Why cruising to Hawaii may require a foreign port call

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Our cruise to Hawaii on the Celebrity Millennium began with saying goodbye to our ship docked in San Diego Harbor and taking a  bus ride to Ensenada, Mexico, to meet it again.

la-trb-cruises-hawaii-mexico-foreign-port-call-001An act of Congress made it illegal for us to board our Malta-flagged ship in the United States because our destination was another U.S. port.

The Jones Act, a 1920 maritime law, is commonly blamed for prohibiting foreign-flagged vessels from carrying passengers between two U.S. ports, without calling at a distant foreign port along the way. The restriction on transporting passengers actually originated from an 1886 law that is now called Chapter 551, Coastwise Trade of Title 46, Shipping, United States Code. Though technically inaccurate, the cruise industry refers to the law they are following as the Jones Act.

It wasn’t hard to find the right place to check in with the 91,000-ton Millennium marking the spot. We went through security and joined 2,000 other passengers in regulation purgatory.

The Millennium isn’t the only ship that faces this obstacle. Every ship that’s foreign-flagged–and many of them are–must comply with the law.

Read more of Los Angeles Times reporter Nancy Kinsey Needham’s story here.