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We were on a Celebrity cruise early last year that saw us leaving Fort Lauderdale and next overnighting in New Orleans, then off to other Caribbean ports before returning to Fort Lauderdale.  I have since read about something called the Jones Act that apparently restricts non US flagged and crewed ships from sailing between two US ports such that non US flagged ships cannot apparently sail directly from Seattle to Alaska, for example, without stopping at one foreign port (in this case, in Canada).

Just curious as to whether this is actually prohibited.

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Well, first expect someone to come along and tell you it's not the Jones act, but many people call it that. 

 

And yes, the rule is followed. I'll let someone that likes to type a lot explain it for you. 

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The Jones Act is for Cargo, The PSVA (Passenger Services Vessel Act 46 U.S.C. § 55103 (b)) is for passengers.

 

No foreign vessels shall transport passengers between ports or places in the United States, either directly or by way of a foreign port.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_Vessel_Services_Act_of_1886

 

Example  Hawaii to LA or (LA to LA) can't be done unless cruises lines stops at Ensenada, Mexico (Foreign Port).

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I’ll give it a try. A lot of people call the passenger vessel services act the Jones act. That’s an error. The Jones act referred to cargo. The PVSA is for passengers.

 

The PVSA prohibits taking on passengers from one US Port and allowing them to disembark in a different US Port without visiting distant foreign ports in between.  
 

A cruise can start in Fort Lauderdale and visit Key West and then return to Fort Lauderdale. Passengers may not disembark in Key West, because that would violate the PVSA.

 

On the left coast, passengers can embark in Los Angeles and visit San Francisco  on the way to Vancouver but they cannot disembark in San Francisco.  
 

it is enforced and there are fines applied.

Edited by cruisestitch
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4 minutes ago, cruisestitch said:

I’ll give it a try. A lot of people call the passenger vessel services act the Jones act. That’s an error. The Jones act referred to cargo. The PVSA is for passengers.

 

The PVSA prohibits taking on passengers from one US Port and allowing them to disembark in a different US Port without visiting distant foreign ports in between.  
 

A cruise can start in Fort Lauderdale and visit Key West and then return to Fort Lauderdale. Passengers may not disembark in Key West, because that would violate the PVSA.

 

On the left coast, passengers can embark in Los Angeles and visit San Francisco  on the way to Vancouver but they cannot disembark in San Francisco.  
 

it is enforced and there are fines applied.

By disembark, you mean leave the ship for good, correct?   They can certainly get off and on.  

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Another example.  A cruise which starts in Fort Lauderdale and ends in Miami must visit a distant foreign port. Aruba is such a distant foreign port.  For the purposes of the PVSA, the Act specifies that Aruba qualifies as a DISTANT foreign port.

 

a cruise which would start in Fort Lauderdale and visits only St Martin would not be allowed because St Martin is not a DISTANT foreign port.

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Your cruise is a closed loop cruise starting and ending in Port Everglades / Fort Lauderdale. A closed loop cruise does not need to go to a distant foreign port so any Caribbean port is o.k. on this route. The PVSA does not permit port stops in the US. So a closed loop cruise can go to the Caribbean and have a port stop in the US - like NOLA or Key West.

 

A cruise starting in one US port and ending in another US port - from Port Everglades to New Orleans (non closed loop) - needs a distant foreign port on it´s route which is only the Southern Caribbean (especially the ABC islands - but not the regular Western or Eastern Caribbean ports). Otherwise it violates the PVSA.

 

The PVSA does also apply to B2B cruises. So you can´t book a cruise from Alaska (let´s say Seward) to Vancouver and a second cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii (or LA or San Diego). This would be regarded as one trip from Seward to Hawaii - between two US ports. Canadian ports are also no distant foreign ports.

 

steamboats

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As I read these posts and realize there is now another monkey wrench thrown into the mix with the possible enforcement of the Jones Act impacting our ability to cruise once we're all vaccinated and the cruise lines are able to sail again,  this famous line from Godfather 3 came to mind "Just when I thought I was out, THEY pulled me back in"!!!

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This PVSA snafu thing just continues to make me laugh....I'm not ROTFLing....but it is funny to me how often it comes up here.   

 

I think somewhere back in time Travel Agents began to mistake the Jones Act for the PVSA and versa vice and it became a crutch excuse during the booking process and it really didn't matter to the unsuspecting customer.    Just a guess.   

 

If US Cruising had a bane of existence this would be it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cruisestitch said:

A cruise can start in Fort Lauderdale and visit Key West and then return to Fort Lauderdale. Passengers may not disembark in Key West, because that would violate the PVSA.

 

I have to throw in one thing... the scenario mentioned above (without any other port mentioned) would only be possibble for a ship registered in the US - so none of the cruise ships we all have in mind. So I guess you took for granted that the cruise involved another port - i.g. Bahamas etc.

 

That´s the reason why Norwegian has one ship registered in the US - the Pride of America.

She´s the only ship able to do the the cruises around the Hawaii islands without touching foreign ports.

 

PS: Writing this I just realized that none of us really mentioned that the whole PVSA only applies to ships not registered in the US.

Edited by Miaminice
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A home run on referencing that article Fouremco! That covers it all.

 

Might be interesting to see how reversing PVSA would impact cruising and itineraries. We’d see a lot more East Cost cruising in and out of some very interesting US ports and don’t have to make a run to a ‘foreign port’? And the US to Hawaii cruises wouldn’t have to go to Ensenada. For us, That bus trip from Ensenada to San Diego was ‘colorful’, the driver got lost and ended up wandering through Tijuana! 

 

Trying a Viking (I know, this is a Celebrity forum!) cruise on the Great Lakes and it starts from a Canadian port, Thunder Bay, which many haven’t heard of......of course I live in Florida so that’s a good reason why, the port looks interesting to go discover. 

 

Den

Edited by Denny01
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On one of the Celebrity related FB pages, a participant was recommending everyone write to their congressman/woman to seek some kind of temporary relief from the PVSA act somehow, so that not being able to go to Canada does not prohibit the entire Alaska cruise season to take place (assuming Canada continues its restrictions which is likely).  It could also allow some fall NE coast cruises (albeit changing them to 7 days or less unless that changes as well).  I don't have high hopes that anything will come of it, but I guess it couldn't hurt.  

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The PVSA is past its sell by date.  If our government was really interested in helping the cruise industry (it's not), or letting its citizens travel freely, they would repeal it.  But the government seems intent on driving the cruise lines into bankruptcy along with lots of restaurants and small businesses.

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44 minutes ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

The PVSA is past its sell by date.  If our government was really interested in helping the cruise industry (it's not), or letting its citizens travel freely, they would repeal it.  But the government seems intent on driving the cruise lines into bankruptcy along with lots of restaurants and small businesses.

As @chengkp75 has pointed out in numerous past threads, both the Jones Act and PVSA have many international ramifications and complications, and just repealing the PVSA would potentially cause more problems than it would solve. The PVSA governs a far greater range of marine activity than just cruising.

 

Foreign cruise lines have always had the option of following NCL's lead and registering one or more of their ships in the US, if they view the PVSA as too big an impediment.

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11 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

As @chengkp75 has pointed out in numerous past threads, both the Jones Act and PVSA have many international ramifications and complications, and just repealing the PVSA would potentially cause more problems than it would solve. The PVSA governs a far greater range of marine activity than just cruising.

 

Foreign cruise lines have always had the option of following NCL's lead and registering one or more of their ships in the US, if they view the PVSA as too big an impediment.

 

And the PVSA is only the first layer of complexity. Crew travel on crew and transit visas as they don't technically work in the United States. To use the same crew, they'd need at least temporary work visas. Probably doable for the senior crew, harder argument to make for many hotel jobs. They'd also now be working in the United States, so they'd be subject to US income tax for that part of their work year.

 

Or you could hire all or mostly U.S. citizens for 90 days of your cruise year, pay them US wages, pay their FICA, meet all USCG requirements, and double your prices. Some of that would be necessary with just a repeal of the PVSA. And I'm going to bet the cruise industry is perfectly happy the PVSA exists and gives them the top cover NOT to make those changes.

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7 hours ago, JRG said:

This PVSA snafu thing just continues to make me laugh....I'm not ROTFLing....but it is funny to me how often it comes up here.   

 

It’s not funny when your cruise is impacted by this legislation.

We embarked  Century in Hawaii and should have disembarked in San Diego after visiting the islands on a 14 night cruise.

On day 10, letters from the Captain were sent to cabins, informing us that we would in fact disembark in Ensenada and be bussed to San Diego. We all had get off the bus and take our hand luggage through the border at Tijuana. On the US side, some of the 30 coaches were impounded due to not being road worthy, because of cracked wind screens etc

I won’t repeat here what some of the passengers had to say about the outdated laws, except that it spoilt an otherwise wonderful cruise.

The ship reached San Diego before the passengers, with only a skeleton crew on board.

Edited by upwarduk
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3 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

The PVSA is past its sell by date.  If our government was really interested in helping the cruise industry (it's not), or letting its citizens travel freely, they would repeal it.  But the government seems intent on driving the cruise lines into bankruptcy along with lots of restaurants and small businesses.

Maybe if the cruise lines were flagged in the U.S. there would be more sympathy, yet they chose to be flagged in foreign country’s to avoid having to pay their workers more and  not have to abide by all the other regulations we have to protect our workers.

There is such a small percentage of the population that cares, it’ll never get changed.

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3 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

The PVSA is past its sell by date.  If our government was really interested in helping the cruise industry (it's not), or letting its citizens travel freely, they would repeal it.  But the government seems intent on driving the cruise lines into bankruptcy along with lots of restaurants and small businesses.

PVSA applies to a whole range of maritime operations, not just large cruise ships.  For example ferries, tour boats, etc   as a result it still does have use and is not past its sell by date.

 

Since Biden just supported the Jones Act in an executive order, I doubt you will see the PVSA go away any time soon.

Edited by nocl
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34 minutes ago, upwarduk said:

It’s not funny when your cruise is impacted by this legislation.

We embarked  Century in Hawaii and should have disembarked in San Diego after visiting the islands on a 14 night cruise.

On day 10, letters from the Captain were sent to cabins, informing us that we would in fact disembark in Ensenada and be bussed to San Diego. We all had get off the bus and take our hand luggage through the border at Tijuana. On the US side, some of the 30 coaches were impounded due to not being road worthy, because of cracked wind screens etc

I won’t repeat here what some of the passengers had to say about the outdated laws, except that it spoilt an otherwise wonderful cruise.

The ship reached San Diego before the passengers, with only a skeleton crew on board.

Blame the cruise line, not the law.  Celebrity  was well aware of the law when it scheduled those cruises and the buses and disembarkation in Mexico was part of the schedule.  They just neglected to let the passengers know how they were actually getting to San Diego.

 

They sold the route first as SD to Hawaii and Hawaii to SD, they changed that after the first couple due to complaints from passengers.  They then added a note in the cruise info on the web site to show that the passengers had to disembark in Mexico.

 

They dropped the route after a year or two.

Edited by nocl
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Yes this is a rule. But it's not a foreign port stop that is required, it's a "distant" foreign port stop. Canada is not a distant foreign port. So you flat out cannot sail from Seattle to Alaska, regardless of stopping in Canada. What you can do is sail from Canada to Seattle or Canada to Alaska. Since you are no longer traveling between two US ports. You are traveling from a Canadian port to a US port.

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