Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Americans Can Travel To Cuba By Boat With New People-To-People Trip
By BETH J. HARPAZ 07/18/13 05:56 PM ET EDT

NEW YORK — A U.S.-based tour company on Thursday announced the launch
of new people-to-people trips to Cuba that would transport U.S. citizens
there by ship.

Road Scholar, a Boston-based company, is offering the trips from Jamaica
and Miami, with stops in Havana and other parts of Cuba.

Most travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba is outlawed, but tens of thousands
of Americans now visit the island legally each year on people-to-people
tours, which are licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department.
People-to-people trips must have educational and cultural exchange
itineraries in order to be approved by the U.S. government.

Typically people-to-people tours fly from U.S. airports to Havana on
chartered planes. But Road Scholar’s director of international programs,
Yves Marceau, said in a phone interview that “there’s nothing in the
regulations or guidelines” that preclude traveling by ship on a
people-to-people tour.

The U.S. Treasury Department confirmed in an email that transportation
“whether by bus, boat or taxi” in Cuba is permitted as part of the
people-to-people programs as long as it does not detract from a
“full-time schedule of educational activities that will result in
meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.”

Marceau said Road Scholar had “designed all the port programs to be
consistent” with those regulations, including a visit to an agricultural
cooperative and meetings with artists.

The Road Scholar trips are among several seaborne voyages planned by
U.S.-based entities to Cuba. This fall, Semester at Sea plans its first
stop in Cuba since 2004, according to Semester at Sea spokesman Andrew
Centofante. Semester at Sea allows college students to earn credit on
multi-country study abroad programs that take place on a ship, and
Centofante said the Cuba stop was approved by the U.S. government as
part of an itinerary in which students will visit various ports around
the Atlantic.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York had advertised a
people-to-people cruise from Jamaica to Havana this past April, but it
did not take place. A spokesman for Academic Arrangements Abroad, which
was organizing the museum trip, did not immediately respond to a request
for comment, but it’s not unusual for tours sponsored by museums or
universities to be cancelled if they don’t get enough participants.

The Road Scholar trip will use a cruise ship operated by a Canadian
company, with Canadians and Europeans making up most of the other 1,000
passengers on the ship, Marceau said. The Road Scholar group has room
for 24 participants and will adhere to its own itinerary in Cuban ports.

One of the Road Scholar tours is an 11-night trip beginning in Montego
Bay, Jamaica, which heads to Punta Frances, located on a small Cuban
island south of Havana called Isla de la Juventud, and concludes with
five nights in Havana. A second 10-night trip starts in Miami, then
heads to Cuba, with stops including rural areas and the western part of
the country, and a final stop in Montego Bay. The third Road Scholar
voyage runs 12 nights, traveling from Miami to Havana and around the
island before returning to Havana. The Road Scholar seaborne trips to
Cuba have departure dates in December through March 2014.

The people-to-people cultural exchange licenses were reinstituted by the
Obama administration in 2011, after being halted by the Bush
administration. But requirements were tightened last year after
criticism that many of the trips were masking recreational tourism to
the Communist island. Cuban-American Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of
Florida criticized the government for approving licenses for groups that
included activities like salsa dancing.

Source: “Americans Can Travel To Cuba By Boat With New People-To-People
Trip” –
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/americans-traveling-cuba-by-ship_n_3619798.html


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