Q – The latest news out of Trump Tower seems to be that only travel on the people-to-people programs will be allowed in Cuba. We are looking forward to doing a cruise next year where we might see Cuba in-depth. We are Swiss but we live in the States. Looking for a top-tier experience. Flexible as to date. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Should we even do the trip? We’re extremely well traveled so third world issues don’t really throw us so long as we can come home to a comfortable stateroom each evening. 

A – The travel industry has been digesting and analyzing the new executive orders. It appears that cruise travel and established group tour operators will not really be affected by the new travel restrictions. Those who wish to travel to Cuba independently and unencumbered will find substantial hurdles in their path.

As a rule, travel to Cuba via cruise ship is currently highly overrated. The infrastructure ashore is inadequate to handle the crowds and local tours have not been receiving high marks. Many of the buses are not up to the standards travelers from the US might expect. The touring ashore is very much “packaged propaganda”. Guides are not apt to point out problems or to discuss life on the island with any degree of openness. There are, of course, exceptions and people have returned from Cuba cruising with tales of dancing, mingling, and frank discussions. But most don’t.

Given all of that, we would recommend that you see if you can still get space on the new Scenic expedition ship, the 228-guest Eclipse. It is going to be a true 5-star beauty with large cabins, on-board submarine, fine dining options, and a 14-Day “Cuba in Depth” itinerary departing October 18th 2018 that is better than any other we’ve seen to date.