bmf30180

Has anyone booked a trip from the US lately?

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4 hours ago, dshot said:

Just came back friday no problems.

How was it?  My casa hostess mentioned she could really tell the impact of the absent cruise ships.  Any thoughts on if it will have a 'positive' impact on the LCDH inventories, or will non-US, non-cruisers reap the benefits? 

I obviously have no idea what the consumer market for cigars was for the many cruise passengers. I have to imagine the selection will improve, but the impossible to find boxes will still be impossible to find. 

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11 minutes ago, bmf30180 said:

How was it?  My casa hostess mentioned she could really tell the impact of the absent cruise ships.  Any thoughts on if it will have a 'positive' impact on the LCDH inventories, or will non-US, non-cruisers reap the benefits? 

I obviously have no idea what the consumer market for cigars was for the many cruise passengers. I have to imagine the selection will improve, but the impossible to find boxes will still be impossible to find. 

It was good man! It was my first trip to the island ever. I went to 3 different LCDH on this trip and saw good stock. No Limitidas, Gran Rerservas, Cohiba Tailsman, or La Trova's but some good LCDH select cigars. Picked up some Cohiba Corona Especiales, Montie Maltas, a box of Montie No. 2 plus about 100 custom rolls from Vinales. I'd say every store I went into was well stocked. Oh and I couldn't find any Sir Winstons either but I did see Bolivar Libertadors in a few shops & Partagas Salomones LCDH which where excellent!
 

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As far as tourist. Hmm I didn't meet any other Americans while there. Met Canadians, Europeans only so I dunno. My Airbnb said they where losing bookings from the US so it does sound like it effecting them. The "Support the Cuban People" I could see it being demanding but I like meeting people so it wasn't an issue.

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The Chinese go around from LCDH to LCDH offering the sales staff 200-500 CUC for master cases of hard to find cigars. They present them a list and a phone number. They have patience and there's a lot of them. Same with the rum, only 15 year olds and higher going out in pallets on the plane. John

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19 hours ago, moy71 said:

I just booked on Jetblue for travel in February.  USD274 return from Orlando.  I also asked  about visa requirements.  Here's what they said:

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They don't know what they are talking about. You can, and I would say you SHOULD, buy your Visa before you get to the airport. There are several websites that will sell, then mail you a blank Visa, that you then fill out with your info. $50 is a fair price, I've seen some companies charge $100, plus fees and shipping, I heard some cruise companies charged more than that. For reference a "non US" Visa, purchased through Interjet at the Cancun airport is only $20 USD (they wouldn't take Pesos for some reason)

"Cuba Travel Services" is the name of the company I typically use. They are also the only company I have seen selling them at the airports in the U.S. I like the piece of mind that comes with a pre purchase.  You have the Visa in your hand before you leave home. This method has worked best for me leaving through FLL and Houston. But I have pre purchased for pickup at the airport(Fort Lauderdale) and also just purchased one on the fly at the airport (Newark). All three methods got the job done. 

 

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Just got back from a week in Havana, most of my group flew through FLL with Jet Blue and no one had any issues with buying the visa in FLL or customs either way. I brought the most cigars back of the group, about 55, but was never checked. They only asked if I had less than 10 bottles of rum.

One piece of advice is bring more $ than you think you need. I had planned on bringing back more cigars but was out of $ by the time I arrived back at the airport for my return flight. 

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9 minutes ago, moy71 said:

how true is jetBlue's advise:  "be at the airport 3hrs before your flight departure" ?  

I've never flown Jet Blue, but I have flown United and Southwest. Every flight from the US to Cuba is pretty much a regular domestic flight(minus the "Cuban Boarding Process")

I would suggest getting to the airport in Havana with plenty of time to spare. I usually get there about 2 to 2.5 hours ahead of time. I've been searched by Customs, waited in Long lines at passport control and to check in, but never come close to missing the flight. I've also never seen a flight leave on time at any airport, anywhere in Cuba. Ever.

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1 hour ago, moy71 said:

how true is jetBlue's advise:  "be at the airport 3hrs before your flight departure" ?  

The flight down was exactly like a domestic flight. You go through customs in Cuba. The flight back 2-3 hours should be good but you’re not allowed to enter more than 3 hours early. 

I wish I knew that rule as I had the latest flight in the group and was denied entry with no explanation. After a stressful 20 minutes though they finally explained and security was only 30 - 40 min going through later

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A word of advice based on my experience...give yourself enough time to wait in line if you are exchanging CUC's on your way out. When I arrived there were 20 people in line at the one window that was open. I ended up having to save my CUC's for next time. There was a 'VIP' window open with no line but they wouldn't let me use it. 

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I've always bought my travel visa at check-in at the gate of the airline I fly with. It takes about 2 extra minutes there, and has always been $75 I think. So pre-buying that visa elsewhere is really just a matter of maybe saving a few bucks but taking an extra step at some point before travel day. It's not a question though--you have to have it so the airlines just produce it, there is virtually no process involved. 

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