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AAAChamp

Leaving cruise early before final destination

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55 minutes ago, Socalev said:

I recently read a trip review or blog about a couple who threw away that entry form.  When they showed up at the airport to return home without the form, they were sent to an agent to explain and in the end they had to pay a large fine.  


OP: below is a link to an explanation of the entry form (Mexico Visitor Permit -- FMM).   It says that if you arrive by cruise ship, "you'll need to get a visitors permit at your first Mexican port of call."   [This must be fairly new, as we never received any such form on our 2017 Panama Canal cruise, which called at several Mexican ports.]  But while this article states that you must surrender the second half of the form when you fly out or leave by land, it doesn't say how the process works for cruise ship passengers -- are passengers given that second half of the form upon entry (so they have it to give back)?  I wonder about this because the article doesn't mention surrendering that second half when you leave by ship.   If cruise ship passengers do get that second part of the form, it would seem they would have what they need to fly out if that's how they leave Mexico.  (Still doesn't address the issue of getting NCL's approval on all of this.) 

 

https://www.mexperience.com/your-mexican-tourist-permit-fmm

 

Does anyone have any recent experience with the FMM as a cruise ship passenger arriving in Mexico and leaving on a cruise ship?  When/where did you get the FMM, were you given half of the  entry form to hold on to while in Mexico and, if so, when/where did you have to surrender it?   It might be helpful for the OP to know that.

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@Turtles06 I was just on a Mexican Riviera cruise.  We never saw that form.  That may only apply if planning to leave by some method other than cruise ship.

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9 minutes ago, hallux said:

@Turtles06 I was just on a Mexican Riviera cruise.  We never saw that form.  That may only apply if planning to leave by some method other than cruise ship.

 

Thanks.  I have to say, I've never seen anyone mention that form on here in terms of a cruise. . . 

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3 hours ago, larry_s_taco said:

I would suggest checking in with the US Embassy & Consulates office in Mexico. They should be able to help you with your question. They are the people you would contact if you missed the ship, or had to have assistance flying back to the US in case of emergency.  Here is the web site: 

https://mx.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/hermosillo/american-citizen-services/   It has a lot of information on it. 

You can contact them at 844-528-6611 or email them at HERMOACS@state.gov  

 

A Mexican embassy in the US is way more likely to know the correct answers on how Mexican authorities would handle this. 

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On 11/6/2019 at 6:29 AM, CruiserBruce said:

First of all, it would an Immigration issue, not a customs issue.

 

Secondly, when you arrive by air into Mexico, you fill out a form, and keep one of the copies for when you leave the country, and turn that copy in as you leave. If you come in by ship, you never fill out that form and don't have a copy to give up when you leave. So that would be an issue. I am sure there is a solution, but I don't know what it is.

This may be a technicality, but I have been to Mexico many times by air, and I have never gotten a copy of a form that I needed to turn in when I left the country. 

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12 minutes ago, BTHodgeman said:

This may be a technicality, but I have been to Mexico many times by air, and I have never gotten a copy of a form that I needed to turn in when I left the country. 

 

I don't know when you last traveled, but it seems to be far more than a "technicality" according to the other comments above, not to mention this article, published Jan. 28, 2019:

 

If you fly to Mexico, air crews on international flights hand-out the visitor permit forms before the flight lands, and they are also available at Mexican airports, near the immigration desks. . . 

Keep Your Visitors Permit (FMM) Safe

Once completed, the immigration official at the port of entry will stamp both halves of the form and hand you the smaller half, stamped with the date you entered the country.  It’s important to keep this document safe, as you will need to surrender it when you leave Mexico.

If you are departing Mexico on a flight, your airline will insist you surrender your stamped half of the Visitors Permit to them before they allow you to board.

Lost your Visitors Permit?

If you lose your Visitors Permit (FMM) while you’re in Mexico, you will need to visit one of the local immigration offices situated in towns and cities across the country, or at the airport, and apply for a replacement before you can leave.  This will involve some form-filling and filing, and a trip to a local bank to pay your permit replacement fee (about US$40) before you return to the immigration office to receive your FMM replacement.

 

https://www.mexperience.com/your-mexican-tourist-permit-fmm

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36 minutes ago, BTHodgeman said:

This may be a technicality, but I have been to Mexico many times by air, and I have never gotten a copy of a form that I needed to turn in when I left the country. 

It applied to us in March of this year.

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I seem to recall some kind of form I received and had to hold onto for turn in upon departure when I was in Mexico for work in 2015.

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Imagine if the man had a heart attack and was hospitalized in Mazatlan, and the ship left without him. Upon discharge he would be in the same situation regarding how he got into Mexico and how he would need to leave.

 

The Mexican authorities, not the cruise line, will have the answers here. I would not expect the cruise line to facilitate this for the OP - I think he needs to take full responsibility.

 

At each port there is an agent whose job it is to know the local laws and to handle port matters for NCL. It should be easy to find out the agent info. It is printed in the freestyle daily. Contact the agent and work with them.

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2 hours ago, salty dingo said:

Imagine if the man had a heart attack and was hospitalized in Mazatlan, and the ship left without him. Upon discharge he would be in the same situation regarding how he got into Mexico and how he would need to leave.

 

The Mexican authorities, not the cruise line, will have the answers here. I would not expect the cruise line to facilitate this for the OP - I think he needs to take full responsibility.

 

At each port there is an agent whose job it is to know the local laws and to handle port matters for NCL. It should be easy to find out the agent info. It is printed in the freestyle daily. Contact the agent and work with them.

Yes, but this is a different situation from where someone wants to willingly leave the ship. In the case of a medical emergency, the port agent will work with immigration to get the patient home again. In the OP's case, they are looking to make arrangements for this ahead of time, which may or may not be allowed.

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This is not a Jones act violation but intentionally disembarking to fly out of Mexico could definitely become an issue. The other issue is that NCL routinely denies these requests not because they are not possible, but because it's extra paperwork for the customs/immigration that they do on their end and they don't want to. I've seen several threads on the NCL board for someone wanting to disembark early or embark late like this request when other cruise lines have allowed it and they report that NCL denied it. So, I'm not surprised that they are doing it here, and frankly, I would be surprised if they ever say yes. Has the cruise already been booked? If not, can it be changed? I know that Royal has a process for this now where they charge an extra fee for that paperwork hassle but they are willing to do it.

 

Your other option would be to contact that Mexican consulate, as suggested, and see if there's any way to enter the country legally on their end from a cruise ship that can be arranged by you, and not the cruise line.

 

I'm not a fan of the idea of just disembarking and taking your chances. Yes, people leave cruises mid cruise for emergencies or miss the ship. But it'll be a clue to the officials that that's not what happened when you present a ticket that was purchased ahead of time, don't you think? Intentionally skirting immigration laws isn't a great idea.

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6 minutes ago, sanger727 said:

This is not a Jones act violation

Nothing involving an early disembarkation from a cruise ship on a US itinerary is a Jones Act violation. The Jones Act applies to the shipment of cargo. The law governing ship passengers is the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which was enacted many years before the Jones Act...and yes, this early disembarkation isn't a PVSA violation either simply because it would occur in a foreign country. 

Edited by njhorseman

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I can only speak about our own experience on a Celebrity Med cruise in 2013. My daughter had to leave the cruise early Istanbul because of work commitments in the Netherlands. After calling Celebrity, I was instructed as the travel agent on record to submit a request to the Emergency Team including the specifics on the cruise (date, itinerary, confirmation numbers etc. ) and explain why she needed to leave early.  Also, had to have her return flight booked and include all of the flight information as well as proof of booking. Also, it was her responsibility to have her Turkish visa ahead of time. We made sure everything was in order and had to meet with the head of Guest Services on the ship. They were trying to make her buy another visa though she had already purchased. In the end, it all worked out, but you definitely need to arrange ahead of time.

Should have added before hitting submit, the request was approved and they sent a letter. It was called  Pre Downline request so this is how you should word with NCL.

Edited by jdvmd
Need to add more information

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Thank you all for this great information!  I am still trying to work on getting signed approval from my contact at NCL.  Everywhere I've called at NCL (Executive Offices, Corporate, Guest Services) there has been a "no" they will not give me written authorization.  I will try the Pre Downline request route as stated above (than you!!).  I am also going to the Mexican Consulate and trying that avenue.  I've talked to the US Embassy and Consulate's office in Mexico and they told me all he needs is a US Passport to get on the flight. They also directed me to the Mexican Consulate if I still felt unsure  and wanted to know the exact law.  The Mexican Consulate in my home town isn't answering their phone, so I will try in person.  Thank you for your continued feedback.  I am listening to it all!!

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I understand this is a family reunion. I would suggest having your ds rearrange his commitment or skip the cruise. Seems like a lot of stress for you. Best of luck in getting it resolved! 

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18 hours ago, AAAChamp said:

Thank you all for this great information!  I am still trying to work on getting signed approval from my contact at NCL.  Everywhere I've called at NCL (Executive Offices, Corporate, Guest Services) there has been a "no" they will not give me written authorization.  I will try the Pre Downline request route as stated above (than you!!).  I am also going to the Mexican Consulate and trying that avenue.  I've talked to the US Embassy and Consulate's office in Mexico and they told me all he needs is a US Passport to get on the flight. They also directed me to the Mexican Consulate if I still felt unsure  and wanted to know the exact law.  The Mexican Consulate in my home town isn't answering their phone, so I will try in person.  Thank you for your continued feedback.  I am listening to it all!!

At the end of the day, NCL needs to allow you to disembark. Not the American consulate. Not the Mexican embassy. You can have all the American or Mexican paperwork you want. You need NCL to approve it and so far the answer is “no”. 

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2 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

At the end of the day, NCL needs to allow you to disembark. Not the American consulate. Not the Mexican embassy. You can have all the American or Mexican paperwork you want. You need NCL to approve it and so far the answer is “no”. 

And if NCL is going to allow it, I believe NCL will assist in making sure it's done legally which will have made all the calls and emails extra effort and headache you didn't need.

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Not to hijack this thread, but I’m thinking about debarking early in Florence on a Mediterranean cruise.   It leaves from Rome, and Florence is the very last port of call.  Most excursions seem to give 4.5 hours in Florence, which isn’t long, so rather than getting back on the ship and sailing to Rome for official disembarkation the next morning, then taking a train back to Florence, it SEEMS like it would be easier to just stay in Florence.  Does anybody have any advice or thoughts on this?  I haven’t called NCL yet as this is just a thought swirling in my head and the cruise is a loooong way away (May 2021 😢 )

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14 minutes ago, Cruisin4fun_vacationtime said:

Not to hijack this thread, but I’m thinking about debarking early in Florence on a Mediterranean cruise.  

 

Except that you just did.  😉  And since your question really seems to be about the wisdom of doing this, a good place for this discussion would be in the Italy port of call forum. 

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I have done this twice; once on NCL and once on Princess.  I left a 10 day California Coastal Princess cruise originating in Vancouver on the 7th day on San Francisco.  I arranged it with Princess ahead of time and there was absolutely no problem.  They told me as long as I started in Vancouver it was considered my "foreign port" and I was fine to disembark. 

The NCL cruise was the newsworthy and ill-fated 14 day Iceland cruise from last month which had skipped several ports due to Hurricane Lorenzo.  I just went to the desk on day 6 and told them I would be leaving in 48 hours and would like my passport back which they had taken from everyone at the beginning of the cruise.  They told me I could get off in Alesund and did not need to clear any customs/immigration, that they would clear me at the desk upon disembarkation and that I was good to go.  I had no problem flying out of Alesund, but was stopped for extensive questioning at passport control flight connection point Oslo on to London as they seemed very confused as to why I did not have a passport stamp from the cruise ship, and why did I leave early.  They asked me for some proof that I had been on the cruise, and since I already tossed the cruise contract upon departing, I had only my cruise card.  After some lengthy back and forth between passport control officers, they finally allowed me through with a shrug.  I think it was more a factor of an inexperienced young passport officer than any wrongdoing on the part of NCL letting me off early.  Like people here have said, it is not a prison ship, it is your vacation, but be sure to get the correct information to avoid any hassle.  Unfortunately, from my experience, calling NCL five times can get you five different answers.

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It should also be noted that what is allowed on a European cruise is completely different than on a closed loop cruise of of a US port.

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Thank you all and also I appreciate your post of recent experience Kiwi57.  I have talked to my NCL contact, guest services and another supervisor at NCL.  They all have told me it is not a prison ship and a passenger is able to leave whenever they wish, but they will not give me written authorization as they have stopped doing this a few years ago.  I asked how they clear customs when they get into Mexico and was told by someone that NCL gives port authorities a manifest of all passenger upon arrival.  I have asked numerous times what happens when we get to our first port in Mexico...how does the Mexican government know we are there?  The NCL contacts are saying they don't know because they only handle the front end booking of the trip that those answers we will have to find out when we arrive on the ship and ask when we get there.  I have told them I can't wait to ask the ship and would like to be reassured the procedure long before I arrive, so my son is not detained at customs.  They again assured me this happens all the time and he can check out of the ship and go on his way.  

I did go to the Mexican Consulate in my home town and they do not have any answers either, other than he does not need a tourist visa and they gave me the Mexican customs number in Mexico City to ask them.  They said we should ask our cruiseline, they should have the answers.  Of course I know NCL has the answers but does not want to do the paperwork or spend the time to help with something they say they no longer do. 

I do know there is an FMM (visitor card) that is given when you fly into Mexico or drive into Mexico and you fill it out stating your reason for being in Mexico and immigration stamps it when you arrive and gives you the other half to keep until you depart.  No one seems to know if you can get an FMM for a ship.  I read above that the NCL daily newsletter which gives you all the activities for the day provides you the port authority information to contact when you are in port.  I'm thinking that is how we get the FMM or maybe even the cruise ship has the FMM if I could get an email to ask guest services on the ship.  In the meantime does anyone that has been to Cabo remember seeing an immigration office as you disembark for your daily activities?  Has anyone recently traveled on this cruise and still have their daily newsletters with this information? Thank you again for all your remarks above!!

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21 minutes ago, AAAChamp said:

Thank you all and also I appreciate your post of recent experience Kiwi57.  I have talked to my NCL contact, guest services and another supervisor at NCL.  They all have told me it is not a prison ship and a passenger is able to leave whenever they wish, but they will not give me written authorization as they have stopped doing this a few years ago.  I asked how they clear customs when they get into Mexico and was told by someone that NCL gives port authorities a manifest of all passenger upon arrival.  I have asked numerous times what happens when we get to our first port in Mexico...how does the Mexican government know we are there?  The NCL contacts are saying they don't know because they only handle the front end booking of the trip that those answers we will have to find out when we arrive on the ship and ask when we get there.  I have told them I can't wait to ask the ship and would like to be reassured the procedure long before I arrive, so my son is not detained at customs.  They again assured me this happens all the time and he can check out of the ship and go on his way.  

I did go to the Mexican Consulate in my home town and they do not have any answers either, other than he does not need a tourist visa and they gave me the Mexican customs number in Mexico City to ask them.  They said we should ask our cruiseline, they should have the answers.  Of course I know NCL has the answers but does not want to do the paperwork or spend the time to help with something they say they no longer do. 

I do know there is an FMM (visitor card) that is given when you fly into Mexico or drive into Mexico and you fill it out stating your reason for being in Mexico and immigration stamps it when you arrive and gives you the other half to keep until you depart.  No one seems to know if you can get an FMM for a ship.  I read above that the NCL daily newsletter which gives you all the activities for the day provides you the port authority information to contact when you are in port.  I'm thinking that is how we get the FMM or maybe even the cruise ship has the FMM if I could get an email to ask guest services on the ship.  In the meantime does anyone that has been to Cabo remember seeing an immigration office as you disembark for your daily activities?  Has anyone recently traveled on this cruise and still have their daily newsletters with this information? Thank you again for all your remarks above!!

 

I have traveled to Mexico for a land trip before and remember reading several reports on tripadvisor of people losing their FMM or simply discarding it because they didn't realize they needed to hold onto it. They are able to have that replaced at the airport before they board their flight for a fee. You may be able to do that.

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