Cuba Changes Cruise Policy: Cuban-Born Expats Can Set Sail For The Island

Apr 22, 2016

Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand ship will cruise to Cuba May 1 as planned and Cuban-Americans will be welcome on board.

Cuban state media are reporting this morning that starting next Tuesday, anyone born in Cuba will now be allowed to enter and leave the island by ship. Until now, all Cuban-born persons - even those living in the U.S. - were barred from doing so under Cuban migration policy.

The official Cuban government newspaper, Granma, says that rule has now been changed, and that anyone born in Cuba may now come to the country by merchant vessel and by cruise ship. Carnival Corp. confirmed the change in a news release this morning.

The cruise issue that stirred angry controversy in recent weeks when many Cuban-Americans discovered that they could not book passage on the Fathom ship, Adonia. The 704-passenger vessel is scheduled to sail from PortMiami to three Cuban ports - Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.

Many Cuban-born residents here in Miami had protested against Carnival for bowing to what they called a discriminatory Cuban policy, and some had even filed a class-action lawsuit against the cruise corporation.

"We made history in March, and we are part of making history again today," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corpo, in a company release. "More importantly, we are contributing to a positive future."