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Canada Cruisers February 5th, 2001 10:51 AM

U.S. Immigration Officer Onboard All Cruise Ships?
Dear fellow cruisers:

We're Canadian citizens and live in Toronto. On a recent cruise to Mexico (roundtrip from California), we noticed that during a sea day, while enroute back to California and still in Mexican waters, there was a U.S. Immigration Officer onboard the ship to process all of us "aliens" before arriving and disembarking back in California.

Just out of curiosity--why does a U.S. Immigration Officer have to cruise with us if we are not in the United States? Who pays for this "cruise"?

A friend of mine told me (this can't be true) that a U.S. Immigration Officer rides on every cruiseship if it's a U.S. cruiseline, even if the ship is in Australia or Europe doing a foreign cruise and does not embark, disembark or stop at U.S. ports. If this is true, it would seem to be a violation of sovereignty of other countries and a free joyride for a U.S. government officer.

We are sailing this August on the Grandeur of the Seas (Rome to Rome, 7 days). We will arrive at Rome airport and will be admitted to Italy on our Canadian passports.

Can someone tell me if there is going to be a U.S. Immigration Officer onboard a cruise in Europe leaving from and coming back to Rome? It's bad enough that everytime we go on a cruise in the States, we have to be processed as "aliens" at 7:00 a.m. on departure day. Will we also be processed by this same U.S. Immigration Officer when we depart the ship in Rome, even though the ship will not leave from, stop at, or return to, any U.S. port? Aren't U.S. citizens also "aliens" if disembarking in Rome?

I'm terribly curious about this and hope someone can give us some insight.

Thanks from Toronto.

My common sense tells me that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Officers only board ships that are coming back to U.S. ports and that we will be admitted back to Rome by the local Italian authorities.

Kuki February 5th, 2001 12:31 PM

Re: U.S. Immigration Officer Onboard All Cruise Sh
I was very surprised on our recent Seabourn Legend cruise along the Mex Riv, when we were asked to report to immigration on a sea day. US Immigration officer was on the ship. I assumed they boarded in Cabo, our last port before a US port.
I'd never seen this before. In the Caribb, Immigration procedure has always been in the morning of debarkation, once the ship is in the home port.

You won't have to worry in Europe though. Last fall we were on a Celebrity cruise there, and the cruise line did not even keep our passports.

Features Editor

Ceddie February 5th, 2001 07:54 PM

Re: U.S. Immigration Officer Onboard All Cruise Sh
I used to work on the Cunard ships, On the Bermuda run when possible we used to pay for a U.S. immigration official to fly to Bermuda the day we departed er route New York. This was not compulsory and not always possible (availability of an immigration agent) The reason for this was to expedite clearing the ship (not just aliens but all passengers and crew) It made our clearance time in New York much faster and less painful. The cruise line paid all the expenses (air fare cabin food etc) for the official and they in turn had a short cruise back to N.Y. This is only possible when the port before the disembarkation point is close (The official can't be spared for an extended cruise for just 2 or 3 hours work). We sometimes were able to get an official between St Thomas & San Juan when in the carib.
Hope this helps


morris ng February 9th, 2001 02:08 AM

Re: U.S. Immigration Officer Onboard All Cruise Sh

On my last cruise, it was on the zenith 10 days (dec 8, 2000) cruise to deep caribbean. When I checked in, they collected my passport because I am a Canadian. On one of the sea day back, I received my passport without seeing any US immigration officer. I was really surprised, the purser said just to fill
out the custom form and gave it to the officer upon leaving the terminal.
This is a first for me without seeing US customs and this is my
18th cruise.


merry February 27th, 2001 04:03 PM

Re: U.S. Immigration Officer Onboard All Cruise Sh
We just returned from Caribbean run on Enchantment of the Seas. Prior to entering St Thomas us "aliens" had to report to US Immigration during our showtime the evening before. Also, on the last day,prior to disembarkation, us "aliens" had to report again to US Immigration between 7-745 (they didn't show up until 745) as if we didn't already have enought to do. Then they just took our card and sent us through without as much as a look! What a total waste of time and added stress to an already stressful day.


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