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Old May 24th, 2009, 07:08 PM
david30101
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Default customs in St Thomas.

Not sure how to explain this..Ive been to St Thomas a few times on differnt ships, only untill 2005 when i went there on the Glory after stopping in Nassau first...They had to clear customs in St thomas since we stopped in nassau..I had a day planned just like every body else..and once we got there it took them almost 2 hours before anybody could leave the ship..Well I had to cancel my plans (rent a vehicle and take the ferry to St John). Instead I went to one of the local beaches. On the end of that cruise I did write a letter to carnival explaining a "alternitive" to which I never did get a answer..Im sure there may be a stupid reason for the itinerary, but dont you think going to St Thomas FIRST since its a US port and hitting all the others last would save the hassle of clearing customs? Either way the ship goes by the islands on way back as well. After all, the ship goes through customs once back in US anyhow..Why do it 2 times? Its a waste of time.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 10:54 PM
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This practice started just after 9/11/01. At first it was unorganized and took a long time, especially when people didn't think it applied to them and they didn't show up.

The cruise lines seem to have perfected this process in the last few years.

This past March, we stopped at Princess Cays in the Bahamas first, and then to St. Thomas and there was NO immigration process in St. Thomas. This was on the Emerald Princess. Not sure if this rule has changed or why it did not happen this last cruise.

belgique
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Old May 24th, 2009, 11:28 PM
david30101
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I havent been to St Thomas since 2005. What i was suggesting is Go to St Thomas FIRST..Then all the other stops. That makes more sense and makes clearing customs not an issue since there was no stops enroute to St Thomas. Of course somebody will have an answer for that..Carnival sure dosent. I looked at a cruise to Bermuda..And the last stop before home was Conneticut, Which means ship has to clear customs in Conn. What if some dont get off there? Since they already cleared in Conn, do they have to clear again in NY when everybody departs?..Shouldnt have to, right? Just walk right off as soon as it docks..Sounds like a good deal to me...I forgot..Govt as work..They will make the ship clear customs a second time even though it was in a us port the day before..Who knows, they might of picked up a pirate or something...
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Old May 25th, 2009, 12:49 AM
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It's not something that started since 9-11.
I sailed the Sensation back in '94 and we stopped at St.Martin, then St. Thomas and had to clear Immigration before we could get off the ship.

It's a law that if you sail on a ship that first stops at a FOREIGN port ( say Bahamas or St. Martin ) and then stops at a U.S. port, (say St. Thomas ) then you have to clear Immigration--not Customs. Immigration deals with people. Customs deals with things.
When the ship docks and the officials come aboard, they are in control--not the cruiseline. When they get through, they then allow the ship to start disembarking the passengers.
usually what holds everything up is that some think they don't have to go if their not getting off the ship, they think they can just skip it--not so-- they want everyone to proceed through--as someone said, there's always some who think the rules don't apply to them.
There's reasons that the ship can't just make Nassua or wherever their last stop instead of first--other ships taking up dock space, etc. Assigned docking spaces at certain days, etc. Cargo ships may be coming at certain days, etc. These foreign ports have their ways and regulations and the Cruise lines have to follow them. It's not like you can just sail up to a foreign port and say we want to tie up for the day.
It may seem stupid and may be stupid but the cruiselines have to follow the laws.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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It may be related to Carnival's vacation guarantee that allows you to bail at the first non-US port. Since St. Thomas is in the USVI, they would have to haul pax to ST then to The Bahamas before they could disembark.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:39 AM
Ron Ron is offline
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Maybe Carnival has figured out a way to put the screws to a few hundred people as you say, but I doubt that's it. But, one has to realize too that there are lots of other ships from many other cruise lines and they all can't be at the same place at the same time. Some have to visit ports on certain days, some on other days and too, you have to factor in that we're talking about Islands which mean that the majority of what they use, eat, etc. has to be transported by ship so there has to be space available for them as well . But the bottom line is that all ships coming and going have to comply with U.S. laws and the laws of the Foreign Gov's. of the Islands they visit.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david30101 View Post
I havent been to St Thomas since 2005. What i was suggesting is Go to St Thomas FIRST..Then all the other stops. That makes more sense and makes clearing customs not an issue since there was no stops enroute to St Thomas. Of course somebody will have an answer for that..Carnival sure dosent. I looked at a cruise to Bermuda..And the last stop before home was Conneticut, Which means ship has to clear customs in Conn. What if some dont get off there? Since they already cleared in Conn, do they have to clear again in NY when everybody departs?..Shouldnt have to, right? Just walk right off as soon as it docks..Sounds like a good deal to me...I forgot..Govt as work..They will make the ship clear customs a second time even though it was in a us port the day before..Who knows, they might of picked up a pirate or something...
David,

Your idea sounds so simple - until you realize that most cruse ships can't sail between Florida and St Thomas in a timely manner. If the ship tried to stop at St Thomas first, it wouldn't arrive until mid-afternoon. Any time you saved by not going through Immigration (not Customs) would not help with such a late arrival.

FYI, if a cruise ship on a closed loop trip from a US port stops in a US port or territory mid-cruise, there is no longer any Immigration or Customs inspection until the ship hits it's final US Port (at the end of the cruise).
Problem solved.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
David,

Your idea sounds so simple - until you realize that most cruse ships can't sail between Florida and St Thomas in a timely manner. If the ship tried to stop at St Thomas first, it wouldn't arrive until mid-afternoon. Any time you saved by not going through Immigration (not Customs) would not help with such a late arrival.

FYI, if a cruise ship on a closed loop trip from a US port stops in a US port or territory mid-cruise, there is no longer any Immigration or Customs inspection until the ship hits it's final US Port (at the end of the cruise).
Problem solved.
It depends on when the crusieline can schedule use of the port too. I know I have been to Key West several times-when we go there first we don't have to do that, but if it is after the first port, we do.
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