The following is an "old:" article I wrote on the subject that may be of interest ?
The Passenger Vessel Act of 1886- A.K/A Cabotage
Years ago I was an advocate for opening up more ports to foreign-flagged cruise ships. I was encouraged to pursue the matter by United States Senator Dianne Feinstein(Dem) for California. Senator Feinstein had an interest in the subject because she wanted to have more cruise ships use the Port of San Francisco.I also pursued the subject with my Congressman Sonny Bono(Rep. Deceased) as well as other Senators and Congressmen and women. I determined my efforts to be fruitless.
Interestingly I received a letter from Bob Dickinson, President of Carnival Cruise Lines informing me the cruise industry is not "hot to trot for any amendments to the Passenger Vessel Act of 1886. It seems whenever the subject comes up in the House of Representatives or the Senate, there are such subject brought up as the corporate income taxes the cruise lines to do pay, hiring of more U.S. citizens, particularly officers .
The foreign flagged cruise lines are exempt from paying the Federal corporate income taxes from the income derived from United States citizens or residents if they re at least 50% foreign owned. Frankly, for practical reasons, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and others are U.S. Corporations but for being 50% or more owned by foreign nationals. The foreign flagged cruise lines are very much afraid of losing this important exemption. As long is the "big four "cruise lines are not for the changes required to permit embarking or disembarking more passengers in U.S. ports, you will not see any change.
Anyone interested there is an informative government publication, "By The Capes, A Primer on U.S. Coastwise Laws", U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Office of Ports & Domestic Shipping, 400 Seventh St, S.W., Washington, DC, 20590.. But- do not hold your breath. The information is free and you may have better luck asking your Congressman or Senator to get you a copy.
Hermann Paul Schlander