Too few to process visas in Brazilian port

My traveling companion and I were on a cruise aboard the Pacific Princess, Sept. 22-Nov. 19, ’04, with a stop at Fortaleza, Brazil, on Oct. 2. As required, we had to go through Immigration.

Three people came on board to process 400-plus Americans and 250-plus others. They took our pictures, giving us numbers as prisoners would have, and we were fingerprinted, etc. This is the same procedure we require of Brazilian citizens to enter the USA.

Our ship was to be in port from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and passengers had to be processed before they were allowed ashore. The captain came on the public address system and said they were clearing about 65 people an hour. At that rate, all our time in port would be gone before anyone could leave the ship. Ship staff called Princess in California and they called an office in Brasilia, the capital, but no help came from there.

Only because the crew helped out by taking pictures and doing paperwork were we able to get ashore sometime between noon and 1 o’clock, and we were lucky as we were at the front of the line. Still, we had to be back on board by 4:30, as we were sailing at 5 p.m., and this left not enough time to go anywhere on shore.

Brazil is like a leper colony to me now. Never again.

Pt. St. Lucie, FL

As Mr. Sedlak had gotten his visa through the Brazilian Consulate in Miami prior to the cruise, ITN sent a copy of the above letter to the Brazilian Consulate General at 80 SW Eighth St., 26th Floor, Miami, FL 33130-3004, but no reply was received.

In a follow-up, Mr. Sedlak told ITN, “I have no complaints with the consulate in Miami. Prior to the trip, we sent our visa applications ($110 each) by second-day mail on a Monday and got the visas back on Thursday!”