I swear this has happened on almost evry cruise we have taken. Passengers who must be examined by the INS or Custom
Inspectors failing to arrive at the inspection in a timely manner. Just returned this week from a cruise where disembarkation was held up 45 minutes because four alien passengers failed to respond to repeated calls to visit the inspectors. If this wasn't bad enough the vessel had been held up almost two hours due to fog. Many who had early flights were out of luck. There must be a better way for the cruise lines to handle getting passengers to the INS desks.
I also agree with you, don't these people realize they are holding up the entire ship?? I don't know if they do this, but may-be at embarkment, let them know right away what is expected of them before they step foot on the ship. Too bad just a few rotten apples spoil the whole bunch, and I know many others in this situation that have no problem getting the paper work done when they are supposed to, lets hope they can come up with some way to avoid this problem??
Being of the "alien persuasion" I can tell you we often start lining up for this procedure as early as 6:30 AM, and it's really not that great way to end a cruise.
Quite often we can be talking 30 -40% of the ship's passengers, PLUS all the crew who have to clear Customs & Immigration. Then of course, there's the language barriers with quite a number of passengers as well.
Now I believe all the ships passengers will be going through the same procedure, not just the aliens. Each passenger has to present themselves to Customs Officers in the first US port of call, before the ship can be cleared.
This system was in place two weeks ago when we debarked the Explorer. In that instance I was happy to be an alien; Our line was shorter.
If this procedure is permanent we'll have to get used to the Smith's and Jones' being paged as well.
Thanks Kuki. Being an "alien" as well, most don't understand that we have to get up an an ungodly hour to get cleared. That's part of the reason they suggest NOT booking a flight earlier than the time published in the brochures. (By the way, I am always in the line early )
My husband is one of the "aliens", and when we cruise he is always up early (while I catch my last few Z's) and out the door to check in. He is usually back within 15 to 30 minutes, mission accomplished. And they DO inform aliens before they set foot on the ship what is required when we get back, some folks are just clueless, or don't care. My husband is grateful to be in this country and shows respect (in his way of thinking) by complying in a timely manner.
only takes him 15-30 minutes to pass INS?????? He must show up a day early to get in line to finish it that fast! lol Wish we could do it in 15-30 min . I don't think the replies here say there is anything wrong with what INS does.......I am saying that the Cruise Line could have a better system to accomplish it. So its not a question of doing what is required....it's how its done.
Last year when we went on the Voyager of the Seas, Jose had to turn over his passpost at check-in, and RCCL retained it until the last full day at sea, at which time he retrieved it from the cigar lounge with all the the other "aliens." There was NO lining up or checking in at 6:00 a.m. on the final day. Oh, but wait a minute. Maybe it is different for legal US residents than for non-resident aliens. I really don't know. All I know is that I'm glad we didn't have to do a long, early line!
I always laugh when called an "alien" - I didn't realize that I was green and had antennas coming out of my head. Could we not be called "non US residents"?
But no matter what we are called - we should be in the line up when requested to be so that the entire ship can be cleared by Customs.
I just got back and I have to say that clearing customs this time was terrible. Our designated time to meet was 6:30 am. We were there at 6:30am. They handed out little numbered tags to try to take people through in groups. Customs finally made it to begin clearing people at 7:45. They called the first group and never called another number after that. People just gave up trying to be orderly and just got in line. We were through after 8:10am. That's way too long.
Just for the record, those US citizens who were over their limit had to report and there were a number that were called to clear even after 9:45 am. I know they were US citizens because they had to clear in a different lounge than the "aliens"...so its not always the non-US citizens who hold people up.
Thanks to all who have replied to this subject. I am a US citizen, but my husband is Jamaican. I had no idea that this could create so many problems. I do have questions though: 1) What about the initial boarding, how long is the "average" wait? 2) What about ports of call, are there any problems to expect with reboarding? 3) Then I suppose most problems are to be expected re-entering the U.S., so do you have any advice?
Me and my boyfriend, he is not a us citizen, are sailing to the western Carabian in Jan. The cruise papers said that all non us citizens needed was a green card and some kind of ins recipt. Does he need a passport or other documents?