The 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act requires ships going from one U.S. port to another to be U.S. flagged, U.S. built and U.S. crewed. But union requirements have made such ships prohibitively expensive. So cruise lines buy foreign ships, hoist foreign flags and take on foreign crews.
Has any progress been made toward repealing the PSA [popularly known as the Jones Act]? I understand it is the reason cruise ships are unable to sail between US ports without stopping at a foreign port en route. This protectionist legislation has resulted in roundabout routes - LA to Hawaii by way of Ensenada, e.g. - and silly expenditures - cruise lines having to buy deserted sand bars in the Caribbean to serve as "foreign ports". The reason I ask is closer to home. I'd really like to see ships stationed in San Francisco to provide more Pacific coast cruising opportunities. The few vessels that stop there now are obliged to make long Canadian or Mexican detours to satisfy the requirements of this arcane law.