Customs ‘leaves sour taste” with cruise ship passengers

Published on October 9, 2012

A passenger from the cruise ship Quest for Adventure talks with Digby staff sergeant Phil Barrett and Corporal Darrell MacNeil on the Digby waterfront, Wednesday, Oct. 3. More on the staff sergeant’s retirement in next week’s Courier.

Jonathan Riley photo

By Jonathan Riley
The cruise ships passengers were so fed up with waiting for customs, they almost decided to skip Digby.
Cassie Edmondson is the tours manager with SAGA aboard the Quest for Adventure, the cruise that sailed into the Annapolis Basin Wednesday, Oct. 3 with 310 passengers aboard.
“As far as Digby goes and the people, it was absolutely delightful,” she said as she waited to take the last launch back to the ship, Wednesday night. “The people here are very friendly and pleasant; it’s a wonderful little town.
“But the welcome by Canada Customs left a sour taste with the passengers.”
Edmondson says the customs officials arrived late and changed the procedure they had agreed on for clearing passengers.
“They kept moving back the goal posts,” she said. “In the end they wanted a face to face with every passenger going ashore.
“That wouldn’t be a problem if they’d let us know. We could have prepared the passengers and had them ready for that.”
Edmondson says the passengers were getting so fed up with the waiting on boat that many of them were about to give up and skip the trip ashore.
“I called the crew on board and told them it was lovely here,” says Edmondson. “The Mounties were here, the pipers was here, it was all very welcoming and I knew they’d enjoy it if we could just get them here.”
Edmondson says the ship had spent five weeks in Canadian waters before Digby, had primarily visited ports, which like Digby don’t normally deal with cruise ships, yet hadn’t had any trouble like this before.
“We could only include Digby again with the guarantee that this customs confusion be cleared up.”