Posts tagged with "Cuba"

Cuba Travel

On June 4, 2019, the Trump Administration announced further restrictions on travel to Cuba, immediately halting cruise ship arrivals and some other forms of travel. Edward Piegza, founder of Classic Journeys, explains the latest rules.

Why should I care about the new Cuba Travel Restrictions?

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the Trump administration announced new rules about people-to-people and cruise travel to Cuba. These will affect most Americans traveling to Cuba. If you have plans for such a trip – or have been thinking about making them – you may naturally be confused. Here’s a summary of the changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations announced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) (the section at the Department of the Treasury that regulates the trade and travel embargo to Cuba and which issues licenses for travel to Cuba) and the Commerce Department, respectively.

Can I travel legally to Cuba with Classic Journeys on its People-to-People programs? 

Yes, indeed. Your travel to Cuba on Classic Journeys’ People-to-People programs is 100% legal because our programs fall under OFAC’s ‘grandfather’ clause. OFAC considers the grandfather clause to apply when a People-to-People organization like Classic Journeys had completed a travel-related transaction prior to June 5, 2019, in connection with a particular departure date, even if, prior to June 5, 2019, you as a traveler had not yet reserved your trip. In other words, because we had already reserved our hotel accommodations for our People-to-People trips in Cuba prior to June 5, 2019, your travel to Cuba on our People-to-People programs is grandfathered in as completely legal.

How do the new regulations affect People-to-People travel?

OFAC has allowed U.S. organizations whose people-to-people programs in Cuba fall under a ‘grandfather’ clause, such as those operated by Classic Journeys, to proceed with those programs through the end of 2019. 

So, what is a qualifying “travel-related transaction” that allows Classic Journeys’ People-to-People programs to Cuba to be legal under the grandfather clause? 

The qualifying “travel-related transaction” that needs to have been completed prior to June 5 could be, for example: having made a reservation for an accommodation (whether or not paid for) or booking and paying for transportation. These are just two examples and are not meant to be exhaustive. In the case of Classic Journeys, our close relationships with local people in Cuba mean that we already had our hotel reservations confirmed prior to June 5.

What People-to-People programs and dates are legal with Classic Journeys under the new regulations? 

All three of our People-to-People programs (Long Weekend in Havana, Cuba for Families: Havana and the Viñales Valley, and Havana Cienfuegos & Trinidad) and all of their departure dates for 2019 are 100% legal.

Can you still fly to Cuba legally on commercial air flights?

Commercial air flights are not affected by the changes. Note that your airline will ask you at the time of ticketing to select from a listing of the type of license under which you are traveling to Cuba legally. Your first choice option for the license will be a “people-to-people” exchange with the “grandfather clause” aka referencing the fact that your People-to-People organization- Classic Journeys – has made its arrangements prior to June 5, 2019. If that option is not available, you can select “educational activities” (so long as there is no mention of a degree requirement). If the airline you are considering does not have one of these options right now, they are likely playing catch up with the new regulations; so you can check back with them in a few days or try one of the many other airlines with commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba.

How do the new regulations affect cruise travel to Cuba?

The changes have immediately ended travel to Cuba by U.S.-flagged cruise ships or foreign-flagged cruise ships departing from U.S. ports. The Commerce Department has not included a “grandfather” clause to allow cruises that have already been scheduled, and for which passengers have already made arrangements. If you have a paid a deposit or final payment for cruise travel to Cuba, you should contact your cruise company for a refund.

What about private aircraft and boats; can they travel legally to Cuba? 

No. The authorization for private vessels and private aircraft (such as private fishing boats and private sailboats, and corporate or private jets) is revoked.

How will the changes under President Trump affect the people of Cuba?

We’ve made so many wonderful friends in Cuba and seen the lives of the Cuban people change for the better during recent years. So, of course, we’re concerned about what it will mean to their prosperity and general welfare with the enaction of these new travel regulations. The Cubans have been through so much in the last 60 years. They’ve always managed to bear their hardships with grace and warm solidarity in their families and communities.

One known feature of the new regulations is that they will cap remittances – the money that can be sent to Cubans from friends and family members in the U.S. – at $1,000 per person every three months. In a country where the median monthly salary is just $32, you can only imagine how a reduction in remittance income will impact everyday life. In addition, travel had become a major source of income for Cubans, as well, so any reduction in that resource will echo throughout the country in a way for the people who can least afford it and whom we and our government want to help.

We choose guarded optimism.

We are approaching Cuba as we always have – with care, enthusiasm, and with pride in the fact that legal travel for Americans to Cuba has changed the lives of our American guests and the everyday local Cubans they’ve met, in overwhelmingly positive ways. You can still travel to Cuba legally with Classic Journeys. We like to think of this way of travel as an informal version of ‘Voice of America” with boots on the ground… yours in fact, as you communicate a positive story of the American people to local Cuban people. We urge you to hold fast to your plans. And if you’ve been hesitating to plan a Cuba trip, you know now that you can, and we encourage you to do so.

ABOUT CLASSIC JOURNEYS

Since its founding in 1995 with one style of travel in a total of three countries, Classic Journeys has expanded to offer five styles of travel (culture + walking, culinary, family, multi-sport, and river cruising) and 100 itineraries in 50 countries across six continents. With its focus on providing every guest a handcrafted trip of a lifetime, Classic Journeys has won awards from a variety of publications including Afar, Saveur, National Geographic and Travel + Leisure – the latter having named it a “World’s Best Tour Operator” every year since 2007. 

Refinery29’s Style Out There

WATCH NOW: SEASON 3 PREMIERE OF REFINERY29’s SERIES

Style Out There

Refinery29 returns with season 3 of the award-winning video series, Style Out There. With over 23 million views over the last two seasons, host and journalist Connie Wang digs back into the way clothing has given women a way to speak out, look within, and identify the forces that limit their potential. Through these stories, Wang discovers the powerful way fashion illuminates social and political issues, ranging from the connection between sexy clothing and sexual assault to instances when cultural appropriation can actually be both useful and productive.

Episode One of Style Out There is Now Available

In episode one, Connie Wang explores the cultural phenomenon of Disneybounding. Despite Disney’s strict rules prohibiting adults from wearing costumes inside its theme parks, die-hard fans have found a creative way to nerd out with their clothing.

Episode One Highlights:

On What Draws Disneybounders to Disney’s Films and Theme Parks:

“I didn’t grow up speaking English, they would take me outside of class to teach me how to speak English and I felt like that was pretty much Ariel. She was not feeling really part of the Mer-world but not too much part of the human world. Her story to me was very like I get it, I’m in that in between space, I’m neither here nor there and that’s okay and I can be part of both worlds.” – Evette, Disneybounder

“Disney to me is selling a feeling of happiness and joy and magic and nostalgia. No matter how uncertain the world seems, Disney kinda stays constant and consistent.” – Chelsea, Disneybounder

“In a land of synthetic monuments, Disneybounders have found real reasons to share hope, friendships and fanny packs. If the world looks better through rose colored glasses, maybe I’ll grab a pair? Hey, those could go great with a piglet disneybound.” – Connie, Host

On Disney’s Growing Diversity:

“We’re going to see a queer prince one day. We’re going to see a Vietnamese, a Japanese, different parts of Asia we’re going to see a Latina princess from Puerto Rico, from Cuba, from South America. I feel like slowly we’re going to get there one day.” – Evette, Disneybounder

Style Out There will premiere new episodes every week on Refinery29’s YouTube channel, exploring Japanese Cholas subculture in Nagoya, the rise of Afrofuturism across the globe, the American Escaramuzas, and Jamaica’s dancehall queens.

About Refinery29

Refinery29 is the leading media and entertainment company focused on women. Through a variety of lifestyle stories, original video programming, social, shareable content, and live experiences, Refinery29 provides its audience with the inspiration and tools to discover and pursue a more independent, stylish, and informed life. Please visit www.refinery29.com/en-us, www.refinery29.com/en-ca, www.refinery29.uk and www.refinery29.de for more information and to browse content.

LILIMAR

*Featured image by Amanda Elkins

Rising star, Lilimar, is the embodiment of class and style. She is a young, energetic and gorgeous Latina – born in Venezuela to Cuban parents – and is the accumulation of everything Young Hollywood strives to be. She is best known for her series regular role on the Nickelodeon series “Bella & The Bulldogs,” but can now be seen starring in the networks popular new series: “Knight Squad,” which returns for season 2 in early 2019. Lilimar stars as the lead role of “Sage” a very interesting witch, that is full or fire and fury (but in a good way!). “Knight Squad is set at a magical school for knights in training, where two mismatched students form an unlikely alliance to protect each other’s secret and pursue their dreams,” according to a Nickelodeon show description.

Off-screen, Lilimar has used her strong social presence to set empowering, self-love social initiatives like #FreshFaceFriday and #StarGazeSaturday; with the goal of lifting up her followers and encouraging them to embrace their unique beauty and individuality.

I was really excited to start both of these on my socials, because I just love connecting with my stargazers (my supporters). I’m so incredibly grateful for every ounce of love & support they show as it always keeps me so positive and happy so I wanted to do something that shows that I support THEM just as much.” – Lilimar

The goal is to encourage young people to break boundaries and not be afraid to show the world who they really are beneath the make-up, the clothes, and fake images we try to portray online. We live in a world where we’re forcing ourselves to achieve perfection through photos instead of embracing our true natural beautiful selves. Connecting directly with her fans on these topics, Lilimar discusses issues that teens think about today like peer pressure, family, owning your individual power, societal norms in the modern age.

Her messages of truth and self-love are the reason why she’s poised to be America’s newest sweetheart.

Instagram

Twitter

14 MINIMALIST TRAVEL POSTERS

Minimalism is all the rage at the moment thanks to writers like Fumio Sasaki, so why not apply that approach when planning your next vacation? There’s so much information out there that it can seem overwhelming when you start researching places to go, with so many offers, travel guides, blogs, photos, videos, podcasts and all the rest. Sometimes you just need to drown out the noise and focus on what’s important.

That’s why Expedia has created these minimalist travel posters to help you see the essential elements on 14 of the top vacation destinations in the world. They’ve picked out the most important aspects of each destination, namely where you should go first, what food you should eat and where you can get that one stunning and shareable photo for your Instagram or Facebook page.

If you go to Berlin, for example, a whistlestop tour using these posters would take you to the aptly-named Panoramapunkt for a panoramic view of the TV Tower, followed by a trip to the past at the historic Brandenburg Gate. For food options, currywurst is a spicy taste of Berlin life and culture, while you can finish your stay with an energetic and symbolic bike ride down the Mauerweg, which follows the route of the old Berlin Wall.

Swapping Germany for South Africa, Cape Town has plenty to offer, even in the snapshot form of a minimalist visit. Speaking of snapshots, Bloubergstrand is the place to go to get that iconic photo of Table Mountain while you’ll also want to keep your camera to hand when you’re at Boulders Beach so you can get a shot of the penguins. Yes, there really are penguins there. The Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock is a good place to get souvenirs, while the recommended dish of the trip is potjiekos, a traditional meat stew.

As you’ll have seen from these two examples, there’s so much you can fit into even a minimalist travel poster if the destination is as exciting as Berlin or Cape Town. Others getting the minimalist treatment include Havana, London, Paris and even the Serengeti and Siam Reap, the Cambodian home of 800-year-old temple Angkor Wat. You can probably guess what the iconic photo from that trip would be.

So check out all 14 of these minimalist travel posters from Expedia and see which of the legendary destinations captures your imagination. Given that you can take in all the sights in just one day, you could even do a tour…

 

Cuba Cars

Check out Cuba Cars from publishers Delius Klasing. Cuba is worth a visit. Or, as the authors of this book discovered, several. Cuba is still associated with Tobacco and Cohiba, Rum and Mojito – and above all the old classic, American cars of the Fifties, still running.
 
This coffee-table book is a presentation of the unbelievable variety of classic car models against the backdrop what Columbus described as “the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes.”


 Purchase HERE

WINTER HOLIDAY CABINS BY ADVENTURESMITH EXPLORATIONS

Cabin space is still available for the winter 2017 holiday season on small-ship cruises to such coveted destinations as Antarctica, Baja California, Costa Rica, the Galapagos and Cuba, reports AdventureSmith Explorations, the company that brings cruise guests into intimate contact with seldom-visited shorelines around the world.

Antarctica
Travelers who want to maximize opportunities for wildlife encounters on land and sea can still book passage on one of three Antarctica programs inclusive of air transfers across Drake Passage. This segment of a cruise normally consumes several days of at-sea-only travel both coming and going. Popular air cruises fly guests over the often-turbulent Drake Passage, turning a two-day crossing into two hours. Following are air cruise departures with space available as of mid August. For more information and specifics on all the various itineraries offered by AdventureSmith Explorations please see Antarctica cruises.

  • If booked before Aug. 31, 2017, clients receive a 20 percent discount on a mid-December departure Dec. 15-22 of Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake. Also available are Dec. 16-23and Dec. 20-30 departures. This eight-day itinerary is from $9,495 per person double on the 132-passenger Ocean Adventurer or the 108-passenger Island Sky.
  • Antarctica Air Cruise offers three holiday departures still with availability: Dec. 16-23Dec. 21-28 and Dec. 22-29. This cruise is eight days from $10,995 per person double on the 72-guest Ocean Nova or the 71-guest Hebridean Sky XXI.
  • Polar Circle Air Cruise picks up the holiday slack with its Jan. 1-10, 2018, departure for 10 days from $14,495 per person double aboard the 72-guest Ocean Nova.
  • There is still ample space on a non-air cruise, the 11-day Antarctic Explorer expedition, an 11-day journey from $5,995 per person double, exclusive of the air cruise benefit. Four ships carrying from 132 to 199 passengers conduct this cruise.

Baja California and Costa Rica
Two very popular, close-to-home small ship cruise destinations as of late summer have good holiday cabin availability to accommodate families and groups. Some programs include special offers. Baja cruises in late December and early January coincide with the beginning of the peak season for viewing gray whales and for snorkeling with sea lions.

  • Westward Voyages in the Sea of Cortez has holiday availability on Dec. 14-22and Dec. 22Jan. 2 departures. This is a 12-day adventure from $5,250 per person double aboard the eight-guest yacht Westward.
  • Baja’s Bounty accommodates the holidays with departures Dec. 16-23Dec. 23-30Dec. 30Jan. 6 and Jan. 6-13 The Dec. 16 and Jan. 6 programs come with a bonus of $800 off on cabins booked by Sept. 30, 2017. This cruise is over eight days from $2,995 per person double aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavor.

Friendly, tropical and easy-to-access, Costa Rica is a holiday destination primed for families. Small ships provide easy, inclusive access to rain and cloud forests, tropical birds and wildlife, active volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches. Whale watching ramps up this time of year, with the season for humpback whales running January through March. Holiday cruise options include $800 off the cabin rate and free round trip from Miami on some trips if booked by Sept. 30, 2017.

  • Unveiled Wonders: Costa Rica & the Panama Canal holiday departures are Dec. 15-23 ($800 off cabin rate), Dec. 22-30Dec. 29Jan. 6 and Jan. 5-13. This is a nine-day program from $4,395 per person double aboard the 62-guest Safari Voyager.
  • Costa Rica & the Panama Canal holiday departures are Dec.16-23Dec.23-30Dec. 30Jan 6 and Jan. 6-13, all with free round-trip airfare from Miami. For eight days from $5,990 per person double guests enjoy the hospitality of the brand-new 100-guest National Geographic Quest.
  • Treasures of Costa Rica & the Panama Canal holiday departures are Dec. 30Jan. 6 and Jan. 6-13 aboard the 34-guest Callisto for eight days from $2,790 per person double.

In addition, numerous Costa Rica lodge-based trips have availability. Please see AdventureSmith’s Costa Rica page for more trips.

Galapagos Islands
Although the Galapagos Islandsoffer sailings year-round, warmer water temperatures make the region highly sought-after come December for snorkeling and swimming. As AdventureSmith’s most popular holiday destination, it’s the first to sell out. However there’s still availability on the 16-guest Seaman Journey and Sea Star Journey sister ships for four days from $2,529 per person double; on the 90-guest Santa Cruz for five days from $3,388 per person double; on the 40-guest Isabela II for five days from $3,268 and on the 48-guest La Pinta for five days from $4,136 per person double.

Cuba
The Cuba by Land & Sea Cruise aboard the 46-guest mega yacht Harmony V comes with the expert team at Lindblad-National Geographic. The 11-day trip is from $9,500 per person double.

Active vacationers might also want to consider a Peru trekking adventure that pairs day hikes with nights in remote lodges. Amazon cruises are also a warm-weather option for winter travel. While they sail year-round, December and January departures come with high water season, which typically runs from November through May. During this time rivers, creeks and lakes are more navigable, as the waters are some 23 feet higher. This brings passengers closer to the canopy and wildlife.

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and for 2017-2018 reservations, please call 900-728-2875 toll-free or visit http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/.

About AdventureSmith Explorations – Think Outside the Boat!
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler‘s prestigious World’s Top Travel Specialists List as the leading expert on small ship expeditions.