Do You Need a Passport for Cruise
Cruising is an amazing experience for any traveler. Especially the first-timers are always curious about to prepare before the cruise. What to pack and what not to pack are the major problems on the first-timers’ minds.
Another question that will pop up in your mind is, “Do I need a passport for cruising” or not. Don’t worry; I will guide you on how to prepare documents for your first-time cruise and do you need a passport for the cruise or not.
Actually, the exact documents that you need to carry for a cruise totally depend on some factors. The very first one is the citizenship that you hold. And the next factor is the place you are starting to sail and the place where you will end the sail.
And most importantly, the correct documentation is a must since almost all cruise companies have the policy of “No Refund” due to wrong documentation. So, it would help if you were very careful with your documents before starting the cruise.
Situations When You do not Need a Passport
Do You Need a Passport for Cruise (for the US citizens)?
If you are a US citizen, you might be surprised to know that there are some territories that you can cruise without your passport. Actually, there some US territories and commonwealth which you do not need the passport at all. Luckily, if you are a US citizen and start your cruise from the USA and end in the USA, you definitely don’t need to pack your passport with you to the cruise.
And in the case of closed-loop cruises, that means the cruises which begin and end at the same port in the US; you will need to show some proofs to enter or depart.
Basically, you should be able to present the proofs of your citizenship with the birth certificate, laminated government-issued picture ID (like Driver’s license), name, date of birth, and denoting photo. And FYI, the closed-loop cruises normally sail to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda starting from the USA.
For US children (Age less than 16)
If you are going to cruise with your kids who are less than 16 years old, you should be able to prove their birthplace. So, take the certified copies of birth certificates, certificates of naturalization issued by US citizenship and immigration services, or a consular report of birth abroad issued by DOS.
Generally, keep in mind that most cruises are not allowed to present Baptismal papers and hospital certificates of birth. Even voter registration cards and social security cards are also not allowed.
One more thing is to make sure about the port requirements you will deal with since some particular ports may ask for your passport in the US territories. Actually, all of these proofs highlight that the “without a passport” label is much protected from frauds and illegal immigrants from and to the USA.
The US citizens are allowed to cruise without passports (under the above-mentioned conditions) to Puerto and its surrounding island, Vieques and Culebra, the Northern Mariana Islands, and 15 islands in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Also, US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa are some examples as well.
Situations When You Do Need a Passport
Do You Need a Passport for Cruise (for the US Citizens)
Now, this is obvious that you need a passport to cruise if you start in one port and end in another. If you cruise through other countries in Europe, Asia, Central, and South America, you need a passport, and sometimes even you require visas.
Especially, the cruises traveling through Cuba or British Virgin Island, Europe, or through the Atlantic Ocean require passports. Strictly keep in mind to have a valid passport with you.
Since all the cruise is only accepting passport books and not accepting passport cards or other forms of ID, suppose your passport is not accepted, and you need to catch a flight; no, you can’t do that either.
Even you are severely ill; you are not allowed to cruise or fly without a valid passport and visa. Of course, you can return home, but it will take some time. So, it is a serious matter to consider before the cruise through countries.
Therefore, you require passport books valid for at least six months after the sailing date.
For Non-US Citizens
Non-US citizens definitely need a valid passport and visa, and other documents for the cruise. For example, if you are a Canadian or a citizen of a British commonwealth country who resides in Canada, you need to present your PR Card (Permanent Resident Card) with other documentation at any request.
Yes, I recommend you to have a passport for a cruise.
I highly recommend anyone pack your passport with you in any cruising. Even if you are traveling with your family and kids, make passports for them as well. No matter who, even a kid needs a passport, and it will eliminate the unexpected troubles for sure.
I know it is a bit of trouble to make passports for the whole family with the cost. But, facing unexpected problems in an unknown land is far scarier than that small cost.
It will make easier the embarkations and disembarkation process for sure. But not only that, suppose you need to fly back to your country before finish the cruise due to a medical emergency, personal matter, or business emergency, you will definitely need your passport.
Acceptability of US Passport Cards
US government is issuing passport cards as an alternative for the passport if you are unable to make a passport. Actually, it can be considered a low-cost alternative. With a passport card, you can’t fly. Only you can travel through territories on land and sea.
You can use these passport cards for the border crossings between the US, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. But, international cruises are not allowed and accepted.
Actually, the US Department of State has recommended that all the cruisers take their passports with them for the cruises. If you are affordable, I recommend you have travel insurance before you plan the cruise as a first-timer. Have a Fantastic Cruise and Enjoy.