What an utterly useless and pointless process for ships that boarded in the USA.
Oh, and before someone starts on the 911 homeland security blah blah - they were doing this before 911.
It was pointless then
and it is now.
Frankly it's a waste of resources that could be used elsewhere.
PNewflie, our govt. requires that passengers clear through immigration
if the ship has stopped at a FOREIGN port prior to stopping at a U.S. port.
Example-- If a ship leaves Miami , stops in the Bahamas and then goes on to a U.S. port ( normally St. Thomas ) then the passengers have to clear through immigration.
Some folks let it irritate them but like it or not, it's the law and if everyone cooperates and goes as they should, it doesn't take long to clear the ship.
I understand the reasoning behind this process, and I'm not griping about it..
That being said, however, it would make more sense to do it if they actually looked at your passport when you went through immigration. I was in a line, didn't have my passport open, and they waved me through. I thought that they would look at it when we finally got to the tables with our name stickers on them. . .Nope. . .just picked up the sticker so they knew we went through immigration.
A lot of good going through immigration did that day.
CCL Tropicale - '95
RCCL Adventure of the Seas - '05
CCL Valor - '06
CCL Victory - '06
Why would you have to go through Immigration in St. Thomas, aren't they are a U.S. Territory?
The fact that St.Thomas is a US territory is precisely why you have to go through immigration. Anytime you leave the USA, you must clear immigration prior to re-entering the country. Since you left the USA while enroute to St. Thomas, you must clear immigration before you can re-enter the USA, in St. Thomas. I agree its a pain in the bahookey, but its USA law and its always been that way. Its not a 911/Homeland Security thing.
As a child, a library card takes you to exotic, faraway places. When you're grown up, a credit card does it.
-- Sam Ewing (Readers Digest, Dec, 1997)
The cruise lines and ships staff feel exactly the same as you do but it's the U.S. government that requires this and it probably won't change and IMO will only get worse as security restrictions become tighter.
This may be a good thing or a bad thing but it will make travel and cruising less "seamless".
On a personal note, I found the three times I have gone through it to be quite easy. However, on two occasions we did tenders directly from the ship to St. John's and cleared Immigration at St. Johns, with a passport, and the process took a few seconds.
Mike (Who is very much in favor of everyone, who travels, having a passport)
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"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me