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Missing ship in a foreign port with no passport

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4 minutes ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

My experiences have been with Celebrity, Princess and Disney. They all provided that information in the cruise documents sent to me upon booking. Perhaps other cruise lines are not as helpful.

 

 

I looked there also. There was good information listed but nothing stating the possibility of your passport being taken. Nevertheless, I am going to ask for a copy of the cruise contract. 

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We only had our passports held (note not confiscated) once. It was on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise on Holland America. When approaching Dubrovnik, there was an announcement that you would need id in the port, and that if you did not have a driver's license you could temporarily get your passport back.

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7 hours ago, Cruise4Twos said:

Twice the cruise ship confiscated our passports. Once on a European cruise and once on a South Pacific cruise. On the European cruise, we misjudged how far away we were from the port. We had an hour. We just missed the previous hop on hop off bus. The next one took 15 minutes, it took 15 minutes to get to our stop and 10 minutes to run back to the ship. You're supposed to be back on the ship a half hour before sailing but we arrived 20 minutes b4 sailing. Luckily they let us back on the ship with a stern warning. Of course now we plan better. Regardless it's not just about having a passport. It's insane that they confiscate US passports sometimes until the end of the cruise but they do.

Thanks TxCityKat for posting a link to "What to Do If Your Cruise Ship Leaves You Behind ... and How to Prepare So It Doesn't Happen to You." 

 

With your passport “confiscated” as you call it they can clear passengers faster and leave your passport with the port agent rather than try to find it in your safe or leave you stranded, especially if they are forced out of port early by port authorities. 

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4 hours ago, Cruise4Twos said:

For some reason people are getting caught up on my use of the word "confiscate" which means taken or seized with authority. The 1st time was quite a shock to us. They could post why their doing what they're doing and what would happen if you were to get left, then people would understand and not think that the policy is insane as many people on the boat were grumbling about this.

 

I was 8 when we traveled in Europe, iirc every hotel kept your passport upon checkin!  Even then that was scary to me.  I trust the cruise lines more than a hotel in a foreign country!   

 

Recently we had to return from the Caribbean for a family emergency.  The first thing we were asked was whether we had passports.  Since we did I’m not sure what would have happened.  The cruise line told us that since we would need an entry stamp in order to catch a plane if we would bring them the passports they would send someone to get them stamped and return them as quickly as possible.  Since we planned to leave the ship afternoon they told us we could pick the passports up at 10am. No charges no hassle!  

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3 hours ago, Cruise4Twos said:

They could do a better job in making that information available. To get more informed, I logged into my upcoming cruise document area. Plenty of alerts on what to buy. The cruise contract is not there. I guess I'll have to jump thru hoops to retrieve it when technology could make that information easily available.

Perhaps they won't be holding your passports on your upcoming cruise? Too bad you didn't learn of this practice before your previous cruises, but I'm curious as to why you didn't ask about this when it happened the first time. It is intended as a convenience to pax and a means of streamlining immigration procedures for both the ships staff and the immigration officials. But perhaps you would prefer to stand in a long line in the middle of the night every night before entering a new port?

 

We've seen this done on our last 2 cruises, but had ample warning before boarding. I really don't know why so many Americans are so paranoid about giving up their passports. Perhaps it's because comparatively few are used to frequent international travel. I remember one American couple get into a shouting match with a desk clerk in a hotel in Italy when told they had to give him their passports and they would get them back that night. This was, and still is, required so that the hotel can pass on the required information to the local police registry, as required by law. The couple all but accused the poor man if stealing their passports to sell on the black market! Another case of insufficient advance research. When in doubt blame everyone else.

 

I don't mind them taking custody of my passport. When we actually required them at a port, there was a procedure in place to pick them up, and then return them when reboarding the ship. And if we miss the ship- I'd much rather that they knew exactly where they were (in their documentation office) so they could quickly hand  them over to the port agent. I've actually been quite impressed by the care they take to inform pax of the documentation required when disembarking at each port. 

Edited by mom says

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8 hours ago, Cruise4Twos said:

 It's insane that they confiscate US passports sometimes until the end of the cruise but they do.

What about non-US passports?  Do US passports somehow deserve special or better treatment than Czech, UK, Thai, or other passports?

 

It's not insane.  It's been happening for many, many years.  It is a safe and prudent practice and happily your strident disapproval will not put an end to it.

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4 hours ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

My experiences have been with Celebrity, Princess and Disney. They all provided that information in the cruise documents sent to me upon booking. Perhaps other cruise lines are not as helpful.

 

 

Add Cunard, HAL, NCL, Royal Caribbean,  Azamara, Orient,  and Oceania  I suspect that he simply failed to look.

Edited by navybankerteacher
Correction

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57 minutes ago, mom says said:

Perhaps they won't be holding your passports on your upcoming cruise? Too bad you didn't learn of this practice before your previous cruises, but I'm curious as to why you didn't ask about this when it happened the first time. It is intended as a convenience to pax and a means of streamlining immigration procedures for both the ships staff and the immigration officials. But perhaps you would prefer to stand in a long line in the middle of the night every night before entering a new port?

 

We've seen this done on our last 2 cruises, but had ample warning before boarding. I really don't know why so many Americans are so paranoid about giving up their passports. Perhaps it's because comparatively few are used to frequent international travel. I remember one American couple get into a shouting match with a desk clerk in a hotel in Italy when told they had to give him their passports and they would get them back that night. This was, and still is, required so that the hotel can pass on the required information to the local police registry, as required by law. The couple all but accused the poor man if stealing their passports to sell on the black market! Another case of insufficient advance research. When in doubt blame everyone else.

 

I don't mind them taking custody of my passport. When we actually required them at a port, there was a procedure in place to pick them up, and then return them when reboarding the ship. And if we miss the ship- I'd much rather that they knew exactly where they were (in their documentation office) so they could quickly hand  them over to the port agent. I've actually been quite impressed by the care they take to inform pax of the documentation required when disembarking at each port. 

I asked the 1st time. The explanation I received was that we were instructed to take everyone's passport. The 2nd time they just said that it was required of one country. They did let us know that our passports would be given to the port agency if we did not make the ship. Unfortunately when you don't get an adequate explanation, you improperly figure out your own explanation "like defecting" which is why I thru in the US thing (not special, just no reason to defect). I'm human. Yes I feel more comfortable being in control. Yes its been drilled into my memory that I need to have that passport. I was not alone in my feeling on either cruise. Sure if you know it's better that the ship holds it , you would come to that conclusion. I didn't know. I'm learning. Unfortunately it's impossible to learn, if you don't know the reason why. This site has exposed me to a lot. As navybankerteacher said, "it's in the cruise contract" forget about perhaps. I'm reaching out to get the cruise contract. Anything that I think would help others will providebe given in feedback to the ship.

Edited by Cruise4Twos
added information

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13 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Add Cunard, HAL, NCL, Royal Caribbean,  Azamara, Orient,  and Oceania  I suspect that he simply failed to look.

It's not in the documents that were sent to me. I reread before replying (it may be in the cruise contract which I will have sent to me) and I am not a "he".

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12 minutes ago, Cruise4Twos said:

I asked the 1st time. The explanation I received was that we were instructed to take everyone's passport. The 2nd time they just said that it was required of one country. They did let us know that our passports would be given to the port agency if we did not make the ship. Unfortunately when you don't get an adequate explanation, you improperly figure out your own explanation "like defecting" which is why I thru in the US thing (not special, just no reason to defect). I'm human. Yes I feel more comfortable being in control. Yes its been drilled into my memory that I need to have that passport. I was not alone in my feeling on either cruise. Sure if you know it's better that the ship holds it , you would come to that conclusion. I didn't know. I'm learning. Unfortunately it's impossible to learn, if you don't know the reason why. This site has exposed me to a lot. As navybankerteacher said, "it's in the cruise contract" forget about perhaps. I'm reaching out to get the cruise contract. Anything that I think would help others will providebe given in feedback to the ship.

 

You might be insterested in knowing that in South America, actually Argentina,   where you have a reciprocity fee, they take a copy of that too.  They said they’d told everyone to make a duplicate but perhaps I didn’t remember simply because I feared they’d probably want it at each port.  There were more than a few that were unhappy about the collection of those by crew in the terminal.  They also had no real answers other than they were told to collect them.  I agree it would be nice if you’d had a travel agent that told you of the possibility.  

 

We had an incident in Italy where Italy had changed the rules and caused a previous cruise nightmares getting either on or off the ship.  When we approached the port they told us the rules had changed and I think gave us our passports.  Could have been collected them, I’ve forgotten but it went much smoother than the previous cruise!

 

if you like horror stories. Sailing from Australia to Seattle The cruise line reversed the stops in Hawaii, in the planning.  Our first stop was in Kona a tender port.  I assume you know that you go through immigrations into the US at your first port.  Got any idea with multiple nationalities how much fun that was?  They’d never done that before and the logistics were clearly patched together.  Things went relatively smoothly even with bad directions about how to get places.   And yes they did immigrations on the ship.  They flew in extra immigration officers from Hilo and brought them to us on the ship.   I’m sure headquarters heard from ever officer and more on the ship! 

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12 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

So under this logic how does one get to the other island?

 

I have read of two instances of passengers being directed to go to the airport by the port agent. The cruise line's liaison communicated with CBP and permission was given to allow the passenger to board a direct flight to the US. Once there they spent a few minutes in secondary inspection and then allowed to proceed on their way.

 

Yes, under normal circumstances a passport is required to fly, but exceptions are made in emergencies. The US government isn't going to strand anyone on an island in the Caribbean.

You are simply traveling inside one country to the US consulate, there isn't a passport requirement for that   I don't believe those stories, they read like what happens when you are flying inside the US without ID not trying to re-enter the US without a passport.  

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14 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

So under this logic how does one get to the other island?

 

I have read of two instances of passengers being directed to go to the airport by the port agent. The cruise line's liaison communicated with CBP and permission was given to allow the passenger to board a direct flight to the US. Once there they spent a few minutes in secondary inspection and then allowed to proceed on their way.

 

Yes, under normal circumstances a passport is required to fly, but exceptions are made in emergencies. The US government isn't going to strand anyone on an island in the Caribbean.

 

No, you will not be stranded.

 

But you may be up to a number of obstacles to getting back.  And if you are off the ship due to a medical emergency of a family member, do you really want MORE worries?

 

 

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So much “misinformation” on this thread.  Regarding US citizens, suffice it to say that if you are stranded in a foreign country without a Passport you are in for some major hassles and possible delays which can be for days.  You will eventually get back home, but may be stuck with several days of hotel and food bills and the cost of transportation to get home or perhaps to catch up with your ship.  Consider that US consulates are closed on weekends and holidays and in some places the nearest consulate might be in another city or even in another country.  We know of several cases and each was handled somewhat differently which had much to do with the availability of a consular official. 

 

As to to having Passports collected, this is only done when the ship’s purser needs them to get the ship cleared in one or more ports.  If you need them back it can usually be done by simply making the request at Guest Relations, but sometimes there are complications.  You might have to wait on the ship a few hours in a particular port until the authorities have finished their clearance procedures..or you may need to turn them back in after leaving a port.  We have personally been caught up in both those situations.  

 

 

Hank

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Having watch a expat couple in front of me at an embassy trying to get a passport replaced after a fire in a foreign country I can attest to the advantage of having a photo copy or registering with the embassy.  They had neither.  That delay the replacement a considerable amount of time as they could not verify their identity.  

 

I agree that being left behind can be a hassle without a passport or ID!   As for the couple I mentioned I’m not sure how they even got into the embassy, perhaps with employer documentation.  if I recall correctly the locals hired by the embassy kept asking for a passport and could not understand that they needed to replace it did not mean that it had expired but instead burned.  A supervisor was finally summonsed.  And that was just the beginning of their things that needed doing.  

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9 hours ago, mom says said:

Perhaps they won't be holding your passports on your upcoming cruise? Too bad you didn't learn of this practice before your previous cruises, but I'm curious as to why you didn't ask about this when it happened the first time. It is intended as a convenience to pax and a means of streamlining immigration procedures for both the ships staff and the immigration officials. But perhaps you would prefer to stand in a long line in the middle of the night every night before entering a new port?

 

We've seen this done on our last 2 cruises, but had ample warning before boarding. I really don't know why so many Americans are so paranoid about giving up their passports. Perhaps it's because comparatively few are used to frequent international travel. I remember one American couple get into a shouting match with a desk clerk in a hotel in Italy when told they had to give him their passports and they would get them back that night. This was, and still is, required so that the hotel can pass on the required information to the local police registry, as required by law. The couple all but accused the poor man if stealing their passports to sell on the black market! Another case of insufficient advance research. When in doubt blame everyone else.

 

I don't mind them taking custody of my passport. When we actually required them at a port, there was a procedure in place to pick them up, and then return them when reboarding the ship. And if we miss the ship- I'd much rather that they knew exactly where they were (in their documentation office) so they could quickly hand  them over to the port agent. I've actually been quite impressed by the care they take to inform pax of the documentation required when disembarking at each port. 

"taking custody" is so much more accurate a term than "confiscating".

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I carry my passport in foreign countries except for the USA as I have NEXUS.  My passport is carried securely and is unlikely to be stolen.  Once a cruise line attempted to "hold" my passport for the duration of the cruise but after a fairly direct conversation begrudgingly agreed to return it to me for port visits.    

 

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8 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

You are simply traveling inside one country to the US consulate, there isn't a passport requirement for that   I don't believe those stories, they read like what happens when you are flying inside the US without ID not trying to re-enter the US without a passport.  

No, you aren't, you are on an island and have to get somewhere else, presumably by plane. Much, much easier for all concerned to let you board a flight to the US and clear you in secondary inspection.

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6 hours ago, SRF said:

 

No, you will not be stranded.

 

But you may be up to a number of obstacles to getting back.  And if you are off the ship due to a medical emergency of a family member, do you really want MORE worries?

 

 

I would have many people working on my behalf to get me home. Considering the low risk involved (for us) it was never a big worry.

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5 hours ago, Hlitner said:

So much “misinformation” on this thread.  Regarding US citizens, suffice it to say that if you are stranded in a foreign country without a Passport you are in for some major hassles and possible delays which can be for days.  You will eventually get back home, but may be stuck with several days of hotel and food bills and the cost of transportation to get home or perhaps to catch up with your ship.  Consider that US consulates are closed on weekends and holidays and in some places the nearest consulate might be in another city or even in another country.  We know of several cases and each was handled somewhat differently which had much to do with the availability of a consular official. 

 

As to to having Passports collected, this is only done when the ship’s purser needs them to get the ship cleared in one or more ports.  If you need them back it can usually be done by simply making the request at Guest Relations, but sometimes there are complications.  You might have to wait on the ship a few hours in a particular port until the authorities have finished their clearance procedures..or you may need to turn them back in after leaving a port.  We have personally been caught up in both those situations.  

 

 

Hank

For most closed loop cruises you aren't in port on a weekend, your cruise is just starting or you are on a sea day getting to the first port. Your first paragraph makes a much stronger case for good travel insurance than it does for having a passport. People love to assume the worst when in fact the authorities are well practiced at getting folks home under such circumstances. 

Edited by sparks1093

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2 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

No, you aren't, you are on an island and have to get somewhere else, presumably by plane. Much, much easier for all concerned to let you board a flight to the US and clear you in secondary inspection.

There is no secondary inspection.  You aren't going to be allowed on a plane to the US without a passport.  If this was a "thing", then the horror stories of people having to get an emergency passport issued would be nonexistent due to missing the ship for drunkenness or medical emergencies .  You don't hear stories of people stranded at ATL since they forgot their ID, that is the place that has secondary inspection.  

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12 minutes ago, Elaine5715 said:

There is no secondary inspection.  You aren't going to be allowed on a plane to the US without a passport.  If this was a "thing", then the horror stories of people having to get an emergency passport issued would be nonexistent due to missing the ship for drunkenness or medical emergencies .  You don't hear stories of people stranded at ATL since they forgot their ID, that is the place that has secondary inspection.  

As I said early on I've read two accounts of people leaving the ship mid cruise in places without a State Department presence. They were indeed allowed to board the plane to the US where they were processed through secondary inspection before being allowed to proceed. The horror stories that I've read regarding medical emergencies all had the common theme of the passenger not having the money to pay for medical treatment, not having a passport was secondary to that. The authorities do have the ability to waive the passport requirement for emergencies and for humanitarian reasons so it is not always necessary to have an emergency passport issued.

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I remember a few years ago when traveling in Europe that when we checked-in to a hotel they'd take the passport, just polich.

 

Ships were the same, surprisingly this time when we did Italy/Greece/Croatia/Montenegro they didn't take our passport, but at the terminal check-in there was a separate check-in for others and a stack of collected passports.  I admired the stack and went wow, hope they don't lose or missplace one.

 

As others noted, if you get left in port, the ship knows, and they will leave the documents with you.   After all they are on the hook so to speak

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55 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

As I said early on I've read two accounts of people leaving the ship mid cruise in places without a State Department presence. They were indeed allowed to board the plane to the US where they were processed through secondary inspection before being allowed to proceed. The horror stories that I've read regarding medical emergencies all had the common theme of the passenger not having the money to pay for medical treatment, not having a passport was secondary to that. The authorities do have the ability to waive the passport requirement for emergencies and for humanitarian reasons so it is not always necessary to have an emergency passport issued.

 

With the ever more restrictive policies of the current administration making it more difficult for people to enter the US, I wouldn't be so reliant on the expectation of assistance for "humanitarian" reasons if someone does not have the proper documents. Recent cases of US citizens being held for weeks or not being allowed to enter due to document problems have been in the news recently. 

 

I know you are a staunch supporter of not wasting money to get a passport for closed loop cruises, but the political winds are blowing in the direction of even more restrictions, both for visitors AND citizens. Things have changed in the last two years and what used to be the norm no longer is. And I don't see it getting better for at least another 1-1/2 years. For US citizens, having a valid US passport is the most important document one can own anytime they are outside US borders. 

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4 minutes ago, chipmaster said:

I remember a few years ago when traveling in Europe that when we checked-in to a hotel they'd take the passport, just polich.

 

Ships were the same, surprisingly this time when we did Italy/Greece/Croatia/Montenegro they didn't take our passport, but at the terminal check-in there was a separate check-in for others and a stack of collected passports.  I admired the stack and went wow, hope they don't lose or missplace one.

 

As others noted, if you get left in port, the ship knows, and they will leave the documents with you.   After all they are on the hook so to speak

 

I was thinking that too. I recall our travels all around in Western Europe while serving in the military. We were always asked for our passports at hotels which sometimes presented a bit of a problem as we traveled on military ID without a passport. We did some of our traveling with friends and relatives not in the military and their passports were regularly held by hotels, pensions, and even fremdenzimmers (think pre internet AirB&B).

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26 minutes ago, sloopsailor said:

 

With the ever more restrictive policies of the current administration making it more difficult for people to enter the US, I wouldn't be so reliant on the expectation of assistance for "humanitarian" reasons if someone does not have the proper documents. Recent cases of US citizens being held for weeks or not being allowed to enter due to document problems have been in the news recently. 

 

I know you are a staunch supporter of not wasting money to get a passport for closed loop cruises, but the political winds are blowing in the direction of even more restrictions, both for visitors AND citizens. Things have changed in the last two years and what used to be the norm no longer is. And I don't see it getting better for at least another 1-1/2 years. For US citizens, having a valid US passport is the most important document one can own anytime they are outside US borders. 

Actually I'm a staunch supporter of people using the documentation that makes the best sense for them to use for their individual travel needs. If someone is that worried about the current political environment then they should by all means get a passport. I have read the reports of US citizens being detained and don't see the connection between those cases and someone traveling on a cruise using documentation that is legally allowed (and IIRC at least one of the individuals involved had a valid US passport and was still detained). I also don't see the current climate changing tourism related documentation.

Edited by sparks1093

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