08.10.2009
 
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from $399 7-night Mexico Cruises on NCL!
Roundtrip Los Angeles on Norwegian Star to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Just $399, Balconies from $599 pp!
America's Vacation Center 1-866-501-7271
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from $349 Up to 75% Off Canada/New England Cruises!
Plan a Fall Cruise to Canada/New England and experience the fall foliage. Prices for the season from $349!
www.VacationsToGo.com 800-338-4962
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from $499 Bermuda Cruise SALE - Cruise from $499 pp!
Drastically reduced fares on remaining 2009 Bermuda cruise inventory. Book and receive up to $100 in FREE onboard credits plus FREE travel insurance!
Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
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from$649 Coming Soon - Carnival Dream!
Carnivals biggest Fun ShipTM starts at $649, Balcony Bargains from $999. Best Dream bargains anywhere! Book 5 cabins for $100 ship credit.
CruisePlanners: 1-800-561-0802
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from $409 7-night Caribbean -Carnival Valor
Western Caribbean: Miami to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, Cozumel. Balconies from $619 selected dates!
America's Vacation Center 1-866-501-7271
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-  $3998 Silversea Cruises: 10 Day Alaska
Vancouver to San Francisco: Sitka, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, San Francisco overnight + $1,000 onboard credit
CruiseMarketplace 1-800-826-4333
  hr blue bar
from $399 7-night Mexico Cruises on NCL!
Roundtrip Los Angeles on Norwegian Star to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Just $399, Balconies from $599 pp!
America's Vacation Center 1-866-501-7271
  hr blue bar
from $349 Up to 75% Off Canada/New England Cruises!
Plan a Fall Cruise to Canada/New England and experience the fall foliage. Prices for the season from $349!
www.VacationsToGo.com 800-338-4962
  hr blue bar
from $499 Bermuda Cruise SALE - Cruise from $499 pp!
Drastically reduced fares on remaining 2009 Bermuda cruise inventory. Book and receive up to $100 in FREE onboard credits plus FREE travel insurance!
Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
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Royal
Caribbean
on Sale
Royal Caribbean House Party!
Book any Royal Caribbean cruise between Aug 12- 14 and get free specialty dining and additional shipboard credits.
CruisePlanners: 1-800-561-0802
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from $409 7-night Caribbean -Carnival Valor
Western Caribbean: Miami to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, Cozumel. Balconies from $619 selected dates!
America's Vacation Center 1-866-501-7271
  hr blue bar
-  $3998 Silversea Cruises: 10 Day Alaska
Vancouver to San Francisco: Sitka, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, San Francisco overnight + $1,000 onboard credit
CruiseMarketplace 1-800-826-4333
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editor's notes
by Paul Motter

Drop the Cuba Travel Embargo
The outspoken Arthur Frommer just blogged "It's become clear that the Obama administration isn't enforcing the Cuba travel ban." Arthur reports two different large groups of travelers openly crossed US borders, with Mexico and Canada, after publicizing they had spent their time abroad in Cuba. The groups didn't deny they were only using Canada and Mexico as buffer zones to openly sidestep the U.S. trade embargo. Neither group was detained at the borders.

Arthur reports that a group of 130 young Americans who openly entered the US via Reynosa Mexico revealed they had just been in Cuba before their return. An additional 140 travelers, who completed a two-week visit to Cuba and returned via Toronto, had their plans reported by AP News and published in the Miami Herald and Washington Post. Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson, Kevin Corsaro, commented there were no government plans to detain them.

Now to be perfectly clear, there isn't a ban on travel to Cuba, there is ban on trading with our "enemies." You can go to Cuba legally, you just can't spend any money there. Also, any ship that docks in Cuba cannot dock in the United States for six months. However cruise ships already cruise to Cuba, mostly from Britain and Germany. In 2005 there were 102,000 cruise visitors to Havana. In 2007 Castro decided he didn't like cruise ships and the number was reduced to 11,000. But Fidel is now out - Raul is in.

Of course, the opening of Cuba would be a huge plus for the U.S. cruise industry. Havana was once the most popular Caribbean destination by far. The city boasted hotels, nightclubs and casinos not since equaled by the rest of the Caribbean. Furthermore, as the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba offers plenty of potential ports of call with a variety of attractions.

But there is a difference between "no comment" and sanctioning direct cruises to Havana. Is it even fair to say that "Obama" is ignoring the ban? Yes. Every American submits a customs form upon returning to the U.S. listing the countries visited. The CBP official knew where the group had been but did not detain them. It is safe to assume the orders to ignore Americans traveling to Cuba came from the Federal government; most likely Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano who reports directly to Obama. I would really like to see if any of those customs forms listed purchases made in Cuba.

All indications are that open travel to Cuba is but a pen stroke away. There are already such bills in Congress and Obama isn't showing any objections.

Why should we drop our trade embargo with Cuba and allow cruise ships to go there? The embargo is a crusty relic of the sixties Cold War - before Obama was born! How about restoring economic stability to a downtrodden nation just 90 miles from our shore - a nation with millions of family members also living right here in the United States.

Cruising is the fastest way to promote tourism to Cuba, in fact it is currently the only workable solution. Havana no longer has those beautiful hotels and casinos, and only cruise ships have the facility to bring tourists in by day and still accommodate them at night. Havana doesn't even have many restaurants, but cruise ships do.

It would also bring a much needed benefit to American travel agents and the shareholders in cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. 97% of Carnival Cruise Line shares are held by U.S. shareholders, for example. What's good for Carnival is good for America. Royal Caribbean has 57% U.S.-ownership and 25% European. What's good for Royal Caribbean is good for America and our friends.

So, let's make it official; Drop the trade embargo with Cuba. It is a cost-free economic stimulus program that has no downside. Isn't that the kind of thinking we need for our economy right now?

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