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Cruise Ship Returns to Florida After Being Turned Away From Cuba

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 2/19/2019 Donald Wood

The Grand Classica and Grand Celebration, ships apart of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line fleet: PHOTO: The Grand Classica and Grand Celebration, ships apart of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line fleet. (photo via Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line) © Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line PHOTO: The Grand Classica and Grand Celebration, ships apart of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line fleet. (photo via Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line) A cruise ship returned to Florida Monday after it was denied entry in Cuba last week despite receiving prior approval from government officials.

According to the Panama City News Herald, the Grand Classica ship owned by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line was chartered by Viva Travel and departed from the Port of Palm Beach Thursday on a journey to Cuba.

As the Grand Classica prepared to dock in Cuba Friday morning, Cuban authorities informed Viva Travel officials the ship had been denied entry but failed to provide the company with any legitimate explanation.

“We are upset and sad for all the clients that ultimately wanted to see their family members in Cuba,” Viva Travel CEO Peter Regalado said in a statement. “Once again, the Cuban government gets to laugh at the Cuban exiles thru this action with no excuse. After months of work, we are denied our entry with no legitimate cause. At this moment we are going to begin by giving a full refund to the customers that were going to sail from Habana.”

The Grand Classica returned to Florida Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. local time after diverting to The Bahamas to complete the four-day cruise. Passengers were upset by the ordeal, and Viva Travel is working on compensating the impacted travelers.

The original plan was for a portion of the passengers to get off the ship in Cuba and some Cuban nationals would temporarily board to meet with family members, including one woman who hadn’t seen her uncle in 17 years.

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