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Just now, nocl said:

You do know that there is a reason why most cruise ships sending people to Anchorage actually dock in Seward and Whittier, not at Anchorage itself.  The Cook inlet where Anchorage is located has some rather interesting tides.  The port in Anchorage itself is a rather small industrial port. So I doubt all the cruise ships going to and from Alaska could port in Anchorage itself.

Yes, I’m well aware of that although I didn’t specify that the improved transportation links I mentioned were Anchorage to Seward and Whittier, not ANC airport to the local dock.  Currently, thousands of people make their way in and out of Anchorage to embark and disembark cruise ships (just not in Anchorage itself as you’ve rightly noted).  A few more hotels and some beefed up cruise oriented infrastructure and the cruise lines could likely consider moving away from using Vancouver and spend less time on a seven day Alaska cruise doing transits to and from southern BC in favour of a port stop in Prince Rupert, if they’ll take them.

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Frankly, I would really prefer a 7 day Alaska cruise rt Anchorage.  The inside passage was disappointing (calm but not as scenic as advertised).  Anchorage has the airport and hotel infrastructure in place, and the trains and buses to get people to the ships in Whittier and Seward [maybe one to start the cruise and the other to end for variety?]

 

I know all about the PSVA, and accept @chengkp75's explanations of why it isn't likely to change – but I can still hope.

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41 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Frankly, I would really prefer a 7 day Alaska cruise rt Anchorage.  The inside passage was disappointing (calm but not as scenic as advertised).  Anchorage has the airport and hotel infrastructure in place, and the trains and buses to get people to the ships in Whittier and Seward [maybe one to start the cruise and the other to end for variety?]

 

I know all about the PSVA, and accept @chengkp75's explanations of why it isn't likely to change – but I can still hope.


Then fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks and then rent a car or take the Alaska Railroad or buses around. Why bother with the cruise? 

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3 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

I was indeed referring to the US built clause. We seem to agree that abolishing that would be nice for constituents. Apparently there's even more money on the other side for that part than what big agriculture is willing to offer. 

 

Regarding the flag and ownership. It's hard for me to see that a ship owned by a Swiss company, flagged in Malta, sailing from Hawaii to New York, is somehow more dangerous to the Port of New York than when the very same ship arrives from Rotterdam. I can see that crew might sleep better, the ship is maintained better, etc. on an all American ship as those standards are compensated by higher prices without foreign competition that has lower standards. But is there any data that shows that all those non-US ships arriving each day pose a big threat that doesn't exist for coast wise transport because the owner is an American?  

 

Imagine the harm to the US Airline industry if foreign companies were allowed to fly between US airports.  I know it is not exactly the same, but it is an example that makes it is easier to understand the potential harm.

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3 hours ago, nocl said:

Here is a reference to the bill (now you have)

https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/107th-congress/senate-report/47/1

 


S. 127--United States Cruise Vessel Act

    S. 127 would authorize the Secretary of Transportation to 
issue certificates of documentation with temporary coastwise 
endorsements for foreign-built cruise vessels under certain 
conditions.

I read that bill and realize that the cruise lines must have thought about it as a joke. No cruise line would agree to such limitations as it would be incredibly expensive to do so.

 

Some of the stipulations:

There was a 2 year window to agree with this bill.

The cruise ships must be owned by Americans.

If they were to, for instance, agree to operate 5 foreign made ships then they would have to have a new, larger one, built in America, within the first 5 years and then another one every 2 years to replace their foreign built ships. 

This is the reason that there are no cruise ships being built in America. Because it is too expensive.

 

When there was no positive feedback from any group willing to meet these terms, the bill was dropped.

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1 hour ago, Charles4515 said:


Then fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks and then rent a car or take the Alaska Railroad or buses around. Why bother with the cruise? 

Because you can't drive to Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, etc.

 

And – I like cruising.

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8 hours ago, Charles4515 said:


Then fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks and then rent a car or take the Alaska Railroad or buses around. Why bother with the cruise? 

 

Exactly. Cruises are awesome. We love them. Thousands of other people love them. I think everyone I have ever spoken to about their Alaskan cruise said it was just about their favorite travel experience of their life. Even if the ship they sailed on was crap. The scenery is unique and indescribably gorgeous and possibly disappearing. Got it. Alaska cruise is definitely a solid option on the ol' bucket list.

But we also (gasp) take other types of vacations, or used to anyway.  You can fly or drive to a destination and from there, either plant at a base hotel/rental and fan out around the area on daily jaunts, or motor around to different overnight stops.  Frankly I've long wondered if we would prefer to visit Alaska only by the short timeframe given on cruise stops - assuming we can't take the time necessary for a multi-day add on tour before or after - or whether we should just fly into Anchorage, rent a car and do the rest on our own, like we have done many times on many other vacations.

Edited by KmomChicago
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Interesting conversation but I don't see the CDC making any real move to allow sailings in US waters either.  Their current restrictions are effective through Nov.  Yes I know there is the conditional sail order which provides a carrot for sailing before then but given zero reported progress so far I think chances of an Alaska season are very slim just from a health prospective.

 

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The employment part of this is the greatest piece. 

If crew had to get green cards or temporary work visas, they would also have to be paid US minimum wages.

That would probably put the cost of a cruise out of reach for most people. 

And allowing cruise lines to get waivers for crew would not go over well with other industries who would rightfully cry unfair. 

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13 minutes ago, morechances said:

The employment part of this is the greatest piece. 

If crew had to get green cards or temporary work visas, they would also have to be paid US minimum wages.

That would probably put the cost of a cruise out of reach for most people. 

And allowing cruise lines to get waivers for crew would not go over well with other industries who would rightfully cry unfair. 

Add to this that getting a work visa requires, typically, a specialized skill, that is in short supply in the US.  I think our maritime labor unions would call foul if tens of thousands of work visas were issued for jobs that many US citizens are capable of filling.

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16 hours ago, markeb said:

 

Irrelevant.

 

Relevant question: Can you fly Qantas (or KAL, JAL, Air Canada, BA, Lufthansa, etc.) from LA to San Francisco? No. You'll be on a US flagged carrier: AA, Delta, United, etc. 

 

Can you fly United from Frankfurt to Milan. No. You'll be on Lufthansa, or one of their Italian codeshares that can fly within the EU.

 

The ONLY route I'm aware of that allows a non flagged air carrier to fly in country is Melbourne to Sydney. There are probably others, but they're very rare.

 

This is not unique to the cruise industry. You can theoretically fly Ensenada or Vancouver to LA on any of those airlines, although they probably don't have those routes. But you can't fly a non US flagged carrier (for tax, immigration, and other reasons) within the US.

 

 

Interesting points about airlines and international routes.  And code-shares with them being common place at least for many flights I have travelled.  So can cruise ships have more than one flag?  Or can they have something akin to how the airline industry does it with code-shares?

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5 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

Interesting points about airlines and international routes.  And code-shares with them being common place at least for many flights I have travelled.  So can cruise ships have more than one flag?  Or can they have something akin to how the airline industry does it with code-shares?

From what I understand about code sharing, there must be one operator that has the appropriate operating permissions for the flight (i.e. the right to fly into/out of each airport).  I don't see where the cruise lines would have a viable partner, unless they joined with someone like American Cruise Lines.

 

Also, airlines that wish to code share must be approved by the DOT, on a "benefit to the public" basis, and there must be a reciprocal agreement with the other nation (so, technically the Bahamas would need to agree to allow US cruise ships to operate there), and the equipment must meet FAA requirements (so foreign cruise ships would need to meet USCG regulations, which they don't).

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26 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Add to this that getting a work visa requires, typically, a specialized skill, that is in short supply in the US.  I think our maritime labor unions would call foul if tens of thousands of work visas were issued for jobs that many US citizens are capable of filling.

And if the cruise industry was somehow exempt for the year, airlines would be demanding the same allowances.

That would effectively kill the jobs of any US flight crews. Thousands of lost jobs( not that this is not already an issue, but those are hopefully less temporary losses) 

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12 hours ago, jagoffee said:

Imagine the harm to the US Airline industry if foreign companies were allowed to fly between US airports.  I know it is not exactly the same, but it is an example that makes it is easier to understand the potential harm.

 

Objection overruled.

 

Drafting a change or exemption to the PVSA would be exclusively for cruises as they are being discussed here.

 

It would not be drafted to allow other industries to capitalize on such an exemption.

 

Edited by JRG
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37 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

Interesting points about airlines and international routes.  And code-shares with them being common place at least for many flights I have travelled.  So can cruise ships have more than one flag?  Or can they have something akin to how the airline industry does it with code-shares?

 

How the airlines do it really wouldn't help. The code share system when it involves foreign flagged carriers is designed largely for the convenience of the traveler, and to allow alliances of carriers to cover large parts of the world. The foreign flagged carrier does not operate in the United States, just like the foreign flagged passenger vessel doesn't transport passengers between United States ports.

 

Using the Lufthansa to United example, Lufthansa lands (really doesn't matter if you're flying a LH ticket or a UA ticket with code share) in the US, everyone clears customs and immigration, the crew goes on crew rest, the non-US LH crew is on a crew visa and the plane gets prepared for the next flight to Frankfurt or Munich. Those on a crew visa have up to 29 days to leave the US, but they can't work while they're here (including flying a United code share flight). Passengers connecting on get on a US flagged carrier (United) which can transport them within the US. The code share lets you buy one ticket, and check your bags through; it doesn't allow Lufthansa to transport passengers within the US. United to Frankfurt to Milan looks the same, just in reverse and now the US crew is on crew visas to the EU and can't work the Frankfurt to Milan leg.

 

Other than the US built requirements, the basic requirements are almost identical to the PVSA. The  build requirements are generally advantageous to all sides on some level (Boeing jets can fly in Europe; Airbus jets fly in the US, Embraer is flown everywhere, etc.). And the concept of distant foreign port really doesn't apply.

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3 minutes ago, JRG said:

 

Objection overruled.

 

Drafting a change or exemption to the PVSA would be exclusively for cruises as they are being discussed here.

 

It would not be drafted to allow other industries to capitalize on such an exemption.

 

 

And that would last less than 10 minutes in committee before a poison pill amendment came in from one of the states with a major international airline hub.

 

And, again, the PVSA really isn't the problem; it's not easy, but that's a relatively simple change, even though there's no will to do it. Immigration and taxes are the actual issue.

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13 minutes ago, JRG said:

 

Objection overruled.

 

Drafting a change or exemption to the PVSA would be exclusively for cruises as they are being discussed here.

 

It would not be drafted to allow other industries to capitalize on such an exemption.

 

You can draft away to your heart's content, but when consideration is given to the proposed change or exemption, your exclusivity will go out the window.

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11 minutes ago, markeb said:

Immigration and taxes are the actual issue.

 

Thanks,  we know this,  believe it or not.

 

I'd bet my '69 Goldtop that there are other issues too.  

 

 

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15 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

I was indeed referring to the US built clause. We seem to agree that abolishing that would be nice for constituents. Apparently there's even more money on the other side for that part than what big agriculture is willing to offer. 

 

Regarding the flag and ownership. It's hard for me to see that a ship owned by a Swiss company, flagged in Malta, sailing from Hawaii to New York, is somehow more dangerous to the Port of New York than when the very same ship arrives from Rotterdam. I can see that crew might sleep better, the ship is maintained better, etc. on an all American ship as those standards are compensated by higher prices without foreign competition that has lower standards. But is there any data that shows that all those non-US ships arriving each day pose a big threat that doesn't exist for coast wise transport because the owner is an American?  

 

 

14 minutes ago, JRG said:

 

Objection overruled.

 

Drafting a change or exemption to the PVSA would be exclusively for cruises as they are being discussed here.

 

It would not be drafted to allow other industries to capitalize on such an exemption.

 

I was responding to the above comment about why a foreign owned and operated cargo vessel is not allowed to transport cargo from Hawaii to New York. Or more likely Hawaii to CA.  The airline example is easier to understand.  I was not taking a position concerning foreign flagged and operated cruise ships operating from one US port to another.  

I feel different about the cruise situation. The law has somewhat inadvertently  created a great business and many jobs for Canada and Ensenada.  If I had the power, I would create waivers to eliminate the need to visit those ports and bring that Business and jobs to US ports.  Let those ports compete with other US ports on an even playing field. I am not sure that many cruisers would be upset if cruises did not start, end, or visit ports in Canada.  The inside passage might be a legal challenge.  If it was not for this particular requirement of the PVSA, Canadian cruise business would be greatly reduced.  

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10 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

I feel different about the cruise situation. The law has somewhat inadvertently  created a great business and many jobs for Canada and Ensenada.  If I had the power, I would create waivers to eliminate the need to visit those ports and bring that Business and jobs to US ports.

 

OK I see what you are saying.  I very much agree and I brought this up a few months ago in one of the PVSA threads.   I called it the milkshake theory and it really shook some posters up.

 

Without assigning blame,   the law has caused an inadvertent but unequitable distribution of wealth between the ports involved,   and it has hurt the U.S Port regions economically and will continue to do so.

 

Other posters were using the airline example as an example too and that was complicating the discussion.

Edited by JRG
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5 hours ago, KmomChicago said:

Frankly I've long wondered if we would prefer to visit Alaska only by the short timeframe given on cruise stops - assuming we can't take the time necessary for a multi-day add on tour before or after - or whether we should just fly into Anchorage, rent a car and do the rest on our own, like we have done many times on many other vacations.


We took an Alaska cruise twenty years ago, one-way from Seward to Vancouver. We flew into Anchorage about ten days prior to the cruise, rented a car, and had a spectacular time driving around the state. We absolutely love cruising, and we enjoyed the cruise part of that trip, but our pre-cruise time on land was incomparable. I would urge anyone bent on taking an Alaska cruise to do it one-way if they can, and spend some time before or after the cruise driving around on their own. 

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12 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Because you can't drive to Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, etc.

 

And – I like cruising.

 

You don't have to do Glacier Bay on a cruise ship. There are small tours and vessels. .Probably to those others too. There are US owned vessels that can sail Alaska waters and don't have to have a stop in Canada.

 

I like cruising too but it may be a long time before there are cruise ships in Glacier Bay again. Maybe never.  It is possible the cruise industry is finished.

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1 hour ago, Charles4515 said:

I like cruising too but it may be a long time before there are cruise ships in Glacier Bay again. Maybe never.  It is possible the cruise industry is finished.

It is also possible that the Covid19 virus means the end of the world. Possible but not probable. This kind of gloom and doom thinking can cause a lot of cruise fans to go on anti-depressants.

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2 hours ago, JRG said:

 

Thanks,  we know this,  believe it or not.

 

I'd bet my '69 Goldtop that there are other issues too.  

 

 

 

The cynic in me sometimes thinks the cruise lines are perfectly happy the PVSA exists. It shields them from their other decisions, such as hiring US citizens, or explaining why they don't; complying with US labor laws; paying US income taxes and FICA, or flagging some percentage of the fleet in the US! If you rub the PVSA scab off, the underlying wound could be a lot uglier, and there are imminently doable, just very expensive, solutions. If the PVSA didn't exist (repealed, amended, temporarily waived), but those underlying considerations still applied, would the cruise lines actually change anything?

 

And, they probably do pretty well on those necessary but convenient stops, especially on the west coast. I've travelled to both Victoria and Vancouver on my own by land, and enjoy them both. It's probably worth exploring the argument that there'd be more US economic impact (probably on Seattle and the surrounding area) if it was legal to cruise one-way from Seattle to Alaska (or reverse), with or without a stop in British Columbia on a foreign flagged carrier. And still work out the other tax and immigration (and other issues I'm sure) as well.

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17 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Because you can't drive to Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, etc.

 

And – I like cruising.

You actually can fly Alaska Airlines to Glacier Bay.  I kayaked from there to Hoonah in my youth.  Charter flights available to anywhere in Alaska.  There are also some dozen small adventure type ships that will can operate this year.  Mostly out of Juneau.  They are wonderful.  Similar to X in the Galapagos in size or smaller.

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