Customs cause disembarking madness as Anthem reaches USA


Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas arrived in New York on 4th November, passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge before reaching the Statue of Liberty shortly after 3am. We finally docked at Cape Liberty, New Jersey, at about 5am.

Lisa and I enjoyed an early breakfast and by 7am we were ready to go ashore. US Customs and Border Protection, however, had other ideas. We never found out what their problem was but it caused absolute havoc as passengers queued to disembark.

Having been ready so early, it was extremely irritating that we did not manage to exit the cruise terminal until 10.30am and then find our pre-booked transport was not there. Lisa searched but found nothing, finally managing to contact the company that claimed that their driver had been there but they had recalled him as we were not there at the booked time of 9.45am. If he had been there, and we have reason to believe he wasn’t, many other drivers were waiting for their passengers because of the delays – but not ours.

Good news though, the office said that they might be able to send another driver. Bad news was that the company would treat it as a new booking and would require a second payment. We refused to buckle in the face of such awful treatment and made other arrangements. We will now be seeking a full refund from the company that failed to provide us with the service for which we had pre-paid. In the event that it does not happen, I am prepared to go public and both name and shame them in both the UK and USA. The company has offices in both countries.

After we finally arrived at Dollar rent-a-car, we found our pre-booked hire car waiting for us, a gleaming white 2015 Chrysler, and quickly completed the formalities, packed our luggage and my wheelchair, and set off on a long drive through northern New Jersey, New York state, Connecticut finally arriving in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, at 11.20pm. I should explain that we had made a couple of stops along the way and that, once again driving a left hand drive car, I was taking it easy and making sure to always remain within the speed limit.

By the time Lisa and I reached our motel in Sturbridge we were both absolutely shattered. We had been up since 2am to watch Anthem’s arrival in New York, had suffered so much frustration trying to get off the ship and through customs and border protection, then discovered our transport had failed us, causing us to arrive at the hire car outlet some three hours later than planned.

At midnight, having been up for 22 hours, we crashed into bed and were soon out for the count.

Thank goodness Lisa had planned a quieter day for today but more about that in my next post.




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