I am planning to be in Skagway, Alaska on September 18th as part of a land-based group tour. I had given some thought of taking a cruise back to Vancouver, BC (an elegant means of travel), even if I had to pay premiums for single cabin occupancy and for the portion of the cruise I'd miss before I embarked at Skagway. When I made my inquiry, though, I was told by cruise line "X" [No, not Celebrity.] that I couldn't embark at Skagway "because it would violate the Jones Act." I thought this was a very strange response. I thought that the Jones Act only applied to passengers embarking on a foreign-flagged vessel traveling between two US ports, and Vancouver, BC being a Canadian port.
I would be interested in any sea-lawyer's interpretation of the Jones Act and the peculiar response I received. I don't think that I'd be violating the Jones Act.
No passenger ever violates the Jones Act since it refers to cargo only. Passengers violate the Passenger Services Act. If you sailed from Skagway to Vancouver you would need to call at a remote foreign port. After a Panama Canal cruise from Los Angeles say to San Juan, ships need to call at one of the ABC islands in order to fulfill the passenger services act, since the ABC's are the only Caribbean islands that are concidered remote foreign. I have no idea where a ship would go after an Alaska cruise.
Carole you are misinformed- there ARE cruises by HAL that are 3 or 4 days one way Skagway to Vancouver. These are usually combined with the undesirable land tours to Whitehorse -Fairbanks etc. I never recommend these tours as they have 2 solid days of endless bus travel in medicore scenery.
I was more inteerested in the cruiseline telling him he would be violating the Jones Act when clearly he wouldn't be. As for the itinerary, if you're sailing from Vancouver to Seward on a 7 day cruise you are going between countries, as you would be sailing between Vancouver and Skagway or any other accessible port in Alaska.
But how does this work with the Carnival Spirit, for example... On the South route, she starts in an american port (Seward), then calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway etc, which all are also american and finally arrives in Canada (Vancouver).
I always thougt ships sailing under foreign flags are not allowed to cruise between american ports without calling at a foreign port inbetween...
If I understand it correctly (who knows) - the key is that they cannot transport from US port to US port from point of embarkation to disembarkation -- they can stop at as many US ports as they want. In this case, they cannot go from Skagway to Seattle, but they can go from Skagway to Vancouver because it is a Canadian port.
Anyone out there with a clearer understanding? Would love to hear from you.
> If I understand it correctly (who knows) - the key is that
> they cannot transport from US port to US port from point of
> embarkation to disembarkation -- they can stop at as many US
> ports as they want. In this case, they cannot go from
> Skagway to Seattle, but they can go from Skagway to Vancouver
> because it is a Canadian port.
> Anyone out there with a clearer understanding? Would love to
> hear from you.
Passenger Services Act (PSA) is pretty complicated. And, there are even exceptions to some of the "simpler" elements of the law itself. It was designed to protect the US transportation industry, i.e., ship travel. Foreign built and foreign registered vessels may not provide transportation "between" US cities.
What this means is you may not embark in one US city and disembark in another, unless your transport stops in a "distant foreign port" such as South America or the ABC islands.
That's why repositioning cruises from New York to Florida, or from Florida to California will stop at Aruba, Curacao or Cartegena. That's why one way cruises between California and Hawaii must "embark" in Ensenada. That's why one way cruises are from Vancouver to Alaska, not Seattle to Alaska.
Round trip cruises are exempt from this, as they are not "transportation" beginning in one location, ending in another.
San Juan is exempt as well. You may cruise from San Juan to Miami, even though San Juan is a US possession.
Look, for an example, at the NCL "repo" between Miami and New York. You can't do it. You can book Miami to Bahamas, or Bahamas to New York, but not the Miami to New York, because the ship doesn't go to a distant foreign port before heading up to New York.
One ways from Montreal to New York are OK, Montreal to Miami are OK. New York to Miami must go all the way to Aruba or Curacao "on the way".
A "circle" cruise must also visit at least one foreign port, or be a "Cruise to Nowhere" without ports. For example, NCL in Hawaii circling the islands and returning to Oahu must go to Fanning Island to comply with PSA. One or two night cruises out of US ports may not go to another US port. New York-Halifax-New York is OK. New York-Boston-New York is not. Overnight cruises out to sea and back to same port are OK.
If a ship violates PSA, it costs $250 per passenger fine. HAL paid that fine a few years back when a Hawaii-Ensenada one way trip was diverted directly to San Diego to offload a heart attack patient. The cruise line was fined for PSA violation.
Weird, isn't it? The US carriers such as Delta Queen, Independence, Cape May Light, Clipper, Cruise West, etc. may do the coastal cruises or the Hawaiian island cruises, as they are the "protected" industry. They cost lots more since they are paying US minimum wages to their crew and staff.