Cuban Americans banned from 1st cruise to Cuba

By ,   April 12, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

A Cuban-American national was refused permission to sail on the first American-owned cruise vessel to visit the island in decades. 

Maria de los Angela Torres, a Cuban-born academic at the University of Illinois, tried to book a cabin on a Fathom voyage to the Caribbean island and was put on a waiting list for a $2,470 ocean-view cabin. She came unstuck when the reservation agent requested her passport information. 

The country has a longstanding regulation that forbids Cuban-born individuals, regardless of US citizenship, to travel from the US to Cuba by seagoing vessels, including cruise ships and ferries. 

In keeping with Cuba’s arrival on the American tourist map, the island's government last month gave Carnival Corporation the green light to operate the 704-passenger Adonia under its new brand, Fathom.



Prof Torres travelled to the US as a child in the 1960s during Operation Pedro Pan, a US-led rescue for children whose parents opposed the government of Fidel Castro. 

According to the Miami Herald, Prof Torres has been traveling to Cuba since 1978 to visit family and for academic research. 

"Despite all her liberal credentials, in the age of engagement she has been refused a place on the Carnival cruises to Cuba,” the paper reports. 

A statement released by the Carnival Corporation said that Prof Torres may yet travel. It read: 

"Of course, it is our policy to obey the regulations and laws of the countries we sail to around the world. However, we have requested a reconsideration of this particular regulation especially as it relates to cruise travellers.

"We understand and empathize with the concerns being voiced and will continue to work the issue with Cuban officials. It is our hope and intention that we will be able to travel with everyone."

The first cruise ship to visit Cuba from the US in more than 50 years will depart Miami for Havana on May 1.