Cruise passengers wait in line for hours at Port Everglades

Budget cuts blamed for delays

By Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Passengers aboard a Carnival Cruise ship had to wait for hours to clear immigration and customs.

The delay at Terminal 19 was a result of not enough agents. A sign inside said government budget cuts was to blame. 

"There was not much we could do about it, so we just sat there," said one passenger. 

Earlier in March, a similar scene unfolded at Miami International Airport. Air travelers were forced to wait several hours to clear immigration. The lack of staffing is a result of automated budget cuts that went into effect earlier this month.

"It wasn't the cruise line's fault," said Bill Gentry. "It was TSA, which comes down into customs and they didn't have enough manpower."

Thousands of other passengers had to wait outside the terminal at Port Everglades until everyone was off the ship before they could board. 

The ship set sail late Sunday afternoon. 

A Carnival spokeswoman released the following statement about the lines 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."

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