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The NBC travel show 1st Look is taking viewers to Cuba.
1st Look features the Caribbean island in its Sept. 30 episode, as host Ashley Roberts takes viewers to roll cigars, ride in classic cars from the 1950s and learn to dance casino, a local style of salsa.
“We wanted to show how fantastic a place Cuba is and share that with people,” 1st Look director and senior producer Brian Mait said. The episode includes stops at the Bay of Pigs and Ernest Hemingway’s old house.
“Cuba has been on everybody’s bucket list ever since people have been allowed to travel there,” 1st Look supervising producer Lemeya Al-Jinabi said. “They don’t really know much about it except for what you see in the movies.”
As part of an effort to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations, the Obama administration began allowing direct flights and gave Americans looser restrictions on visiting in 2016 — a development the show wanted to take advantage of.
But the episode’s last day of filming on the island in June fell on the same day that President Donald Trump announced he would be rolling back some of Obama’s Cuba travel policies.
While American airlines and cruise ships are still traveling to Cuba, the policy again requires that Americans go "under more restrictive group trips" instead of privately-organized educational and cultural visits without specific permission from the government, as NBC News has reported.
On Friday, the State Department announced it would be pulling out more than half of its diplomatic personnel out of Havana due to mysterious sonic incidents that had sickened embassy staffers and their families, and urged Americans not to travel to the island. Cuba called the decision "hasty."
The 1st Look episode was taped before Hurricane Irma tore a deadly path through the island.
The show producers confirmed that all of the people and small businesses featured in the episode are safe.
“They’re strong willed people and I think they're just going to rise from this disaster and come back even stronger,” Al-Jinabi said.
1st Look: Destination Cuba premieres on Saturday, September 30 after SNL.