Tag Archives: Carnival cruises to Cuba

Will Carnival be next? Cubans found hiding in ship carrying filming equipment of Fast and Furious 8

fast

La Prensa

Florida authorities found three Cubans hiding in a cargo ship arriving from Cuba and which was carrying filming equipment used in the shooting of the movie “Fast and Furious 8”.

Spokespersons for Port Everglades in Broward County, South Florida, confirmed to EFE that the Cubans were found inside a cargo ship arriving at the maritime terminal, one of the world’s busiest ports which recorded more than 3.7 million passengers in 2015.

The Cubans, whose identities have not been revealed, were then handed over to the local office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The eighth installment of the “Fast and Furious” series, starring Vin Diesel, was shot in Havana a few weeks ago and there are plans to shoot more scenes in New York City.

Cubans who touch land on U.S. territory are favored by the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 and its policy of ‘dry feet/wet feet’ which means they can stay in the country, while those who are intercepted before reaching the coast are deported to the island.

Last fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sep. 30, 2015, more than 43,000 Cubans came to the U.S., representing a rise of more than 77 percent compared to the previous period, according to the CBP.

The restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries in July 2015, with the opening of embassies, has raised fears that immigrant benefits to Cubans will be curbed, while immigration experts say the renewed ties have led to a fresh exodus from the Caribbean island to the United States.

First American cruise to Cuba in decades ends with lots of vomit and diarrhea

carnivalok

New York Daily News

The first American cruise ship to Cuba in more than 50 years returned to Miami Sunday morning — with a whole lotta vomit and diarrhea on board.

The Fathom Adonia docked right before 6:30 a.m., ending its historic week-long voyage that brought Americans to Cuba for the first time since the countries re-established diplomatic relations. And upon its return, it was a historic horror to behold, with the vessel now needing a “thorough scrubbing,” as the Miami Herald put it.

The cruise company, Carnival, confirmed that 14 of the ship’s 700 passengers were sickened during the much-touted trip. Travelers were warned to use healthy doses of hand sanitizer, and the ship’s crew spent the last days of the trip cleaning dining rooms and tables, according to reports.

Ship captain David Box said the passengers suffered from stomach ailments “possibly suggestive of Norovirus,” according to the Herald, though Carnival has not confirmed a cause.

Still, the ship’s medical director also blamed Norovirus, an easily transmittable infection, in a letter sent to passengers on the trip’s final day.

“We suspect that the virus may have been inadvertently introduced on board by embarking travelers,” the letter said.

“Norovirus, as you are now aware, is extremely contagious and easily transmitted from person to person, especially if meticulous attention is not paid to personal hygiene.”

The company said all 14 sick passengers were treated on the ship and recovered.

“It was a non-issue for nearly everyone on board,” Carnival spokesman Roger Frizzel insisted to the Sun-Sentinel on Sunday.

The Fathom Adonia — after its cleaning — is scheduled to make trips to Cuba every other Sunday.

21 cases of gastro-intestinal illnesses reported aboard Fathom Adonia

carnivalok

The Miami Herald

After seven passengers reported feeling ill Friday, the ship’s crew put heightened hygiene procedures into effect

14 more passengers reported illnesses Saturday as the cruise ship made its way back to its home port in Miami

Ship’s captain told passengers there had been an increase in gastro-intestinal illnesses, “possibly suggestive of Norovirus”

As Carnival’s Fathom Adonia cruised to its home port in Miami on Saturday afternoon after making the first cruise from the United States directly to Cuba in more than half a century, an outbreak of suspected Norovirus was reported.

On Friday, after seven passengers reported gastro-intestinal upsets, the ship’s crew put heightened hygiene procedures into effect such as spritzing guests’ hands with sanitizer when they entered and left dining rooms and immediately wiping down tables.

Guests were advised to thoroughly wash their hands often and avoid shaking hands.

David Box, the ship’s captain, announced to passengers Saturday morning that there had been an increase in gastro-intestinal illnesses, “possibly suggestive of Norovirus.”

Roger Frizzell, a Carnival spokesman, said there were 14 more cases reported Saturday. He said Norovirus, which causes vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea, hadn’t been confirmed.

“These things usually run their course in 24 hours,” he said. “We’ve been very proactive in communicating with guests.”

The ship will get a thorough scrubbing when it reaches Miami early Sunday, but Frizzell said the outbreak is not expected to delay the Adonia’s trip to the Dominican Republic, which is scheduled to depart late Sunday afternoon.

Although they were aware of the outbreak, most guests seemed to be enjoying their last day at sea, sunning themselves and splashing in the ship’s pool Saturday afternoon.

Editorial: The perils of business in Cuba

canibalDoin

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Earlier this year a delegation of Virginia business leaders traveled to Cuba to explore the potential for commerce there, now that the Obama administration has eased relations between the two countries. At one point, Cuban officials tried to reassure them by vowing that foreign investment could not be “expropriated” except “for reasons of public or social interest.”

Some reassurance.

But having your money, plants or equipment stolen at gunpoint is not the only peril facing American companies in the Castro Brothers’ island paradise. Just ask Carnival Cruise Lines.

The company recently, and wisely, made a hasty retreat from its announced policy of not allowing Cuban-Americans to take cruises to Cuba. We are not making this up. The company blamed the Cuban government, which restricts how and whether Cuban-Americans can visit. Carnival was just following orders, you see.

What’s more, Cuba does not recognize the American nationality of Cuban-Americans who were either born in Cuba or born to Cuban emigrés. In fact, the U.S. government warns such individuals that they “will be treated solely as Cuban citizens and may be subject to a range of restrictions and obligations, including military service.” In some instances, Cuba has even refused to allow such “dual-nationals” to return to the U.S.

Cuba’s reprehensible treatment of its own political dissidents is well-known. So is its treatment of gays and lesbians, who at one time were routinely sent to labor camps for the crime of being gay. That is no longer the case today, and the Cuban regime has tried to reinvent itself as a paradise of gay liberation. That false front is one its critics view, correctly, as little more than pinkwashing.

It’s jarring to watch the American business community boycott North Carolina over that state’s new law regarding LGBT individuals — while racing to see who can open up shop in Cuba, where discrimination is even worse.

No, America’s five-decade embargo did little to change things in the Cuban prison state, and a new approach might produce better results. But those who have flocked to Cuba looking for new business opportunities (a cohort that includes Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe) might want to pause and consider whether the potential gain is worth the risk — not only to their own interests, but to the interests of freedom and justice for all.

What will happen if?

carnivalok

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.

Public and legal pressure against Carnival should continue

canibal

There are plenty of reasons for the public pressure and the class action suit against Carnival to continue, because American citizens who were born in Cuba continue to be discriminated.
If you are an American citizen who was born someplace else except Cuba, all you need to take a cruise to Cuba is your American passport.
But if you are an American citizen who was born in Cuba, you need to obtain a Cuban passport at a cost of approximately $450 + a Visa, in order to take a Carnival cruise to the enslaved island.
That is discrimination against US citizens based on their country of origin and is against US law.
In addition, Cuba’s ‘constitution’ doesn’t recognize double citizenship. So, if you are an American citizen, it should be against Cuban law for you to be forced to obtain a Cuban passport.
But as we know, in Cuba there are no laws and no Constitution, it is whatever the Castros decide and all they care about is the revenue they will receive by forcing US citizens to buy a Cuban passport in order to visit Cuba.
I hope that the lawyers continue their class action suit and public pressure continues against Carnival for being more interested in making a buck than following US laws.
It is the only way that Cuba’s dictatorship will be forced to do the right thing.
Public and legal pressure forced the Castro brothers to change a ‘law’ that had been in effect for more than 50 years. Such pressure should not be relaxed now, to the contrary it should be increased.

Cuba will allow Cuban-born to arrive on Carnival cruise ship

The fact that the Castro regime changed its position about Cuban-Americans traveling on cruise ships and other vessels, proves that they will only make changes when they are forced to.
The problem with Obama’s Cuba policy is that he gave away the store without asking anything in return and the Castros took advantage of him.
Whether he did it because he is too naive, a terrible negotiator, or because he sympathize with them, is another question altogether.

carnivalok

From The Miami Herald

Carnival had said they expected the change but was ready to delay May 1 cruise if it didn’t happen

Cuba is easing a long-standing ban on Cuban-born people returning to the island by sea, clearing the way for Carnival Corporation to launch a Miami-to-Havana route that was the subject of a national controversy when the company declined to sell tickets to Cuban-born Americans.

Cuba made the announcement via Granma, the official voice of the Cuban government.

Carnival Corp. said it has been working closely with the Cuban government to reach an agreement that would allow the Doral-based company to take travelers to Cuba in the same way air charters currently do, according to a release issued Friday morning. Cuban-born Americans have been the primary travelers to Cuba by air.

The change marks the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals will be able to travel to the island by sea. On March 21, Carnival Corp.’s new Fathom brand became the first U.S. company to gain approval to sail to the island in more than 50 years.

“We made history in March, and we are a part of making history again,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. “More importantly, we are contributing to a positive future. This is a positive outcome and we are extremely pleased.”

According to the new regulations, Cuban citizens, regardless of immigration status, can enter and exit the country as passengers and crew on merchant ships and cruise ships. The new policy goes into effect Tuesday.

The Granma also reported that at a later date, Cuban citizens will be allowed to enter and exit the island, regardless of immigration status, as passengers or crew on recreational boats, such as yachts.

But when Carnival first earned approval, the cruise company declined to sell tickets to Cuban-born Americans, in accordance with Cuban law. After controversy sparked by a Miami Herald column by Fabiola Santiago argued Carnival Corp. was discriminating against Cuban-born Americans, the cruise company changed course.

Government officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez lashed out against Carnival Corp., one of the county’s largest private employers, for the policy.

Two lawsuits were filed in federal court in Miami last week, a class-action suit and a civil suit, by Cuban-born Americans who attempted to book and were denied tickets on Fathom. The lawsuits alleged that the cruise line was violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by following a policy that discriminates against a class of Americans on a place of public accommodation for transient guests — a cruise ship.

Fathom then resumed selling tickets to Cuban-born Americans, easing a threat by Miami-Dade to block the company from having access to its terminals at the county-owned PortMiami. Fathom parent Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company, said it would delay its inaugural visit to Cuba on May 1 until the Cuban government changed its policy.

But Carnival Corp. executives also said they expected the Cuban government to change the regulation before the cruise was set to launch.

Fathom’s 704-passenger Adonia will leave PortMiami for Havana on weeklong voyages beginning May 1, with stops in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.

CNN’s Havana bureau reported the news early Friday morning; Carnival Corp. issued a release confirming shortly thereafter. Carnival resumed selling tickets to Cuban-born Americans last week amid a storm of controversy and a threat by Miami-Dade to block the Doral-based company from having access to its terminals at the county-owned PortMiami

On Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a statement praising Carnival chairman Micky Arison, who had come under fire three days earlier at the County Commission meeting. Commissioner Javier Souto, Cuban-born and a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion, took aim at Arison’s role as the owner of the Miami Heat, which receives county subsidies and plays in a county-owned arena. “I was appalled and surprised,” Souto said. “We’ve been so good to the Heat.”

Gimenez had accused Carnival of violating the county’s human-rights ordinance through its original booking policy for the Cuba cruises, but has also been in touch with Arison throughout the dispute to ease tensions.

“Mr. Arison and Carnival have been great corporate citizens in Miami-Dade County for more than 40 years,” Gimenez said in the statement. “This policy change was the right thing to do, and I congratulate both Mr. Arison and Carnival on their efforts…”

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

carnivalok

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

Carnivalnofreecubans

CNN

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.”