Last week, we reported HERE that Cruises to Nowhere are being dropped because of new U.S. regulations, and that the reasons were not fully clear. But now we know.
Under U.S. laws, designed to promote both the domestic shipbuilding industry and employment, only ships that are registered in the U.S. and have U.S. crews can sail between U.S. ports. Up to now, the cruise ship companies, whose ships are all registered in other countries and whose crews are also foreign, believed they could get around that by sailing into international waters and then back.
However, a federal court ruling last year upheld the Customs and Border Protection's belief that these seamen, who hold D-1 visas, can't serve on "nowhere" cruises. CBP says "...a D-1 visa holder is eligible to serve as a crew member on a vessel only if the crew member 'intends to land temporarily and solely in the pursuit of his calling as a crewman and to depart from the United States with the vessel.'" The official position is that even though the ships go into international waters, they don't leave the U.S. because they don't go "somewhere" else.
But, it turns out, there IS a ship that can provide cruises to nowhere—but only that one ship. It's a Norwegian-owned ship, built in Germany. Ironically, the ship is named "Pride of America," seen above. Built as part of an ill-fated plan to revive U.S. shipbuilding, the project was completed in Germany after the original owners went bankrupt.
Norwegian Cruise Line bought the partly-assembled ship and had it finished in Germany. As part of the deal, the U.S. agreed to an amendment to the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which prohibits foreign-built ships from operating between U.S. ports without a foreign stop in between. Since NCL planned to use the ship entirely for cruises in Hawaii, that was necessary. However, the requirement for a U.S. crew continued.
Photo: Teh tennisman / Wikimedia