The cruise lines and ships staff feel exactly the same as you do but it's the U.S. government that requires this and it probably won't change and IMO will only get worse as security restrictions become tighter.
This may be a good thing or a bad thing but it will make travel and cruising less "seamless".
On a personal note, I found the three times I have gone through it to be quite easy. However, on two occasions we did tenders directly from the ship to St. John's and cleared Immigration at St. Johns, with a passport, and the process took a few seconds.
Mike (Who is very much in favor of everyone, who travels, having a passport)