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Old June 16th, 2011, 08:59 PM
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Default NCL Star to Alaska Disaster

I will include in this post a copy of the letter that I faxed to NCL fax # 305-436-4108 on June the 1st 2011.

Attention Customer Relations

Ship name: Star
Sailing Date: May 21st 2011
State room: 5133
Reservation #: 19217471

My wife was not allowed to board the NCL Star because she is a Mexican citizen and did not have a Canadian visa.
When I purchased the tickets I was asked from what country our passports were from and then I was instructed to type in the passport numbers. After typing in that my wifeís passport was from Mexico, why was I not asked to type in her Canadian visa number? Why was I not sent an email informing me that she needed a Canadian visa? Instead we were just turned away at the cruise port along with many others that were uninformed that a Canadian visa was needed.


The lady that was there checking peopleís documentation could not have been more rude if she tried. She had short hair and was probably in her mid-50ís. She told me right in front of my wife and many other people that were waiting in line to board the ship ďSir, you can go on the cruise, but your wife will have to stay behind in Seattle.Ē My wife then began to cry. She actually cried for 3 days. I asked this lady if I could speak with her supervisor and she returned with security. I could not believe how we were being treated.


I spoke with the concierge and he told me this happens every week. How can a huge company like NCL not have a proper procedure for informing people that they need a Canadian visa? This really blows my mind. Our vacation was ruined. We love cruising on NCL and this was to be our first trip to Alaska.


I am seeking full compensation of money spent on airfare to Seattle and the cruise itself. Money spent was approximately $3,000. Please allow me this amount in compensation for a future NCL cruise and I will consider this issue resolved. This is your chance for damage control. Please do the right thing. The internet is a powerful tool. I will be eagerly awaiting your response.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
At this point, 15 days later, I have still not received a response. I feel ripped off and I will not let up until this matter is taken care of.

I will add that my wife has a U.S. Visa and we flew into Vancouver around 2 years ago and there were no issues. I understand that this is a fairly new policy, but how can a huge company like NCL allow something like this to happen?

I was emailed several spa promotions amongst other things from NCL and so was my wife, but not one email that said the Mexican citizen will need a Canadian passport. I know this happens on every cruise. You should have seen all the children and families crying after NCL crushed their vacation.

To top it off. I have received another email from NCL asking how I enjoyed my cruise. I am sure that one is automated, but geez.

Please, if you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen and you are cruising to Alaska then get yourself a Canadian visa. I don't wish what happened to my wife and I upon anyone.

Has this happened to anyone else?
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Old June 17th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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My heart goes out to you and your wife and all those whose vacations were lost. This is absolutely entirely unacceptable. You may want to seek legal advice. I wouldn't settle for less than full compensation myself.

Our last with NCL--- and I do mean last--- was quite the disaster as well, but at least we did eventually get to board and we did eventually sail off, just basically lost the first 2 days, first port not docking till late afternoon, throwing everything out of whack. Of course, no compensation, whatsoever, but they still charged 7 days worth of tipping fees x4, go figure. I don't know who they were servicing, but they sure weren't servicing us.

I was promised a call from the supervisor in which I never received. They are really good at ignoring these types of issues and giving us the silent treatment.

I do hope you do succeed in getting a refund, but I honestly don't see it happening without a fight, and that is why I suggest seeking legal advice.

Good luck and thank you for taking the time to post and share.

Take care,

Beth
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Last edited by A&B; June 17th, 2011 at 09:41 AM.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 10:28 AM
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I am sorry that your vacation was ruined!

This is another case where a good experienced TA ( like mine), would have made a big difference.

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Old June 17th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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I am sorry too that your vacation was ruined and Manuel's advice is excellent.

However can I ask why you did not check with the Canadians?

You might not want to read this but I see issues like this solely as the personal responsibility of the traveller.

I doubt if NCL will compensate because I am sure there will be a clause somewhere which states the client must check their visa requirements.

However, another reason not to book direct with the cruiseline?

Annie
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Old June 17th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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I am sorry your vacation was ruined but I doubt you will get any money back. There will be a clause somewhere.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 06:54 PM
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The OP is all over the place telling his story and it is really sad that the vacation was ruined. I would be devistated, but it isn't the responsibility of the cruise line or an airline to fully explain what is needed. Anyone form another country should check all docs that are required.

Like someone mentioned, a good travel agent (and btw the consumer does not pay the agent) would have helped prevent this from happeing.

Not only is there a clause there are a couple of places where required docurmnents are mentioned. If someone doesn't read the print (not fine print either) isn't it his/her problem?

Nita

ps: to Beth, your expeirence has nothing to do with this or any other NCl problem. Not having a positive experience has nothing to do with legal responsibility or a cruie line or airline.

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Old June 18th, 2011, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
ps: to Beth, your expeirence has nothing to do with this or any other NCl problem. Not having a positive experience has nothing to do with legal responsibility or a cruie line or airline.
***edited to remove offensive language*** Seriously...? I'm sure mwh27 got my point even if you didn't. This has nothing to do with not having a positive experience. This is about having NO experience. I lost a portion of my vacation-- he lost his ENTIRE vacation. It is RIDICULOUS that NCL think they should keep his 3 grand and walk but after 15 days of no response, it isn't looking good that he will be hearing back from them either.

NCL obviously isn't concerned about keeping repeat business and that is more than fine with me. Plenty other lines out there to choose from and much better ones at that. TA's are not God's either and there is no guarantee that even the best of 'em would/could have prevented this from happening. If NCL can't handle a GD booking just as well as any TA then bi-golly, they don't need to be doing them!!!

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Last edited by Donna; August 2nd, 2011 at 08:31 PM.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 12:05 AM
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Not only did I see with my own eyes a family of 8 crying with all their luggage sitting there on the curb in front of the port, but also, the taxi driver that took us to the airport to go to Vegas saw my wife crying a little (Yes, I ended up flying to Vegas from Seattle when I should have been on my cruise to Alaska). He asked what was wrong and we told him what happened and he said he sees it every week. I really don't have any reason to lie about this.

I'm glad that some of the people here are a lot more vacation savvy then i am. Congratulations on that. I could not be more proud of you. However, when you take a vacation in North America from start to finish you just don't think you need a Canadian visa and I never thought to even check. Especially since my wife and I had visited Vancouver just 2 years prior. Yes, my bad. But, when NCL is sending me out spa promotions, perhaps they could have sent me one special email that said "The Mexican passenger will need a Canadian visa." That is all.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
The OP is all over the place telling his story
What does that mean "I'm all over the place"?

Are you trying to make it seem that my OP has some parts that don't seem true?

I will answer any question that you have about what happened.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 10:52 AM
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Mwh27, I’m sorry to hear about your cruise being ruined. Pursuing further though, even with an attorney, is probably going to get you nothing more than an apology letter. It makes sense to us consumers that NCL should notify every single passenger what specific documents would be required but from a business and legal standpoint, that is impossible for them to do. Documentation requirements are based on the passenger’s country of citizenship, country of residence (if different), country of departure and all countries visited during the cruise. There is no way any travel operator, cruise line or otherwise, would take on the responsibility of obtaining and communicating that information as well as any changes that may occur from the time of booking until the time of sailing to all passengers. Yes, they will provide basic guidance but cover themselves with the disclosure that it is the passenger’s responsibility to verify all documentation requirements. As hard as it is to walk away and chalk it up to a lesson learned, it’s probably the best thing to do as in the end, NCL has no legal obligation.

Was this your first cruise? How did Vegas turn out? I can only imagine how devastating it was to be turned away but hope you both were able to recover from the cruise fiasco and enjoy yourselves a bit in Vegas before returning home.

Wishing you the best next time (if there is one)
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Old June 19th, 2011, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstCoastCruiser View Post
Mwh27, Iím sorry to hear about your cruise being ruined. Pursuing further though, even with an attorney, is probably going to get you nothing more than an apology letter. It makes sense to us consumers that NCL should notify every single passenger what specific documents would be required but from a business and legal standpoint, that is impossible for them to do. Documentation requirements are based on the passengerís country of citizenship, country of residence (if different), country of departure and all countries visited during the cruise. There is no way any travel operator, cruise line or otherwise, would take on the responsibility of obtaining and communicating that information as well as any changes that may occur from the time of booking until the time of sailing to all passengers. Yes, they will provide basic guidance but cover themselves with the disclosure that it is the passengerís responsibility to verify all documentation requirements. As hard as it is to walk away and chalk it up to a lesson learned, itís probably the best thing to do as in the end, NCL has no legal obligation.

Was this your first cruise? How did Vegas turn out? I can only imagine how devastating it was to be turned away but hope you both were able to recover from the cruise fiasco and enjoy yourselves a bit in Vegas before returning home.

Wishing you the best next time (if there is one)
It would have been my 3rd cruise and the 2nd on NCL.

Vegas was Vegas. I've been there 4 times now in the last year. I was really looking forward to Alaska. I am not going to get an attorney as that would cost more then I want from NCL in future cruise credit.

I live in Puerto Vallarta and i am in the tourism industry and speak with 1000's of tourists every year. I will talk several people out of choosing NCL in the future until I feel even or I get bored. That will be the best punishment I can deliver to NCL. For every cruiser that chooses a different line i will get satisfaction.

I will probably cruise NCL again, but I'm just a bit pissed off right now and i have a lot of free time on my hands.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 08:52 PM
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That is certainly understandable. An Alaskan cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many due to the planning and expense of it. I'm glad to hear though that you've cruised before and know that what you experienced was not the norm. I'll be on my first NCL cruise in Oct. I've always steered clear of them because I prefer the traditional cruise experience so we'll see how it goes...

Best of luck to you, buddy!
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Old June 21st, 2011, 09:07 PM
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Entering Canada can be unpredictable sometimes. There is a rule that if you have a DWI / DUI conviction you can be prevented from entering. Many have entered despite having such convictions.

At the NCL website I found conflicting info....

"What about Documentation, Visas and Passports?
All guests must provide key personal information in advance of sailing. Click here for detailed travel documentation information before you complete your Online Check-In form.

Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Or Canada & New England Cruises
For closed-loop sailings (cruises that depart from and return to the same U.S. port), you need a valid passport OR proof of citizenship and a valid government-issued photo I.D. (driver's license with a photo) OR any other WHTI compliant document. Proof of Citizenship examples include: an original or state certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, certificate of U.S. naturalization, original certificate of U.S. citizenship, or a U.S. Consular report of your birth abroad.
For open-jaw sailings (cruises that depart from one U.S. port and return to a different U.S. port), you are required to carry a valid passport, U.S. passport card, U.S. or Canadian Enhanced Drivers License, as well as have in your possession all relative visas that pertain to your travel itinerary. Permanent residents of the U.S. are required to carry their valid ARC cards for boarding AND passport from their country of citizenship, if available.
Note: If you miss your ship at its scheduled U.S. departure port and need to travel outside the U.S. to meet your ship, or should you unexpectedly need to depart the ship from a foreign port prior to the end of sailing, a passport would be required to leave or re-enter the U.S. by air. To that end, NCL strongly recommends all guests to obtain a passport for their voyage on any NCL vessel. "

"Do Mexico citizens need a Canadian visa for the few hours we will be staying in Canada?
asked 1 year, 1 month ago by TOA
- HERMOSILLO, SON. MEXICO on Alaska
Answer 1 Contact Customer Relations for the specific information you need for that question. Their number can be found at the Contact Us link located at the top left of this page.
Answer 2 NO answered 1 year ago by ANAND
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Old June 21st, 2011, 09:31 PM
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Looks like it's been a requirement for almost two years now.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

I would be angry at myself if I did this, I should have checked. It is the passengers responsibility, but I hope Norwegian will offer something to you.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 06:45 PM
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I completely understand the frustration of the OP. That is a lot of money.

Besides that, if it happens every week then you would think NCL would know how to prevent this from happening repeatedly.

Under "Cruise Gripes" I started a topic called "What's the Catch?" that talks about sales people and companies that constantly find ways to deny their own responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Yes - it is the passenger's responsibility - because NCL says so - but who has more experience in these matters, the customer or the cruise line? The cruise line does, of course, and as the product provider they would be wise to take some responsibility.

If this was an obscure nationality visa - like if the woman was from Macau or the Cook Islands I could excuse NCL for saying " we can't know every contingency - it is up to the guest."

But this was a Mexican national traveling with (and married to) a U.S. citizen. That has got to be a pretty common thing. How sad.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I completely understand the frustration of the OP. That is a lot of money.

Besides that, if it happens every week then you would think NCL would know how to prevent this from happening repeatedly.

Under "Cruise Gripes" I started a topic called "What's the Catch?" that talks about sales people and companies that constantly find ways to deny their own responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Yes - it is the passenger's responsibility - because NCL says so - but who has more experience in these matters, the customer or the cruise line? The cruise line does, of course, and as the product provider they would be wise to take some responsibility.

If this was an obscure nationality visa - like if the woman was from Macau or the Cook Islands I could excuse NCL for saying " we can't know every contingency - it is up to the guest."

But this was a Mexican national traveling with (and married to) a U.S. citizen. That has got to be a pretty common thing. How sad.
Paul,

Reading the original post, it read to me that this cruise was booked online, as he spoke about having to "type in the passport number".

It didn't sound like he spoke with anyone from NCL until he was at the pier.

I believe NCL's call center is in Pheonix. Even if he had talked to NCL, like most call centers the staff don't know much detail about the ships let alone the customs and immigration rules; in fact many may have never been on a ship. But that's true of the call centers for most of the cruise lines, I think.

This person unfortunately got "caught" in one of the drawbacks of booking directly with the cruise line.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:47 PM
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I'm sorry to hear this, I hope they make sure passengers have valid docs before issuing tickets to them.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
Paul,

Reading the original post, it read to me that this cruise was booked online, as he spoke about having to "type in the passport number".

It didn't sound like he spoke with anyone from NCL until he was at the pier.

I believe NCL's call center is in Pheonix. Even if he had talked to NCL, like most call centers the staff don't know much detail about the ships let alone the customs and immigration rules; in fact many may have never been on a ship. But that's true of the call centers for most of the cruise lines, I think.

This person unfortunately got "caught" in one of the drawbacks of booking directly with the cruise line.
I believe that's exactly what happened.

Since OP is in the Travel business, I'm sure he is mad at himself as well.
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Old June 25th, 2011, 12:54 AM
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You could try contacting Christopher Elliott, the travel journalist. He might or might not be willing to contact NCL on your behalf.

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Old June 25th, 2011, 02:43 AM
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Chris does solve a lot of problems like this - that is true.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
Paul,

Reading the original post, it read to me that this cruise was booked online, as he spoke about having to "type in the passport number".

It didn't sound like he spoke with anyone from NCL until he was at the pier.

I believe NCL's call center is in Pheonix. Even if he had talked to NCL, like most call centers the staff don't know much detail about the ships let alone the customs and immigration rules; in fact many may have never been on a ship. But that's true of the call centers for most of the cruise lines, I think.

This person unfortunately got "caught" in one of the drawbacks of booking directly with the cruise line.
Wasn't he typing the passport number online while doing the online check-in which pretty much all cruise lines have you do? I don't think it means he booked the cruise online.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 05:14 PM
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The requirement for visa's from citizen's of Mexico , Central and South American countries has been required for at least 3 years .

Your TA should of been aware of this requirement.

No matter what you are told
"YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE "

about any travel arrangements including visa's etc.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doopydozer View Post
The requirement for visa's from citizen's of Mexico , Central and South American countries has been required for at least 3 years .

Your TA should of been aware of this requirement.

No matter what you are told
"YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE "

about any travel arrangements including visa's etc.
two years next month
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Old June 26th, 2011, 07:20 PM
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There was one year it was recommended before it was fully implemented.

Students where required to have visa's before the rules came into affect. That is the
reason there was actually been affect for three years. This visa applies to anyone that doesn't come from a commonwealth or the USA.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 02:53 PM
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I understand the frustration but I still think it comes back to having a good T/A (yes I am one but have been a cruiser for FAR longer). But even saying that, just because I check for my customers doesn't mean all do. There are tens of thousands of cruisers at sea as I type this. So the lines leave it to "individual responsibility" to check for required documentation (even immuniztions in some cases). Logistically it makes sense but I know it doesn't lessen the sting of your particular case.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 06:37 PM
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I am sorry to hear about the problems you had, however, it is on the site. There is a section that says. What documents do I need. At the online check in point there is even a place for you to look. There is another place that says Are Passports required and it explains that visas may be needed. So it actually spelled out for the customer several times.

However... I would also agree that the online check in should have a place that asks for the Visa information, just after Passport #.

I wish you luck and hope you find some solution to your problem
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old July 28th, 2011, 04:13 PM
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It is my understanding-that it says in cruise docks that if a country requires you to get a VISA-it is your responsibility-not the cruiseline-they cannot possibly keep up with what countries requires VISAS from what other countries. As you said, you did to need one but your wife did.

I do hope in the future if you plan to travel out of the country again, you will make sure of this. Just because a US citizen can go into Canada without a VISA, does not mean other countries can. And vise versa-I understand Americans need VISAS to visit Russia-but that does not mean a person from the Eukraine Or Poland would need a VISA to visit Russia.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwh27 View Post
Not only did I see with my own eyes a family of 8 crying with all their luggage sitting there on the curb in front of the port, but also, the taxi driver that took us to the airport to go to Vegas saw my wife crying a little (Yes, I ended up flying to Vegas from Seattle when I should have been on my cruise to Alaska). He asked what was wrong and we told him what happened and he said he sees it every week. I really don't have any reason to lie about this.

I'm glad that some of the people here are a lot more vacation savvy then i am. Congratulations on that. I could not be more proud of you. However, when you take a vacation in North America from start to finish you just don't think you need a Canadian visa and I never thought to even check. Especially since my wife and I had visited Vancouver just 2 years prior. Yes, my bad. But, when NCL is sending me out spa promotions, perhaps they could have sent me one special email that said "The Mexican passenger will need a Canadian visa." That is all.
Actually I don't-but I do my homework on stuff like this-because I also would be devastated to lose $3000.

We are going to Italy next year for a transatlantic cruise-we will also be in France, Spain and the Azores briefly. I will be sure to check abut the Visa stuff. Been to France before but never Italy, Spain or the Azores.
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139 days total

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  #29 (permalink)  
Old August 2nd, 2011, 02:27 PM
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Hello MWH, I have gone through he same issue with Royal caribbean cruise line(RCCL). We carry indian passports. When i called the customer support of RCCL to specifically enquire about this visa - i was told that since the cruise line departs from seattle and returns back to seattle they dont need a canadian visa. So i took their word for it. Also when I did a online checkin ( provided them the passport details - country of issue and other details) there was no flag raised for canadian visa requirement.
Have you considred going to small claims court against the cruise line??? I heard from various lawyers that I might have a case against the cruise line... i just want to get your opinion on that - if you tried at least???
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmeg View Post
It is my understanding-that it says in cruise docks that if a country requires you to get a VISA-it is your responsibility-not the cruiseline-they cannot possibly keep up with what countries requires VISAS from what other countries. As you said, you did to need one but your wife did.

I do hope in the future if you plan to travel out of the country again, you will make sure of this. Just because a US citizen can go into Canada without a VISA, does not mean other countries can. And vise versa-I understand Americans need VISAS to visit Russia-but that does not mean a person from the Eukraine Or Poland would need a VISA to visit Russia.
If the cruise line knows to turn you back at the dock for not having a right visa - I am pretty sure they can make an effort to know the same details when the customer is booking the ticket. Dont you think that is logical???
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