Customs and Cruise Ships
Customs is the name for the border crossing check that is done when you enter any country. If you've never left your country before, you're in for a lesson on international finance!
In essence, customs is about a country making sure that nothing illegal is brought in - and that people trying to come in to sell items pays the appropriate tax on those items. If a person came into the US with 800 pounds of Rolex watches, there would be a fee involved with their intention to sell those watches. That is what customs is basically about, border control.
Customs on a cruise ship is really no different than customs on an airline trip, walking trip, etc. It is about controlling what goes on at the borders of a country.
If you are a US resident and returning to the US, you are allowed to bring in $600 worth of items on the assumption that these are pretty souveniers. If you bring in more than that, you have to pay tax because it now crosses the line between "for pleasure" and "probably for profit".
There are special restrictions for alcohol and tobacco. You can only bring in 1 liter of alcohol, 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigars.
Always make sure you read and understand all customs regulations before you take any trip that crosses international borders, regardless of how you are making that trip. You don't want to be locked out of your own country on return, or fined or locked up for failing to follow the rules! Remember, claiming ignorance is rarely an excuse in legal situations. They make it your responsibility to have done the research before you made that trip.
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