Passengers left frustrated after cruise denied entry to Cuba

(WSVN) - Passengers were left puzzled when their cruise ship was forced to switch course after Cuban officials wouldn’t let them on the island. Now they’re expressing their outrage and disappointment over the cruise controversy.

A Bahamas paradise cruise line ship left the Port of Palm Beach Thursday afternoon for a four-night cruise to Havana, Cuba..

However, once they reached the island the following morning, they said Cuban authorities denied the ship’s entry with no explanation.

“It broke everyone’s feelings, you know?” Zeida Saavedra expressed.

Several passengers were outraged and disappointed, as many took the trip to visit loved ones.

“We Cubans, we get upset very easily, so we got upset on the boat, and everybody is still upset because we have no answers,” said Saavedra.

A cruise line spokesperson said they had received approval from the Cuban government beforehand and are still unsure why they were not allowed in.

Some passengers think they were denied because there were several doctors on board who had left Cuba.

“There were several doctors that were on board just like every other — with the illusion of seeing their family member, not with the illusion of doing anything bad,” Viva Travel CEO Peter Regalado said. “I mean everything that was in every single suitcase was medicine, clothing.”

The CEO of Viva Travel, who chartered the Grand Classica, said he’s upset passengers were unable to see their families and is working to repay them.

“All the refunds are being done to every single family in Cuba, and then we’re working on a credit to the ones down here,” Regalado added.

A state department spokesperson did release a statement indicating the country was within its right.

“Every state has the sovereign right to regulate the entry, screening, and stay of foreign nationals in its territory, subject to its international obligations,” the statement read.

The cruise ended up skipping Cuba and went straight to the Bahamas.

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