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LandlockedCruiser01

"Did you meet anyone on the ship?" question in Customs

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9 hours ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

I'm curious to know what pattern?  Like, why was I nearly strip-searched in Port Canaveral, but practically ignored in Long Beach? 

Patterns in behaviour that you might not even be aware of, things you don't even know you might have been doing.  Where one walks, what they do waiting in line, how they hold their bag, where they put their hands, etc, etc, etc.  Then again, it could just be the whim of the agent, or it could truly be a random selection. 

 

Everyone sees patterns about things they do on the  job, and they are usually invisible to other people who haven't seen those same things happening again and again, over years.......especially in jobs that involve dealing with the public.   That can be waiters, bus drivers, bartenders, cops, or customs agents.

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34 minutes ago, brillohead said:

Things that I would assume a Customs agent would be paying attention to -- type of clothing, mannerisms/actions, type/number of bags, demographics, etc.

 

The Port Canaveral agent said it was because I was cruising alone.  He looked p*ssed when I first told him that; I got a little scared for my safety, to be honest.  Then I was led to the back room, and the proverbial strip-search started.  I thought it was funny (just not funny ha-ha) how he calmed down a little when I told him my past travels included Israel, my Birthright Israel trip in particular.  Maybe the guard was Jewish.

 

So I truly expected the same thing on my next cruise 6 years later.  Turned out, the agent pretty much ignored me.  All he did was hold up my passport next to my face.  I wonder if he saw my Customs record from 6 years prior, which said I was no threat.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

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1 hour ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

So I truly expected the same thing on my next cruise 6 years later.  Turned out, the agent pretty much ignored me.  All he did was hold up my passport next to my face.  I wonder if he saw my Customs record from 6 years prior, which said I was no threat.


Doubtful that he saw your prior record, more likely that they had already pre-screened the ship and knew that the likelihood of problems was minuscule. 

I've seen a drastic change in "entrance interviews" just between 2013 and now.  I think it's almost entirely computer algorithms and sniffer-dogs these days, rather than agent-knowledge. 

 

That probably explains why they use facial recognition tablets with no human interaction at all in some ports... if you meet certain requirements and the dog didn't alert to your luggage coming off the ship, there just isn't a cost/benefit reason to take a lot more (expensive and time-consuming) manpower to clear a ship.  

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11 hours ago, brillohead said:

That probably explains why they use facial recognition tablets with no human interaction at all in some ports... if you meet certain requirements and the dog didn't alert to your luggage coming off the ship, there just isn't a cost/benefit reason to take a lot more (expensive and time-consuming) manpower to clear a ship.  

 

Interesting.  I still dealt with a human agent on my last cruise, but the face time with him was maybe 15 seconds.  He probably compared my passport against some government database that puts Facebook to shame, and found nothing.  Maybe after my next cruise, I'll find myself staring into a camera instead.  As for dogs, I don't recall seeing them in Long Beach or other embarkation ports, just human agents.

 

I did get ambushed by an enthusiastic yellow lab in Ensenada, though.  He and his handler were looking for smuggled fruits.  Thanks to Cruise Critic, I already knew what to do: take off my backpack and hold it where the dog can sniff it.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

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I took five cruises this year (two back-to-back, so seven total legs), and I'm about 50/50 on either doing facial recognition with a tablet or seeing a human.  When I did see a human, there was no computer/database involved at all -- just a person standing there (not even behind a desk, just standing out in the open) who looked at my passport page and my face and said some version of "welcome back" or "have a nice day".  

I think most of the dog-drug-sniffing happens down below, with the checked luggage.

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