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mc_reeve

Millennium Asia Sailing Boarding Question

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Has anyone on a recent Millennium cruise with a stop in Shanghai been denied boarding because they did not have a visa for China?  

 

I know there is a lot of controversy about the need for a visa or not - but there are stories all over the place recently and even people with visas have been denied entry into China.  And there are plenty of posts about a recent Millennium sailing with unhappy passengers about the stop in Shanghai.  We are not cruising until late 2020 and plan to take an X sponsored tour just to be safe - but getting a Chinese visa for us would be a lot of cost and hassle traveling to a Chinese Consulate and we frankly do not care if it all blows up and we spend two days on board the ship in Shanghai and spend our money touring at the other ports.  We just don't want to be denied boarding in Tokyo.

 

I plan to ask my X TA via email tomorrow - but trust answers here.

 

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We were just on the millennium sailing 14 days out of Shanghai to Tokyo in October. A Chinese visa was required. Due to the itinerary going from Shanghai (China) to Seoul South Korea and then going back to Beijing China they emailed us right before the cruise that we had to have it. 
 

I’d say just get it and be safe. You really don’t want to travel that far and not be able to get onboard. 
 

marilyn. 

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We were on the Tokyo to Hong Kong Millennium cruise that departed 23 November 2019. There were lots of issues leading up to the cruise about visas. In the end some passengers without visas were denied entry in Shanghai and had to stay on board. Most were told the news less than 24 hours before arrival after Chinese officials had been on the ship. 

 

Technically  most passengers were eligible for the transit visa waiver anyway because of our itinerary.  However, Celebrity sent out multiple emails advising / warning passengers to get a visa. We decided to do as advised, got the visas and had no problem. 
 

In Australia,  you can apply for a visa by mail. I’m not sure if this applies in other countries, but it certainly makes it easier than traveling to an embassy or consulate. Just leave plenty of time for the processing.
 

Shanghai was a fascinating place to visit  by the way. 

 

 

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We were also on the 11/23 sailing and eventually decided to get a visa due to the uncertainty of the situation.

Our observations were:

There was no problem boarding in Japan without a visa.

People who booked a Celebrity tour for Shanghai were not required to have a visa.

If you booked a private tour, a visa was required.

 

I agree that Shanghai is a fascinating and you should plan to visit.

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Excellent summary bubbachief.
 

It also appeared that Celebrity had anticipated some passengers would ignore the warnings of not being allowed to board without a visa. 
 

At the Yokohama port there were separate lines to process embarking passengers - one for those with a visa and another for those without. I didn’t see anyone being denied boarding rights. I did hear that of the 30 people who had booked with our Shanghai tour company, 16 were refused entry by Chinese officials. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Boatharbour said:

Excellent summary bubbachief.
 

It also appeared that Celebrity had anticipated some passengers would ignore the warnings of not being allowed to board without a visa. 
 

At the Yokohama port there were separate lines to process embarking passengers - one for those with a visa and another for those without. I didn’t see anyone being denied boarding rights. I did hear that of the 30 people who had booked with our Shanghai tour company, 16 were refused entry by Chinese officials. 

 

After reading quite a few threads, it appears that the Chinese officials can refuse entry whatever the circumstances - no guarantees. I’m sure I’ve also read that X had prevented pax debarking on one itinerary even though visas were not required under the 144hr visa exemption policy. 

https://shanghai.nia.gov.cn/showpage.aspx?ID=5584

Edited by villauk

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We were onboard the Nov. 23rd sailing and it was Celebrity that would not allow us off the ship to go on our private tour. They didn't have the procedures to process passengers who wished to use the 144 hr visa free transit policy. Total mess as they gave incorrect information when asked why? Said it was only for passengers who were transiting to depart through an airport, which was total baloney. Our tour operator had asked for itinerary (Japan, Shanghai, Kora) and country where were from (Canada) and assured us we should be good. It had nothing to do with government authorities as we didn't even get a chance to present our passport to Chinese immigration. We had to book a shore excursion with Celebrity under the 15 day Visa-free policy for Cruise Tour groups (an alternate option). Celebrity apologized later and gave us future booking credit but still unclear what the deal with denying us from leaving ship.

 

Summary: You don't need a Chinese Visa (save your money). Either book a tour with Celebrity or book one through a registered travel agency (Celebrity would honor that one but for whatever reason would not honor the 144 hour policy). More info here...15 day visa free Shanghai

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, gslvanbc said:

Our tour operator had asked for itinerary (Japan, Shanghai, Kora) and country where were from (Canada) and assured us we should be good.

 

I think the autocorrect got you there, it was Jeju, South Korea after Shanghai I think? ...which qualifies as a 3rd country under the 144hr rule.

 

For the OP though if their cruise stops at a Japanese port before and after Shanghai, they would not qualify for the 144 hour rule...

Edited by Mark_T

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, gslvanbc said:

We were onboard the Nov. 23rd sailing and it was Celebrity that would not allow us off the ship to go on our private tour. They didn't have the procedures to process passengers who wished to use the 144 hr visa free transit policy. Total mess as they gave incorrect information when asked why? Said it was only for passengers who were transiting to depart through an airport, which was total baloney. Our tour operator had asked for itinerary (Japan, Shanghai, Kora) and country where were from (Canada) and assured us we should be good. It had nothing to do with government authorities as we didn't even get a chance to present our passport to Chinese immigration. We had to book a shore excursion with Celebrity under the 15 day Visa-free policy for Cruise Tour groups (an alternate option). Celebrity apologized later and gave us future booking credit but still unclear what the deal with denying us from leaving ship.

 

Summary: You don't need a Chinese Visa (save your money). Either book a tour with Celebrity or book one through a registered travel agency (Celebrity would honor that one but for whatever reason would not honor the 144 hour policy). More info here...15 day visa free Shanghai

Same cruise, but all of our passports were collected (and kept) by Celebrity before leaving Japan. I believe Chinese immigration  officials came on board at that point and assessed everyone’s “eligibility” to enter Shanghai. The decision was made as we sailed to Shanghai, not after we arrived. The photocopy of the visa that we  provided when we boarded in Tokyo, was returned to us -  stamped by Chinese officials the night before we docked in Shanghai. 
 

The tour company we used was registered and they were as flabbergasted as the rest of  us at what transpired.

As you can probably tell by now,  the way the visa issue was handled was a mess. No, you technically don’t need a visa, but it’s a long way to go to find out you may  not be allowed to leave the boat - and there’s no guarantee that even if you have a visa, you’ ll be allowed off. 

 

Edited by Boatharbour

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Thanks everyone.  We had a similar but not the same experience in St Petersburg a few years ago.  Putin was not happy with Obama/US and we sat in line for hours as the Russians looked over every passenger and every passport like they were told someone hid a $100 in one of them.  Most of us missed half a day and got to the Hermitage hours after it opened - and of course it was full of other tour groups by then.  Our independent tour group guide would not say much but we could tell they were pretty exasperated with what happened.  I suspect with the current political climate the Chinese are doing the same. 

 

It is a long way to go to have to stay on-board but it is also a long way to drive to Atlanta - then stay several days to complete a visa process.  Between the traffic and politics I would not be comfortable doing Shanghai on our own so we will do a tour - even though I know at least 2 hours of it will be in some idiotic silk shop.  I was in Beijing some years ago for a meeting with a day-tour as part of the package.  We were headed to the Great Wall in the morning and first stopped at a "pearl jewelry shop."  We Americans were too worried about being "ugly Americans" to say much but thank goodness the Malaysians on the tour were not worried about that - they ripped the tour guide a new one and we got out of there in less than 30 minutes!  

 

  

 

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