Cunard notice: half a day to clear US Immigration?

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#1
Mississauga, Canada
1,351 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
8,985 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
11 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
1,532 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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#4
Staffordshire
1,927 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
8,985 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
11 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
1,351 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
439 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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#8
Riding the Ocean Waves
1,312 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
8,985 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
11 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
82 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
240 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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#12
West Milford, NJ, USA
5,502 Posts
Joined May 2006
We disembarked the Crown Princess in Red Hook, Brooklyn on September 17. From the time we left the ship, we were through customs and immigration in about 20 minutes. Our TA from Southampton had Halifax as it's last port. Although we are U.S. Citizens, the same two queues were used for both citizens and non-citizens. One you got to the end of the line, you were directed to the right for citizens and to the left for non-citizens. Whatever problems they may have been having seem to have been sorted out by September 17, 2017.
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#13
London, UK
1,650 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
I know this isn't a Cunard Experience, but a Celebrity Solstice one, in May this year.
Following our arrival into the USA..(Maui) after a trans-Pacific crossing, it took my mother and I (non USA)until 14hrs to clear USA immigration. The line behind us continued to wrap around the deck and in and out of several public spaces... I have know idea what time the people on the end of the line were cleared.
And yes! We were finger printed, photographed & had our paper ESTA documents examined.
Thankfully the ship didn't sail until later that evening, so at least we got a few hours on shore...


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#14
935 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by Wellard
I know this isn't a Cunard Experience, but a Celebrity Solstice one, in May this year.
Following our arrival into the USA..(Maui) after a trans-Pacific crossing, it took my mother and I (non USA)until 14hrs to clear USA immigration. The line behind us continued to wrap around the deck and in and out of several public spaces... I have know idea what time the people on the end of the line were cleared.
And yes! We were finger printed, photographed & had our paper ESTA documents examined.
Thankfully the ship didn't sail until later that evening, so at least we got a few hours on shore...


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How many hours?!
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#15
London, UK
1,650 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Immigration started processing at 8am. So that was 6hours for us.
Ship tour people were at the front of the line and everyone else were behind them.
Thankfully Celebrity gave estimation times and called group numbers as able. This helped keep things organised.
People with private tours had no chance of getting off in time for an all day tour.


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#16
Up North, UK
1,488 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We did a TA and return on QV with a trip up the coast of New England and Canada in between, making 23 days in total.

First stop was at Manhatten for an overnight in New York. On arrival it was utter bedlam - repeated delays to our deck by deck disembarkation schedule, even if you didn't want to get off that day you had to follow the plan. Long queues at immigration so that wveryone could be fingerprinted and assessed for criminality, lines of tour buses parked up with drivers and guides going mad at their schedules being knocked sideways.

At the first stop in Canada eveyone just breezed through, except I got stopped by an immigration officer to piont out that my shoelace was undone annd I was at risk of tripping up.

Absolutely no need at all for all the hassle.


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#17
Sydney, Australia
1,498 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
While I've never experienced those kind of wait times docking in NY, immigration at JFK takes a long time.

Last time I disembarked at Redhook, it took me approximately 7 minutes between leaving the gangway and waiting outside for my driver.

By comparison, I waited 3 hours in a queue to have my passport scanned and stamped at JFK after a 13 hour flight.
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Past cruises:

Golden Princess Australia Coastal Apr 17; Diamond Princess SE Asia Dec 16 / Jan 17; QM2 Tranatlantic WC segment Jan 16; Queen Elizabeth back to back Canaries Dec 15; Diamond Princess Coastal Dec 14; Dawn Princess Australian Coastal Oct 14; Queen Elizabeth Venice to Athens Jun to Jul 14; QM2 Hamburg to Southampton Jun 14; Diamond Princess Australia/New Zealand Dec 13; QM2 Caribbean/Transatlantic Dec 12 to Jan 13; Diamond Princess Australia/New Zealand Jan 06
#18
New Hamsphire
494 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
My opinion for what it is worth is that US Customs or whomever does the checking is basically incompetent. They show up late under staffed and then work at reverse speed. Zero sense of humor and act as if what they do is an imposition on their time. That is why it takes for ever to move a ship through the process. And I am a US citizen so not sour grapes from afar just my observation from numerous sailings and arrivals at numerous US ports and they are all the same way.
#19
Sydney, Australia
1,498 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by Lakesregion
My opinion for what it is worth is that US Customs or whomever does the checking is basically incompetent. They show up late under staffed and then work at reverse speed. Zero sense of humor and act as if what they do is an imposition on their time. That is why it takes for ever to move a ship through the process. And I am a US citizen so not sour grapes from afar just my observation from numerous sailings and arrivals at numerous US ports and they are all the same way.
I don't know about no sense of humour. I was once asked by a surly staffer "do you have any luggage in your pocket?" I was also asked "why?" a lot, including after one answer was "I'm on a holiday"...
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Past cruises:

Golden Princess Australia Coastal Apr 17; Diamond Princess SE Asia Dec 16 / Jan 17; QM2 Tranatlantic WC segment Jan 16; Queen Elizabeth back to back Canaries Dec 15; Diamond Princess Coastal Dec 14; Dawn Princess Australian Coastal Oct 14; Queen Elizabeth Venice to Athens Jun to Jul 14; QM2 Hamburg to Southampton Jun 14; Diamond Princess Australia/New Zealand Dec 13; QM2 Caribbean/Transatlantic Dec 12 to Jan 13; Diamond Princess Australia/New Zealand Jan 06
#20
North-West England
449 Posts
Joined May 2007
I have had some horrendous waits at JFK and Atlanta but the officials on the desk have always been very pleasant.
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