Despite the latest State Department travel warning, a number of major cruise lines said that they would continue sailing to Cuba this week.
Norwegian Cruise Line said that it would continue to operate its cruises to Havana as scheduled, emphasizing that there “have been no reported incidents involving tourists or other cruise ship passengers.”
Reported incidents have been isolated to diplomats and government officials residing on the island,” the cruise line said in a statement on its website.
Norwegian also said that it has thoroughly evaluated its shore excursion and tour locations, none of which are owned or operated by the military. The visa issuing process for Norwegian guests will remain the same.
“We continue to believe that the best way to travel to Cuba is via cruise ship and look forward to continuing to offer our guests the opportunity to explore Cuba’s beauty, culture and friendly people,” the cruise line said.
Carnival Cruise Line likewise reported that no American travelers have reported health issues as a result of the sonic attacks.
“While members and relatives of the U.S. diplomatic corps have suffered illnesses apparently triggered by occurrences t the diplomatic offices or possibly their homes, none of the more than 475,000 other Americans visiting Cuba this year have reported similar health issues related to their visits,” Carnival said in a statement its brand ambassador, John Heald, shared on his Facebook page. “We are, of course, closely monitoring and are in touch with U.S., as well as Cuban authorities, and will act accordingly if anything warrants a change in our plans.”
Carnival further said that its guests’ visas remain valid for Cuba travel, and that there will be no issues with guests’ returns to the United States. The State Department advisory does not prohibit Americans from traveling to Cuba, Carnival noted.
Small ship cruise line Celestyal Cruises announced it will return to the country starting October 20.
"Recent incidents exclusively involving U.S. and Canadian diplomats, as reported in media, are entirely unrelated to tourism and currently under investigation by the governments of Cuba, the USA and Canada,” Celestyal Cruises said in a written release. “Safety and security at sea and on land are our highest priorities at Celestyal Cruises, and the company is pleased to be able to maintain its impeccable standards while providing our passengers with authentic lifetime experiences on one of the great gems of the Caribbean.”
Two weeks ago the State Department issued a new travel warning for Cuba, citing a series of sonic attacks against State Department employees that have led to hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. The attacks occurred both in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens.
Because the State Department has been unable to identify the source of the attacks, it has ordered the departure of all nonemergency U.S. government employees and their family members. As a result, the embassy will be limited to providing emergency assistance only to U.S. travelers.
Travelers can still contact the embassy for emergency assistance at +(53)(7) 839-4100 or the Department of State at 1-202-501-4444.