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Old May 6th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Default San Diego Disembarkation/Immigration

For disembarkation from Celebrity Century in San Diego - I just found out that Customs and Immigration is done prior to dismemarkation and no passengers are allowed to leave the ship until every passenger has cleared immigration which they estimate to be 10am

I have a few questions:

Are you allowed to clear immigration and then go for breakfast or are you put in a 'holding' area?

How accurate is that 10am disembarkation estimate?

How early should one start lining up? 6am for 7am arrival?
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Old May 6th, 2011, 05:45 PM
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I can only share our experience. It was truly a mess and it wasn't so much the fault of Celebrity as it was our fellow passengers. Some passengers (and it wasn't a few!!) decided to blow-off their scheduled time to meet with Customs and Immigration and go to breakfast or sleep in. This left others (including my husband and friends) waiting and waiting while the Celebrity staff and crew tried to track them down. This pushed OUR appointment time to later and later. Passengers who were on time were backed up the stairs and down the halls....some in their robes and slippers because they had an early appointment but now were afraid to leave the line because then their appointment time would be pushed back even later! We've cruised since this incident and have never encountered this type of experience again...but you never know...so I wouldn't count on being off ship at 10:00am...you might...but I wouldn't count on it if you are trying to make a flight. Again this was our personal experience with Celebrity Customs and Immigration...and it might not reflect the experience of others... maybe we were just lucky...
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Old May 7th, 2011, 04:07 PM
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thank you !
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Old May 11th, 2011, 05:46 PM
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Manya,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
For disembarkation from Celebrity Century in San Diego - I just found out that Customs and Immigration is done prior to dismemarkation and no passengers are allowed to leave the ship until every passenger has cleared immigration which they estimate to be 10am

I have a few questions:

Are you allowed to clear immigration and then go for breakfast or are you put in a 'holding' area?

How accurate is that 10am disembarkation estimate?

How early should one start lining up? 6am for 7am arrival?
Actually, one usually clears immigration on the ship, then clears customs after retrieving one's luggage in the cruise terminal.

Also, the stated time of arrival is NOT the time when the ship will moor at the pier. The ship actually will moor in the wee hours and commence unloading luggage so that the luggage will be staged in the cruise terminal for passenger pickup when disembarkation begins. Rather, the stated time of arrival is the time when the ship expects to begin the disembarkation formalities.

Norm.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 11:14 AM
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thx Norm!
but 10 am is still sounding like reality correct?
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Old May 31st, 2011, 09:32 PM
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Mayna,

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thx Norm!
but 10 am is still sounding like reality correct?
Sorry to be delayed in this reply. Alas, I have been cruising aboard MV Celebrity Century from San Diego to Vancouver followed by a Rocky Mountaineer rail tour from Vancouver to Calgary, and am just catching up.

I can't say that a 10:00 AM flight is without risk, but San Diego may well be the only port in the United States where you'll have a decent (>95%) chance of making it. The airport terminal is actually is within walking distance of the pier, which is across the street from the east end of the airport's runway, but it's further than you will want to walk dragging luggage while pressed for time.

Now, to make this flight, you will absolutely need to use Celebrity's "express disembarkation" option -- which means taking ALL of your luggage off of the ship yourself when you disembark. This option allows you to go ashore as soon as the immigration officials clear the ship. This way, you go straight past the luggage pick-up to the customs check-out upon disembarkation, then go to the taxi area to take a taxi to the airport.

There are three elements of risk in this arrangement.

>> 1. The ship could be delayed in returning to port. Most cruise schedules have plenty of padding for likely delays, but you cannot completely discount the possibility of something unforeseen.

>> 2. The immigration officials could be very slow in clearing the ship, delaying disembarkation. In twenty-eight (28) cruises, I have seen this happen once.

>> 3. There may be some imbecile who fails to show up for immigration inspection, delaying clearance of the ship. When this happens, immigration officials sometimes refuse permission for anybody to go ashore or to embark until they account for the missing individual. I have seen this problem twice, but it did not affect disembarkation either time. In the first instance, the immigration officials allowed cleared passengers to disembark but delayed (my) embarkation for the next cruise. In the other instance, the problem occurred in a port of call (the missing passenger was in the spa, where the PA system was switched off, and thus did not hear the repeated announcements directing him to report for immigration sceening) rather than in the port of disembarkation.

Your call.

Norm.
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Old June 1st, 2011, 12:59 PM
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thx Norm... the flight was a 11:45am... customs came on the ship at 7am and thx to the idiots that seem to want their name called throughout the ship for immigration clearance, passengers were not permitted to disembark until 10:05am...

I had Air Canada send a message to their ground operator in San Diego that everyone was coming and the last person in our group was checked in and through the security check at 11:00am

I am just posting this info for anyone else looking for advice... you are better off booking flights after 2pm in San Diego to prevent the stress all 26 travellers in our group experienced. Better yet, stay an extra night... it is a beautiful city. The airport is VERY close... last year I couldn't find a cab after dropping off my rental car just off site from the airport and I walked to the cruise terminal in 45 mins

Immigration officials in California seem to dance to the beat of their own drum... On the Diamond Princess 2 years ago, I know 3 couples that had to wait 4 hours in hallways without food, water or bathrooms while they cleared immigration... there were so many people and it was so hot in the hallways, there were people passing out.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 01:18 AM
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Hi,

We travelled on Holland America Last October and we disembarked in San Diego. I thought what we experienced was a one time event on disembarkation but it was the same story as others related, a huge line snaking thru the hallways until everyone American or Canadian or from anywhere were require to attend at a specifice time for you personally. I wonder if this is the policy for San Diego Port. It was very annoying.

Have patience as nothing else helps and fly late.

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Old December 31st, 2011, 12:26 PM
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We als have had a bad experience with US Immigration. Celebrity Infinity arrived october 31, 2011 at port San Diego at 06.00 am. 2000 passengers were checked between 07.00 and 10.00 am. Celebrity told us before that clearance of all passengers would be finished at 10.15 am. At 11.15 am the first passengers were ready to disembark. It was a totally chaos because a lot of passengers missed their flight.
We had to reschedule our flight for 8 familymembers and the charge was USD 650.
We wrote Celebrity that they must blame US Customs Immigration but no response and not a small compendation. Shame on you Celebrity Cruises.
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Old December 31st, 2011, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flangerak View Post
We als have had a bad experience with US Immigration. Celebrity Infinity arrived october 31, 2011 at port San Diego at 06.00 am. 2000 passengers were checked between 07.00 and 10.00 am. Celebrity told us before that clearance of all passengers would be finished at 10.15 am. At 11.15 am the first passengers were ready to disembark. It was a totally chaos because a lot of passengers missed their flight.
We had to reschedule our flight for 8 familymembers and the charge was USD 650.
We wrote Celebrity that they must blame US Customs Immigration but no response and not a small compendation. Shame on you Celebrity Cruises.
And this is Celebrity's fault because.....
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Old January 1st, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Wouldnt it just be alot easier to take a later flight and not have to rush around like a chicken with your head cut off,stressing and worrying that you will make your flight?
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Old January 1st, 2012, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhill View Post
Wouldnt it just be alot easier to take a later flight and not have to rush around like a chicken with your head cut off,stressing and worrying that you will make your flight?
Yes sure to take a later flight. Originally we booked a flight to Las Vegas departure 11.30 am. We did many cruises and most of the time the disembarkation was finished at 09.00 am. Customs immigration at San Diego was operating with 4 officers and normally you can disembark after checking your passport. In this case they want to check every passenger and they must wait till the last passenger was checked. I don't see the problem because it's an domestic cruise from fort Lauderdale to San Diego.
The custom immigration has a 9/11 syndrom and why did n't warn Celebrity the passengers before the cruise for the custom Immigration at San Diego.

Frits Langerak
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