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Stupid Cruise Newbie Question: why no travel between US ports?

Stupid Cruise Newbie Question: why no travel between US ports?

Old Jun 13, 22, 4:59 pm
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Stupid Cruise Newbie Question: why no travel between US ports?

Really naive question. We have friends doing a transatlantic cruise at the end of this year, Rotterdam to New York and then Fort Lauderdale. We just don't have time to join them. Now I see the cruise is marketed as 15 days to Fort Lauderdale or 12 days to just New York. So, why does the cruise line not offer a few cabins New York to Fort Lauderdale? Is this maritime law or another practical reason? Curious.
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Old Jun 13, 22, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Uncle Lars View Post
Really naive question. We have friends doing a transatlantic cruise at the end of this year, Rotterdam to New York and then Fort Lauderdale. We just don't have time to join them. Now I see the cruise is marketed as 15 days to Fort Lauderdale or 12 days to just New York. So, why does the cruise line not offer a few cabins New York to Fort Lauderdale? Is this maritime law or another practical reason? Curious.
Assuming that this is a foreign-flagged ship (most are, these days), U.S. cabotage laws would prohibit the ship from transporting passengers locally from one U.S. port to another. (There are a few exceptions, but they would not likely apply to a sailing from New York to Florida.)

For similar reasons, Air Canada may not transport you from SLC to LGA, even with a connection at YYZ. (If you had a stopover of a few days in Canada, that would be a different story.)
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Old Jun 13, 22, 6:02 pm
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The PVSA (frequently mislabeled the Jones Act but that only applies to cargo ships). A foreign flagged ship cannot carry passengers between two us ports without stopping at a distant foreign port (Canada and most of the Caribbean don’t count). So Europe to Ft Lauderdake is fine. But NY to Ft Lauderdale would require a stop in Aruba to satisfy the law.

Round trip cruises on foreign flagged vessels only have to make a stop at a foreign port.
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Old Jun 13, 22, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
The PVSA (frequently mislabeled the Jones Act but that only applies to cargo ships). A foreign flagged ship cannot carry passengers between two us ports without stopping at a distant foreign port (Canada and most of the Caribbean dont count). So Europe to Ft Lauderdake is fine. But NY to Ft Lauderdale would require a stop in Aruba to satisfy the law.

Round trip cruises on foreign flagged vessels only have to make a stop at a foreign port.
Actually Nassau qualifies which would be easier but the point is any foreign flagged cruise ship would have to stop at least at one qualifying island before docking again in the US if it took passengers on in Ft Lauderdale.
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Old Jun 13, 22, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Randyk47 View Post
Actually Nassau qualifies which would be easier but the point is any foreign flagged cruise ship would have to stop at least at one qualifying island before docking again in the US if it took passengers on in Ft Lauderdale.
Nassau doesnt qualify as a distant foreign port which is what would be necessary for a New York to FL cruise (what the OP asked about). If it were round trip NY or round trip FL stopping in Nassau would be fine.
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Old Jun 13, 22, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
Nassau doesnt qualify as a distant foreign port
Correct. The only Caribbean islands that qualify are the ABCs.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 5:32 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
Nassau doesn’t qualify as a distant foreign port which is what would be necessary for a New York to FL cruise (what the OP asked about). If it were round trip NY or round trip FL stopping in Nassau would be fine.
Nassau definitely qualifies. There are a number, mostly on Carnival, three and four day cruises out of Florida that only go to Nassau. Now that may have been given some special exemption to the law but it happens all the time. Now maybe since it is same port to same port round trip it slips through but Nassau is listed as a qualifying port on some sites.

Last edited by Randyk47; Jun 14, 22 at 5:49 am
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Old Jun 14, 22, 7:30 am
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Originally Posted by Randyk47 View Post
Nassau definitely qualifies. There are a number, mostly on Carnival, three and four day cruises out of Florida that only go to Nassau.
Those are closed-loop cruises starting and ending in the same US port. OP's cruise starts in another country, arrives in NY as a port of call, and then terminates in Florida. The cruise line cannot transport Americans from NY to Florida even if they stopped in Nassau between the two US cities.
I wonder if they are clearing customs in NY or FL, don't know how that is handled. I've experienced longer clearance times for non-closed loop cruises as the entire ship's complement has to clear customs on arrival with even C&BP interviews of some of the crew.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by Randyk47 View Post
Nassau definitely qualifies. There are a number, mostly on Carnival, three and four day cruises out of Florida that only go to Nassau. Now that may have been given some special exemption to the law but it happens all the time. Now maybe since it is same port to same port round trip it slips through but Nassau is listed as a qualifying port on some sites.
The rules are different for round trips from the same port versus sailing between two different US ports. For round trips, the ship just has to make a stop at any foreign port (so a 3 night round trip from Port Canaveral is fine just stopping at Nassau). But for one ways between two different US ports, they have to stop at a distant foreign port (as defined by the law).
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Old Jun 14, 22, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by Brighton Line View Post
Those are closed-loop cruises starting and ending in the same US port. OP's cruise starts in another country, arrives in NY as a port of call, and then terminates in Florida. The cruise line cannot transport Americans from NY to Florida even if they stopped in Nassau between the two US cities.
I wonder if they are clearing customs in NY or FL, don't know how that is handled. I've experienced longer clearance times for non-closed loop cruises as the entire ship's complement has to clear customs on arrival with even C&BP interviews of some of the crew.
Typically you clear US immigration at the first port of entry into the US. So they will clear in NY. But they won't have to take luggage off, it will just be a walk through showing their passport.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
Typically you clear US immigration at the first port of entry into the US.
There are some exceptions on routes with preclearance, such as departing Vancouver. Here, you clear U.S. customs before boarding.
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Old Jun 15, 22, 9:53 pm
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..why no travel between US ports?

There is one major cruise line that has a dedicated ship that cruises solely between US ports. That is NCL's Pride of America that does 7 day Honolulu-Honolulu every week of the year.
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Old Jun 15, 22, 10:10 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
There is one major cruise line that has a dedicated ship that cruises solely between US ports. That is NCL's Pride of America that does 7 day Honolulu-Honolulu every week of the year.
It's currently the only U.S.-flagged ocean cruise ship, but I believe they also had to get an exemption to the PVSA because it's not majority U.S-.built. There are also several American river cruise lines, and even Great Lakes cruises (though I don't think those go from one U.S. port to another).

Last edited by mahasamatman; Jun 15, 22 at 10:17 pm
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Old Jun 16, 22, 10:05 am
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Many of the river cruises are one-way, not RT. The small boats that cruise the coasts might have some one way routes as well. Assume they're all US flagged vessels though.

EG American Cruise lines (rivers and coasts)
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Old Jun 16, 22, 11:12 am
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Actually

Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
It's currently the only U.S.-flagged ocean cruise ship, but I believe they also had to get an exemption to the PVSA because it's not majority U.S-.built. There are also several American river cruise lines, and even Great Lakes cruises (though I don't think those go from one U.S. port to another).
Actually American Queen has Great Lakes cruises that go roundtrip Chicago (Milwaukee) with a stop in Ontario.
Also as mahasamatman notes--MANY American river cruises.
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