|Photo by Susan J. Young|
Passengers boarding a Carnival Cruise Lines (www.goccl.com) ship at Terminal 19 at Port Everglades, FL, on Sunday waited hours to clear U.S. Immigration and Customs.
Guests debarking the ship were cleared much more slowly than usual, due to a lack of federal agents. That delayed the boarding process for the next cruise.
Some debarking guests were set to leave the ship at 8:30 a.m., but said they were held onboard for several hours. Others waiting to board stood in lines outside the terminal waiting for the boarding process to begin.
A posted sign said government budget cuts were to blame. Carnival issued the following statement on Sunday:
"The Customs and Immigration process for debarking guests has taken quite a bit longer than normal. It is our understanding that more than one cruise line at Port Everglades is experiencing similar circumstances. We do not anticipate any impact to the ship's itinerary for the next voyage which will depart later today. We regret the inconvenience our guests have experienced during today's debark and clearance process."
Several Carnival passengers interviewed on camera for local South Florida television acknowledged it wasn't the cruise line's fault.
A similar situation happened with air travelers who landed at Miami International Airport in March; those travelers waited from two to four hours to clear U.S. Immigration and Customs.