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How long is customs for non- US residents in St Thomas??

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We'll be on the Caribbean Princess this coming October and will be going to St Thomas after being in another port.

 

I was wondering what kind of wait there is for Non- US residents with customs. Love to make plans for the day in ST John but don't want to stress when we're held up longer on the ship. We are supposed to be in at 7am.

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We did the same ship in October last year and the QM2 at Christmas and each time it took us about an hour and a total of 90 minutes before anybody could leave the ship.

Having been through customs when you return to Fort Lauderdale you do not have to do it again as you will not be calling at another port before this and after St Thomas.

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Having been through customs when you return to Fort Lauderdale you do not have to do it again as you will not be calling at another port before this and after St Thomas.

 

We will be in St Martin before St Thomas and Princess Cays after. Do you mean we don't go through customs again?? The only time we didn't have a long delay was when we had come directly from a US port(San Juan) to St Thomas.

 

Do non-US residents have a different procedure in ST Thomas?

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We are booked on the Sea Princess in Feb 2008. We have just been notified that due to the length of time to clear immigration at St Thomas (up to 5 hours) for non USA passengers, that the ship will be giving St Thomas a miss and an alternative port will be offered instead.

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Immigration in St Thomas is never fun - but since the officials carry guns, we do it.

 

There are many factors that decide how long the Immigration procedures for non-US passengers will take.

 

Among the more important:

1. Does the ship arrive on time?

2. Do the officials arrive on time?

3. How many other ships are in port with you, going through the same procedures before and after your ship?

4. Are the Unionized, Gun-toting, American Government Officials in the mood to work today?

5. And most importantly - how many non-US passengers are onboard? If there are 25, the procedure will be over in the blink of an eye. If there are 750, you are going to be standing in line for a while.

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Immigration in St Thomas is never fun - but since the officials carry guns, we do it.

 

There are many factors that decide how long the Immigration procedures for non-US passengers will take.

 

Among the more important:

1. Does the ship arrive on time?

2. Do the officials arrive on time?

3. How many other ships are in port with you, going through the same procedures before and after your ship?

4. Are the Unionized, Gun-toting, American Government Officials in the mood to work today?

5. And most importantly - how many non-US passengers are onboard? If there are 25, the procedure will be over in the blink of an eye. If there are 750, you are going to be standing in line for a while.

 

Thats an excellent post. Im not really sure though non-US passengers makes much difference though. US Customs in St. Thomas has and is becoming such a hassle some of the ships are beginning to skip it altogether. I was on the Golden in Nov.'01 right after 9/11, US Customs was a total nightmare it was so bad there werent many passengers who ended up getting off the ship, been there twice since and it hasnt gotten much better, for anyone. Im not sure what the answer is but Im gonna be down there in about 90 days and I certainly hope its not the debacle its been in the past. I will tell you this for US passengers a valid US Passport goes a LONG WAY, eliminates TONS of misunderstanding and keeps those miserable Customs officials off your back.

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I too am interested to find this out..We are visiting St Thomas on our 26 Nov sailing on Emerald Princess and we have an excursion booked due to start at 9.30 am :eek: ..do you think we will make it?

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Greetings ALL@SEA Im on the same sailing, (I saw you on our roll call) 9:30am you should be ok, no problem. I assume your tour is not with Princess?? Might want to make sure your at one of the Lounge's they assign for embarkation on St. Thomas for non US-residents as early as you can knowing you already have a tour booked. Have all your travel doc's "in your hand" just dont give Customs ANY reason to detain you, its not only an unpleasant experience it can also put quite a damper on your day. It's really too bad, St. Thomas is one of my favorite ports. See ya in about 90 days. Todd

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Greetings ALL@SEA Im on the same sailing, (I saw you on our roll call) 9:30am you should be ok, no problem. I assume your tour is not with Princess?? Might want to make sure your at one of the Lounge's they assign for embarkation on St. Thomas for non US-residents as early as you can knowing you already have a tour booked. Have all your travel doc's "in your hand" just dont give Customs ANY reason to detain you, its not only an unpleasant experience it can also put quite a damper on your day. It's really too bad, St. Thomas is one of my favorite ports. See ya in about 90 days. Todd

Hi Todd..Yes our tour is reserved through Princess..does this make any difference :confused:

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Hi Edinburgher...interesting thread..i wonder why this is so when we will have already done the immigration bit at Miami :(

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Each time we have gone through Customs onboard at St.Thomas it has been a relatively quick and painless process. We have found the non American reporting area to be as quick or quicker than the American area. We have only sailed with RCI. Once you are through Customs onboard, your hand is stamped and you can leave the ship as soon as you are done....so much better than waiting for the whole ship to clear.

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Our last three cruises had stops in St. Thomas. We were in and out in about an hour. We were concerned since we go over to St. John's on our own. We had plenty of time.

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As an American all I can say is having just gotten off the CB I was stunned at how long the non-US immigration line for St. Thomas was. If I had to guess I would say it was approaching an hour. For US citizens with passports it was maybe 5 minutes.

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We are thinking that this is a tactical protest by Carnival.

 

If they have had lots of problems before and asked for improvements which never happened, this may be Carnivals way of trying to make them pay attention.

 

Sea Princess carries lots of Brits. The easiest to pull as without the generous duty free allowances and baggage allowance enjoyed by Americans its of less importance to us.

 

By pulling her for an entire season, it is most likely intended as a warning that if there is no improvement in Immigration this upcoming winter season, Carnival could pull others too. If they pulled every ship, that could be too strong a protest and could backfire on Carnival if they tried to get berths again in the future and were refused. This way they protect their other ships but if the protest fails, they are only down one ship.

 

We are thinking that it is unlikely that other ships will be affected this winter.

 

Pure guesswork of course. We could be totally wrong here.:D

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Hi

 

We are sailing on October 13 on the Sea Pricess sailing from Southampton through to the Azores which should be very interesting, and then on to the Carribbean - anyone elso on this sailing?

 

We received our letter on Monday telling us that we would be going to Tortola instead, that is OK, we are not complaining!!:cool:

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Hi Todd..Yes our tour is reserved through Princess..does this make any difference :confused:

I would certainly hope it makes a difference. You'll be fine, just have all your doc's valid as well as on hand. Good grief dont give them ANY reason to stop you or its basically over. Relax and have a GREAT day on St. Thomas. Later Todd

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We are Canadian and did a stop in St. Thomas when on the CB last fall. We sailed through in about 2 min. It took longer for us to walk to the customs area on the ship than to get through. The US side had a much longer wait. We had a 9:30 tour with Godfrey and had no problem making it.

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On the Crown this summer it sounded like the non-US citizens were clearing immigration faster than US citizens. They had about 800 US citizens in the Theatre who had morning shore excursions - and we had to wait for a while for Customs to come on-board before we could get started.

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.......

Having been through customs when you return to Fort Lauderdale you do not have to do it again as you will not be calling at another port before this and after St Thomas.

I don't understand how this works. If you go through a foreign port, then stop at St. Thomas and, for example, stay on the ship, then why would you not need to go through customs in Fort Lauderdale?

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We are thinking that this is a tactical protest by Carnival.

 

If they have had lots of problems before and asked for improvements which never happened, this may be Carnivals way of trying to make them pay attention.

 

Sea Princess carries lots of Brits. The easiest to pull as without the generous duty free allowances and baggage allowance enjoyed by Americans its of less importance to us.

 

By pulling her for an entire season, it is most likely intended as a warning that if there is no improvement in Immigration this upcoming winter season, Carnival could pull others too. If they pulled every ship, that could be too strong a protest and could backfire on Carnival if they tried to get berths again in the future and were refused. This way they protect their other ships but if the protest fails, they are only down one ship.

 

We are thinking that it is unlikely that other ships will be affected this winter.

 

Pure guesswork of course. We could be totally wrong here.:D

 

I doubt it would backfire. There are two ports in St. Thomas that are competing for the tourists. They are already complaining at the reduced number of ships at Havensight now that Princess and Holland America have moved to Crown Bay. There is a lot of pressure.

 

The VI government didn't listen when it came to St. Croix and the crime. They are lucky if they get 6 visits a year in St. Croix, now. There are plenty of islands around that will pick up the slack. Tortola and St. Maarten are close. St. Kitts and Antigua would love more tourists.

 

St. Thomas has advantages for Americans only. It can be a royal pain in the neck for others. More than once I had to be up at the crack of dawn to go through US customs in St. Thomas. I'm going to be there again in October. I just hope it's better.... but then again, there really isn't much for me in St. Thomas... I usually grab a cab and go to St. John, which is a pure delight. But I'd rather stay overnight in St. Maarten and enjoy Orient Bay or even Antigua's Dickenson Bay or better yet Tortola's Trunk Bay.

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The entire ship (all passengers) must be cleared in St. Thomas. It does not matter if you go off the ship or not. If you do not stop at another non-US port before going to Ft. Lauderdale then you would not need to clear customs again since you cleared in St. Thomas.

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The entire ship (all passengers) must be cleared in St. Thomas. It does not matter if you go off the ship or not. If you do not stop at another non-US port before going to Ft. Lauderdale then you would not need to clear customs again since you cleared in St. Thomas.
So, if somebody (certainly not me, Homeland Security:p) picks up a few million $$ of diamonds they found in St. Maarten and stores them in their already-lumpy Caribbean Princess mattress for a couple of days, how are they screened before our anonymous smuggler gets off at Port Everglades? The diamonds are tucked aboard the ship while he goes ashore at St. Thomas and he gets a clean bill of health from U.S. Customs. I doubt anybody does a stem-to-stern check of the ship in St. Thomas, so at what point does the stealthy bag of diamonds have to pass under the nose :eek: of a customs agent?

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Got to say when we went to St Thomas (think it was about 2002/3)there was a table set up in one of the lounges with the customs officials, all passengers had to queue with their relevant docs and present them before getting clearance. the guy in the queue in front of us remarked to one of the officials about the time it was taking ( very brave as the official did have a gun ) and he got a good grilling for his cheek , he then was told to go to the back of the queue and come back to the desk more suitably dressed ( he had shorts on ).

We kept quiet answered the many questions we were asked, generally about the family we were with, confirming childrens dates of births etc. had our docs checked and stamped and went on our way.

It did take an awful long time for british passengers but there were a lot of us on the ship. By the time we cleared we only had half a day left to explore.

If things are still the same i'm not surprised theres talk of not stopping there with the amount of brits on ships going out of Barbados it could take a while for each ship to clear.

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