Carnival Cruise Lines was making headlines with a new cruise to Cuba. Unfortunately it was not all cheers and excitement.
Carnival found itself in a precarious position, due to some “Red tape” that has recently (finally) been cleared up. Travel to the communist island of Cuba was recently restored after 50 years, but a long standing law was still in effect. This single law prevented a small group of travelers from sailing to the Island Nation.
Carnival Cruse Lines, in an effort the be the first Cruise Line (Their Fathom Brand) to Visit the Island of Cuba, found the “Seas a bit Rough”. Diplomatic relations between US and Cuba were recently restored, opening up the opportunity for US Citizens to travel to the previously forbidden island. This was Great news for US born citizens. Unfortunately, due to a long standing Cuban Law, Cuban-Americans, born in Cuba, we banned from re-entering Cuba.
Carnival Cruise lines undeservedly took a lot of heat, when it really was not Carnivals doing. Carnival found themselves hit with a Class Action Lawsuit, alleging that the company is violating federal civil rights laws and discriminating against Cubans by denying them tickets. A spokesperson for Carnival responded to the lawsuit in a statement, writing, “This is not a decision by our Fathom brand, but rather a Cuba decision.” The statement cites a Cold War-era Cuban law that does not allow Cuban-born individuals to enter the country by ships, only via plane. Carnival had requested a change/clarification of the law, and had been working with the Cuban government on the issue for months.
Meanwhile, journalists took to writing “Carnival Launches – Hate Boat to Havana”. Unfortunately, in reality this was not the case, and Carnival took the brunt of the bad press. The reality was that no cruise line was able to allow Cuban Born US Citizens to travel to Cuba on a ship. Not just Carnival. Carnival just happened to be the first Cruise line that was effected by the law, because it was attempting to be the First Cruise ship sailing to Cuba. While Carnival diligently worked with the Cuban Government to clarify the situation, the cruise date was fast approaching. Carnival found itself in a situation where is had to exclude Cuban Born Passengers, or cancel the sailing. The decision in turn, prompted the discrimination lawsuit, and the ugliness that ensued. The unforeseen backlash, prompted Carnival to delay the sailing, until a later date which would allow all passengers booked on the sailing, to travel to Cuba.
The situation has since been cleared up, and the Cruise to Cuba is once again sailing. The Carnival ship is due to sail to Havana on May 1, the day in which the repeal of the law goes into effect. May 1st is also the day which is celebrated as workers day on the island, with a massive pro-government parade.
Cuba, is a Caribbean island nation under communist rule, known for its white-sand beaches, rolling mountains, cigars and rum. Its colorful capital, Havana, features well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture within its 16th-century core, Old Havana, loomed over by the pre-revolutionary Capitolio. Salsa emanates from the city’s dance clubs and cabaret shows are performed at the famed Tropicana.