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Visa Issue for Brazilian Ports of Call

Visa Issue for Brazilian Ports of Call

Old Nov 23, 18, 6:17 pm
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Visa Issue for Brazilian Ports of Call

High-spirited passengers of 19 staterooms went through the check-in lines at Barcelona port Boarding Celebrity Eclipse for Bueno Aires were refused boarding yesterday. Additionally, a number of passengers in the check-in lines had also faced close calls when their granted Brazilian Visa were not found on the physical passport pages, and were also invited to stand aside to wait for the cruise terminal staff to sort through the bureaucracy to confirm the existence of approved Brazilian Visa.

Those fully-paid passengers who do not have Visas for each ports of call were given a letter of refused boarding and sat in the secure area waiting for luggage to be pull out of the ship. When the ship left at about 5pm with their horn blaring, there were two of the 19 frustrated parties still waiting in the cruise terminal with one of their luggage sailed out to the next port.

The crux of the issue boils down to the Cruise line's position that "the passengers are solely responsible for required travel documents". When I saw that in the Cruise document sent to me a little over a week before embarkation, and two ports of calls in Brazil, I did try to google various forums for experiences of others. But my incomplete research did not give definitive answers to the question of "travel documents" for each and every ports of calls or destination.

Also, given the short span of not much more than a week; the logistic issues (nomad-ing to different non-home cities each week), sending in my passport to the fickle Consulate office is clearly infeasible. So I had been hoping rational enforcement of government regulation of ship-side transits could parallel air-side transits?

Unfortunately, that became an expensive lesson for me. One other lady of a couple, being US citizen, had applied for Brazilian Visa more the 4 weeks ago with no result that's acceptable to the cruise port staff.

I also had the charm of seeing one of my luggage set sail to the next port, after 6 hours waiting in the secure area, coming out to the cold and learned taxis had all gone away for business elsewhere.

I wondered if the cruise line or port staff could/would help alleviate the terse terminology "travel documents" with "each ports of calls", both in sales lit and cruise document. But my suggestions were stone-rejected by the cruise terminal staffs. And they acknowledge week-in, week-out, every sailing had her share of refused boarding, fully-paid passengers.
And I don't get the sense that either the cruise line (I would guess Celebrity isn't the only one) or the out-sourced cruise-port staff are very interested in clarifying the gap between "Travel as From A to B" versus "Travel as each ports of calls", the anguish of customers seeing thousands of dollars went puff.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 11:36 am
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always the responsibility of the passenger to determine visa requirements, including a "port of call". not to sound callous, but this is 100% your fault. Call the consulate/embassy of each country, or a professional visa service, if you need clarification. If you don't have the time to get the required documents, then don't travel.
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Old Nov 24, 18, 7:45 pm
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The only issue when cruising as opposed to "Airside Transit" is that the whole ship is cleared by local immigration authorities. Due to this process, any passenger without proper "travel documents" will cause issues with local immigration for the whole ship.

There is no "I am not getting off so I don't need a visa" on a cruise.

The ship and cruise line is right to deny passengers without proper travel documents to board. Especially when it was stated in the Contract of Carriage. Travel document can be a passport which does not require a visa or passport with a proper visa.

Cruise terminals can be a very isolated place after all the ships have sailed away.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 3:39 am
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Weird - I always though the cruiseline would take care of visas for stops and would just deny passangers from getting of at any port with an issue.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 5:37 am
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
Weird - I always though the cruiseline would take care of visas for stops and would just deny passangers from getting of at any port with an issue.
Different countries have different visa requirement for different passports. It would be costly to provide visa service. There might also be issues for certain individuals to get visa due to personal history.

I am not aware of any cruiseline offering visa services for its ports of call.

As immigration at port of calls are cleared in bulk having some passenger without proper documentation would not work.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 6:42 am
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It is always 100% the responsibility of the passenger to assure that he is properly documented for the travel he proposes to take. That is true for air, sea, and ground. It is similarly a mistake to make assumptions about what a given country requires, what "transit" may or may not mean, and how one obtains documents.

The comparison to airport transits is not even necessarily the case. There are many airports where one may still require a transit visa and neither the US nor Canada recognize the concept of transit at all.

All of this boils down to spending the time and making the effort to determine what you require and allowing enough time to get it done. The determinations for visa requirements are often dependent on citizenship, residence, other ports of call, length of stay, and purpose. Thus, it is impractical for a cruise line to make these decisions.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 6:47 am
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I do feel for your sad predicament, OP, but the reality for cruise ships and airlines is what you saw in the fine print, "passengers are solely responsible for required travel documents."

Coincidentally, we signed up for a 2019 Barcelona to Rio cruise on Oceania just this past week while on another Oceania cruise and noticed that the draft invoice included a $400 charge each for a Brazilian visa.

Some quick searching confirmed that it's now much easier and cheaper to obtain visas than the last time we got them, so we declined that option, just as we decline cruise line transfers and excursions in favor of making our own arrangements.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 8:08 am
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As a side note, I had booked a flight out of Bueno Aires for my next destination, that flight had a transit connection at Rio. Naturally, the airline had similar notice of travel document requirements.

Now I wonder if without a Brazilian Visa, Boarding at EZE for a non-Brazil destination will be refused due to an airside Brazilian transit? This is just a postulated question for my own curiosity, as I will cancel that flight and my mileage deposited back. Nevertheless, someone with a definitive answer could give others some peace of mind.
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Old Nov 25, 18, 10:49 am
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Nobody can answer your question without knowing several other data points, including your country of citizenship and country of residence. The definitive answer will be found in TIMATIC, an IATA database used by the air carriers. You have free access to it at a number of locations, including the link below. You should always check TIMATIC before purchasing any ticket involving a border crossing as requirements may change and indeed may be different for you than for someone else in your party:

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/app...aspx?i=TIMATIC
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Old Nov 25, 18, 6:08 pm
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It is always printed on you cruise booking contract even when just the deposit booking “ it is the responsibility of the passenger to confirm if Visas are needed for ports visited on this cruise”.
That being said Cruise Critic helped me with the EVisa and took only 4 days. Also my TA offered help and reminded me what Visas we needed for our cruise.
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Old Nov 29, 18, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by phvt32 View Post
....their granted Brazilian Visa were not found on the physical passport pages, and were also invited to stand aside to wait for the cruise terminal staff to sort through the bureaucracy to confirm the existence of approved Brazilian Visa.
This would be standard practice for the new e-visas. No stamp in passport as for the regular visas on passports that go through the Brazilian consulate.
Unfortunately it seems that some of the boarding agents are badly informed and trained. Another example of this are the many passengers embarking for Cuba from the US who have reported being required by these functionaries to lie on cruiseline paperwork about their legal reason for travel.
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