If you’re planning on taking a cruise to nowhere in 2016, plan again.
Due to a rule change from the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, cruises to or from a US port on a foreign-flagged ship must stop at a foreign port, effectively ending cruises to nowhere.
Ships Affected So Far
- Carnival Vista from NYC
- Carnival Sunshine from Norfolk
- Norwegian Breakaway from NYC
“Most foreign cruise ship workers get D-1 visas, which the U.S. State Department says are “non-immigrant visas for persons working onboard sea vessels or international airlines in the United States, providing services required for normal operation and intending to depart the United States on the same vessel or any other vessel within 29 days.
And those D-1 visas are not intended for crew members on cruises-to-nowhere that don’t visit foreign ports, because they are essentially viewed as domestic operations,” wrote editor of TravelPulse.com, Theresa Masek.
Cruise Lines Say
“Due to recent changes in how ships are cleared into and out of the United States by U.S. officials, certain short duration cruises without a foreign port of call are subject to itinerary changes beginning in 2016 . Unfortunately, this means that we will not be permitted to operate cruises-to-nowhere,” a spokesman with Carnival told us.
Cruise industry trade association CLIA says “While itinerary decisions are made by individual cruise lines, beginning in 2016, in compliance with U.S laws and regulations, foreign-flagged cruise lines operating out of U.S. ports are not to offer cruises for sale that do not include a call in a foreign port,”
Details of the reasons behind the Homeland Security rule change and alternative itineraries to replace the cancelled have not been publicly announced yet.
“I think these changes are very unfortunate. Short cruises have always been a great way to introduce the cruise vacation to a new market. Many people use them as a way to sample a cruise line and see if the experience is right for them,” said Jason Coleman, Professor of Travel and Tourism at West Los Angeles College.