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cvanhorn

Passenger Vessel Services Act summary to date

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Your example is excellent:

Many American cruise pax would prefer to save a few bucks and stay in their comfort zone by sailing from Seattle to Anchorage.

 

Most of the rest of the world would prefer to fly into Vancouver, avoid the TSA and US Immigration at the airport, and have a much nicer cruise through the inside passage to Anchorage.

 

The cruise lines prefer to sail from Vancouver, avoiding the TSA, US Customs, and USPH.

Avoiding the overpaid American stevedores and pilots in Seattle.

Avoiding sailing the typically rough seas on the outside of Vancouver Island.

Our arriving and departing Asian crewmembers get a friendly welcome in Vancouver, as opposed to the "third degree" treatment they get from US Immigration in Seattle.

Being allowed to have our Purser's Department, Security Staff, and Photographers working in the Vancouver terminal without being hassled by US Immigration.

Paying lower docking and berthing fees in Vancouver.

Avoiding burning the extremely expensive low-sulphur fuel required in Seattle.

Using the very user-friendly downtown Vancouver Terminal instead of the "Warehouse" on the outskirts of Seattle.

Burning less fuel to get from Vancouver to Anchorage.

Being able to open the casino and duty free shops earlier out of Vancouver.

Getting a more international mix of passengers, as many Aussies and Brits don't want to fly into the USA to board a cruise. Aussies are the #1 onboard spenders on Alaska itineraries. Aussies are usually 30% - 50% of the passengers from Vancouver to Alaska; they are 10% of the passengers from Seattle to Alaska.

 

In order to be politically correct, we cannot advertise that we do not want to sail out of Seattle. But we can blame the PVSA and claim that it is forcing us to base more and more ships from a non-US port.

 

You might notice that most of the issues listed above are - once again - money related.

 

I understand what you are saying..... part of what appeals to me about cruising, and international vacations in general, is getting away from the overregulation of the US, particularly as it relates to travel. Flying, while still a burden all over the world, is ten times the hassle in the US as it is anywhere else. I actually prefer departing on cruises from foreign ports.... they tend to leave on time, and on disembarking at the end of the cruise there is a lot shorter waiting period to get off the ship. While I love the convenience of driving to NY for a cruise, the distance (and sailing under the bridge :) ) is the only benefit. I have never been forced off the ship on a port visit anywhere but the US, where they make everyone go ashore for immigration.

 

While many Americans complain about cruise ships sailing from ports outside the US more and more, I welcome it.

 

ETA: One more benefit of sailing out of Vancouver is that sailaway is spectacular....I had the good fortune of an aft cabin on our Alaska cruise and it was one of the most beautiful departures I have ever experienced.

Edited by vjmatty

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Do you really think if they relax the PVSA our Congress would not make the Ship obey both other Federal laws or State laws as well?
They would not, since we are still talking about foreign-flagged ships that leave US territorial waters. It may be that a foreign stop would be required in order to offer duty free and gambling, and of course nothing would prevent the cruise lines from continuing to include foreign stops even if the PVSA no longer required it. There would be absolutely no difference (in terms of additional US laws) between a one-way cruise from Seattle to Alaska stopping in Canada, and the currently available round-trips from Seattle to Alaska stopping in Canada. It's just that the one-way is currently illegal.

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They would not, since we are still talking about foreign-flagged ships that leave US territorial waters. It may be that a foreign stop would be required in order to offer duty free and gambling, and of course nothing would prevent the cruise lines from continuing to include foreign stops even if the PVSA no longer required it. There would be absolutely no difference (in terms of additional US laws) between a one-way cruise from Seattle to Alaska stopping in Canada, and the currently available round-trips from Seattle to Alaska stopping in Canada. It's just that the one-way is currently illegal.

LOL you really expect that our Congress wouldn't change all the rules if PVSA no international port was required? You may not know the old joke that you shouldn't watch laws or sausages being made because you really don't want to know what is in them. Changing the US cabotage laws would almost surely require that the the non-foreign porting ship obey the local USlaws as a quid pro quo for allowing the foreign carriers. You are probably not aware that foreign flagged airlines can't transport people directly between US airports now and that is not going to change either. The cruise lines are aware what would happen if there was major changes to the PVSA and don't want to open the possibilities.

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LOL you really expect that our Congress wouldn't change all the rules if PVSA no international port was required? You may not know the old joke that you shouldn't watch laws or sausages being made because you really don't want to know what is in them. Changing the US cabotage laws would almost surely require that the the non-foreign porting ship obey the local USlaws as a quid pro quo for allowing the foreign carriers. You are probably not aware that foreign flagged airlines can't transport people directly between US airports now and that is not going to change either. The cruise lines are aware what would happen if there was major changes to the PVSA and don't want to open the possibilities.

 

True..... the US enacts laws for foreign vessels all the time. For example, no cruise line that has port visits in Cuba is allowed to have a ship dock in any US port. Mind you, that isn't even limited to an itinerary of a particular ship.... they aren't just saying a ship can't dock in the US if it has ever been to Cuba, it refers to an entire cruise line. It is why you never see a P&O ship at a US port.

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You are probably not aware that foreign flagged airlines can't transport people directly between US airports now and that is not going to change either.
The difference is that there is actually a gigantic home-grown US airline industry that this law protects… It's not like there is a huge fleet of US-flagged cruise ships that could serve the market just fine, so all those foreign vessels can just keep out. In fact (the current interpretation of) the PVSA is the one of the reasons why there are so few US-flagged cruise ships. So much for protecting US industry.

 

I do agree with the point that legislation is never easy, and that there has to be a huge incentive (typically monetary) to make anything happen, and whatever the current perceived problems are with the PVSA, or whatever anyone stands to gain by changing it, it's just not enough to make it worthwhile to do anything.

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Just returned from sea and wanted to post my thoughts on the posts made since I left.

 

Smeyer: As NJHorseman has supported me in pointing out, USPH is a division of CDC (which leads to the confusion here on CC). And as I've said, USPH's mandate is to prevent the introduction of disease INTO the US. They will inspect US flag ships that have been to foreign ports, but not US ships that have only been between US ports. The FDA has jurisdiction over US ships in coastwise trade (including the Pride of America, who is inspected by FDA not USPH). So, if you allow foreign ships to carry passengers exclusively between US ports, neither FDA nor USPH would have any jurisdiction. The reason that many cruise lines continue to follow USPH guidelines while in Europe is to keep the "culture" of those requirements going in the crew, and keep those procedures being second nature. It has nothing to do with throwing out food when returning to the US.

 

About casinos. I don't know what the current legal situation is, but I don't feel that it has changed, but when NCL was running foreign flag ships in Hawaii (with the required stop at Fanning Island as the foreign port), their casinos had to be closed at all times in Hawaiian waters, and I seem to remember that during repo cruises that the casinos could be open on the passage from Alaska, but had to be closed at all times during the stay in Hawaii, even if the ship went outside the 12 mile limit between ports.

 

VJmatty: The US does not make laws that affect foreign ships at all, only when they are within US territorial waters. Most people think the cruise ships have to abide by ADA, but this is not true, the Supreme Court never answered whether the construction of the ships had to meet all areas of ADA, just that they could not discriminate against disabled people when boarding passengers in the US.

 

And the EU restricts "coastwise" cabotage to EU members. A Bahamian flagged ship cannot carry passengers strictly between Italian ports, it must make a stop at another country's (whether EU member or not) port in between.

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