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Old September 30th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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Default Circumvent the Jones Act when people miss ships

There are currently laws on the books that forbid a cruise line from transporting passengers on a cruise between US Ports only unless the ship is flagged in the US and has an all US crew.

The law says every ship must visit at least one "distant foreign port" on every cruise. This is why Alaska cruises that sail from Seattle make a stop in British Columbia, Canada. This is also why cruises to Hawaii from San Diego also stop in Ensenada Mexico on the way out.

On these cruises, these one-day stops qualify as the the "distant foreign port."

OKay - this is really a joke but the cruise lines don't mind doing it as long as they get to continue operating as foreign flag vessels - which we all want because it keeps cruising affordable for us and the $35 billion of economic activity the modern cruise industry generates each year in the U.S.

But here is the problem. If a cruiser misses the ship in the first port they are not allowed to fly to catch the ship in Hawaii or Alaska because they would be missing the foreign port. Essentially, if you are 24 hours late you can be denied an entire 14-day cruise because you are not allowed to board under the Jones Act.

This happens when ships sail out of San Juan to St Thomas. It also even causes problems if a person has to leave a ship for an emergency before the ship has reached the foreign port. Like if a person sailed from Seattle to Alaska and then got sick in Juneau. They couldn't leave the ship without paying a fine.

The problem is that the Jones Act is a law. The fine is only $200, but you cannot purposely break a law just because you can afford the fine.

So, how can we make it so people who miss a foreign port because they are late to a cruise can still get on the ship? If they flew to the foreign port could the ship let them on, or do they still have to refuse them? I believe they have to refuse them.

Is there a way to change this, or somehow circumvent the Jones Act in cases like this?
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Old September 30th, 2009, 06:56 PM
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I think the only way to try and change the law will be to call your congessman andor senator. Maybe we could start calling campane (sp) or something to try to get the ball rolling.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 08:43 PM
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I don't want to change the Jones Act...

I think a good lawyer could find a way to make it so people who miss their first ports can still board their ships, as long as they pay the fine. The point is that it has to be done is such a way that the cruise line is not "condoning" breaking the law.

It has to be a situation where the cruise ship has no choice but to let them onboard. Then let them pay the fine.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
I don't want to change the Jones Act...

I think a good lawyer could find a way to make it so people who miss their first ports can still board their ships, as long as they pay the fine. The point is that it has to be done is such a way that the cruise line is not "condoning" breaking the law.

It has to be a situation where the cruise ship has no choice but to let them onboard. Then let them pay the fine.
I wonder if you showed up at the next port (on your own), presented a "valid" ticket for travel and demanded to board what would happen? If denied boarding you could sue for the remainder of your ticket as they did not let you on... and if they did you could pay the fine. I have in fact heard that the fine has been waived before.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 09:00 PM
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I don't pretend to be anexpert, but I wrote this because we have another thread right now where people are saying they were willing to do just that and the cruise told them they could not board because of the Jones Act.

I am thinking they need to send their bags ahead with a note that only the bags missed the ship. Then they need to show up at the next port with no food or money so that if the cruise ship denies them boarding they will starve to death.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 06:27 PM
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I personally believe that if a passenger must board the ship in another port and violates the Jones Act they should be allowed boarding "if" they pay the fine and fulfill the following condition:

The reason for missing the embarkation port was not the fault of the passenger or the cruise line. I.E. They missed boarding because of the actions of a third party. (I.E. Airline delays, car accident)

If they meet that condition they should be allowed onboard.

I don't know if it would work but it sure sounds logical and does not encourage intentional breaking of the law for a passenger's convenience.

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Old October 1st, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Mike... you really are genius at cutting to the meat of the matter sometimes. I think you are right about third parties. And also about looking at whose fault it is.

I think the "law" (aka, the man) might require that it also not be the fault of the cruise line - because they are the carrier and they should not be granted a pass just because they make a mistake.

However, if the passenger makes a mistake the cruise line has not done anything wrong, really. So what is the problem there? The guest PAID for a full fare from the original port, so technically they should be on that ship, not off of it. They have not broken any laws, really, if they booked the cruise and paid for it within the confines of the Jones Act.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
Mike... you really are genius at cutting to the meat of the matter sometimes. I think you are right about third parties. And also about looking at whose fault it is.
I always think better when I have a 102 fever.

I believe the Passenger Services Act (Passengers) is antiquated and really serves no purpose in today's economy.

The Jones Act addresses cargo and the Passenger Services Act is the one that governs the hauling of "people". Then again, after a few days on a cruise I think we all turn into cargo.

The Passenger Services Act was enacted almost 40 years before the Jones Act.

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Old October 1st, 2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Circumvent the Jones Act when people miss ships

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
There are currently laws on the books that forbid a cruise line from transporting passengers on a cruise between US Ports only unless the ship is flagged in the US and has an all US crew.

The law says every ship must visit at least one "distant foreign port" on every cruise. This is why Alaska cruises that sail from Seattle make a stop in British Columbia, Canada. This is also why cruises to Hawaii from San Diego also stop in Ensenada Mexico on the way out.

On these cruises, these one-day stops qualify as the the "distant foreign port."

OKay - this is really a joke but the cruise lines don't mind doing it as long as they get to continue operating as foreign flag vessels - which we all want because it keeps cruising affordable for us and the $35 billion of economic activity the modern cruise industry generates each year in the U.S.

But here is the problem. If a cruiser misses the ship in the first port they are not allowed to fly to catch the ship in Hawaii or Alaska because they would be missing the foreign port. Essentially, if you are 24 hours late you can be denied an entire 14-day cruise because you are not allowed to board under the Jones Act.

This happens when ships sail out of San Juan to St Thomas. It also even causes problems if a person has to leave a ship for an emergency before the ship has reached the foreign port. Like if a person sailed from Seattle to Alaska and then got sick in Juneau. They couldn't leave the ship without paying a fine.

The problem is that the Jones Act is a law. The fine is only $200, but you cannot purposely break a law just because you can afford the fine.

So, how can we make it so people who miss a foreign port because they are late to a cruise can still get on the ship? If they flew to the foreign port could the ship let them on, or do they still have to refuse them? I believe they have to refuse them.

Is there a way to change this, or somehow circumvent the Jones Act in cases like this?
Cruise to Hawaii and Alaska stop a foreign port before returning to Seattle ,San Diego or Los Angeles. The part in highlighted in red is in error.
All cruises do the foreign port before returning to the port of embarkation , not the other way . You can board in the next port but can disembark before you go to the foreign port.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 02:26 PM
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This is a really interesting subject in more than one way. As a usually European cruiser my biggest fear is something happens on shore in countries that are NOT part of the the EEC and I find myself missing the ship for third party reasons and it then sailing without me,,,sailing with my passport and any other ID locked in the cabin safe.

Where the heck does that leave you? No ID, no passport and a good chance no credit cards as they too have sailed away in the cabin.

Yes they did say on the ships daily blah who the agent is for that port, oops left that in the cabin as well.

Has anyone actually experienced this?
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 02:37 PM
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I always go ashore with my passport or a color copy of it.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doopydozer
I always go ashore with my passport or a color copy of it.
I think this is a very good way to go. It is what we do BTW.

I think that with these items in hand one should be able to go to the port in questions' US embassy or consulate to make payment of the fine as a Dept of Treasury managed program before they can board the ship.

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Old March 23rd, 2010, 01:29 AM
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Paul,
Good subject, but one important error in your post. The Cabotage regulations are different for St Thomas and San Juan - as they are US Territories. On a typical San Juan cruise, if you missed boarding in San Juan, you could board in St Thomas with no penalty.

As a Cruise Ship Hotel Manager I have been dealing with the PVSA - and it's bizarre and spotty enforcement by US Officials - for about 35 years.

Yes, if a passenger misses boarding the ship in a US port and tries to join later in the cruise, he is usually guilty of violating the PVSA. But we always let him board, cautioning him that there MAY be a $300 penalty. We report it to the Port Agent, the Port Agent reports it to the Coast Guard and US Customs, and we wait to see what they want to do about it.

The same thing happens if a passenger wants to leave the ship in a US Port before the end of the cruise. He has violated the PVSA and will most likely be fined.

The same thing happens if you die before the end of the cruise. If the cruise started in a US Port and your corpse leaves the ship (before the end of the cruise) in another US Port, your estate will most likely be fined $300 by US Customs.

Why does the PVSA continue to haunt us? It is an outdated law that seems to no longer have any purpose.

Not quite true.
The PVSA and associated regulations require that nearly all goods imported to Hawaii - and nearly everything, including pineapples, is imported in Hawaii - must be carried by US Flag cargo ships. This dramatically increases the cost of living in Hawaii, and keeps the last two remaining US Flag Cargo companies in business. It also provides jobs for several thousand US Merchant Mariners who would never be hired by foreign cargo companies.
If the PVSA was cancelled, these two cargo companies would be bankrupt next week - and Hawaii would be a far more affordable place to live.

Five major US Flag Airlines are bleeding money in nearly every sector - except Hawaii. Why? Because the PVSA gives them a monopoly over this market, allows them to price fix, and make big profits there.
If the PVSA was cancelled, Air Canada and Japan Airlines would make flying there far more affordable - and the 5 major US Airlines would be bankrupt and their employees out of jobs.

These conditions also apply - in a more limited fashion - to American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

The PVSA will be around for a very long time.

And yes, there is a way around it. If you embark a cruise in any US Port and leave the ship in a foreign port before the cruise ends in a US Port, there is no PVSA Violation.

Last edited by Bruce Chafkin1; March 23rd, 2010 at 01:34 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 09:43 AM
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That is stupid if you die on a cruise wouldn't it be better for everyone to get your body of the ship? Why charge the estate $300?

Here is what I don't get you book a 14 day Hawaiian cruise from San Diego they sail for San Diego to Hawaii then hit Enseneda on the way back. Why can't you board in Hawaii? They haven't stopped at an international port yet.

Here is another question I have if you miss the first port of an NCL Pride of America cruise, can you still get on at the next port? Pride of America is a US flagged ship with a US crew Jones Act doesn't apply. For cruises that leave out of an international port like Hawaiian/Alaskan cruises leaving from Enseneda or Vancouver, I would suggest get into to port a day ahead.

I know Jones act can be wavied because it was for the Swine Flu problems. The first ships affected by the Swine Flu only stopped in San Francisco no international port.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 08:30 PM
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katlady,

I'm with you on this one.
Fining a dead body??
Nobody has ever accused the Customs or Immigration people of being TOO smart. Actually it may not be better to get the body off the ship before the cruise ends. Depending on the port, getting the corpse landed and shipped home can involve days of quadruplicate paperwork with the officials, and many thousands of dollars in fees.

The Hawaii - West Coast itineraries are so confusing because different rules apply depending on whether or not you start and end the cruise in the same port.
Round trip cruises from the same US port (San Diego) require only one stop in a Near Foreign Port (Ensenada).
One way trips between 2 different US Ports (Honolulu to San Diego) require a stop at a Far Foreign Port. The nearest Far Foreign Port is Fanning Island on the Equator, or anyplace in South America.

That's why round trip cruises to southern Alaska are possible from Seattle. But if you want to cruise one-way to Anchorage, the cruise cannot legally start in a US port. The people at the Port of Vancouver are very happy about this rule.

Since Pride of America is a US Flag vessel, the PVSA has no jurisdiction on her. You can do pretty much whatever you want there, without any fines.
Of course the Pride of America is forbidden to carry passengers to the West Coast, is not allowed to have a casino, and cannot buy or sell duty-free anything.

We need to note that the PVSA / Jones Act can NEVER be waived. If you are guilty of violating the act, you are guilty. But it is possible for the Coast Guard to waive the fine if they decide that the circumstances warrant it. Those circumstances seem to involve which way the wind is blowing, which side of the bed the officer got up from, and whether or not he is getting along with his wife today.
This is important to know, as the violations count against a Captain's license. Just like an auto driving license, if you break the law too many times, you lose your license. So Captains are very reluctant to just "let somebody board" in violation of the PVSA. It is a very poor way to end a sea-going career.

The Coast Guard also claims that if a cruise line knowingly assists a passenger in breaking the PVSA regulations, the ships from that company can be banned from calling at any or all US Ports.
It has not happened yet, but a ruling like that would bankrupt the cruise line. You can appreciate why the cruise line call centers are so adamant about not allowing you to book cruises that are in violation.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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My main question on the dead body is where do they keep it. What if you are on a 14 day cruise and die on the second day, your body is just hanging in the fridge next to the food.:o

This is good information I wasn't aware of. Thanks Bruce Chafkin1 for posting it:

Quote:
We need to note that the PVSA / Jones Act can NEVER be waived. If you are guilty of violating the act, you are guilty. But it is possible for the Coast Guard to waive the fine if they decide that the circumstances warrant it. Those circumstances seem to involve which way the wind is blowing, which side of the bed the officer got up from, and whether or not he is getting along with his wife today.
This is important to know, as the violations count against a Captain's license. Just like an auto driving license, if you break the law too many times, you lose your license. So Captains are very reluctant to just "let somebody board" in violation of the PVSA. It is a very poor way to end a sea-going career.

The Coast Guard also claims that if a cruise line knowingly assists a passenger in breaking the PVSA regulations, the ships from that company can be banned from calling at any or all US Ports.
It has not happened yet, but a ruling like that would bankrupt the cruise line. You can appreciate why the cruise line call centers are so adamant about not allowing you to book cruises that are in violation.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Hi katlady, I've been told that all ships have a small morgue. It makes sense because there are many retired cruiser's who are older and not in the best of health .

Better safe than sorry!
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Old March 28th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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Here I go, nitpicking again. Some cruises do the foreign port at the beginning. We did round trip Hawaii from San Diego and the ship stopped in Ensenada on the first day. It was a short stop and no one was allowed off the ship. That was because some passengers were only sailing to Hawaii, then debarking the ship, so they had to board in Ensenada. Not sure why.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 04:25 AM
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colorcrazie,

A cruise that begins in a non-US port and ends in a US Port is excused from most or all of the requirements of the PVSA.
That's why it is legal to start a cruise in Mexico (Ensenada) and finish in USA (Hawaii).

Those who started their cruise in San Diego would not be allowed to legally end it in Hawaii (even though the ship stopped in Mexico) because most one-way trips between 2 US Ports (some US Territories are excluded) require a stop in a FAR Foreign Port. Ensenada is a NEAR Foreign Port and does no satisfy the law.

That explains why those who planned to end their cruise in Hawaii (a US Port)could not begin it in a different US Port (San Diego), and instead had to start their cruise in Mexico.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 05:32 PM
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Bruce - I thought Ensenada DOES qualify as a far foreign port. How do you explain cruises that only go to Ensenada without that, then?

Or is that only frm Los Angeles? Bottom line, its news to me that Ensenada does not qualify as a far foreign port. Nassau qualifies.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 07:08 PM
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Paul,

You need to do your PVSA homework again.
There are NO far foreign ports in North America.

The entire idea behind a Maritime Cabotage Law is prevention of foreign competition on coast-wise trading of freight and passengers. If Nassau, Ensenada - or any other North American port - was designated a far foreign port, the Cabotage Law would be rendered useless.

The nearest far foreign ports are:
ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao)
All of South America
Fanning Island
Christmas Island
Vladivostock
Yokohama
Greenland
Iceland
Canary Islands
Azores

Cruises that start in San Diego / LA, then stop in Ensenada on their way to Hawaii, are satisfying the near port requirement for a cruise that starts and ends in the same American port. The passengers on those cruises are not legally allowed to end their cruise in Hawaii. They must disembark in the US port where the cruise originated; San Diego or LA.

Other cruises unofficially begin in a US port (San Diego or LA), but the passengers travel by bus to Ensenada to begin their cruise in a foreign port. They can then legally end their cruise in Hawaii, as their cruise is not officially between 2 US Ports. The opposite itinerary is also legal.

Not sure where you got the idea about Nassau being a far foreign port. If it was, all the cruise lines would be selling one way cruises between Miami and New York, via Nassau. But that is not legal. All ports in the Caribbean and Gulf (except the ABC Islands and South America) are near foreign ports. You may have been confused by the fact that Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands have a special status with the PVSA. Cruises starting or ending there are exempt from most of the PVSA.

Last edited by Bruce Chafkin1; May 19th, 2010 at 07:22 PM.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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I'll make a long story short. My family saved for months for the two adults and five children to take our 6-day cruise. Delta delayed us 5 hours (nope, not weather related. First flight delayed, ran to gate for connecting flight. Plane was there but they gave our seats to standbys) three planes later we missed our ship. Our choices lose all of our money and go home or rent a car, drive to key west and pay $300 fine per person to get on the ship. 2,100 MORE to get on in Key West. US Passport in hand, we already paid to get on once and we did nothing wrong. We didn't have the money and no one cared. Disgusting is an understatement for what happened to my family. Passports and all.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by NoMoreCruises View Post
I'll make a long story short. My family saved for months for the two adults and five children to take our 6-day cruise. Delta delayed us 5 hours (nope, not weather related. First flight delayed, ran to gate for connecting flight. Plane was there but they gave our seats to standbys) three planes later we missed our ship. Our choices lose all of our money and go home or rent a car, drive to key west and pay $300 fine per person to get on the ship. 2,100 MORE to get on in Key West. US Passport in hand, we already paid to get on once and we did nothing wrong. We didn't have the money and no one cared. Disgusting is an understatement for what happened to my family. Passports and all.
Nobody to blame but yourself for not getting to the cruise port at least a day ahead.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trackypup View Post
Nobody to blame but yourself for not getting to the cruise port at least a day ahead.
if not two days
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Old January 16th, 2011, 05:42 PM
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We are sailing out of Los angeles on a14 day hawaii cruise and the last port of call is in mexico. thus forfilling the one foregion port call but its at the end of the cruise so my way of thinking you should be able to join the cruise at any port except the last one .So why dont they just make there foregin port of call the las one
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Old January 16th, 2011, 05:50 PM
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NoMoreCruises..I take it, you did not purchase travel insurance..it would have included trip interruption.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Dhill View Post
We are sailing out of Los angeles on a14 day hawaii cruise and the last port of call is in mexico. thus forfilling the one foregion port call but its at the end of the cruise so my way of thinking you should be able to join the cruise at any port except the last one .So why dont they just make there foregin port of call the las one
If I understand the Passenger Vessel Services Act, in order to start at one American port and end at another (which is what you would be doing if you joined the ship in Hawaii), the ship needs to stop at a far foreign port. Mexico does not qualify. I believe ports like Aruba do. If you start and end at the same American port then any foreign port will do, which is why Mexico qualifies in this case.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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If I understand the Passenger Vessel Services Act, in order to start at one American port and end at another (which is what you would be doing if you joined the ship in Hawaii), the ship needs to stop at a far foreign port. Mexico does not qualify. I believe ports like Aruba do. If you start and end at the same American port then any foreign port will do, which is why Mexico qualifies in this case.
Wando,
That is correct. ONLY "Closed Loop" cruises can qualify for the Near Foreign Port requirement.
A closed loop cruise must begin and end in the same US Port.
If you begin a cruise in one US Port and end it in another US Port, then all passengers must go to a Far Foreign Port.
There are no Far Foreign Ports in North America.

That is why no cruises can legally start in Seattle and end in Alaska.
Seattle to Anchorage is illegal.
Vancouver to Anchorage is OK.

But if you really wanted to have a cruise from Seattle to Anchorage, it would be legal if you stopped in Aruba, Fanning Island, or Yokohama somewhere along the way.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by NoMoreCruises View Post
I'll make a long story short. My family saved for months for the two adults and five children to take our 6-day cruise. Delta delayed us 5 hours (nope, not weather related. First flight delayed, ran to gate for connecting flight. Plane was there but they gave our seats to standbys) three planes later we missed our ship. Our choices lose all of our money and go home or rent a car, drive to key west and pay $300 fine per person to get on the ship. 2,100 MORE to get on in Key West. US Passport in hand, we already paid to get on once and we did nothing wrong. We didn't have the money and no one cared. Disgusting is an understatement for what happened to my family. Passports and all.


I feel really sorry for you and yours having read above, and I so I do not agree with some that are so anal retentive that they play the 'it’s your own fault card',,,,,crap read the post these folks turned up, the airline let them down. Think before you type please.

Crap rules caused this, not the effort of the passenger.

I liked Jones, as he was the best singer in The Monkeys, but this act he has of making rules regarding sailing and joining ships around places that America already owns either in geography or economically, like shadow landlords,,,no we dont actually own it or have any control of it as its 'foreign'... Yeah you dont, my A** but your people pay fines,,mmm

So it appears its either an outdated or legal con for getting people to cough up more in a very confusing and socially unhealthy tax, and I'm a believer.

Last edited by DayvidB; January 21st, 2011 at 05:24 PM.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 05:29 PM
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I feel really sorry for you and yours having read above, and I so I do not agree with some that are so anal retentive that they play the 'itís your own fault card',,,,,crap read the post these folks turned up, the airline let them down. Think before you type please.

.
It happens all the time and then people blame airlines, cruise lines or rules that have been around for 100 years. If you take the chance to fly the day of the cruise, you roll the dice. In this case they lost. I stand by my comment of it being his own fault. You never ever fly the same day without really good insurance or be prepared to face the fact that you just might miss your ship. It's a tough lesson and it sucks, but it's preventable.
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