Are Cuban-Americans allowed to sail? What documentation do they need?
Yes. Individuals who are of Cuban descent and were born in the U.S. are permitted to sail.
Can Cuban-born citizens sail from Miami to Cuba?
Cuban-born, U.S. citizens are also permitted to sail, but will need additional documentation in order to travel.
Cuban-born citizens who came to the U.S. on or after January 1, 1971 must travel to Cuba using their Cuban passports, but must use their U.S. passports to depart and re-enter the U.S. These guests do not need a visa, but will need a Passport Habilitation. For additional information, please refer to the U.S. Embassy in Cuba website found at https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/.
Individuals who came to the U.S. prior to January 1, 1971, must travel to Cuba with their U.S. passports. They will also require an HE-11 visa, which must be applied for prior to travel. The visa application process can take up to 90 days, so plan ahead!
For assistance with visa and passport requests, guests can contact the Cuban Embassy directly.
Where is my affidavit?
Your affidavit will be included with your e-tickets. Each guest 18 years of age and older is required to print, fill-in, and sign prior to arriving at the port. It is important that each and every guest fills out this form. All guests, regardless of nationality, must complete the travel affidavit form before going onboard and deliver it at check-in in the terminal. The form is required per person, not per family. A parent or guardian may complete the form for each guest 17 years of age and younger.
What activity is required shore side of guests traveling to Cuba from the U.S.?
U.S. law currently allows travel to Cuba under one of 12 general licenses. All guests (including minors) must complete a certification for authorized U.S. travel to Cuba declaring that their travel falls under one of the 12 categories of eligible travel.
The most common and simplest category allowing travel to Cuba is through people-to-people educational exchange activities. To ensure full compliance, MSC Cruises has organized extensive tours of Cuba for its guests that qualify with the people-to-people requirement and have been designed to allow all guests to experience the best this unique cultural destination has to offer.
What are the other categories that provide eligibility of travel to Cuba?
Listed below are the 12 general authorized license categories as defined by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Guests who are not participating in MSC Cruises people-to-people educational exchange program plan must participate in at least one of the following activities falling within the general authorized license categories provided by OFAC.
All guests will be required to complete and sign the “Guest Certification for Authorized U.S. travel to Cuba” form prior to boarding the vessel and declaring that their travel falls under one of the below categories or that they are authorized to travel to Cuba under a specific license issued by OFAC (license number and a copy of the license will be required). This Guest Certification form can be found on MSCCubaProgram.com.
- Family visits
- Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
- Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing Department of Commerce regulations and guidelines with respect to Cuba or engaged in by U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign firms
Documents Needed for Cruises to Cuba
All guests cruising to Cuba must be in possession of the following documentation to sail. No exceptions will be made.
- A valid passport book – ALL PASSENGERS MUST HAVE A PASSPORT TO CRUISE TO CUBA with at least six month validity.
- Cuban visa (a.k.a. Tarjeta del Turista)
- Completed Travel Affidavit Certification Form
- Valid visa documentation to enter the United States (when applicable)
Visa Requirements for Non-Cuban Born Guests
All guests cruising to Cuba on the passenger list require a visa (Tarjeta del Turista) to cruise to Cuba. All nationalities are eligible to enter Cuba with this visa (except for anyone born in Cuba).
Guests of visa-exempt nationalities must still have a visa since they are entering Cuba from the United States.
Guests will be issued a visa at check-in and will sign a receipt stating their onboard account will be charged $75 per visa.
Guests will fill the information out on the visa themselves once onboard and will be given an instruction sheet to assist them.
Guests who don’t accept the visa issued at check-in may sail with their own visa. If for any reason a guest’s visa is not accepted by immigration in Havana, we will sell them one of our visas on the spot and charge their onboard account $75 per visa.
Citizens of the 18 countries listed below also require an A-1 visa to visit Cuba. It is their responsibility to get the proper visa from the Cuban Consulate:
Cameroon | Eritrea | Ethiopia | Ghana | Guinea | Kenya | Nigeria | Sierra Leone | Somalia | Afghanistan | Bangladesh | Philippines | India | Nepal | Sri Lanka | Pakistan | Iraq | Yemen
Visa Requirements for Cuban Born Guests
Any guest born in Cuba is ineligible to enter Cuba with the Tarjeta del Turista visa. Documentation requirements for Cubans differ depending on the year the guest left Cuba. We will rely on them to inform us honestly which year they left Cuba. Any Cuban guest without the correct visa documentation can sail but must be detained onboard while in Cuba.
Documentation requirements for Cuban born guests who left Cuba prior to 1971 are as follows:
- Those who are NOT in possession of a Cuban passport are required to have an HE11 visa along with their foreign passport.
- Those who ARE in possession of a valid Cuban passport are required to have a Habilitación Permission of Re-Entry visa inside of theirs. These do not expire.
All Cuban born guests who left Cuba after 1971 are required to be in possession of a valid Cuban passport together with a Habilitación Permission of Re-Entry visa.
**VERY IMPORTANT note regarding Cuban passports:
Cuban passports are valid for six years but must be renewed every two years. Therefore, it is imperative to check the issue date of the passport, and if it was issued more than two years ago, they must have a “prorroga” stamp in the passport, which cannot be older than 2 years.
Is it mandatory that guests sailing from Miami to Cuba participate in pre-arranged “people-to-people” shore excursions in Cuba?
All guests sailing to Cuba from Miami must either purchase and book people-to-people activities for each day they are planning to disembark in Cuba, certify that they are traveling under one of the other 12 general authorized license categories as defined by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), or hold a specific license issued by OFAC.
MSC Cruises will organize “people-to-people” shore excursions. The extensive tours have been designed to allow all guests to experience the best this unique cultural destination has to offer.
Do guests need to purchase a “people-to-people” shore excursions through MSC Cruises or can they purchase a “people-to-people” shore excursions through a third party?
People-to-people shore excursions can be purchased through MSC Cruises. Alternatively, U.S. citizens are able to participate in their own “people-to-people” shore excursion organized by a third party U.S. sponsoring organization. It is the responsibility of the guest to ensure that the tour by the third party organization complies with U.S. regulations.
Do guests need to purchase a “people-to-people” shore excursion for each day that they are in Havana?
Yes, guests traveling to Cuba under the people-to-people program must purchase a “people-to-people” shore excursion for each day they are disembarking in Havana or certify that their travel falls under one of the 12 general authorized license categories as defined by OFAC.
Can I explore Cuba on my own?
You cannot get off the ship in Cuba unless you are on a shore excursion.
Can I stay on the ship during the day and only take a nighttime shore excursion?
Yes, but you cannot get off the ship until the time of your shore excursion.
Can guests opt to stay on MSC Armonia while it’s docked in Havana instead of participating in an organized people-to-people excursion?
Yes, guests are able to opt to stay on board MSC Armonia while it’s docked in Havana.
Will guests residing outside of the U.S. and sailing with MSC Cruises from Miami to Cuba have to participate in people-to-people cultural and educational activities?
All guests sailing from Miami on MSC Armonia will either be required to participate in the people-to-people experiences, qualify for one of the other 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba, or hold a specific license issued by OFAC.
Can I use US Dollars in Cuba?
When exploring Cuba, American currency will not be accepted and cannot be used on shore. American passengers cannot use American currency, credit cards or ATM cards in Cuba.
In order to make purchases in Cuba, it will be required for passengers to bring US dollars and then visit a bank or exchange center to convert their cash to Cuban currency.
Can Cuban cigars be bought in Cuba and be brought back on board?
Yes, but it is the guests responsibility to ensure the cigars are legally purchased from authorized retailers in Cuba and for personal use only. While there is no limit to the value of goods that may be brought back from Cuba for personal use, bags are subject to the current U.S. customs value limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported. For additional details on these limits, visit help.cbp.gov.
Do I have to purchase medical insurance?
Cuba government requires all visitors to have medical insurance. MSC Cruises is offering a medical insurance that costs $9 which automatically will be added to your booking. The medical insurance is included with the price of your cruise, it is included with the Government Fees & Taxes (GFTs).
Please note that this is not travelers insurance.
Can I cancel the medical insurance?
Yes, but you will have to provide proof of medical insurance.