Cruise rules/laws

Old Apr 6th, 2011, 06:09 PM
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Cruise rules/laws

Having a discussion with a friend about taking a cruise to a destination staying a week, then getting back on the ship a week later.

I thought I had read somewhere that US based cruises won't allow persons to board outside the US.

I realize the original question would be cost prohibitive, but, is it a legal option. My friend's wife won't fly......
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 07:01 PM
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I don't think there's a legal issue here. The Passenger Services Act:

prescribes a fine of $300 per passenger transported from a US port to another US port by a foriegn-flagged vessel (i.e., pretty much every cruise ship). It does allow foriegn-flagged ships to sail from one US port to another as long as they visit a foreign country "outside North America" in between (hence the passion for the Republic of Kiribati on Hawaiian cruise routes).

What you're describing--two one-way trips--would be OK as long as the destination is outside the US.

I think the bigger issue is that cruise lines don't make money from empty cabins. Remember, your cruise fare is just part of their revenue. Lines count on passengers to buy drinks, buy shore excursions, shop onboard, gamble in the casino, etc. to make money. As they don't have a way to fill your cabin if you leave the ship mid-voyage, they're out that revenue. Not something they would be anxious to facilitate.

Getting somewhere one-way is pretty easy--just look for repositioning cruises. Problem is getting back, as the lines tend to move ships for a season (to the Med or Alaska for the summer, for instance) and leave them there.

Suggest large amounts of ambien for your friend's wife. She can go to sleep on the way to the airport, and wake up in paradise.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 7th, 2011, 07:27 AM
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Virtually no cruise line will allow this if you are talking about a Caribbean cruise. If you want to do a trans-Atlantic cruise, stay a week, and come back, that's a completely different story. You could board the Queen Mary 2 in Brooklyn, take it to Europe, and then board that or a different ship and come back. But these routes sell out far in advance and would be pretty expensive.

On Around the World cruises, the longer itinerary is broken up into smaller segments, and you could easily get off the ship and board a different ship, but not if you were disembarking in a U.S. port like Hawaii. You'd have to take a segment that landed you in Europe, South America, or Asia.

But cruises are not meant to be transportation; rather, they are vacation experiences, and not all cruise lines allow you to disembark. MSC, I believe, allows this in Europe on some itineraries. But I can't really think of a single U.S. cruise line that would allow it for a Caribbean cruise. It wouldn't be against the law if the cruise departed from Barbados or some other Caribbean destination, but there are few options there. It would be against the law if the cruise line departed on a closed-loop cruise from a U.S. port. On occasion, a cruise line will pay the fine if reimbursed by the passenger, but this is by no means a done deal and mostly applies to boarding a ship in Key West or San Juan when missing the ship from a Florida port.
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Old Apr 7th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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There are cruises that don't come to the port of origin, so after a search you can probably find 2 cruises with a week in between.

Another alternative for you would be Amtrak - you can travel all over US and Canada (VIA rail).
Dayenu is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Thanks. So, my friends couldn't take a cruise out of Florida and come visit me in Belize, then catch another cruise back to Florida. Because it would be illegal???

I understand completely about the cruise line being reluctant to do this because of loss of revenue, I was just under the impression that people couldn't board a cruise that started in the US once it was under way.

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Old Apr 7th, 2011, 01:14 PM
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Some cargo ships take passengers, even in this day and age. I don't know if you could schedule a stay of as little as a week, though.
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 08:19 PM
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Read the 1920 Jones Act if you have time. It is really interesting reading if you like that kind of stuff. The rules does make sense and they were there for a reason. It is called protectionism.
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