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Carnival sued over not allowing Cuban-born Americans on cruise to island

An aircraft lands in front of Carnival cruise ships docked January 6, 2002 at the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

An aircraft lands in front of Carnival cruise ships docked January 6, 2002 at the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  (2002 Getty Images)

A class action suit has been filed against Carnival cruises over its adherence to the Cuba government’s insistence that Cuban-born Americans may not arrive or depart the island aboard a ship.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Amparo Sanchez and Francisco Marty, claims they were not permitted to buy tickets on a May 1 cruise from Miami to the Caribbean island aboard Carnival’s Fathom cruise line.

It asks a judge to force Carnival to allow all people of Cuban origin to sail on cruises to the island.

According to the Miami Herald, a Fathom representative told plaintiffs they have been “working on the issue for months,” but that they had to abide by the Cuban regime's policy.

The company says in a statement it must comply with the visa, entry and exit policies of every country but has lodged a request with the Cuban government to change the regulations for the cruise.

Carnival Corp. was the first American cruise line to be approved to sail to the Communist island in more than 50 years. Its May cruise will take passengers on a week-long trip to various ports on the island including Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos.

The cruise line's CEO, Arnold Donald, confirmed to the Herald that they have been working to petition the government to change the policy.

“Cuban-born individuals are allowed to fly to Cuba, and we just want a similar process,” he told the newspaper. “We expressed that respectfully and appropriately.”

The lawsuit was filed the same day more than 50 people protested the policy outside the cruise line’s headquarters in Miami.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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