Before I begin, let me preface by saying that I understand that customs is in charge when a ship gets into port, but NCL did not handle this one very well or even remotely close to it.
We just returned from NCL Star out of Seattle and before any passengers could get off the ship all 1000+ crewmembers were required to report to customs. To say the least, this caused an incredible delay for the passengers to get off the ship, around 2+ hours for everyone. It was appalling the way NCl handled this situation, you are supposed to be able to remain in you cabin until it is time to get off the ship, instead we were herded out onto the deck to stand in line for 1.5 hours just to get off the ship. I understand that by 11 am they were anxious to get everyone off the ship to prepare it for the next group, but to make everyone (including an at least 80 year old gentleman, hunched over using a walker) wait in line this long was ridiculous! Our depart time was 10:15 (I can understand a little delay, but we were not called out of our room until after 11) and we did not get to the curb until after 1 pm.
My question is this, has anyone else ever experienced a crew inspection from customs and did it run smoother than ours did? Thanks for your help.
I've never heard of a crew inspection. Sounds "fishy" to me... they must have been looking for someone/something in particular. As for the wait, I'm sure it was uncomfortable, unexpected delays and extended waits always are. But if all of the crew had to be inspected, that didn't leave them many alternatives as far as what to do with the passengers. I've been on 15+ cruises and I've never been allowed to wait in a cabin for disembarkation. Everyone has had to wait in the public areas for their number/color to be called. It's truly amazing when you think about how fast they turn the ship over from one cruise to the next. Imagine their panic after you got off... they had to get the ship ready for embarkation with no time to do it.
When we returned to Seattle on the Diamond Princess (6/5/04) the crew had to report to Customs before the passengers started disembarkation. First time I had encountered this after 11 cruises. Luckily, we did not have to wait outside like Cherie reported.
Cherie...I think we were on the Star the same time you were (6/6/04)....That was really strange...We stayed in our room and they came in and striped our beds and then later put clean sheets on the beds...They were really hopping....I ask them if they had to do 'custom checks' every week and he said 'yes'...Don't know if he really understood what I was asking though....When they did call our 'color', the line was super long....It took forever to get off the ship....Oh well, just another experience....Wish I was back on the Star in Alaska...Susan
They announced for all the crew to go through sutoms when we were on the Conquest out of New Orleans last November. I wondered how the crew working the buffet and dining room were going to manage to be in 2 places at once.