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Alaska 2021 - Maybe NOT a total loss? (topic edit as of 2021-05-21)


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6 hours ago, RoyalLaker said:

Ok, I see a potentail problem. Homeland Security applies the PVSA, the USGC (under the Department of Defense) applies the PVSA and the Jones Act. What the bill is applying if became law. It would be unlawful for Homeland Security to impose fines. (So are the cruise lines still violating the Act?) Well what if the USGS fined the cruise lines? According to the act only the Secretary of Defense can grant a waiver in a war time setting. Could and probably will be challenged in federal court.

I think there will always be problems created when lawmakers choose a path of allowing existing laws to broken as a solution.  "Go ahead and break the law, we're not going to enforce it right now".

The real solution is to modify the law but that opens a massive can of worms that would quickly grow into a monster sized undertaking and that means years to progress.

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9 hours ago, twangster said:

91 UN member states and 80% of the world's coastlines of UN member states are subject to cabotage laws according to this study:

https://www.americanmaritimepartnership.com/studies/world-cabotage-study/

The US has it's Passenger Vessel Service Act, Canada has it's Coasting Trade Act, Australia has it's Navigation Act of 1912 and the UK... has some of the oldest maritime acts that have been revised again and again.  The Merchant Shipping Act 1796, the Merchant Shipping act 1894, The Merchant Shipping Act 1995, etc.  In some cases the UK acts were the basis of what other nations later implemented in some form. 

Basically if you are going to block our ships in the UK, we are going to block foreign ships in our country too.  An 1800's tit for tat, you block us, we block you.

The PVSA just represents America's version of the laws that many developed nations have.

So what's different about the US?

First thing to note is the the PVSA doesn't ban cruises to nowhere.  That's an entirely different matter.

Why then is the PVSA well known by cruisers and why do we hear about so much?

The vast majority of cruising occurs in the US.  It is the cruise ship capital of the world, at least right now.  Because of that the PVSA has been tested many more times and applied many more times.  Similar laws exist elsewhere but the number of foreign ships embarking passengers in the US greatly exceeds other regions so passengers find themselves bumping into cabotage laws more in the US.  

In previous generations there wasn't the internet to discuss such matters ad nauseum.  When a passenger in 1938 bought passage on the Queen Mary they had no idea the ship was only allowed to sail on that route because the voyage started and ended in different countries.  They just bought a ticket on a passenger vessel.  Cruising as we know it didn't exist then and folks like you and I were not writing letters to each other to discuss it.

European countries have cabotage laws as well and prior to the EU being formed they did block a lot of cruising by passengers as we know cruising today.  Once the EU was created it started to ease restrictions of cabotage within the or between EU member countries.  Greece has some of the highest domestic passenger services due to the large number of islands.  Even Greece has evolved it's cabotage laws and slowly moved in line with EU policy to a large extent but it wasn't very long ago that many passengers were being impacted by their cabotage laws, they just didn't know it.   

So what's different about the US?  it's just in the news more among modern cruisers compared to other regions but that doesn't mean it isn't happening in other regions, it just isn't as impactful particularly in the EU and the Med.  If the EU had never been formed and cruising gained in popularity as it has there we would be hearing about it a lot more in Europe.

Check out Australia's version: 

Australia has the  Navigation Act of 1912.  Many parts of this act read very similar to other cabotage protectionist laws around the globe.  For example:

Application of Act.

  • 2.—(1.)   This Act shall not apply in relation to any Australian-trade ship, limited coast-trade ship, or river and bay ship, or her master or crew, unless the ship—
  • (a) is engaged in trade or commerce with other countries or among the States; or
  • (b) is on the high seas, or in waters which are used by ships engaged in trade or commerce with other countries or among the States; or
  • (c) is in the territorial waters of any Territory which is part of the Commonwealth.

Definition of coasting trade.

  • 7.   A ship shall be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade, within the meaning of this Act, if she takes on board passengers or cargo at any port in a State, or a Territory which is part of the Commonwealth, to be carried to, and landed or delivered at, any other port in the same State or Territory or in any other State or other such Territory:
  • Provided that a ship shall not be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade by reason of the fact that she carries—
  • (a) passengers who hold through tickets to or from a port beyond Australia and the Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth; or
  • (b) cargo consigned on a through bill of lading to or from a port beyond Australia and those Territories and which is not transhipped to or from any ship trading exclusively in Australian waters which is not licensed under this Act; or
  • (c) mails between any ports in Australia or in any of those Territories:
  • Provided further that the Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers or cargo between ports in any Territory which is part of the Commonwealth, or between ports in any such Territory and any other Australian ports, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.

Any other questions?......................Anyone??

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1 hour ago, TXcruzer said:

Any other questions?......................Anyone??

Sorry! ?

Thanks for the info @twangster A wealth of knowledge as always.

As you pointed out Australia has is own cabotage laws, yet there are plenty of cruises that don't visit foreign ports, so the laws must be different in some way or they are not enforced the same.

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44 minutes ago, mattymay said:

Sorry! ?

Thanks for the info @twangster A wealth of knowledge as always.

As you pointed out Australia has is own cabotage laws, yet there are plenty of cruises that don't visit foreign ports, so the laws must be different in some way or they are not enforced the same.

Carnival established an Australian company and used to transfer the vessel to that company.  There was a time when the ship literally left the Carnival US company and joined the Carnival Australia company.  This may be a factor in part, why.  There was a time when US Carnival guests couldn't book Australian cruises on the US website.  In that sense it may have qualified as an Australian owned ship even if the flag was foreign.

Much US law also delves into or was an attempt to promote US shipbuilding and protect jobs in US shipyards.  That was a complete fail.  Perhaps the Australian version didn't get into that level of protectionism so it's easier to satisfy the Navigation act down under.  These laws can evolve over time as they are tested and applied in hearings.  Maybe long ago Australia turned left while America turned right for the same situation in court.

I don't know how the corporate structure of Royal works when it operates down under but perhaps that plays a factor in what Royal decides to offer there versus other cruise lines.  

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The aspect that I think a lot of cruisers miss when it comes to the PVSA is that it applies to nearly every commercial vessel that can accomodate 12 passengers. or more  The Staten Island ferry, the water taxis in Boston,  a Duck boat in Missouri all are coastwise qualified vessels not subject to the PVSA because they aren't foreign vessels.  A foreign vessel can't come into America and offer the same service because of the PVSA.  The PVSA is not written for today's cruise ships but cruise ships get caught up in it because they are foreign.

Strike down the PVSA and a Chinese company will quickly begin service replacing the Staten Island ferry boats but without any of the same safety regulations that US ships are subject to compared to foreign flagged ships.  Any country can create their owns laws and regulations for shipping and they can apply them to any vessel of that country but they can't apply their own laws and regulations to foreign flagged vessels because of international treaties, conventions and international maritime laws.   

International standards, maritime conventions and treaties don't separate cruise ships from any other passenger ship.  The US can't just declare cruise ships are different without entangling themselves into long standing international conventions and laws that define what a ship is.  They can for US flagged ships but they can't for foreign flagged ships.  Allowing any foreign passenger ship to bypass the PVSA allows nearly ALL foreign ships regardless of size to bypass the PVSA.  It's a massive Pandora's box and every politician who has tried to open the box quickly runs away when they see what's inside.

I am dumbing it down and over simplifying it because it is complex and would take pages to articulate with fool proof accuracy but for a cruisers perspective it's not as simple as just allowing cruise ships only.

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This is all I could find regarding the Australian one, sounds like the government don't enforce it:

"Australia does have the Navigation Act of 1912 that the Government sees fit to ignore.  It is nearly the same as the USA Jones Act.  This is why we have virtually no Merchant fleet & only have 30 days of fuel should anything happen in SE Asia to disrupt the overseas operated ships bringing in fuel."

"Technically there are rules to impose Australian standards on all ships operating in Australian waters. Only Australian-flagged (and crewed) ships are able to gain a general licence to operate between Australian ports. But over the years laws granting “temporary” licences to foreign ships have been relaxed.

The rationale for allowing them is that their lower costs help local companies stay competitive in global markets. Most inquiries held into Australian shipping have been scathing of the industry’s inefficiencies and high cost. It’s one of the reasons shipping’s share of domestic freight has been falling."

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13 hours ago, twangster said:

Much US law also delves into or was an attempt to promote US shipbuilding and protect jobs in US shipyards. 

This is a big part of the issue with the US law. A ship sailing between US ports without stopping in a foreign port must be US flagged.  That's well known.  However, it doesn't get to the heart of why Royal, or someone else wouldn't reflag their vessels for specific US only itineraries, such as Hawaii, Alaska, east coast, etc.

The reason is to protect US shipbuilding, all US flagged vessels must also be US built.  Since the US has only built 1 ocean going cruise ship in the last 75 years, you can see the problem.

From time to time there is talk of reviving the old S.S. United States (which is US built) to sail in Hawaii, but this always proves too expensive.

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Another layer of the onion as it relates to cruises to nowhere involves US immigration enforcement for ship crew visa/transit permits.  

When foreign crew on a ship arrive into a US port then subsequently leave the territorial limits of the US CBP has determined that is not enough.  Crew must actually go to another country physically to be considered to have left the US otherwise CBP has determined they are overstaying their crew visa by effectively staying in the US.  Simply sailing into international water is not enough.  

The decision to take this stance occured from a gambling operation that sought to add a new port of departure in Florida for gambling cruises to nowhere.  CBP got involved and determined since the gaming company was using foreign crew this violated immigration policy as the crew would never leave the US in the eyes of CBP.  The gaming company was not issued a permit to open it's new facility and was told it must cease operations in it's other domestic port of departure.  Cruise lines were then put on notice they too could not perform cruises to nowhere with foreign crew.  It's another example of laws that don't target cruise lines but impact foreign cruise lines.

But...  somehow during the pandemic cruise ships have been arriving in ports like Miami to take on provisions and change crew before they return to anchor near places like CocoCay or in the case of three Disney ships, a few miles offshore from Port Canaveral well within US territorial boundaries.  How then are the foreign crew not in violation of their crew visas?  The cruise lines are performing cruises to nowhere right now.  They are not stopping physically in a foreign country.   Crew are being paid.  They are by CBP's own definition working and staying in the US.

Is CBP choosing not to enforce their own rules they established when cruises to nowhere with foreign crew were outlawed?  If that is the case then CBP is establishing that it can choose when not to enforce immigration policy.  If that's the case, CBP can choose not to enforce immigration policy for Alaska cruises departing from Seattle (should fines for violating the PVSA be suspended while Canada is closed) AND the cruise lines should be able to offer cruises to nowhere as a restart.  This is all possible because CBP is demonstrating it has the ability to suspend enforcement of immigration violations for ship crew when it sees fit to suspend enforcement.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well.... Alaska is off the table for us... we thought about holding out to the bitter end and hope that there was still a chance for AK to be a go.... but there was just too many signs saying it most likely wont happen... even with all the pressure on the CDC. Also... what kind of cruise would it really be with all the potential restrictions and rules etc. 
So we bit the bullet and have lifted ours to 2022.

The countdown is on again.... for the 3rd time. 

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On 3/31/2021 at 3:12 PM, vanelli56 said:

Well.... Alaska is off the table for us... we thought about holding out to the bitter end and hope that there was still a chance for AK to be a go.... but there was just too many signs saying it most likely wont happen... even with all the pressure on the CDC. Also... what kind of cruise would it really be with all the potential restrictions and rules etc. 
So we bit the bullet and have lifted ours to 2022.

The countdown is on again.... for the 3rd time. 

We are still holding on to our August Ovation booking for now but will probably cancel soon. We have another one booked in August 22. I was really hoping the August 21 cruise would sail at half capacity, that would have been nice.

 

 

 

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On 4/1/2021 at 7:42 PM, GaryAA said:

We are still holding on to our August Ovation booking for now but will probably cancel soon. We have another one booked in August 22. I was really hoping the August 21 cruise would sail at half capacity, that would have been nice.

 

 

 

You might have a slightly better chance in August.... ours was early July. 

Either way... fingers crossed for all cruising to start up sooner rather then later. 

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  • 1 month later...

Things are coming together for a July restart from all US ports including sailing from Seattle to Alaska. Signs seem to be pointing to some sort of favorable ruling from Judge Merryday on the FL law suit that requests that the CSO to be enjoined (unenforceable). Right now, that's icing on the cake. I think the lines will start cruising one way or the other in July, on the light side in the US, heavier in Europe but sailings will expand exponentially as time moves forward and the pandemic in North America is brought to heal. 

As far as the house approval of the Senate's bill, there was resistance coming from the House to other legislation easing restrictions on the cruise industry imposed by the CDC's NSO/CSO.  The bimbo that was opposed and blocked passage was totally uninformed about any of the steps the lines intended to undertake if allowed to cruise. Totally cluless about vaccines. So wrong that objection wasn't shouted down .... not the way the house works.

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9 hours ago, JeffB said:

As far as the house approval of the Senate's bill, there was resistance coming from the House to other legislation easing restrictions on the cruise industry imposed by the CDC's NSO/CSO.  The bimbo that was opposed and blocked passage was totally uninformed about any of the steps the lines intended to undertake if allowed to cruise. Totally cluless about vaccines. So wrong that objection wasn't shouted down .... not the way the house works.

I didn’t say it would be easy! ? If I recall correctly, the Senate version also failed its 1st unanimous consent request. But after conversations were had, it passed on its second attempt. I feel confident once conversations happen on the house side, it too will be passed by unanimous consent and be signed into law by the President.
 

There are other options if the unanimous consent request is objected to but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

 

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We are about to see how bipartisan Washington is or is not.  

For the sake of Alaska cruising I hope for the latter.

Should it pass the next issue for Royal will be getting ships into place.  Quantum was already ruled out.  Do they sail Ovation across the Pacific empty?  Tick tock.  With every week lost the payback to cover sailing empty and crewing up looks less and less appealing.  

Ironically I am supposed to be on Quantum right now on day 5 of my Alaska cruise.

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THe passed bill actually lists out all the ships that this would apply to. 

 

(2) LIST.—The vessels listed under this paragraph are the following:

(A) Carnival Freedom (IMO number 9333149).

(B) Carnival Miracle (IMO number 9237357).

(C) Crystal Serenity (IMO number 9243667).

(D) Discovery Princess (IMO number 9837468).

(E) Emerald Princess (IMO number 9333151).

(F) Eurodam (IMO number 9378448).

(G) Golden Horizon (IMO number 9793545).

(H) Grand Princess (IMO number 9104005).

(I) Hanseatic Inspiration (IMO number 9817145).

(J) Koningsdam (IMO number 9692557).

(K) NG Quest (IMO number 9798985).

(L) NG Sea Bird (IMO number 8966444).

(M) NG Sea Lion (IMO number 8966456).

(N) NG Venture (IMO number 9799044).

(O) Nieuw Amsterdam (IMO number 9378450).

(P) Noordam (IMO number 9230115).

(Q) Zuiderdam (IMO number 9221279).

(R) Majestic Princess (IMO number 9614141).

(S) Ovation of the Seas (IMO number 9697753).

(T) Radiance of the Seas (IMO number 9195195).

(U) Serenade of the Seas (IMO number 9228344).

(V) Eclipse (IMO number 9404314).

(W) Millennium (IMO number 9189419).

(X) Solstice (IMO number 9362530).

(Y) Norwegian Bliss (IMO number 9751509).

(Z) Norwegian Encore (IMO number 9751511).

(AA) Norwegian Jewel (IMO number 9304045).

(BB) Norwegian Spirit (IMO number 9141065).

(CC) Norwegian Sun (IMO number 9218131).

(DD) Ocean Victory (IMO number 9868869).

(EE) Pacific Princess (IMO number 9187887).

(FF) Pacific World (IMO number 9000259).

(GG) Quantum of the Seas (IMO number 9549463).

(HH) Queen Elizabeth (IMO number 9477438).

(II) Disney Wonder (IMO number 9126819).

(JJ) Regatta (IMO number 9156474).

(KK) Roald Amundsen (IMO number 9813072).

(LL) Ruby Princess (IMO number 9378462).

(MM) Sapphire Princess (IMO number 9228186).

(NN) Scenic Eclipse (IMO number 9797371).

(OO) Seabourn Odyssey (IMO number 9417086).

(PP) Seabourn Venture 2 (IMO 9862023).

(QQ) Seven Seas Mariner (IMO number 9210139).

(RR) Silver Shadow (IMO number 9192167).

(SS) Silver Wind (IMO number 8903935).

(TT) Star Breeze (IMO number 8807997).

(UU) Sylvia Earle (IMO number 9872327).

(VV) Westerdam (IMO number 9226891).

(WW) L’Austral (IMO number 9502518).

(XX) Silver Muse (IMO number 9784350).

(YY) Viking Orion (IMO number 9796250).

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1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

THe passed bill actually lists out all the ships that this would apply to. 

Interesting that Quantum is on there since her season was cancelled in Alaska quite a while ago.

Upon further review, when the bill was introduced on March 4, it had no list of ships.

Then on May 13, it added the ships.

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7 minutes ago, TXcruzer said:

If this suspension of the PVSA i passed, will there still be an issue with crew work visas?  

 

This is an immigration issue, and not covered by the PVSA

The bill has a section for it "Employment of Alien Crewmen"

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  • AshleyDillo changed the title to Alaska 2021 - Maybe NOT a total loss? (topic edit as of 2021-05-21)

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