Tag Archives: Carnival Cruise Lines

What will happen if?


Some questions to ponder about Carnival’s upcoming cruises to Cuba:

What will happen if?
Hundreds of desperate Cubans storm Carnival’s ship while docked at a Cuban port and refuse to leave?

Will Carnival call Castro’s brutal police and ask to remove them by force?

Carnival CEO said on Friday that the cruise line will use Cuban musicians to entertain passengers while in Cuba. What will happen if any of them refuse to leave the ship and ask to be taken out of the country?

Will they be removed by force? Will they be turned over to the US Coast Guard?

Will Carnival be allowed to hire and contract directly the musicians and workers they use while docked at Cuban ports, or will they be supplied by Cuba’s slave masters?

Will Carnival pay them directly or will they pay the Cuban government for their service?

We know what happens when the slave masters get paid directly, 90% goes to them and maybe 10% to the slaves.

There are dozens of more questions that I can think of. Feel free to post the ones you have.

Carnival finally did the right thing!

Thanks to everyone who got involved and asked the company to stop following discriminatory orders from the Castro dictatorship against US citizens who were born in Cuba.

USA Today


Cruise giant Carnival Corp. on Monday said it would delay the launch of new Cuba voyages if the island nation sticks to a rule barring Cuban-born Americans from the trips.

Carnival has come under fire in recent days for not allowing Cuban-born Americans to book the voyages, which will be operated by the company’s new Fathom brand and are scheduled to begin May 1. The line had said it was complying with a longstanding Cuban rule forbidding Cuban-born Americans from traveling to Cuba by ship.

In a statement issued Monday, Carnival said it was continuing discussions with the Cuban government to change the rule to allow Cuban-born Americans to sail on the cruises. The voyages will be the first cruises from the USA to Cuba in more than 50 years.

Carnival Corp. also said that, effective immediately, it is accepting bookings for the voyages from passengers born in any country, including Cuba.

The change of policy at Carnival Corp. comes less than a week after the company was sued in federal court by two Cuban-born Americans who were turned down when they tried to book one of the Cuba sailings. The lawsuit claimed the inability of a group of Americans to participate in a public activity violates the Civil Rights Act. It asked for the May 1 cruise to Cuba to be stopped.

Carnival Corp. also faced protests and heavy criticism in its home town of Miami. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez requested an official opinion to see whether the Fathom brand would be violating county code by banning passengers based solely on their national origin. Fathom operates out of PortMiami, which is in Miami-Dade County, and Gimenez asked if the restrictions on Cuban-born Americans would represent a breach of contract or warrant penalties.

Pressure on Carnival to change its policy grew on Thursday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN en Espanol that “Carnival needs to not discriminate.” Kerry had been asked whether the Fathom trips should be postponed until Cuban-born Americans were allowed to travel to the island by sea.

Carnival on Monday said it was confident the Cuban government would change its policy, noting the country already allows Cuba-born Americans to travel to Cuba on chartered aircraft.

“While optimistic that Cuba will treat travelers with Fathom the same as air charters today, should that decision by Cuba be delayed past May 1, Carnival Corporation will delay the start of its voyages to Cuba accordingly,” the company said in the statement.

Carnival’s Cuba cruise discriminates, lawsuit says



When Carnival Corp. announced plans for a cruise ship from its Fathom line to sail from Miami to Havana in May, Francisco Marty jumped at the opportunity to surprise his kids with a trip back to their native land.

But Marty, who’s cruised so many times that he’s a Platinum VIP in the company’s rewards program, was shocked when a representative told him he couldn’t go on the inaugural trip because of where he was born: Cuba.
Now, as travelers get their bags ready for the first cruise to Cuba in more than 50 years, Marty is part of a new class-action lawsuit claiming that Carnival is discriminating against Cuban-Americans looking to travel to their homeland.
The lawsuit, filed by Marty and fellow traveler Amparo Sanchez, alleges that the company is violating federal civil rights laws and discriminating against Cubans by denying them tickets.

‘A Cuba decision’

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 said the company requested a change in the regulation and has been working with the Cuban government on the issue for months.
But for Marty, that isn’t enough.

Attorney Robert Rodriguez said his client has health issues that keep him from flying to the island.

Marty took part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and had been hoping to return to the beach he landed on to take “before” and “after” photos for an exhibit at a Miami museum, Rodriguez said.
Then, he was told he wouldn’t be allowed on board.

“They said, ‘Sorry, you can’t go because you’re Cuban,’ ” Rodriguez said. “That’s just not the American way. You were given permission to sail to Cuba, not break the laws of the U.S.”
Rodriguez said he plans to file an emergency motion early Monday, aiming for an immediate hearing, hoping that a judge will hear the case within the next week.
“I hope that Carnival cooperates, in terms of getting this litigated before the first cruise,” Rodriguez said.

The weeklong cruise is set to sail to Havana on May 1, also making stops in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. Tickets start at $1,800 per person, excluding other costs, such as Cuban visas.

Do similar cases set a precedent?

Rodriguez said he’s confident the suit will succeed. One reason: the U.S. government has weighed in on similar situations in the past.
Miami-based civil rights attorney John de Leon says there are at least two similar cases in recent history.

According to de Leon, Kuwait Airways had a policy banning Israeli citizens from traveling between JFK and London’s Heathrow airport.
“The Department of Transportation came out very strongly. … They said they would not allow discrimination for anybody who is leaving an American port,” said de Leon.
The airline eventually suspended the flight altogether.

In a similar case, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled all port calls into Tunisia after the Tunisian government refused to allow entry to a group of Israeli citizens.
“The cruise ship had to balance its commercial interest verses its interest not to discriminate,” said de Leon, who is Cuban-American.
“If they do the right thing, they are going to say, ‘We are not going to discriminate against the Cubans in Miami, who have been loyal customers for years and generations.’ ”
Kerry: ‘Carnival needs to not discriminate’

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in on the controversy last week during a visit to Miami-Dade College, telling the Miami Herald: “Carnival needs to not discriminate.”

“The United States government will never support, never condone discrimination. And the Cuban government should not have the right to enforce on us a policy of discrimination against people who have the right to travel,” Kerry told CNN en Español.
“We should not be in a situation where the Cuban government is forcing its discrimination policy on us. So we call on the government of Cuba to change that policy, and to recognize that if they want full relations and a normal relationship with the United States, they have to live by international laws, not exclusively by Cuban laws,” he said.

A spokesman for the State Department later clarified Kerry’s remarks, explaining that Kerry “in no way meant to convey that Carnival is supporting policies that are discriminating against Cuban-American travelers.”

Boycott Carnival cruises to Cuba, until Cuban Americans are allowed to board, too


Sun Sentinel, by Daniel Vazquez

Carnival plans to launch cruises to Cuba next month.

Wonder if the corporation will hang the appropriate warning signs at all entrances?

The ones that should read: “No Dogs. No Cubans.”

That’s right. Carnival cruises to Cuban are set to begin May 1. But some Americans are banned from boarding: Cuban Americans.

The irony. The cruelty. The ultimate ‘dis to all Americans, courtesy once again of the Castro brothers.

Here’s an idea: Carnival can use leftover signs from the 1960s, the ones commonly found plastered on apartment and motel buildings that proclaimed: “No Pets, No Kids, No Cubans.”

Oops. Forgot. Carnival allows kids. And service dogs. Just no Cuban Americans.

Of course, some travelers may be giddy about the opportunity to visit Cuba for the first time in 50 years. But the cost is not worth it. In any form.

Much of the money spent on food, booze and cigars by visitors to Cuba will go directly to the violent and oppressive government, now run by Fidel’s little brother. The money will hardly help the Cuban people.

The biggest rub: The ban on Cuban Americans boarding a Carnival cruises was negotiated by the Cuban government, the U.S. Treasury Department and Carnival Corporation.

That means the Obama Administration is fine with discrimination against Cuban Americans — whose parents and family were forced to flee Cuba without any belongings while running to outpace flying bullets from Fidel’s goon squads.

That means the Carnival Corporation is fine with putting profits before doing the right thing, even if it insults, demeans and outrages its own customers. Carvinal is based in South Florida, and many Cuban Americans are loyal customers … Or, they were.

And all of this means, of course, that the Castros get to stick it to the U.S. again.

My advice to Carnival: Put up the “No Cubans Allowed” signs right away. To cut down on confusion. And remind a good number of your own customers why they should take their business elsewhere.

Daniel Vasquez may be reached at dvasquez@sunsentinel.com or @ConsumerDan


Carnival cruise to Cuba discriminates against a class of Americans


En Español Martí Noticias

Fabiola Santiago, The Miami Herald

Cuban government: Cuban-Americans need not apply for cruises

Carnival refuses bookings, says they don’t set the rules

Would they ban blacks, Jews or any other class of U.S. citizen if Cuba asked?

Imagine a cruise line that won’t take African Americans on sailings to Africa. Or won’t take bookings from American Jews to Israel. One class of U.S. citizen banned while others get access. No company in contemporary America would ever survive such blunt discriminatory business practices.

But that’s exactly what Carnival Corporation is doing in cahoots with the Cuban government and with the endorsement of the U.S. Treasury — banning Cuban Americans from its upcoming cruises to the island starting May 1.

“They’re imposing repressive Cuban laws on American citizens,” says Maria de los Angeles Torres, a respected expert on Cuba and a longtime pro-engagement and anti-embargo academic who directs Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago. “It’s like they’re bringing Cuban law here.”

Torres also happens to be a Cuban American, sent to the United States as a child during the Pedro Pan exodus. She has been traveling to Cuba since 1978 to visit family and for academic research. But despite all her liberal credentials, in the age of engagement she has been refused a place on the Carnival cruises to Cuba.

“We didn’t build bridges to have others close them,” she tells me.

The Carnival Cruise Line website beckons: “Be the first to cruise to Cuba in over 50 years. Visit our sister Fathom Travel and reserve your spot now.” There’s not one mention that Cuban Americans need not apply. I’m a believer in free travel, so I proceeded to book an October sail, my U.S. passport in hand.
The itinerary promises a seven-day cruise with stops and off-shore excursions in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba, plus all the bells and whistles of cruising. Only difference is that “cultural immersion” and designated “people-to-people” activities are mandatory, allegedly by U.S. Treasury design. I say allegedly because Cuba’s official travel office imposes or approves itineraries. They decide with whom travelers “engage.” Propaganda-peddling at its best.

Reason enough to ditch Cuba travel, but I continued booking with a Fathom agent who merrily took my personal information, put me on a waiting list for a $2,470 ocean view room and assured me I’d be generously upgraded if no one canceled. Even that far out in advance, only expensive balcony ($3,150 a passenger) and suites ($7,350 a passenger) were available. Port fees are an additional $283 per passenger. Carnival and Cuba are making a nice profit. Discrimination seems to be working for them.

After the agent said that my deposit was due in 24 hours, I asked the usual consumer questions: What happens if there’s a hurricane? I’ll get my money back or be rebooked. Finally, we get around to the passport. When I tell her it says I was born in Cuba, she asked me to hold. She returned to read me a statement from the legal department: “Current Cuban law prohibits Cuban-born individuals from entering Cuba via ship or other sea vessel, regardless of U.S. citizenship status. For that reason, at the present time, Fathom cannot accommodate Cuban-born individuals.”

Just like that, my booking was canceled.

Carnival spokesman Roger Frizzell tells me that the cruise line is “just following the laws that have been set up. We have requested a change in policy, which has not yet been granted, but our hope and intention is that we can travel with everybody. We will continue to have conversations [with Cuba] and that’s the process we would work through.”

I ask him if Carnival would have been willing to take cruise ships to South Africa during the apartheid era and not carry black people because that was the law.

He repeats that Carnival follows the laws of the countries it travels to. I guess that means the answer is yes.

Forty-seven years in this country, 36 as a U.S. citizen, a voter — and I cannot sail on an American cruise ship because Cuba says so.

Now I know how Cubans felt when they arrived in 1960s Miami and found signs like this on rentals: “No blacks. No Cubans. No dogs.” Or no Jews.

I suppose you can call it progress that at least Carnival isn’t agreeing to ban African Americans or Jews.

Something precious is lost when a foreign government dictates what kinds of U.S. citizens can sail out of the Port of Miami.

Carnival’s “Social Impact”: Support Dictators, Degrade Cubans and Traffic in Stolen Property


Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Carnival Cruise Lines announced today that it has received a specific license from the Treasury Department for its “social impact” trips to Cuba.
The license would allow Carnival to take “people-to-people” travelers on humanitarian trips to the island.
Carnival would like to launch these trips by May 2016, but it still has a long way to go.
First, it needs approval from the Castro regime.
And as the head of Castro’s Interests Section in Washington, D.C., Jose Cabanas, recently reminded a group of eager cruise and ferry types: “This will take time. These companies have to go to our authorities, they have to introduce their ideas. Some of them we already know. But they are not all equal.”
Furthermore, the U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved language — by a vote of 247-176 — in the FY’16 Transportation Appropriations bill that would prohibit the use of confiscated property by any new flights or vessels authorized for travel to Cuba.
But — à la Donald Trump — this is a publicity ploy by Carnival, whose ships have been stung by a string of bad accidents, illnesses and other incidents in recent years.
Also like Trump, it’s a particularly distasteful ploy, considering that Carnival is based in the heart of the Cuban-American community, which has always embraced it. Continue reading Carnival’s “Social Impact”: Support Dictators, Degrade Cubans and Traffic in Stolen Property