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Old March 5th, 2007, 06:26 PM
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Default Customs in St. Thomas?

Does anyone know if you still have to clear customs when visiting St. Thomas? If so, do all passengers have to go through the process or just those getting off the ship? I've read a number of reviews from 2006 where people complained about long waits and how disorganized the process was, but I haven't seen it mentioned in the newer 2007 reviews and was wondering if the rules changed. I'm trying to decide between eastern vs. western caribbean, so this could help make the decision.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:30 PM
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If they do have to do it in St. Thomas, everyone has to check-in, doesn't matter if you are getting off the ship or not. Its really no big deal and doesn't take long as long as you go when they tell you too, very quick and organized. One time we had to do it fairly early, noticed some cruisers still in their PJ's carriing sleeping kids, but its painless and over quickly. I sure wouldn't not book a cruise because of this.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:07 PM
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Will your eastern cruise be stopping in a foreign port prior to St. Thomas, or going directly to St. Thomas from Fla. ?
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:40 PM
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I never had to go through customs in St-Thomas,neither St-Martin. They clear the ship and then you can go ashore. Mateli
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron
Will your eastern cruise be stopping in a foreign port prior to St. Thomas, or going directly to St. Thomas from Fla. ?
Depending on which ship I go with, it will either be stopping at San Juan, Puerto Rico or Nassau, Bahamas before St. Thomas.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Customs in St. Thomas?

As You Wish,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Does anyone know if you still have to clear customs when visiting St. Thomas? If so, do all passengers have to go through the process or just those getting off the ship? I've read a number of reviews from 2006 where people complained about long waits and how disorganized the process was, but I haven't seen it mentioned in the newer 2007 reviews and was wondering if the rules changed. I'm trying to decide between eastern vs. western caribbean, so this could help make the decision.
Thanks.
Actually, you don't have to clear customs in any port of call. However, you have to clear U. S. immigration inspection in St. Thomas if the ship is arriving from a foreign port. Of course, clearing U. S. immigratoin in St. thomas may mean that you won't have to clear U. S. immigration in your next port if it's another U. S. port.

Norm.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 01:16 AM
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Donna,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
If they do have to do it in St. Thomas, everyone has to check-in, doesn't matter if you are getting off the ship or not. Its really no big deal and doesn't take long as long as you go when they tell you too, very quick and organized. One time we had to do it fairly early, noticed some cruisers still in their PJ's carriing sleeping kids, but its painless and over quickly. I sure wouldn't not book a cruise because of this.
Splitting hairs, that inspection is immigration rather than customs.

Norm.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Default clearing in St. Thomas

We just arrived home on Sunday on the Jewel of the Seas. Had to clear in St. Thomas because we had been in St. Maarten prior and were re-entering a US port. Had to clear imigration again in Ft. Lauderdale because we were in the Bahamas and Antigua after St. Thomas. Shipboard imigration took a total of 15 minutes and was very well organized.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 10:19 PM
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The reason I asked the question regarding stopping at a foreign port before St. Thomas or not--- If you leave from a U.S. port , stop at a foreign port, then stop at a U.S. port, you will have to clear immigration.

If you choose to cruise on an itin. that goes to Puerto Rico, then St. Thomas, you won't have to worry, as Puerto Rico is a U.S. port.
If you go to Nassua, then to St. Thomas, you will have to clear immigration upon arrival at St. Thomas.

The confusion comes in when you hear someone say they had to clear immigration at St. Thomas, then someone else says they didn't.
It's all in if, and where the ship stopped prior to arriving there.
Anyway, it's all in the fun of cruising.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 02:01 AM
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Ron,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
The reason I asked the question regarding stopping at a foreign port before St. Thomas or not--- If you leave from a U.S. port , stop at a foreign port, then stop at a U.S. port, you will have to clear immigration.

If you choose to cruise on an itin. that goes to Puerto Rico, then St. Thomas, you won't have to worry, as Puerto Rico is a U.S. port.
If you go to Nassua, then to St. Thomas, you will have to clear immigration upon arrival at St. Thomas.

The confusion comes in when you hear someone say they had to clear immigration at St. Thomas, then someone else says they didn't.
It's all in if, and where the ship stopped prior to arriving there.
Anyway, it's all in the fun of cruising.
Yes, I agree completely that there seems to be some confusion about this, but your explanation is on the mark.

The other point of confusion is the distnction between customs and immigration. When arriving in the United States on an airplane, you normally must (1) clear immigration, (2) claim your checked luggage, and (3) clear customs with your checked luggage. On a cruise ship, however, you may clear immigration and customs in different ports depending upon your itinerary. Basically, you must clear immigration whenever you arrive in any U. S. port from any port of any other nation. You clear customs only when you disembark.

But there's one significant exception to this practice. Cruises departing from Vancouver and ending in the United States usually clear U. S. immigration and customs at embarkation, in the same manner as most flights from Canada to the United States.

Norm.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Thanks for the detailed answers. It all makes sense now.
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