WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Travelers returned home Monday heartbroken after a cruise ship promising a Valentine’s Day reunion with loved ones was turned away from Cuba.
Viva Travel’s Charter of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Ship got back to the Port of Palm Beach around 9 a.m., with many passengers on board still upset.
Zeida Ssbdia is one of the disappointed passengers. She was looking forward to seeing her 80-year old brother whom she hasn’t seen in 14 years.
“It was a very important family reunion,” explained Ssbdia, “We had 35 people altogether waiting for my husband and me. We were going to take them to lunch. They’d been waiting for us for hours.”
Viva Travel sent CBS12 News this statement, saying,
“We are upset and sad for all the clients that ultimately wanted to see their family members in Cuba. 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 Havana."
Viva Travel and Bahamas Paradise Cruise have all the paper work in order to leave the US and to enter Cuba .
There is a video now that surfaced on Univision that show Cuban authorities giving little excuses why the port call was canceled. One excuse given on video: "Names are in the wrong field." Another excuse on video: "You are missing 5 or 6 passport numbers." The captain at that time said, "easy things to correct and give now."