I know that you normally cannot join a cruise after departure or leave a cruise early without running into trouble with the Jones Act, however I've had 2 cruise lines tell me that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are exempt from the Act and are not considered U.S. Ports.
Here's what I'm trying to do:
There's a cruise leaving from New York, sailing to San Juan and then several other nearby islands and returning to New York. I want to join the cruise in San Juan and and disembark at the end of the cruise in New York. The ship would not be stopping at any "foreign ports".
The cruise line said I'd have to pay for the entire cruise (naturally) and to let them know one week prior to the ships departure from New York that I would be joining the ship in San Jaun. They assure me that this dosen't conflict with the Jones Act (and it's subsuquent fines) since Puerto Rico is exempt from the Act. One cruise line called doing this "down lining".
Does anyone have experience with this? I own a vacation home in Puerto Rico and my partner can no longer fly (severe panic attacks) which makes getting back to the U.S. mainland impossible.