I rarely say this in public, but I find some poster's confrontational demeanor to be very off-putting. This is CruiseMates, so in a sense it is "our house". If I invited you to a party at my house and you spoke that way to complete stranger, right or wrong, I would politely ask you to refrain or leave.
Why berate a novice who is having a problem understanding a very complicated issue? Are we here to help people, or just make them feel worse about an already bad situation?
We are here to help - not argue with people. Can I request that everyone get onboard with the spirit of CruiseMates?
FWIW: even the Dept of Homeland Security and BCP don't know what the exact rules are for cruiser documentation. I am at a conference today with the head of Homeland Security and I just discovered a HUGE mistake they have online in their WHTI FAQ. It says that as of June 2009 cruisers will not need passports to cruise in the Western Hemisphere when in fact they WILL. They read what I pointed out to them and said - "yeah, we know our cruise information is currently a mess. We need to work on it."
If they can make a mistake, and they are the ones making up the rules, then Hipshot deserves a little considerate leeway for his experience with nearly the same issue.
Hipshot - I do commiserate. I will say this is the precise reason why we always recommend passports no matter what for everyone, but I do agree with you about two things - it sounds like the document they requested you get should have sufficed, and that you should have been allowed to talk to a supervisor.
The cruise lines are NOT always right. I know of a lady denied boarding because she had a passport from Macau. The cruise line told her it was Chinese and she needed a visa to go to Bermuda. DENIED BOARDING. THE NEXT DAY SHE DISCOVERED BERMUDA DOES NOT REQUIRE VISAS FOR MACAU VISITORS. They made the error, not the cruiser. She had to pay for a hotrel in NY City, pay for new air tickets, and missed her cruise - all because the cruise line made a mistake. Being able to talk to a supervisor is ESSENTIAL customer service.