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My parents were denied boarding on Holland America 30 day cruise, need help

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Long story short my parents in 70s who have been cruising for very long time now, booked a 30 day cruise. They were suppose to sail from Buenos Aires on Feb 18. They got their boarding pass and everything but when they arrived to board they were denied. They were told they did not have proper Brazilian temporary visas. They got email 4 days before they left for cruise that they needed Visas and they filed paperwork online right away and apparently Brazilian embassy did not clear them in time for cruise. They could not contact embassy on day they were suppose to leave because it was holiday and Holland America did not allow them to board (even thought they were not going to get off ship in Brazil or even hit Brazilian waters for 3 days after they started cruise). The frustrating part is they got confirmation from embassy next day but ship already left. They flew home and that was end of it. They are out close to 20k and even though they had 2 insurances neither one of them is covering it. Issue I have is that they had no idea they needed visas till 4 days before cruise and Holland even gave them boarding passes! If they were not clear to board why would they get boarding pass? This is very frustrating for my elderly parents who spent a lot of money on this cruise an now looks like they will not get any back. I contacted several lawyers in Seattle (where Holland is based) but most only take injury cases. Any help would be appreciate it.

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I feel very sorry for your parents.

But, it is the passengers' responsibility to have any visas that are required.

No visa, no cruise.

I don't know what can be done at this point.

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Welcome to CC....lots of good information here.

 

You don't mention how your parents booked their trip. Did they use a TA or book it themselves...or did you do it?

 

Regardless, every cruise line has several entries in their documents that passengers are responsible for having all necessary documentation for their travel. With or without boarding passes, the absence of visas or other necessary documents would mean they would not be traveling with the ship.

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They needed to read their documents https://www.hollandamerica.com/assets/cruise-vacation.../KBYG.pdf on page 3 you will find: VISAS

VISAS

Certain countries require that you obtain official authorization

(called a visa) before entering the country, and some countries require

that you obtain a visa regardless of whether you plan to go ashore in

that particular port or not. Usually there is a fee required.

Guests are responsible for verifying and obtaining any necessary

travel documents for entry and exit to the countries visited, as

these requirements vary depending on the specific port and

nationality of the traveler. This includes payment of all costs related

to arrangements to obtain entry to the countries you visit. Boarding

may be denied or fines levied against those guests arriving at the

pier without the proper documentation, and those guests will not be

eligible for a refund. Payment of any fines levied is the responsibility

of the individual guest. Please note that fees and visa requirements

are subject to change without notice.

Holland America Line provides guests with the following link to

VisaCentral as a service to assist with the collection of necessary

documents. Applications and additional information may be

downloaded from their website:

hollandamerica.visacentral.com

You can also reach them by phone or email:

U.S. citizens

Phone: 1-866-788-1100

Email: customerservice@visacentral.com

 

Sorry this happened to them. Did they use a TA? My parents did this exact same cruise two years ago- both in their upper 70's at the time and the TA made sure to let them know what they needed for this voyage. I think you will be out of luck in getting anything from HAL. They must have all the docs in order before they set sail or face issues themselves.

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This is such a sad story and so sad to hear. Brazil requires a temporary visa whether you get on or off the ship. It's a fact of life.

 

And, unfortunately, it is up to each passenger to check for Visa requirements.

 

 

HAL usually has a warning that a visa is required for these ports (I have done South America before), but whether they do or not, it's quite clear that everyone must check.

 

 

If I had been in your parents' shoes, I would have contacted HAL to see if they could board in the next port that was not in Brazil and then, gotten myself there. Buth, that is not something that everyone is comfortable doing.

 

 

I don't know of any insurance company that covers not getting a visa in trip cancellation insurance unless your parents had a "cancel for any reason" insurance or HAL's insurance, but that contact would have had to be done as soon as they couldn't get on board, sadly.

 

 

I feel so badly for your parents and you but I don't think there is anything that can be done. HAL will always issues the boarding pass if you have done your on line registration and made all payments. there is no requirement to provide Visa information for that. That is our responsibility as travellers and passengers.

 

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. And so sorry for your parents' experience.

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It’s the passengers responsibility to find out what paperwork they need to travel. We got Brazilian visas one time just to cross the border from Argentina for a day tour.

 

What I don’t understand is why are they not flying to meet the ship. It’s a 30 day cruise and that is what they should be doing. They are not going to get any refund.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Sorry that your parents didn't get to do their cruise.

Not sure who booked the cruise for them. But when we did a South American cruise, the first thing our TA told us about after we booked the cruise was to tell us about Brazilian Visas and we took care of at the proper time.

Did they contact you right away that they had been denied boarding the ship?

Fine print on insurance policies do not cover incidents where people have not met all the requirements of boarding a ship -- and that includes getting the proper visas.

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Instead of recriminations, let's focus on solutions. Presumably they now have their visas. I'd suggest they call the cruise line, explain the situation, and see if they can join the cruise at another port. People do this all the time when their flight is delayed and they miss the ship. Airfare will be expensive, but much less than losing the price of the cruise.

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Presumably they now have their visas. I'd suggest they call the cruise line, explain the situation, and see if they can join the cruise at another port. People do this all the time when their flight is delayed and they miss the ship. Airfare will be expensive, but much less than losing the price of the cruise.

Partial quote.

 

OMG, I feel so sorry for this person's parents but I agree with this poster about contacting their TA or HAL and joining the cruise at another port! Many here on this thread have stated that. No sense in giving up on a 30 day $20K cruise just because you could not embark at the first port. Move to the next port of call and get on there...notify HAL! Make sure they can board there!

I was stressed just reading all this, what an awful thing to happen, I am so sorry. But as everyone said, don't give up, just pursue joining the cruise later. It would definitely be worth it. Salvaging 27 (?) days out of 30 is better than going home. JMO

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Partial quote.

Many here on this thread have stated that.

 

Sorry, meant to post this in a different forum where people are just haranguing at the OP and not offering any practical advice.

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Sorry, meant to post this in a different forum where people are just haranguing at the OP and not offering any practical advice.

 

No harm done! Just didn't want to criticize anyone, but I wanted to stress that the OP might want to take yours (and others') good advice on this. Would hate for anyone to lose $20K and their vacation!

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Instead of recriminations, let's focus on solutions. Presumably they now have their visas. I'd suggest they call the cruise line, explain the situation, and see if they can join the cruise at another port. People do this all the time when their flight is delayed and they miss the ship. Airfare will be expensive, but much less than losing the price of the cruise.

 

The problem is, if I read the OP's post correctly - the cruise was on Feb. 18th. So, now, at best, it is less than a 14 day cruise, sadly.

 

Wish the OP had posted earlier - maybe we could have helped before their parents flew home.

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I feel sorry for your parents, but not sure what HAL or anyone else can do about it.

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see if they can join the cruise at another port. .

 

This cruise left BA on Feb. 19....15 days ago. Someone said it was a 30 day trip. If so, a little might be salvaged. I cannot find anything to say it is 30 days.

 

If it is a standard HAL sailing to Antarctica (22 days), it is nearly over, and there are only a couple of port stops in Chile on the way to debarkation.

 

Wait...I may have found it...the sailing ends after 30 days on March 17, San Antonio.

 

Seems likely that, instead of flying home so quickly, talking to HAL and boarding beyond Brazil could well have happened.

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It pays to be prepared, especially when dealing with the Brazilian customs/immigration authorities. Sad to hear those folks lost their cruise vac

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This is so sad and I feel for your parents but it serves as a reminder that we have to check and double check all requirements and cannot blame HAL.

 

Sent from my SM-J320W8 using Forums mobile app

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Let me be slightly devil’s advocate here. I was on a Princess cruise from Burns Aires to Manaus in 1999. Of course, we has our visas. But there were a number of passengers who boarded in Santiago and were continuing as a B2B. One had neglected to get the visa. Princess debarked her at the next port, Montevideo, and she got her visa there and rejoined the cruise in Rio, a few days later. I believe Princess helped to arrange it, at her expense. In the case of the OP, we don’t know how well cruised the people were beyond the Caribbean or Europe where no visas are needed. They were checking in at a foreign port where the personnel were not HAL employees, were not native English speakers, and might not have had the experince to help arrange this. Although I would bet it is a frequent occurrence. Perhaps not the patience, either. Get them checked in and go home. Just a thought. EM

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Let me be slightly devil’s advocate here. I was on a Princess cruise from Burns Aires to Manaus in 1999. Of course, we has our visas. But there were a number of passengers who boarded in Santiago and were continuing as a B2B. One had neglected to get the visa. Princess debarked her at the next port, Montevideo, and she got her visa there and rejoined the cruise in Rio, a few days later. I believe Princess helped to arrange it, at her expense. In the case of the OP, we don’t know how well cruised the people were beyond the Caribbean or Europe where no visas are needed. They were checking in at a foreign port where the personnel were not HAL employees, were not native English speakers, and might not have had the experince to help arrange this. Although I would bet it is a frequent occurrence. Perhaps not the patience, either. Get them checked in and go home. Just a thought. EM

 

Hmm, maybe? In any case sorry this happened to OP"s parents but there is no third party' to blame unless th ere was a sloppy, careless TA who did not do their job. OP has not mentioned if they did all the booiking and arrangements on their own. If there was a TA,,,, AWFUL.

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Oh, how sad. I am so sorry for your parents. I can't imagine the disappointment. Hopefully, they will have another opportunity to travel again.

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It's sad they didn't know. When we did the Sunfarer where we needed a passport to even board the ship because of a stop in Costa Rica we received no less than 3 warnings/reminders from HAL about the requirement. Our TA got 2 of them and we even got 1 directly to our email from HAL.

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They got email 4 days before they left for cruise that they needed Visas and they filed paperwork online right away and apparently Brazilian embassy did not clear them in time for cruise.

I don't know where your parents live, but here in the USA there is a multi-step process involved, the online paperwork is just the beginning. Different consulates have different rules. For applicants in my part of the USA, passports, USPS money order, and hard copy paperwork must be turned in to the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago. Processing time is 10 days, or 15 days for mailed applications, and expedited service is not offered.

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They got email 4 days before they left for cruise that they needed Visas

Curious....what was the source of this email notice?

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this has made me nervous now as we are cruising from LA to Chile next year (Celebrity) then planning on flying to Rio for a few nights before returning to UK. guess I need to do a bit of visa research.

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