American cruise lines had to scramble this week after the Trump administration announced a new ban on recreational travel to Cuba effective Wednesday.
The ban affects both passenger and recreational ships, yachts and fishing boats, and private and corporate aircraft.
The new restrictions effect some 800,000 bookings with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines and others, according to the industry group the Cruise Lines International Association, The New York Times reported.
The ban ends a nearly two-decade-old program that allowed Americans to travel to the communist nation under 12 categories, including individual and group “people-to-people” travel, a subcategory of the educational provision that allowed travel to Cuba for cultural and education purposes, according to NPR.
TRENDING: This is the final cruise ship pulling out of Havana, Cuba ahead of a new ban starting at midnight. U.S. based cruises can no longer take travelers to the island nation. About 140,000 Americans visited Cuba through cruises this year.— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) June 5, 2019
I’m one of hundreds of very angry passengers aboard a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. We all planned this cruise anticipating our stop in Cuba 🇨🇺. Very upset! @GayleKing @NorahODonnell @amyklobuchar @CBSThisMorning @maddow @CarnivalCruise— Cindy Hamilton (@HmltnRN) June 5, 2019
The administration said the travel ban is aimed at keeping U.S. dollars “out of the hands” of the communist government, including “the Cuban military, intelligence and security services.”
“This administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a press release.
“Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes,” Mnuchin said.
Commercial airline flights, travel for university groups, academic research, journalism and professional meetings are still allowed under the new restrictions, according to The Associated Press.
The US has announced a new ban on travel to Cuba for cruises, group tours, private planes and yachts— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 5, 2019
How have tourists and locals reacted?
[Tap to expand] https://t.co/vAciwZgcpC pic.twitter.com/4Er5XCN5o3
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