed and completed prior to boarding the vessel.

    For ease of completion, we have arranged the affidavit into 3 parts:

    Part A: Guests exclusively participating in the Azamara Club Cruises tour program should select Part A and complete the identification information in the last section.

    Part B: Guests traveling on a self-guided people-to- people exchange program should select Part B and complete the identification information in the last section. Part B does allow for guests to split their full-day schedule between tours purchased from Azamara Club Cruises and activities organized on their own.

    Part C: Guests that have not certified in Part A and B, including those passengers who plan to split their schedule between people-to-people activities offered by Azamara Club Cruises and activities otherwise meeting the requirements of one of the 12 general licenses, should select Part C and complete the identification information in the last section.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

    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.

Shopping In Cuba

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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. You may return to the United States with up to $100 worth of alcohol and/or cigars.

  • 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: convertible pesos (CUC$) and Cuban pesos (moneda nacional, MN). 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?

    It is very likely that credit cards will not be accepted. You should anticipate paying for items with cash. You may also choose to pay for items with Cuban CUCs that can be exchanged at the CADECA* or Hotel.

    *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 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.

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