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BeeSkip

Leave cruise early/ customs Immigration in Saint John's

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Hello...We have a situation that we may need to leave our cruise a few days early in Saint John's and then fly home to the states.  We inquired and our request was denied.  How can they deny?  Canada and US  citizens should be able to pass freely.  Does anyone have any reason why we would not be allowed to leave the ship?  I don't want to press the issue this week with all the Dorian issues going on.  Any information would be helpful.  Thank you.  Bee

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What is normal itinerary?

 

Part of the issue might be that Saint John's isn't equipped for customs/immigration. When leaving the ship, you need to be processed to enter Canada. This is different from a cruise stop.

Assuming your cruise is a round trip US, this changes the whole cruise from closed loop to open jaw (even if you are the only ones getting off). This can cause some immigration issues when the ship returns (because the manifest is different). Some lines don't want to allow it. Note, there are exceptions to this for emergencies.

 

So yes, the cruise line is in their rights to deny your request to depart early.

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Simply because it's too much hassle to arrange a special immigration & customs experience for you to leave the ship in a port that doesn't normally provide this.

 

Of course you CAN just walk off whenever you like with all your stuff - if the ship crew tries to stop you that would be wrongful arrest regardless of your citizenship (assuming you have settled your bills before leaving!) - but then you will face the problem that you may not be legally entering Canada appropriately (while you will do Immigration at your Port of Entry, whether this is Saint John or a prior port, you may not be square on your Customs declarations as the expectation is either to do this at the end if it finishes in Canada or not even bother if it's a RT cruise ending in a US port). Otherwise next time you try to cross the Canadian border you'll be in for an unpleasant surprise, involving at the very least a delay and extra questions while your story is checked out and at worst being denied entry - US citizens have absolutely zero guaranteed right of of free passage into Canada ever I'm afraid, like every sovereign country only Canadian citizens must be allowed home.

 

Secondly you're breaking your agreement with the cruise line (read your contract) - any costs they incur to deal with the extra paperwork etc. can be passed along to you, they can blackball you from ever cruising with them again. If this is a RT cruise, your leaving also means the passenger manifest is different on return as it was on departure - so this means additional scrutiny by CBP which may delay all your fellow pax on arrival back to the USA as the 'closed loop' has a crack in it.

 

So basically if this is a real emergency, of course you just settle your tab and leave the ship - making sure to check with the port authority whether you need to speak to CBSA about anything before you just wander off. If it's a dying relative type situation, I'm sure both the authorities and cruise line will be sympathetic and you should have minimal trouble.

 

NB: there is no Saint Johns. You're either talking about St Johns, Newfoundland or Saint John New Brunswick (they are ALWAYS written that way, contraction/plural and full/singular, precisely to avoid confusion) and the availability of flights home will be quite different in both (you can drive elsewhere in Canada or over the border from NB in a rental to access way more airports, but NF is an island with relatively low flight numbers and only a small number of ferries as alternatives to get you elsewhere). If it's St Johns NF then honestly I'd recommend cancelling the cruise if you MUST be home quickly because it could be a major hassle getting anywhere fast out of there...

 

Edit - whoops, some redundant info as 1025 beat me to the punch.

Edited by martincath

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Have you considered checking to see if you can leave at the port prior to or after the one you’ve asked about?

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On 9/4/2019 at 9:22 PM, BeeSkip said:

Hello...We have a situation that we may need to leave our cruise a few days early in Saint John's and then fly home to the states.  We inquired and our request was denied.  How can they deny?  Canada and US  citizens should be able to pass freely.  Does anyone have any reason why we would not be allowed to leave the ship?  I don't want to press the issue this week with all the Dorian issues going on.  Any information would be helpful.  Thank you.  Bee

 

I wonder what would happen if I just got off my cruise ship as a Canadian in Portland and never returned, even though I was supposed to truly disembark in New York?  Honestly think about this.  We expect that Americans in Canada follow the rules of the cruise ship and the rights that our respective immigration bureaus allow cruise ships.  I'm sorry if you have a bad situation, but please realize you are entering a foreign country here under some fairly strict rules.

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2 hours ago, WorkerBee74 said:

 

I wonder what would happen if I just got off my cruise ship as a Canadian in Portland and never returned, even though I was supposed to truly disembark in New York?  Honestly think about this.  We expect that Americans in Canada follow the rules of the cruise ship and the rights that our respective immigration bureaus allow cruise ships.  I'm sorry if you have a bad situation, but please realize you are entering a foreign country here under some fairly strict rules.

 

From one Bee to another Bee

 

Being the American OP, just know I would never violate immigration rules of any country. There is no way I would ever put myself in the situation of entering a country illegally.  I was just stating the situation at hand and the what if’s in an attempt to gather information.   Wondering if anyone ever had such a situation?  

 

As an update, we can disembark in  Halifax but not Saint John.  It has something to do with the local immigration facilities there.   I was not able to assertain why it’s s flat no in Saint John...I spoke with Rccl

and Canadian border security regarding the early disembarkation.   Case closed. 

 

Bee

 

 

 

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On 9/12/2019 at 10:15 PM, WorkerBee74 said:

 

I wonder what would happen if I just got off my cruise ship as a Canadian in Portland and never returned, even though I was supposed to truly disembark in New York?  Honestly think about this.  We expect that Americans in Canada follow the rules of the cruise ship and the rights that our respective immigration bureaus allow cruise ships.  I'm sorry if you have a bad situation, but please realize you are entering a foreign country here under some fairly strict rules.

This scenario presents a different problem. The PVSA doesn't permit foreign flag vessels to transport passengers from one U.S. port to another without a stop in a distant foreign port. The cruise line would be fined & would probably pass the fine onto you. 

I'm glad the OP found a solution that will work. 

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