Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. However, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel. Individuals who meet the regulatory conditions of the general license they seek to travel under do not need to apply for an additional license from OFAC to travel to Cuba. The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: 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.
Will I be able to move about Cuba freely?
Norwegian Cruise Line will offer a variety of shore excursions at each of our ports of call. Guests are not required to participate in these excursions to meet their group people-to-people travel requirements so long as they use another U.S. sponsoring organization to meet those requirements and are, otherwise, free to move about Cuba as long as their activities comply with the general license they are travelling under. Entry to some government buildings may be restricted; it's best to ask your guide about the building’s specific entry protocol before trying to enter on your own.
How do I certify that I am travelling under one of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)-approved categories of travel?
All guests must complete a certification form which sets forth and confirms that they will be participating in OFAC-compliant activities.
Click here to link to the certification form. One per guest.
Certification must be received by Norwegian no later than 3 days prior to the departure date. Please be advised that guests will not be able to board the vessel without having first completed the form.
ALL guests will be certifying which means that they are solely responsible for arranging a full-time schedule of OFAC-compliant activities, as explained above. These activities may include excursions provided by Norwegian or another U.S sponsoring organization.
How do I prove compliance with OFAC requirements during my cruise?
All travelers to Cuba must be able to prove that their trip was comprised of OFAC-compliant activities. Guests should keep a log of their activities and keep the log for 5 years. Guests may also request that Norwegian keep a record of their itinerary and shore excursion activity if Norwegian is the U.S. sponsoring organization providing any group people-to-people exchanges to the guest.
Will non-U.S. guests be allowed to travel on these sailings?
Yes. As with travelers from the United States, non-U.S. guests will need to certify that they are traveling under one of the approved OFAC categories, keep records of their activities and sign affidavits confirming they are doing so.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE IN CUBA
Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Cuba?
There are both U.S. and Cuba import regulations that travelers must comply with when traveling and bringing items into Cuba.
For information on U.S. import regulations, please click on the following link for the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security’s Export Administration Regulations https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/regulations/export-administration-regulations-ear.
For information on Cuba import regulations, please click on the following link for the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba http://www.aduana.co.cu/.
Cuba operates as a dual currency system. Cuban convertible peso (CUC$) is the currency which you will exchange and use in Cuba. CUC$ come in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Please note that CUC$ 1 comes in both a coin and paper money configuration. There is a second currency, the Cuban peso, also called moneda nacional or CUP which is used only by Cuban citizens.
Can I exchange money in Cuba?
Yes. Once in Cuba, the port, tourist hotels, banks, and CADECA bureaus (Cuban government exchange bureaus) can exchange currency (U.S. and Canadian dollars, Euros, British pounds, etc.) for a fee. Non-U.S. currencies such as Euros and Canadian dollars usually have a more favorable exchange rate than the U.S. dollar. Be sure to have proper ID (passport) on hand. Do not accept offers to exchange currency with anyone who approaches you on the street. This is particularly applicable due to the dual currency system used in Cuba.
The U.S. State Department advises that the export of CUCs is strictly prohibited, regardless of the amount.
Can I use my credit cards in Cuba?
While U.S. citizens are allowed to use debit and credit cards in Cuba, the vast majority of U.S. banks are still considering whether to allow for these transactions to take place. Thus, it is advisable to assume that all transactions in Cuba will be done using cash. At this time do not rely on credit cards being readily accepted.
Will there be Wi-Fi while in Cuba?
All vessels docked in Cuba will provide Wi-Fi service; however, service may not be guaranteed at all times. Cuba has limited Wi-Fi services, although certain hotels and internet cafes may provide service for a fee.
Will I have cellular service while in Cuba?
Several carriers in the U.S. and abroad have signed roaming agreements with Cuban telecommunications firm ETECSA, which allows for voice, data and text services while in Cuba. Please check with you cellular provider for details.
What am I allowed to bring back from Cuba? Can I bring back cigars, rum and other items from Cuba?
U.S. persons are allowed to return with certain Cuban-origin items, including cigars and rum, for personal use only and pursuant to OFAC regulations. These items remain subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported as accompanied baggage and for personal use. We refer you to the link in the FAQ “Is it legal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba?” above which provides guidance on items that can be imported from Cuba.
How much can I spend while in Cuba?
There are no per diem limits on authorized expenses.
Are excursions included in the cruise fare?
While excursions are not included in the cruise fare, Norwegian Cruise Line will offer a variety of excursions to assist guests in meeting the requirements of people to people exchanges.
Do I have to take a shore excursion?
You do not have take a shore excursion, but you must document every where you go and keep the records for up to 3 years from the date your travel to Cuba to follow the "people to people" guidelines. If you take a shore excursion then the voucher from the tour is all you need as documentation.