Cuba is one of the most buzz-worthy destinations in the Caribbean right now, despite still having travel restrictions in place for U.S. citizens. If you're dying to see this one-of-a-kind country and don't mind having to follow some basic rules, you can cruise to Cuba from the U.S. just as you would to the Bahamas, Mexico or other Caribbean islands.
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4-Night Cuba from Miami on Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Cruise Line is now offering a 4-night cruise from Miami to Havana and Great Stirrup Cay, a private cruiseline island in the Bahamas. You'll arrive in Havana on day two at 8 a.m., staying overnight and departing at 5 p.m. on day three.
Worried about having all your ducks in a row for legal travel? NCL will send you an FAQ once you book, including instructions for your visa paperwork, which you'll take to immigration upon arriving to receive your Cuban visa. Not sure what counts as approved activities and what doesn't? Sign up for one of NCL's excursions, all of which fall under the approved people-to-people category.
4- and 5-Night Carnival Cruises to Cuba from Tampa
Carnival offers 4- and 5-night cruises to Cuba from Tampa — the shorter cruise stays overnight in Havana, and the longer adds a Cozumel and/or Key West port of call in addition to an overnight stay in the Cuban capital.
It's up to cruisers to have all their paperwork completed, though Carnival will let you know what you need to do, including having your travel affidavit, your visa paperwork and an up-to-date passport. Their excursions comply with the people-to-people activities requirements, which means you can visit Hemingway's house or see a show at the famed Tropicana nightclub with no worries.
4- to 6-Night Cruises to Havana from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa
Royal Caribbean has unveiled new Cuba itineraries from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, ranging from 4 to 6 nights. Most of them sail into Havana's harbor as well as hit up at least one more port, such as Key West, CocoCay private island or Cozumel.
Like the other cruise lines mentioned here, Royal Caribbean makes your trip easier by offering only shore excursions that meet the travel requirements, plus they can offer your visa for a $75 fee, to be added to your onboard account.
Don't feel like taking a guided excursion? Feel free to roam on your own, but be sure to only engage in allowed activities, keep a travel log, and be sure to indicate your intent on your travel affidavit.
Royal Caribbean is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about their cruises to Cuba from the U.S.
Disclaimer: Cuban visa, travel affidavit and passport requirements for travel to Cuba are not outlined in detail here. Be sure to consult the OFAC and the cruise line for specifics about travel requirements and proper documentation.