NORFOLK, Va. — If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Cuba, traveling there has become more difficult.
Last week, the Trump administration set travel restrictions, which banned cruise ships from visiting the island.
Here in Norfolk, two Carnival Cruise ships were going to set sail for Havana in Oct. 2020. The company had to cancel the stops in Havana.
Instead, the ships will be re-routed to Grand Turk.
One Virginia Beach man, Mike Jaffe, booked tickets to go on the cruise with his girlfriend, friends, and family.
“This is the one that was always out there that you just couldn’t do. And all of a sudden, you could do it, and then you can’t. That’s the greatest disappointment in that,” said Jaffe.
Jaffe is a world traveler. He’s wandered from the Taj Mahal in India to the island of Antigua, to London.
One of Jaffe’s dreams has always been to explore Cuba. For most of his life, traveling to the island nation has been prohibited.
But his chance finally came when the travel restrictions to Cuba were lifted.
Jaffe jumped at the opportunity to sail from Norfolk to Havana and quickly booked a trip with a group of people.
“None of it was gonna be politicized for me. It was strictly gonna be for the people, and the food, the culture kind of aspect,” said Jaffe.
Carnival Cruise reached out to passengers like Jaffe who booked tickets. The company informed them that Havana will no longer be a stop on the cruise.
Carnival Cruise is offering passengers several options:
- Remain on the sailing and receive a US$100.00, per person, onboard credit (no need to call us if you are continuing with your plans to sail with us)
- Move to another itinerary and receive a US$50.00, per person, the onboard credit
- Cancel and receive a full refund
The restrictions have led Jaffe to decide on canceling his entire trip. Jaffe said his only reason to join the cruise was to travel to Havana.
“I mean it’s not soul-crushing, but it’s disappointing,” said Jaffe. “I’m hoping that'll change and we still get an opportunity to go before the country becomes commercialized and there’s a McDonalds on every corner. You wanna go for the country, not when it’s something different.”