Here's a riddle: A Royal Caribbean cruise ship leaves New York bound for Bermuda. Can the ship make a stop in Baltimore to pick up additional passengers?
If you answered yes, you've never heard of the Passenger Vessel Services Act. Passed in 1886, the act prohibits foreign-owned cruise ships from picking up and dropping off passengers in consecutive U.S. ports.
If the Royal Caribbean ship wanted to call on the Port of Baltimore after leaving New York, it would first have to stop in Nova Scotia, some 500 miles to the north.
Similarly, "if you live in San Francisco and want to take a cruise to Hawaii, you first have to fly to San Diego, then take a bus to Ensenada" in Mexico, said Veronica Sanchez, government affairs director with the Port of San Francisco. "That's the most blatant example …