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Cruise Passengers being arrested on Outstanding Warrant(s)

Our Group Cruise was interrupted early Monday morning when one of our Members was carted off the Ship and arrested.  There are some things you should not have to say, but there is a reason we have warning labels on things.  The great Cardinal Newman said, “I read my Bible to know what Men ought to be doing and I read my newspaper to know what Men are doing.”  With that in mind let me give you some important information to keep from ruining a vacation for yourself and others.  Every cruise passenger’s name is run through a database and checked by customs enforcement. That means if you have any warrants in your name, they will find it.

Searching for Outstanding Warrants

Searching for Outstanding Warrants

How they catch you

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) run all passenger names from the cruise passenger manifest through various law enforcement databases.  If outstanding warrants are located, the CBP will make an arrest once the cruise ship returns to port after the cruise.  The CBP’s primary concern is people entering the US not leaving.  Therefore you can leave the U.S. generally with no problem. However, 21 People a day, on average, are arrested at various U.S. ports nationwide.  Something else you should know if you park your car at the Pier.  Officers also screen all vehicles parked at the cruise terminal after the ship departs. Customs officers conduct inspection operations on a regular basis and intercept currency, weapons, and agriculture products that are prohibited.  They can run your license plates as well.  If they find traffic warrants you may also be arrested.   

Here is some advice from the Galveston Port Police who patrol the Houston/Galveston Port in Texas.  If you are planning a cruise you should make sure you have no outstanding felony warrants anywhere. If you do, you will hear a knock on your stateroom door when your ship docks in Galveston and it will be the U.S. Customs Service and Galveston Port Police on the other side and you will be carted off to the Galveston County Jail. The same is true in all of the U.S. Ports of Call.  Most people know if they have an outstanding warrant. Please take care of any warrants before traveling.  If you are not sure then it may be worth the nominal fee to check for yourself and your traveling partner.  If you have a Friend in law enforcement they may be able to assist you.  Otherwise, try one of the links below.

Arrested on Outstanding Warrants


Important  information to have

You can ruin your life and your vacation along with your traveling partners by making this mistake.  If you are not local and have traveled to the Cruise Ship you may miss flights, lose time off work or even lose a job if you cannot make bail.  You can sit in a local jail until you are extradited to the location of the warrant which can take weeks.  If the warrant is in another County or State the Bail Bond may require collateral for the entire amount of the Bond in addition to the typical 10%.  Have a basic plan.  If something happens who should your traveling partner’s contact?  They will need Names, Phone Numbers, and Email Address.  This Person needs to be a responsible person who has resources or know who to contact and how to obtain what you need.  They may need to have access to your bank accounts, emergency funds and know how to contact your Family and Friends.  This is no time to be prideful you need all hands on deck! Important information your Emergency Contact needs to know:

  • Who to contact at your job and what to tell your job?
  • How to access your home.
  • Where your children are and where you want them to go?  
  • Where you left your pet and where you want your pet to go?

We could go on and on about this, but surely your mind is already thinking of what is needed for your specific circumstances.

Early Monday morning our Group Cruise was interrupted when one of our Members was carted off the Ship and arrested.  Every cruise passenger is run through a database and checked by customs enforcement.  Everyone makes mistakes, but please take care of any warrants before traveling or maybe you should not go.  It is not worth the risk.  Don’t ruin your vacation and the vacation of those who you are traveling with.  Even more important don’t ruin your life.

How to check if you have Outstanding Warrants:

Outstanding Warrants

Outstanding Warrants


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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 34 different Countries mainly concentrated in Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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