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Old February 5th, 2001, 10:51 AM
Canada Cruisers
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Default U.S. Immigration Officer Onboard All Cruise Ships?

Dear fellow cruisers:

We're Canadian citizens and live in Toronto. On a recent cruise to Mexico (roundtrip from California), we noticed that during a sea day, while enroute back to California and still in Mexican waters, there was a U.S. Immigration Officer onboard the ship to process all of us "aliens" before arriving and disembarking back in California.

Just out of curiosity--why does a U.S. Immigration Officer have to cruise with us if we are not in the United States? Who pays for this "cruise"?

A friend of mine told me (this can't be true) that a U.S. Immigration Officer rides on every cruiseship if it's a U.S. cruiseline, even if the ship is in Australia or Europe doing a foreign cruise and does not embark, disembark or stop at U.S. ports. If this is true, it would seem to be a violation of sovereignty of other countries and a free joyride for a U.S. government officer.

We are sailing this August on the Grandeur of the Seas (Rome to Rome, 7 days). We will arrive at Rome airport and will be admitted to Italy on our Canadian passports.

Can someone tell me if there is going to be a U.S. Immigration Officer onboard a cruise in Europe leaving from and coming back to Rome? It's bad enough that everytime we go on a cruise in the States, we have to be processed as "aliens" at 7:00 a.m. on departure day. Will we also be processed by this same U.S. Immigration Officer when we depart the ship in Rome, even though the ship will not leave from, stop at, or return to, any U.S. port? Aren't U.S. citizens also "aliens" if disembarking in Rome?

I'm terribly curious about this and hope someone can give us some insight.

Thanks from Toronto.

My common sense tells me that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Officers only board ships that are coming back to U.S. ports and that we will be admitted back to Rome by the local Italian authorities.
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