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How About a Cruise With No Ports for Safety

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Interesting. The laws maybe as he sees written but the interpretation of them is as current cruise lines use them. If they were not pertaining to their business they would not use them. It is indisputable that almost all ships are registered in foreign ports so the Jones Act is applicable as they are not considered US ships. Why else would they have to cancel the Alaska cruise because of the closure of Victoria? The cruise lines themselves quoted the Jones Act!

 

Anyway enough said. I was willing to concede that we were both right but I guess he/she is not.

Change of subject.  How is everyone doing today!!!

Edited by gmjc2

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6 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Actually, the cruises to nowhere were a form of "filler" for when cruise itineraries required a difficult number of days to complete, which would have made embarkation day a different day each cruise.  Now, they generally set itineraries that need it to be alternating lengths, such as 8 day week one, and 6 day week two.

I'm glad you responded to the cruises to nowhere issue.  I'd like your opinion on why cruises to nowhere are not allowed.  I was looking up something else and found an interesting DHS document (September 2019) that states that "voyages to nowhere" are an exception to PVSA.  On pp 15 &16 it states "Exceptions to the PVSA 
 The PVSA does not apply to: 
 
• American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
 
• The transportation of passengers between a port in Puerto Rico and another port in the United States.   Note: This exception does not apply to the transportation of passengers between ports in Puerto Rico.36  Such a transportation would be a violation of the PVSA. 

 ( I have omitted irrelevant information here)  ... 

 

• “Voyages to Nowhere” o Transportation of passengers by a non-coastwise-qualified vessel from a U.S. point to the high seas (i.e. beyond the threemile territorial sea) or foreign waters and back to the same point from which the passengers embarked, assuming the passengers do not go ashore, even temporarily, at another U.S. point."

 

You can access the full document here:  https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2019-Sep/PVSA-ICP.pdf  (pp 15&16)

 

I know if the lawyers for the cruise lines don't contest the ban on cruises to nowhere there must be a good reason but how does this 2019 information from DHS/CBP square with the 2016 decision from CBP that cruises to nowhere violated the PVSA?

 

I am hoping you may have some insight as to explaining the discrepancy.  Thanks in advance.
 

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3 minutes ago, Charles4515 said:

 

He is a merchant mariner and probably has the Jones Act and PVSA memorized. His main reason to be on these boards seems to be defend those laws. He would have everyone believe they cannot or should not be changed. I don’t agree with him on that but he knows the laws.

 

 

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This is actually a pretty complex international issue, not just a USA issue.  There is a long history of cabotage laws around the world.  I do not know how far back one can trace these laws but suspect we are talking hundreds or perhaps over 1000 years.   Countries imposed these kind of laws/restrictions to protect their own trade and economy.  More recently it has been seen as a means to protect certain labor interests and I guess there have been some feeble attempts to expand these laws to protect certain shipbuilding interests.   Should cabotage laws be changed?  There have actually been many changes over the years, especially in the airline industry.  When it comes to the cruise industry there are many of us who would love to see some changes but it is not a major issue in the Washington DC political world.   I think history shows that there has never been any strong lobby effort to make major changes to the PVSA.   I do think that if Canada insists on keeping its Western ports closed for any length of time it might spur a lobby effort (on the part of the cruise lines and Alaskan tourist industry) to make changes in order to benefit the Alaskan cruise market.  But it is more likely that Canada will soon lift its port restrictions since they do have a major investment to protect in its Vancouver port facility.  

 

Trying to pin some blame (or guilt) onto ChengKP is truly shooting the messenger.  It is not a matter of defending or criticizing but rather just educating we neophytes :).  To quote an old TV show, "just the facts ,,,,,,,"

 

Hank
P.S.  Speaking of lobby groups folks might want to consider that there are many in Congress and the government who are quite angry at the cruise industry because of what they saw as deception regarding COVID-19.  Like many things in Washington, perception is more important then facts.  But nobody in Washington is in the mood to defend the cruise industry.

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Anyway enough said. I was willing to concede that we were both right but I guess he/she is not.
Change of subject.  How is everyone doing today!!!


If you read his posts he will never concede anything.

Confusion over Jones Act and PVSA is understandable. They are complicated laws. Changing them would be complicated. While I think there should be changes and could be changes any changes have to be well thought out. It is not as simple as cruise fans wanting to go on cruises to nowhere or go between US ports.


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27 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

I am hoping you may have some insight as to explaining the discrepancy.  Thanks in advance.

Cruises to no where are still legal under the PVSA.  While cruise lines were only using these occasionally as filler cruises, CBP was fine with them, and the cruises to nowhere were allowed starting a couple of decades ago.  What changed things is that a casino resort in the Bahamas started running a ferry operation between Miami and the resort (not a PVSA problem, ending or starting in foreign country).  Then, the resort wanted to utilize the boats more often than the once or twice a week for the runs to the resort, and started making casino cruises to nowhere on a weekly basis.  At one point, CBP asked the Captain for the passenger manifest, and he stated that they didn't need a passenger manifest since it did not visit a foreign port.  So, CBP, being CBP, looked into the matter, and decided that since the foreign crew on the boats were essentially working full time in the US (since the owner said they never left the US, remember?), and therefore, while the cruise to nowhere was legal under the PVSA, crew working on foreign flag cruises to nowhere would require a B1 work visa, not merely the C1/D1 crew visa that is essentially given away to any crew member with a valid merchant mariner document from any country.  The cost of obtaining work visas for the entire crew was just too much for the occasional cruise to nowhere for the cruise lines, so they have stopped doing them.  They are still quite legal, it is just a visa requirement that stops them. 

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42 minutes ago, gmjc2 said:

Interesting. The laws maybe as he sees written but the interpretation of them is as current cruise lines use them. If they were not pertaining to their business they would not use them. It is indisputable that almost all ships are registered in foreign ports so the Jones Act is applicable as they are not considered US ships. Why else would they have to cancel the Alaska cruise because of the closure of Victoria? The cruise lines themselves quoted the Jones Act!

 

Anyway enough said. I was willing to concede that we were both right but I guess he/she is not.

Change of subject.  How is everyone doing today!!!

They cancelled the cruise to Alaska because of the PVSA, not the Jones Act.  As I said before, the PVSA was enacted in 1886, and when the Jones Act was passed in 1920, it was added to the USC in the same sections as the PVSA, but the Jones Act deals strictly with cargo, despite what the cruise lines customer service reps read off a cue card.

 

See the link provided in post #104 above to see the history and applicability of the PVSA, and since you doubt me, maybe you won't doubt the CBP, who are mandated to enforce it.

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38 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

This is actually a pretty complex international issue, not just a USA issue.  There is a long history of cabotage laws around the world.  I do not know how far back one can trace these laws but suspect we are talking hundreds or perhaps over 1000 years. 

There have been the rudiments of cabotage laws dating back in the UK to the reign of Richard the Lionhearted (the 1300's).

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I would totally go for a cruise with no ports.  I love sea days!  Ports are great too, but sometimes a port intensive cruise can leave you with the need for a vacation after you return from your cruise "vacation."  I need the downtime and total leisure of sea days to recharge.

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3 hours ago, Charles4515 said:

  

He is a merchant mariner and probably has the Jones Act and PVSA memorized. He has a special interest in maintaining the unions control of mariner hiring. His main reason to be on these boards seems to be defend those laws. He would have everyone believe they cannot or should not be changed. I don’t agree with him on that but he does know the laws.

 

 

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I believe chengkp75 is on these boards to provide factual information about cruising based on his many years of experience., many of which were while working for cruise line(s).

 

I appreciate his knowledge and his willingness to share it.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Charles4515 said:

He has a special interest in maintaining the unions control of mariner hiring

This is particularly funny.  If you ever talked with anyone I've sailed with, you'd know that I could care less about the union, and consider it to be an organization that extorts a fee from me to be able to sail.  I've worked both union and non-union jobs, and none of the unions has ever done anything for me that I ever got from the non-union jobs.  I'd say that you were the one with the agenda.  The main reason that I am a union member is because the longshoremen's union will not work a ship that is not unionized.

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I loved cruising before a March.  I was on a cruise in March that got caught in the do not sail order. It stopped briefly at 2 ports. after March 13th do not sail order, it became a cruise to nowhere.  It was not a relaxing cruise. We were anxious about getting sick. I go on vacation to relax and have fun. That a March cruise was not fun. I am home waiting for a vaccine.  Stay safe, be patient, and with luck we will survive.

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5 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Trying to pin some blame (or guilt) onto ChengKP is truly shooting the messenger.  It is not a matter of defending or criticizing but rather just educating we neophytes :).  To quote an old TV show, "just the facts ,,,,,,,"

 

Hank
P.S.  Speaking of lobby groups folks might want to consider that there are many in Congress and the government who are quite angry at the cruise industry because of what they saw as deception regarding COVID-19.  Like many things in Washington, perception is more important then facts.  But nobody in Washington is in the mood to defend the cruise industry.

 

Excellent statements that I fully support!

 

If ever an opportunity existed to change whatever laws/regulations/traditions/whatever to allow more flexible cruising opportunities from United States ports, now is the time.  The impact on our economy for those cities/states/provinces and their citizens that have hosted cruise guests would be considerable on the plus side.  

 

"But nobody in Washington is in the mood to defend the cruise industry."  Their interests are much more parochial than this.  

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Excellent statements that I fully support!
 
If ever an opportunity existed to change whatever laws/regulations/traditions/whatever to allow more flexible cruising opportunities from United States ports, now is the time.  The impact on our economy for those cities/states/provinces and their citizens that have hosted cruise guests would be considerable on the plus side.  
 
"But nobody in Washington is in the mood to defend the cruise industry."  Their interests are much more parochial than this.  


Maybe it is time for the cruise industry to change it’s flag of convenience, tax avoidance avoiding US regulation and paying crew low wages for long hours model. Why should the cruise industry get flexibility without making changes?




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1 hour ago, Charles4515 said:

 


Maybe it is time for the cruise industry to change it’s flag of convenience, tax avoidance avoiding US regulation and paying crew low wages for long hours model. Why should the cruise industry get flexibility without making changes?




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Excellent, make them all US flag, which is what you are saying, and what you accuse me of "always wanting" to protect.

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1 hour ago, Charles4515 said:

Maybe it is time for the cruise industry to change it’s flag of convenience, tax avoidance avoiding US regulation and paying crew low wages for long hours model. Why should the cruise industry get flexibility without making changes?

 

Because there are a lot of American jobs on the line too.  Keeping the cruise lines locked down will cause any number of small/medium size businesses geared to supporting the cruise industry to go out of business laying off thousands of American workers.  Continuing the lockdown and causing cruise lines to file for bankruptcy will end up shutting down even more businesses & banks causing even more jobs.  Local governments that get tax money from those laid off workers will be hurt as well as those localities that make a lot of money from taxes and fees from the docking ships.  My point is that not helping the cruise industry will be cutting off our nose to spite our face.  The forced demise of the cruise industry will  cause substantia ripple effects across our economy.

 

To support what I'm saying is to take a look at the consequences of shutting down the air passenger industry (which wasn't shut down but drastically reduced.)  Very few passengers means no one is renting cars at the airports.  Hertz files for bankruptcy along with its subsidiary companies, Dollar and Thrifty.  Just Hertz alone would be shutting down more than 10,000 locations.  They will sell off the vehicles in their fleets, causing the used car/new car market to tank.  Large contracts with the automakers will be cancelled causing financial problems in the auto industry.

 

This is why I believe the US Government cannot continue a punitive attitude against the cruise industry.  Changes and flexibility wouldn't need to be permanent, just give the industry a temporary leg up to help an industry to recover.

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Because there are a lot of American jobs on the line too.  Keeping the cruise lines locked down will cause any number of small/medium size businesses geared to supporting the cruise industry to go out of business laying off thousands of American workers.  Continuing the lockdown and causing cruise lines to file for bankruptcy will end up shutting down even more businesses & banks causing even more jobs.  Local governments that get tax money from those laid off workers will be hurt as well as those localities that make a lot of money from taxes and fees from the docking ships.  My point is that not helping the cruise industry will be cutting off our nose to spite our face.  The forced demise of the cruise industry will  cause substantia ripple effects across our economy.
 
To support what I'm saying is to take a look at the consequences of shutting down the air passenger industry (which wasn't shut down but drastically reduced.)  Very few passengers means no one is renting cars at the airports.  Hertz files for bankruptcy along with its subsidiary companies, Dollar and Thrifty.  Just Hertz alone would be shutting down more than 10,000 locations.  They will sell off the vehicles in their fleets, causing the used car/new car market to tank.  Large contracts with the automakers will be cancelled causing financial problems in the auto industry.
 
This is why I believe the US Government cannot continue a punitive attitude against the cruise industry.  Changes and flexibility wouldn't need to be permanent, just give the industry a temporary leg up to help an industry to recover.


Changing the PVSA is not going to save the cruise industry from bankruptcy or save American jobs. Consumers are not going to flock to book cruises to nowhere.

I read several sources of cruise industry news and all their financial reports. If changes to the act would help the industry why hasn’t the cruise industry asked for changes? I have not seen anything about the cruise industry asking for changes. It is only a few desperate cruise fans who raise changing the act. If the cruise industry is not asking to change the act why would you expect the US government to consider changes.



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1 hour ago, Charles4515 said:

 


Maybe it is time for the cruise industry to change it’s flag of convenience, tax avoidance avoiding US regulation and paying crew low wages for long hours model. Why should the cruise industry get flexibility without making changes?




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It would be interesting to see how many folks would be willing to pay significantly higher prices for cruises because the ships are American flagged.  There are many reasons (not only taxes) why very few ships are US flagged.   I believe that American Hawaii Cruises had American flagged ships and that line went bankrupt. 

 

I am not 100% sure, but believe that American flagged ships would have to have mostly American crew and the ship would need to be built in the USA.  The last time I looked there is not a single US shipyard currently capable of constructing a modern cruise ship.   Of course a company could construct the facilities to build modern cruise ships but one wonders about the cost.  And using a US crew and complying with all US labor laws would further add to the cost.  

 

Hank

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For me one sea day is fine, two less fine, and then it rapidly goes downhill from there.

 

The easiest and simplest test for when it will be safe to cruise again is when insurance companies start offering coverage for covid-19 related issues in their policies. Until then cruising will be limited to the self-insured and/or thrill seekers.

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15 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

It would be interesting to see how many folks would be willing to pay significantly higher prices for cruises because the ships are American flagged.  There are many reasons (not only taxes) why very few ships are US flagged.   I believe that American Hawaii Cruises had American flagged ships and that line went bankrupt. 

 

I am not 100% sure, but believe that American flagged ships would have to have mostly American crew and the ship would need to be built in the USA.  The last time I looked there is not a single US shipyard currently capable of constructing a modern cruise ship.   Of course a company could construct the facilities to build modern cruise ships but one wonders about the cost.  And using a US crew and complying with all US labor laws would further add to the cost.  

 

Hank

 

You can read plenty of reviews of people who have cruised on the  NCL Pride of America which sails only in Hawaiian waters, has an American crew, high cruise fares and no casino.  Many people did not really enjoy the experience of the ship reading through sample reviews.

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I am not 100% sure, but believe that American flagged ships would have to have mostly American crew and the ship would need to be built in the USA.  The last time I looked there is not a single US shipyard currently capable of constructing a modern cruise ship.   Of course a company could construct the facilities to build modern cruise ships but one wonders about the cost.  And using a US crew and complying with all US labor laws would further add to the cost.  
 
Hank


American workers could build cruise ships and the US government should support that in the future to create jobs but right now constructing new cruise ships is probably unnecessary. That is what I would change in the PVSA. Allow US flagged cruise lines to use the already foreign built cruise ships. Would using US crew add to the costs.......probably it would mean the cruise bosses won’t receive 18 million dollar bonuses. One of the bosses, Fain, said they only need 33 per cent capacity so don’t assume that cruise fares would go up.




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13 hours ago, gmjc2 said:

Another factual paragraph pertaining to this subject.

 

"The Jones Act (also known as the Passenger Services Act) prohibits ships of Non-U.S registry from embarking and debarking guests at two different U.S ports. Such travel would constitute point-to-point transportation between two U.S ports, which is prohibited on foreign flagged ships."

 

Not actually a "factual" paragraph as it's totally wrong. Arguing this is mind boggling.

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3 hours ago, Charles4515 said:

 


American workers could build cruise ships and the US government should support that in the future to create jobs but right now constructing new cruise ships is probably unnecessary. That is what I would change in the PVSA. Allow US flagged cruise lines to use the already foreign built cruise ships. Would using US crew add to the costs.......probably it would mean the cruise bosses won’t receive 18 million dollar bonuses. One of the bosses, Fain, said they only need 33 per cent capacity so don’t assume that cruise fares would go up.




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Insane.  If you had to pay cruise employees US wages and no overtime only the rich could sail

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I did a TransAtlantic cruise from Barcelona to Florida and it was essentially a cruise to no where. I enjoyed  all the seas days. If I knew everyone was tested for Covid then I'd be willing to board.

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10 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I am not 100% sure, but believe that American flagged ships would have to have mostly American crew and the ship would need to be built in the USA.  The last time I looked there is not a single US shipyard currently capable of constructing a modern cruise ship.   Of course a company could construct the facilities to build modern cruise ships but one wonders about the cost.  And using a US crew and complying with all US labor laws would further add to the cost.  

The Maritime Administration has done studies over the years, and have shown that it costs 3.7 times to operate a US flag cargo ship over a foreign flag one.  And the major difference is crew cost, which would be over 5 times the foreign flag ship.  That is for a crew of about 20-30, expand that to the hundreds on cruise ships.

9 hours ago, Charles4515 said:

American workers could build cruise ships and the US government should support that in the future to create jobs but right now constructing new cruise ships is probably unnecessary. That is what I would change in the PVSA. Allow US flagged cruise lines to use the already foreign built cruise ships. Would using US crew add to the costs.......probably it would mean the cruise bosses won’t receive 18 million dollar bonuses. One of the bosses, Fain, said they only need 33 per cent capacity so don’t assume that cruise fares would go up.

If US shipyards could build cruise ships economically, they would.  Why do you think that the only cargo ships built in the US are Jones Act ships?  Because in the international market, the US shipyards are at least 3 times as expensive as foreign shipyards, so unless you are proposing to re-institute the construction subsidies where the US government pays the difference in cost between foreign built and US built, no one is going to build a cruise ship in the US.  And this is even taking into account that even Jones Act ships built in the US typically only have the hull steel fabricated in the US, and the remainder of the ship is fabricated overseas and shipped to the US shipyard for assembly.  Today, many US flag ship owners will still go to foreign shipyards for repairs, even though after paying the shipyard's bill, the shipowner has to pay the US government 50% of the shipyard's bill as Customs duty.  See comments above regarding the cost of operating a US flag ship vs a foreign flag ship.  And, that MarAd study does not, to my knowledge include the customs duty that a foreign built ship would incur with bringing spare parts to the ship.  Currently, foreign flag ships bring their parts from Europe and Asia to the ship in the US "in transit", meaning they pay no customs duty on those parts, but if US flag, they would.

 

Gee, for someone who you claim devoutly defends the Jones Act and PVSA, I sure do make a lot of arguments as to why it isn't economically viable outside of domestic trade, don't I?

 

And, as far as the 33% capacity talk is concerned, that is a bit out of context and not entirely stated correctly.  What was said was that the ships could "kind of" break even at 30-35% on an EBITDA basis.  EBITDA means "earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amotization", so they are saying that the ship would break even on operating costs, but before paying all of the "overhead" expenses that the ship has for the corporation, like corporate taxes and the amortization of the financing on the ship, and any corporate borrowing interest.  Kind of like saying, "we can afford this house if we pay the utilities, but not the mortgage".

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Gee, for someone who you claim devoutly defends the Jones Act and PVSA, I sure do make a lot of arguments as to why it isn't economically viable outside of domestic trade, don't I?
 


It isn’t viable in the old reality. You assume there won’t ever be changes in our economic system. However as I have said I don’t think changing the PSVA is on the agenda now. I also don’t think changing the PSVA to allow cruises to nowhere is going to revive the cruise industry.



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