Cunard notice: half a day to clear US Immigration?

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#1
Mississauga, Canada
1,311 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
A friend (Canadian) is considering a QE crossing from So'ton to NY in Jan. This warning appeared on-line during his enquiry, i.e. the early part of the booking process:

**Important information - US immigration process**
"We really hope you are looking forward to your voyage with us. We wanted to let you know that, when we arrive in a US port for the first time during a voyage following a non-US port, you are required to undergo a face to face immigration inspection. This unfortunately can be a lengthy process and may take up to half a day to complete, therefore please do not make any firm plans for at least the first few hours after arrival. If you have booked a shore excursion with us, this time has already been taken into consideration. Once this process has been completed you are then free to explore and enjoy the sights ashore. Please make sure you have the correct travel documents to hand, including an electronic passport and your ESTA or visa. We look forward to welcoming you on board for what promises to be an exciting voyage. Please note if you are a US passport holder, the above does not apply."

Obviously he will have the very experienced travel agent look into this, but I was wondering if anyone knows why this notice appears only for this crossing and not the QM2 crossings? Perhaps it is because there is an intermediate call at Bermuda. Any other thoughts or observations are appreciated.
#2
New Jersey
8,838 Posts
Joined May 2007
I suppose Bermuda could be an explanation. Or maybe it's because QV would be arriving in the US after a long absence?

This has me thinking about the recent thread about how long it will take to clear Immigration/Customs in Brooklyn. In airports, they do separate queues for US and non-US passengers. But IIRC, last month I saw only one "snake line" in Brooklyn. As we walked out, I saw a door open and it looked like a separate room with I/C agents. So do non-US guests go through a completely separate route? Were all the people I saw in the queue near the luggage collection from the US?
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Kathy
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries
11 QM2 - 7 TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia, Canada
1 Caronia - Baltic
10 HAL -Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Alaska
1 Princess
2 RCCL
5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP)
1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills)
1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers
#3
Hampshire, England
1,482 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by david,Mississauga
A friend (Canadian) is considering a QE crossing from So'ton to NY in Jan. This warning appeared on-line during his enquiry, i.e. the early part of the booking process:

**Important information - US immigration process**
"We really hope you are looking forward to your voyage with us. We wanted to let you know that, when we arrive in a US port for the first time during a voyage following a non-US port, you are required to undergo a face to face immigration inspection. This unfortunately can be a lengthy process and may take up to half a day to complete, therefore please do not make any firm plans for at least the first few hours after arrival. If you have booked a shore excursion with us, this time has already been taken into consideration. Once this process has been completed you are then free to explore and enjoy the sights ashore. Please make sure you have the correct travel documents to hand, including an electronic passport and your ESTA or visa. We look forward to welcoming you on board for what promises to be an exciting voyage. Please note if you are a US passport holder, the above does not apply."

Obviously he will have the very experienced travel agent look into this, but I was wondering if anyone knows why this notice appears only for this crossing and not the QM2 crossings? Perhaps it is because there is an intermediate call at Bermuda. Any other thoughts or observations are appreciated.

The most likely reason in my opinion would be that the Queen Elizabeth will be berthing in Manhattan as opposed to Brooklyn (for Queen Mary 2)

Quite frankly I don't blame Cunard for placing this notice. Belt and braces really for while it shouldn't take that long to process a ship the size of Queen Elizabeth there may be additional factors: other ships in port etc.

Also a cautionary tale. Though not on Cunard we arrived for immigration in New Orleans earlier this year. Despite all the notices that P&O gave to passengers there were still those who, one week prior, hadn't sorted their ESTAs and the IT Manager was kept a very busy boy.
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Dancing above the Waves.



Diving below them.

#4
Staffordshire
1,811 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
On our roundtrip TA on QM2 in October 2015 we had booked the ship transfer to Manhattan from Red Hook and left the ship in plenty of time, or so we thought, the queue was horrendous and the organisation terrible. We waited ages and when we finally got to a custom desk in he did not want to see our ESTA'S we had ready and took our fingerprints and eye recognition and when we got through had to run to make the transfer coach which was just about to leave. On our return we were told to get on any numbered coach and not to worry about it being the same number we arrived on. This caused total confusion and rows between the driver and the Cunard rep because they did not know how many had already left on earlier coaches so had no control of numbers and driver was moaning he was only allowed to stay a certain amount of time outside Macy's without getting a ticket. It was total disorganisation by customs and Cunard and not very cheap.
#5
New Jersey
8,838 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Solent Richard
The most likely reason in my opinion would be that the Queen Elizabeth will be berthing in Manhattan as opposed to Brooklyn (for Queen Mary 2)

Quite frankly I don't blame Cunard for placing this notice. Belt and braces really for while it shouldn't take that long to process a ship the size of Queen Elizabeth there may be additional factors: other ships in port etc.

Also a cautionary tale. Though not on Cunard we arrived for immigration in New Orleans earlier this year. Despite all the notices that P&O gave to passengers there were still those who, one week prior, hadn't sorted their ESTAs and the IT Manager was kept a very busy boy.
On our WB TA, there was a notice in the daily programme EVERY day reminding people about the ESTA. So anyone who wasn't prepared couldn't say they hadn't been warned.

One man we spoke to was on his first TA and he said he'd been told that he didn't need to carry paper proof of the ESTA, as it's in the electronic file. So what was the first thing he was asked for when he checked in at Southampton? Proof of the ESTA. Fortunately, he had carried it with him just in case it was needed.
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Kathy
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries
11 QM2 - 7 TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia, Canada
1 Caronia - Baltic
10 HAL -Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Alaska
1 Princess
2 RCCL
5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP)
1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills)
1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers
#6
Mississauga, Canada
1,311 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
I noticed the same notice appears for the QV crossing to Fort Lauderdale via Bermuda (but not New York). The QE crossing to New York can also be booked to Fort Lauderdale - and beyond, of course.
#7
NYC 10014/Eastern Long Island 11937
438 Posts
Joined May 2005
For me, "when we arrive in a US port for the first time during a voyage following a non-US port" answers the question. Soton-Bermuda-NYC.
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CM, QE2 WCC
#8
Riding the Ocean Waves
1,253 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Originally posted by david,Mississauga A friend (Canadian) is considering a QE crossing from So'ton to NY in Jan. This warning appeared on-line during his enquiry, i.e. the early part of the booking process:

**Important information - US immigration process**
"We really hope you are looking forward to your voyage with us. We wanted to let you know that, when we arrive in a US port for the first time during a voyage following a non-US port, you are required to undergo a face to face immigration inspection. This unfortunately can be a lengthy process and may take up to half a day to complete, therefore please do not make any firm plans for at least the first few hours after arrival. If you have booked a shore excursion with us, this time has already been taken into consideration. Once this process has been completed you are then free to explore and enjoy the sights ashore. Please make sure you have the correct travel documents to hand, including an electronic passport and your ESTA or visa. We look forward to welcoming you on board for what promises to be an exciting voyage. Please note if you are a US passport holder, the above does not apply."

Obviously he will have the very experienced travel agent look into this, but I was wondering if anyone knows why this notice appears only for this crossing and not the QM2 crossings? Perhaps it is because there is an intermediate call at Bermuda. Any other thoughts or observations are appreciated.



Do not think there is anything to read into that extra notice, Both arriving into Manhattan or Brooklyn both have taken similar timings. Although on all occassions of arival into Manhattan we were the only ship.
I think it is just cautionary for Cunard to mention it and possibly save some complaints. Although if you are arriving in Manhattan then there is the possibility of more than one ship arriving in port at similar times.

Never ever been asked to show an esta whilst entering the USA, however have been asked when checking in at Southampton. Also notice that Cunard put in The Daily Programme wording to the effect that a Hard copy will be required. Perhaps it is a way to remove some $ from some passengers accounts as you have to pay for print outs in Connexions.

If you are a frequent traveller to USA then sometimes you are only asked for a thumb print, however picture taken everytime. They have all details and more on their computer.

The reason Southampton check I believe is that the Transportation Company is liable and can get fined if they transport a passenger without the required documents. If the passenger is not accepted then the Transportation Company has to pay to return the person from where they originated from.
#9
New Jersey
8,838 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Pennbank
Originally posted by david,Mississauga A friend (Canadian) is considering a QE crossing from So'ton to NY in Jan. This warning appeared on-line during his enquiry, i.e. the early part of the booking process:

**Important information - US immigration process**
"We really hope you are looking forward to your voyage with us. We wanted to let you know that, when we arrive in a US port for the first time during a voyage following a non-US port, you are required to undergo a face to face immigration inspection. This unfortunately can be a lengthy process and may take up to half a day to complete, therefore please do not make any firm plans for at least the first few hours after arrival. If you have booked a shore excursion with us, this time has already been taken into consideration. Once this process has been completed you are then free to explore and enjoy the sights ashore. Please make sure you have the correct travel documents to hand, including an electronic passport and your ESTA or visa. We look forward to welcoming you on board for what promises to be an exciting voyage. Please note if you are a US passport holder, the above does not apply."

Obviously he will have the very experienced travel agent look into this, but I was wondering if anyone knows why this notice appears only for this crossing and not the QM2 crossings? Perhaps it is because there is an intermediate call at Bermuda. Any other thoughts or observations are appreciated.



Do not think there is anything to read into that extra notice, Both arriving into Manhattan or Brooklyn both have taken similar timings. Although on all occassions of arival into Manhattan we were the only ship.
I think it is just cautionary for Cunard to mention it and possibly save some complaints. Although if you are arriving in Manhattan then there is the possibility of more than one ship arriving in port at similar times.

Never ever been asked to show an esta whilst entering the USA, however have been asked when checking in at Southampton. Also notice that Cunard put in The Daily Programme wording to the effect that a Hard copy will be required. Perhaps it is a way to remove some $ from some passengers accounts as you have to pay for print outs in Connexions.

If you are a frequent traveller to USA then sometimes you are only asked for a thumb print, however picture taken everytime. They have all details and more on their computer.

The reason Southampton check I believe is that the Transportation Company is liable and can get fined if they transport a passenger without the required documents. If the passenger is not accepted then the Transportation Company has to pay to return the person from where they originated from.
(bold is mine) You're right. They don't want to deal with the hassle and cost. That's why the first thing any carrier, air or sea, wants to see is your passport and other required documents. I haven't seen threads about it here, but I've seen plenty on the HAL board about passengers denied boarding for lack of proper documents. The first thing I do after making a reservation is check the expiry date on my passport.
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Kathy
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries
11 QM2 - 7 TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia, Canada
1 Caronia - Baltic
10 HAL -Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Alaska
1 Princess
2 RCCL
5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP)
1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills)
1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers
#10
Solihull, England
79 Posts
Joined May 2007
I was on last week's WB TA, which called at Halifax before Brooklyn. There were no remarkable delays at immigration. We were called from the Theatre around 15 minutes after the scheduled time of 9am (the delay being blamed on immigration) and there was a line in the hall but it moved quite quickly. Even after a delay in checking that all the bus passengers were on board we were at our mid-town hotel by 11 am. I spotted from my stateroom that self-disembarkers were out of the terminal very soon after the announcement that they could disembark.

There were separate lines for US and non-US passengers. At one point the US line was empty and while that was the case all agents were available to process non-US passengers, which speeded things up.
#11
Cheshire
231 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
We got off on Saturday and did self disembarkation at about 8.20 (We left 3 cases on board with my parents who were doing back to back and we knew we wouldn't need cocktail dresses in NY). We were off very quickly and through immigration within 10 mins. We took the ferry to Wall St and apart from having to wait 25.mins becasue we just missed a ferry it was excellent. We arrived at our hotel(10 mins walk max from the ferry) at the same time as some people who had paid for Cunard shared transfer whoch cost them $80ish whereas we paid less than $6. If you don't have much luggage I recommend the ferry to lower Manhattan.

Won't know how bad the immigration was later when main disembarkation started.

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