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racnwdow

Customs and different ports

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How does it work when we go to different countries on a cruise?  Do we have to go through customs?  Does Global Entry work/help in countries out of the US?  We will be sailing out of Rome.  Visiting several other Italy ports, Cypress, Israel and Greece?  We are US citizens?

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No customs until you return home.  Global Entry only works coming into the US.  Within much of Europe, you are in the Schengen area, which for member countries is like gong from state to state.  If you leave the Schengen area, such as when you visit Israel, it is an immigration thing, but you will be considered in transit.  EM

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The cruise line essentially pre-clears you by submitting passenger list and meeting whatever local requirements might exist.  We have hit ports in Greece, Italy, Turkey, France, Spain and Portugal in the Med - and always just walked off - usually just carrying ship’s card and photo ID ( which is sometimes required to re-enter port building). 

 

Global Entry does not play a part, but the card could serve as your photo ID.

 

Never saw any signs of customs - but I imagine if you were carri g a large suitcase (for what is obviously meant to be just a day in port) you might be asked about it.

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The only port where we had to go through Immigration was in Russia.  They are very strict in terms of Russian visas and checking passports.  Some cruise lines will take, and keep, your passport for the duration of the cruise, which helps in clearing the ship in various ports, but for a cruise that stops in Russia, you are required to take your passport with you when going off the ship.  The St Petersburg Immigration officers were the most stern I've ever encountered.  Even the Vietnamese officials were a lot nicer.

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Essiesmom had it right, you are considered 'in transit' passengers.  Don't be surprised if the ship takes/keeps your passports to show to various authorities along the way.  This is normal and your documents will be returned when and where you may need them.

 

Visiting Israel may be another matter.  Super security concious.  The ship will have detailed instructions to ease you along the way.

 

Being American citizens means little other than 'no visas' for many countries.  Be sure to verify this for every port/country long before you leave.  Many tourists do their best to NOT look like tourists or Americans.

 

Being tourists means that you can expect to haggle over prices, that the merchant will always prevail and unless you have local currency (or maybe a credit card) you will pay an inflated exchange rate.

Edited by thinfool

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2 hours ago, racnwdow said:

How does it work when we go to different countries on a cruise?  Do we have to go through customs?  Does Global Entry work/help in countries out of the US?  We will be sailing out of Rome.  Visiting several other Italy ports, Cypress, Israel and Greece?  We are US citizens?

I think you are confusing Customs with Immigration control. Customs deals with material goods being brought into a country. This is generally not an issue with cruises. Your concern would be with Immigration; but on most Med cruises the ship takes care of entry and exit  for you. Depending on the cruise line, they may hold your passport for the duration of the cruise to speed the process. If there is an exception where you have to present yourself and your passport/visa for inspection, the ship will let you know.

 

Global Entry is only of use in the US.

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20 minutes ago, kitty9 said:

The only port where we had to go through Immigration was in Russia.  They are very strict in terms of Russian visas and checking passports.  Some cruise lines will take, and keep, your passport for the duration of the cruise, which helps in clearing the ship in various ports, but for a cruise that stops in Russia, you are required to take your passport with you when going off the ship.  The St Petersburg Immigration officers were the most stern I've ever encountered.  Even the Vietnamese officials were a lot nicer.

 I read here that if you're on a cruise you don't need a visa for Russia.  ???

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15 minutes ago, clo said:

 I read here that if you're on a cruise you don't need a visa for Russia.  ???

 

I believe that only applies if you are taking a tour as the tour company handles the visa.  Otherwise you do need a visa.

 

This from the State Dept Russian Embassy -

 

"To enter Russia for any purpose, a U.S. citizen must possess a valid U.S. passport and a bona fide visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate.  It is impossible to obtain an entry visa upon arrival, so travelers must apply for their visas well in advance.  U.S. citizens who apply for Russian visas in third countries where they do not have permission to stay more than 90 days may face considerable delays in visa processing.  Travelers who arrive in Russia without an entry visa will not be permitted to enter the country, and face immediate return to the point of embarkation at their own expense.

A Russian entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day/month/year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year).  The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia.  A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates and cannot be extended after the traveler has arrived in the country, except in the case of a medical emergency.

Russian tourist visas are often granted only for the specific dates mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the sponsor.  U.S. citizens sometimes receive visas valid for periods as short as four days.  Even if the visa is misdated through error of a Russian Embassy or Consulate, the traveler will still not be allowed into Russia before the visa start date or be allowed to leave after the visa expiration date.  Any mistakes in visa dates must be corrected before the traveler enters Russia.  It is helpful to have someone who reads Russian check the visa before departing the United States.  Travelers should ensure that their visas reflect intended activities in Russia (e.g., tourism, study, business, etc.)."

 

https://ru.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/russian-visas/

 

DON

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26 minutes ago, clo said:

 I read here that if you're on a cruise you don't need a visa for Russia.  ???

If you are doing a ship's tour or a tour with a licensed Russian guide  then no VISA  required

otherwise  your will

River cruises in Russia are the exception you will need  a VISA

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30 minutes ago, clo said:

 I read here that if you're on a cruise you don't need a visa for Russia.  ???

 

On an ocean cruise that goes to a Russian port, you have to book a tour with the ship or a licensed tour company. The excursion voucher acts as visa. On a river cruise, you need to apply for  a visa.

Edited by Floridiana

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2 hours ago, clo said:

 I read here that if you're on a cruise you don't need a visa for Russia.  ???

The exception for needing a visa in Russia is only for stays in St. Petersburgh for 72 hours or less and you use either a ship's tour or tour with a licensed Russian agency. Basically you then go on the tour groups group visa.

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The issue here is NOT Customs, which is about your property entering another country, and is usually very easily, particularly in Europe. The issue is Immigration,  or Passport Check, and can be far more complicated,  when you consider Visa or other requirements. 

 

There is a significant difference between Immigration and Customs.

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For most countries, visas are not needed and passports not checked for cruise ship passengers.

 

The cruise line forwards the passenger list and the document info (passport info) to the country.  And since the ship can tell the country that you did not return to the ship (thus illegally entering the country), the country can flag you to prevent easy exit from the country.

 

Plus, for much of Europe, there is the Schengen agreement, which allows free transfer between Schengen countries without immigration controls.  This is NOT based on the EU.  There are non-EU countries that are Schengen (Switzerland for one), and EU countries that are not Schengen, such as UK (at least for now), Romania. and Bulgaria.

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