Simple cruise made complicated by the Jones Act?

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May 20, 2016
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#1
My wife & I are wondering if Norwegian "steered" us wrong on a recent Alaskan cruise. We booked the Norwegian Pearl for a cruise up the CA coast w/ the understanding that the cruise would end in Vancouver. Then we wanted to cruise on up to Alaska so we were advised, and sold tickets to get off of the Pearl, spend the night in Vancouver, & embark on the Jewel which was going on to Seattle, and then sail to Alaska and back to Seattle. That made 3 cruises, and a separate hotel stay. However, while on the Pearl we came to understand that it too was going on up to Alaska, so we thought well, why not just stay on that ship, where we were already settled in, & go on up to AK on it. Why this option wasn't offered when we initially booked is curious, but the NCL agent in their sales department in Florida is no longer with NCL. Maybe this is part of the reason. So we asked at their service desk if we could do that. That's when things got strange. They called their home office in FL & said they were told that we could not do that b/c it would violate the Jones Act. (Feel free to start groaning at this point). Apparently people who boarded the Pearl in Miami & went thru the Panama Canal were eligible b/c of Panama being a foreign port. So we attempted to point out that Vancouver was a "foreign port" but their answer, as best we could understand, was that Vancouver was not "foreign enough" . So we got off in Vancouver & spent the night & then got onto the Jewel & went on to AK, but we are still wondering if the cruise line told us the correct information. Changing ships, made a simple cruise difficult due to all the customs, and check in lines that were duplicated. Any thought or advice on how to avoid these problems in the future?
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#2
Yes, silly but true. You absolutely needed to do exactly what you did. The Foreign Port needs to be a Distant Foreign port and Vancouver does not qualify but the Panama Canal folks do qualify.

I can't figure out why this has not been fixed but the law is on the books and you have to get off the ship and do exactly what you did ;)
 
Aug 28, 2015
3,729
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New York
#5
My wife & I are wondering if Norwegian "steered" us wrong on a recent Alaskan cruise. We booked the Norwegian Pearl for a cruise up the CA coast w/ the understanding that the cruise would end in Vancouver. Then we wanted to cruise on up to Alaska so we were advised, and sold tickets to get off of the Pearl, spend the night in Vancouver, & embark on the Jewel which was going on to Seattle, and then sail to Alaska and back to Seattle. That made 3 cruises, and a separate hotel stay. However, while on the Pearl we came to understand that it too was going on up to Alaska, so we thought well, why not just stay on that ship, where we were already settled in, & go on up to AK on it. Why this option wasn't offered when we initially booked is curious, but the NCL agent in their sales department in Florida is no longer with NCL. Maybe this is part of the reason. So we asked at their service desk if we could do that. That's when things got strange. They called their home office in FL & said they were told that we could not do that b/c it would violate the Jones Act. (Feel free to start groaning at this point). Apparently people who boarded the Pearl in Miami & went thru the Panama Canal were eligible b/c of Panama being a foreign port. So we attempted to point out that Vancouver was a "foreign port" but their answer, as best we could understand, was that Vancouver was not "foreign enough" . So we got off in Vancouver & spent the night & then got onto the Jewel & went on to AK, but we are still wondering if the cruise line told us the correct information. Changing ships, made a simple cruise difficult due to all the customs, and check in lines that were duplicated. Any thought or advice on how to avoid these problems in the future?
@Larry Newman I love how you wrote this, by the way. It's very funny and explains the situation perfectly.
 
Likes: jsn55

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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KSNA
#7
In the interest of education (and not nit-picking), this situation is due to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) which regulates transportation of passengers between US ports. The Jones Act mainly regulates cargo. That said, many cruise lines incorrectly refer to the Jones Act. Both are protectionist laws with extinct rationales.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#8
Thanks JVillegirl541, for your quick reply. We read the Elliott articles in the Tucson Sunday Star, and find them very interesting, and informative. We look forward to spending some quality time on your website.
We'll be very glad to have you on the forum, Larry. Your story is absolutely fascinating! Bureaucracy at its best, that's for sure. I'm leaving for Alaska on Sunday and REALLY looking forward to it. Chime in here with advice whenever you wish.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,238
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#9
We'll be very glad to have you on the forum, Larry. Your story is absolutely fascinating! Bureaucracy at its best, that's for sure. I'm leaving for Alaska on Sunday and REALLY looking forward to it. Chime in here with advice whenever you wish.
Judy! Leaving in the morning for Anchorage ;)
 
Likes: jsn55