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cvanhorn

Passenger Vessel Services Act summary to date

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As the original pvs* thread has been locked and our new thread addressing that has been deleted I am starting this one. :)

 

Summary originally posted by DAGVBSB & edited by myself:

 

Here is the whole thing in a nutshell....

 

1.) The PVSA is the Federal Law (sometimes confused and called the "Jones Act") which prohibits foreign flagged cruise ships from transporting passengers between U.S. ports without a foreign port stop. (hence Seattle roundtrip cruises to Alaska must stop in a Canadian port like Victoria. It is illegal for an all US port cruise by a foreign ship.

 

2.) C&BP is the Customs and Border Patrol Office of the Department of Homeland Security. They are responsible for enforcement of the PVSA.

 

3.) Most cruise ships are foreign flagged. In fact, there is only one large American flag cruise ship still in operation... The "Pride of America" (POAm) operated by NCLA (Norweigan Cruise Lines America, a subsidiary of NCL.) There were two other American flagged ships, the Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii, but those have been reflagged international (as the Norweigan Sky & Norweigan Jade) and are doing international sailings for NCL. All three ships had been doing interisland Hawaii only cruises. NCL blames the pulling of the POA and POH on competition from other cruise lines in violation of the PVSA.

 

4.) The other cruise lines (HAL, Princess, RCCL, Celebrity plus others) do a California to Hawaii cruise. While the NCLA cruises were 7 days, the cruises on the other lines are generally 12-16 days due to a stop in Mexico and the sea crossing to Hawaii. The stop in Mexico, usually at Ensenada, must be made in order to meet the requirements of the PVSA.

 

5.) Here is where the issue started... some of the other lines were making the stop in Ensenada in the middle of the night for a period of as little as an hour and not allowing passengers to go ashore. It was basically just a stop to meet the PVSA requirements. Yes, it was wrong, but most cruise lines (including NCL) do the same thing on Alaska cruises with the Canadian stops.

 

6.) NCL has been losing money with NCLA and the Pride ships and placed the blame on the small number of foreign flagged ships sailing to Hawaii. NCL got their government contact, Senator Daniel Innoye (D-Hawaii) to petition the C&BP to strengthen the PVSA to the point where the foreign ships could not compete and would no longer do the Hawaii run, thus leaving NCLA a monopoly in Hawaii.

Some other facts to know: Senator Innoye's late wife was Godmother of the POAm and Senator Innoye himself is Godfather of the Pride of Hawaii/Jade. Sen. Innoye was instrumental in getting NCLA launched and cutting through government red tape and getting NCL exemptions to the PVSA in 2003 in order to start NCL.

 

7.) Back in November, C&BP issued proposed changes to the PVSA. These included: 1.) the stop in a foreign port must be 48 hours in length

2.) Passengers must be allowed to disembark

3.) Foreign port calls on cruises between US ports must make up 50% of the total port time.

 

8.) Obviously those rules would make the California to Hawaii run impossible for the cruise lines. What NCL, Innoye and C&BP failed to realize was the wide reaching effects these changes would have on the entire US cruise industry. NCL maintains that these rules were only meant for Hawaii but many believe that under the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, (and some early statements by the C&BP), these rules MUST be enforced for all US port cruises. As a result, the Seattle-Alaska roundtrip cruises, the Canada-New England cruises and some Florida-Key West Cruises would all also fall under these rules and be forced to drastically change intineraries.

 

9.) C&BP had a comment period of 30 days in the month of December. Many people asked them to extend the time for comments and they refused and stated that they would be making a decision very early in 2008.

 

10.) The comments poured in.... the vast majority against the changes. The comments in favor of the changes came from Senator Innoye, Congressman Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), NCL and the Seafarers Union. Comments against the proposal came from the Governors of California & Hawaii, Senators and Representatives of California, Washington, Alaska, Florida, Maine and Connecticut, Mayors of San Diego, San Francisco and LA the Alaska tourism officials and many Alaska tour operators, Chambers of Commerce in Hawaii, Alaska and New England, travel agencies, port operators in California and Hawaii and almost the entire Hawaiian tourism community. (yes, the Hawaii Congressional delegation is in favor of the proposal while the people of Hawaii are massively against it!)

 

11.) After the comment period closed, the said that they were going to study the comments and issue a decision within a month. In the meantime, NCL pulled their second ship, POA, out of Hawaii.

 

12.) The decision was due in early February and we are still here waiting. Stories have leaked that they are looking at making changes to the proposed changes including shortening the port stay and attempting to restrict its implementation to only ports where "large" U.S. flag ship(s) operate (Hawaii).

 

13.) When will the decision be made?? Who knows. The fact that nearly 6 months have gone by in this debacle speaks volumes. Most on here believe that the C&BP is stuck in the middle... they have promised Innoye and NCL the new regulations to save NCLA but at the same time, they see the economic damage that would occur to so many areas if they go through with it.

 

14.) Based on reports that we have been linked to through this thread, many layoffs would occur in the Port and tourism industries of the affected areas. NCL claims that the rules are needed to save the 800 American jobs on the POAm, but other estimates put the potential number of people who would lose their jobs in other industries much higher. It is also believed that the cruise industry simply would move the embarkation points for these cruises from California to Mexico for the Hawaii cruises and to Vancouver for the Alaska cruises thus completely circumventing the PVSA. The cruise lines will still do their Hawaii sailings, only it is the California ports who would lose the business.

 

15.) Apollo Investments bought a $1 billion stake in NCL last August. As part of that agreement, they said that a decision would be made on NCLA within 16 months (end of 2008). NCLA either would be made profitable and continue or they would cease operations and have their assets "liquidated" (word direct from the Apollo/NCL agreement). They even went so far as to say that the POAm would be reflagged into the NCL International fleet.

So there is a chance that NCLA will not exist after 2008 (many of us believe that to be inevitable) but yet these new PVSA regulations could go into effect.

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oops, you're correct. Oh well it is a good summary for those that don't have time to read through 2,000+ posts.

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oops, you're correct. Oh well it is a good summary for those that don't have time to read through 2,000+ posts.
Yes, and thanks for that. I tried to keep up with the first thread and find your summary very useful.

 

It makes me wonder if the current government 'plan' might be to wait for Apollo to take action at the end of 2008 (removing the POAm) and then CBP could quietly table the whole PVSA revision? Time will tell. :)

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oops, you're correct. Oh well it is a good summary for those that don't have time to read through 2,000+ posts.

 

Thank you! I have seen thread titles regarding the PVSA but I really had no idea what it was. Thanks for explaining it!

 

D.

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Thanks for your summary - and for bringing a little sanity to the whole issue.

 

I'd like to add that the reason these Hawaii cruises don't work well isn't because of competition.

 

I spent over 30 years in the travel industry...10 of those years as a Tour Manager/Cruise Host. No U.S. flagged ship has made a success by cruising the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to the most recent ships, there were 2 others, the Independence and the Constitution. Neither of them survived either. All of the Hawaii cruises were terribly expensive and you didn't get any bang for your buck onboard.

 

The reasons are many but the main reason is this: Service onboard suffers by having an all-American crew. An American flagged ship is subject to all Labor Laws and the Fair Labor Act. The type of customer service required on cruiseships is not fitted well to the young Americans who think it would be heaven to work on a cruise ship.

 

Once a young person is hired and realizes that the job requires 20-hour days, complete subservience to the passengers, working hard at many tasks, cleaning toilets, putting up with cranky passengers, limited shore time....they simply walk off the ship and don't return.

 

My son lives on Maui and has for almost 10 years. He owns a cleaning business maintaining rental condo's and homes. He has hired so many young people who have simply left those cruise ships and are trying to make enough money to go home.

 

The other big drawback is the lack of a casino. While the Islands are supposed to be the attraction, seasoned cruisers want activities aboard, a casino to enjoy and a full range of cruise-related things to do. These Hawaii cruises didn't provide those things.

 

On Independence and Constitution, there was really not much to do at all in the evening except play bingo, watch a movie or listen to music in a bar. There were even restrictions on hours for the gift shops.

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Thanks for your summary - and for bringing a little sanity to the whole issue.

 

I'd like to add that the reason these Hawaii cruises don't work well isn't because of competition.

 

I spent over 30 years in the travel industry...10 of those years as a Tour Manager/Cruise Host. No U.S. flagged ship has made a success by cruising the Hawaiian Islands. Prior to the most recent ships' date=' there were 2 others, the Independence and the Constitution. Neither of them survived either. All of the Hawaii cruises were terribly expensive and you didn't get any bang for your buck onboard.

 

The reasons are many but the main reason is this: Service onboard suffers by having an all-American crew. An American flagged ship is subject to all Labor Laws and the Fair Labor Act. The type of customer service required on cruiseships is not fitted well to the young Americans who think it would be heaven to work on a cruise ship.

 

Once a young person is hired and realizes that the job requires 20-hour days, complete subservience to the passengers, working hard at many tasks, cleaning toilets, putting up with cranky passengers, limited shore time....they simply walk off the ship and don't return.

 

My son lives on Maui and has for almost 10 years. He owns a cleaning business maintaining rental condo's and homes. He has hired so many young people who have simply left those cruise ships and are trying to make enough money to go home.

 

The other big drawback is the lack of a casino. While the Islands are supposed to be the attraction, seasoned cruisers want activities aboard, a casino to enjoy and a full range of cruise-related things to do. These Hawaii cruises didn't provide those things.

 

On Independence and Constitution, there was really not much to do at all in the evening except play bingo, watch a movie or listen to music in a bar. There were even restrictions on hours for the gift shops.[/quote']

 

I really don't believe its the American work ethic. I think that is an excuse. Its more to do with no Casino and no duty free shopping. Who wants to be on a ship for 7 days and have no Casino(a big money maker for the ships) and no duty free... Yes its more expensive with an American crew but that too is changing with the Euro being what it is. If it was the American work ethic you couldn't get a decent meal a restaurant or a Vegas Casino...

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it was unlocked for a while but now it only goes to may 16th. it seems to have disapeared.:(

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I really don't believe its the American work ethic. I think that is an excuse. Its more to do with no Casino and no duty free shopping. Who wants to be on a ship for 7 days and have no Casino(a big money maker for the ships) and no duty free...

 

Having sailed the POAloha three months after she started cruising in Hawaii, the casino wasn't the real problem. Was it inconvenient? Yes. I didn't think I'd miss it, but when push came to shove, there was nothing to do after dinner and before the shows. Would it have stopped me from cruising if I had to do it again? No.

 

It absolutely was the staff walking off the ship. G'ma is correct. We spoke to many of the staff who told us exactly what G'ma said - they were given a wonderful story from NCL about how great it is to work on a ship and then found it wasn't like they were told.

 

The service on the POA was absolutely awful when we sailed - we were clearing off the buffet tables ourselves because there was no staff to do it. If you wanted a table, you had to clean up after the people before you who just left their dishes at the table.

 

My understanding from clients who have sailed since then is that there had not been a lot of improvement since then either.

 

We also spoke to our NCL reps. who have told us that NCL has to pay a lot of money for each employee to be certified by the Coast Guard to said the American flagged ships and it was costing them a fortune for these certifications only to have the employees walk off the ship.

 

When ships are foreign flagged, the cruise lines hold the employees passports so it isn't very easy for them to jump ship. NCL couldn't do anything about the staff just marching off the American ships.

 

The idea was nice, but NCL didn't anticipate it was going t be such a problem to maintain staff on the ships. Americans won't work the hours that are required on cruise ships for the pay that comes with it.

 

And that's too bad, because NCL is the only one with 7 days cruises to Hawaii, which helps when people can't get two weeks off to cruise to Hawaii from the West Coast.

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I too want to thank you for summarzing this in a sane and almost un-biased way.. that other thread had a LOT of personal stuff going on that had nothing to do with the topic.

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As the original pvs* thread has been locked and our new thread addressing that has been deleted I am starting this one. :)

 

Summary originally posted by DAGVBSB & edited by myself:

 

 

 

Remember Cvanhorn.....if you sell this summary and make a million dollars, I get a cut as royalties....:D

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I too want to thank you for summarzing this in a sane and almost un-biased way.. that other thread had a LOT of personal stuff going on that had nothing to do with the topic.

 

 

I hope you (and some of the others who read this summary) will go back to the old thread and go to page 122. Someone asked for a summary of the PVSA situation and many of us regulars on the thread all wrote our summaries and posted them within a half hour of each other:D

 

What you have read above, as cvanhorn, is mainly the one that I submitted, but there are some things that I notice that I left out. I suggest that you go back and read the 5 or 6 summaries to get the whole picture.

 

 

I have also felt for some time that we needed to "restart" the PVSA thread since 2400 posts can be a bit intimidating. This is too important a topic for people to skip over it.

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Having sailed the POAloha three months after she started cruising in Hawaii, the casino wasn't the real problem. Was it inconvenient? Yes. I didn't think I'd miss it, but when push came to shove, there was nothing to do after dinner and before the shows. Would it have stopped me from cruising if I had to do it again? No.

 

It absolutely was the staff walking off the ship. G'ma is correct. We spoke to many of the staff who told us exactly what G'ma said - they were given a wonderful story from NCL about how great it is to work on a ship and then found it wasn't like they were told.

 

The service on the POA was absolutely awful when we sailed - we were clearing off the buffet tables ourselves because there was no staff to do it. If you wanted a table, you had to clean up after the people before you who just left their dishes at the table.

 

My understanding from clients who have sailed since then is that there had not been a lot of improvement since then either.

 

 

The idea was nice, but NCL didn't anticipate it was going t be such a problem to maintain staff on the ships. Americans won't work the hours that are required on cruise ships for the pay that comes with it.

 

And that's too bad, because NCL is the only one with 7 days cruises to Hawaii, which helps when people can't get two weeks off to cruise to Hawaii from the West Coast.

 

I can attest to much of what you have said. While I agree with Smeyer that no casino and no bingo on the Pride ships has been a major problem, the service level is also a major problem. Hawaii laws strictly forbid gambling and that is why the three Pride ships do not (did not in case of POA & POH) have casinos. Cruise lines make a good deal of profit from casinos and bingo and without those NCLA was already behind the eight ball. Add to that higher salaries due to US wage laws and the training as you mentioned.

 

But we cannot over look the service issues and I place the blame squarely on the poor American work ethic. Don't get me wrong, there are several NCLA employees like James (OhioNCLCruiser) who are great and work hard, but he is one of the few it seems.

 

I sailed on the POA's maiden voyage from San Francisco to Honolulu in 2004. Service was not good at all. I blamed it on the start up of the new product and working the kinks out. In fact service was so bad on the POA, that NCLA refunded the service charges (and gave 10% off a future NCL cruise) to all those who sailed the POA that first summer.

 

In 2006, I sailed on the Norweigan Dawn and one evening we had a long talk with the maitre'd in Impressions. He found out that we had cruised on the POA in 2004 and asked us what we thought. We told him about the service issues and he nodded in agreement. He told us that many of the initial POA crew had been assigned to the Dawn for training and worked for him. He said he never met a lazier bunch of workers. He said they were always asking for time off or to leave early or just disappeared for periods of time. They were about twice as slow at completing tasks as their counterparts and had a general could care less attitude about the customers. He told us that he even found one American worker sleeping in a booth during his shift!

 

Last summer, a co-worker from school sailed the POAm. After she returned I asked her what she thought of it. Without any leading or prodding from me, the first thing she said was: "the ship was very nice and so was Hawaii, but the service was horrible and the crew was just plain lazy...."

 

 

It is like many of have said about this, perhaps if NCL would offer a better product in Hawaii, then maybe they wouldn't need to have the government give them a monopoly at the expense of so many other people.

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Remember Cvanhorn.....if you sell this summary and make a million dollars, I get a cut as royalties....:D

I can't sell it, you wrote it and I said so at the beginning. I did change the Million to Billion. :)

 

My whole reason was thinking maybe they just auto locked the other over the weekends so they could reivew it on Monday and thinking the initials PVS* were somehow causing it I wanted to start with something without those initials.

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Thank you for the summary, I too was real confused about that thread. I could not figure out what PVSA meant. I wonder why some of you that have been on these boards could possiably put behind it in parenthesis's what they mean, it sure would help us newbie to know what you are talking about. I guess this is also why NCL has never remodeled the USS United States that sits in Philadelphis port rotting away liked they promised to by 2010.

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Thanks for the summary........easy to understand and I appreciate it. Thanks for placing it here........while it might not get the responses of the original thread.........there were just too many pages to sift through to get the info that was needed.

 

Thanks again.

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Has the month run since the deadline for opinion submissions?

 

When is a decision expected if that info is known?

 

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Has the month run since the deadline for opinion submissions?

 

When is a decision expected if that info is known?

 

 

Long ago....21 Dec 07. We keep expecting something any day, but no news could be good news.

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The last date mentioned was 1 June. That's a Sunday, so check on Monday 2 June for anything in the Federal Register.

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The last date mentioned was 1 June. That's a Sunday, so check on Monday 2 June for anything in the Federal Register.

 

My guess has always been a decision will be announced on July 1. That way they can give a 90 day window and get the Alaska season done before implementation.

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Has the month run since the deadline for opinion submissions?

 

When is a decision expected if that info is known?

 

 

Just to reiterate on this: the CPB allowed comment on the issue only through December 21, 2007. Since then (hopefully someone can repost the links), many politicians such as the governors of California (otherwise known as the guvernator) and Hawaiii have issued opposition to the proposed changes as the revisions will adversely affect the economy of Honolulu and the California ports, as well as many other US ports.

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