Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Not All Excess Baggage is in Your Luggage

Cruising is an exciting and enjoyable way to spend one's vacation time. It is an opportunity to get away from the work-a-day world and spend some down time rejuvenating yourself. As the Zac Brown band says, " I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand / Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand / Life is good today Life is good today."

However, before you put you "toes in the water . . . ." you made sure you packed everything you needed and no contraband. By the way, in case you hadn't heard, bottled drinks are now contraband on a Carnival cruise ship. You can still bring you bottle of wine and your canned drinks but no bottles of water etc.  Just add them to you things to leave at home.

Truth is, you only want to take what you need when you board the ship. However, not all of your baggage goes in a suitcase or carryon bag. Some of it might not be a bathing suit or shorts. It may not even be in your possession.

For example, Did you fill out that online "Check-in" form? You know the one where you get your boarding pass and baggage tags. Remember, putting in your name, you contact info and your passport data? Do you have any idea where that information goes? 

"To the cruise line," you say.  Yep, the cruise line certainly gets it.  But that's not all.  When you complete your cruise check-in, that information becomes part of the “passenger manifest.”  That manifest, with all your information, is shared  by the cruise lines with U.S. Customs and Immigration. What you may not know is that it is also supplied to the Office of Homeland Security!

We are good with that because we don't want any incidents on our dream vacation.  But here is a thought, "What  happens if you have some kind of outstanding warrant?  It could be a traffic warrant or a warrant for being a dead beat dad not paying child support. It really doesn't matter what kind of warrant you have outstanding it could prove to be excessive baggage on your cruise vacation.

Thus far, when they came knocking you have managed to avoid being served or arrested. When the law came knocking you could pretend not to be there or slip out the back or some other way give them the slip.  However, when your on a cruise ship they know exactly where to find you. They have the day, the time and the place where they can arrange to meet you. There is nowhere to hide. It is not unusual for a few passengers to receive an unexpected “welcome home” from law enforcement. 

While your vacationing they are running that manifest through their various data bases looking for people with outstanding warrants and planning a homecoming surprise.  Yep! Outstanding warrants!  The “long arm of the law” may not extend into international waters, but they might just be ready and eager to welcome you back on land!  If you even think you might have a outstanding warrant problem, take care of it before you sail, or you could be treated to a complimentary “post-cruise-stay” in the local jail.

So now you know . . . excess baggage may not refer to anything that goes in your luggage. It may be something that is placed in your hand as you hear, "You have the right to . . . ." Don't let it happen to you. Settle-up with the judge before you head off on that great cruise vacation.  Now let's see, "Where am I going that can put my 'toes in the water and my ass in the sand?'"