Ruth and I were lucky. We visited Cuba earlier this year on a Fathom cruise. They’re no longer being offered. Being the first cruise line to enter Cuba when restrictions were lifted, Fathom, a Carnival company, took boatloads of Americans there. Carnival continues to offer cruises to Cuba, but there are few available. With the U.S. Government now restricting travel to Cuba, this will be more and more the case.
For the time being, only licensed tour operators can take Americans to Cuba. Group operators, apparently, will sell more trips to Cuba, but hotel builders and airlines will scale back plans. Southwest, American, and Jet Blue have already cancelled flights although Southwest is still offering daily flights to Havana. I have read that those planning independent travel to Cuba are cancelling trips.
After Barak Obama made travel to Cuba less restrictive, curious Americans headed there in large numbers. Airbnb added lots of homes there to its offerings. But Donald Trump announced new restrictions in June and now Americans can only travel there as part of an organized group, like Road Scholar, the Smithsonian, etc. Since Americans will need a tourist card to enter Cuba, people will have to go legally with a group.
When we went to Cuba earlier in 2017, we were not, to my knowledge, monitored. We were taken to only state-run shops to buy rum and cigars and heard that the Cubans who spoke to us were being questioned by plain clothes officials, but I was on my own, at times, to look around. This kind of freedom many no longer be possible. The Trump Administration has told the Treasury Department to enforce the law. Our cruise was supposedly a people to people, get acquainted cultural exchange endeavor, but every time passengers engaged Cubans in conversation, they were asked for money, soap, a photo op, etc.
If you were looking forward to traveling around Cuba without restriction, you’re at least temporarily out of luck. If you’ve decided to wait-and-see if the policy changes, you can at least rent The Fate of the Furious when it becomes available on July 11. It was partially shot in and around Havana. The production company reportedly generated 300 jobs. No new Cuban-made U.S. movies have been announced except for Wasp Network, which will also film in Florida. Probably. There is no official timetable yet.