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Do you need a passport to go on a cruise?

Do you need a passport to go on a cruise? The answer is both yes and no.

Whether you need a passport depends on many factors, including where you get on and off the train, where you’re going and what line you’ll be traveling on. There’s no definitive answer – and it can be confusing.

If you’re planning a trip and have questions about where you can travel without a passport, here’s everything you need to know before you go.

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Where can I travel without a passport?

If you’re a US citizen and don’t have a passport, you actually have quite a few travel options.

You may be surprised to learn that US citizens do not need a passport to travel on “self-contained” cruises with lines such as Famous yachts, Norwegian Cruise Line, Festival cruise line And Princess yachtamong others.

You don’t need a passport to sail round-trip from U.S. ports. CELEBRITY TOURISM

A closed-circuit cruise is one that departs and returns to the same U.S. port and remains in the Western Hemisphere. Passengers are not required to have a US passport – even if your cruise stops at certain international ports.

These trips go to destinations in North America, such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico, Central America, Alaska and Hawaii. They depart from home ports such as Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City and Galveston, Texas.

Related: The best Caribbean cruises for every type of traveler

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The rules also apply to Caribbean islands that are US territories. For example, you won’t need a passport to fly in and out San Juan, Puerto Ricoor St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

However, if you board one US port and disembark at another, it’s not the same as a closed-circuit trip. For example, one Cruise on the Panama Canal starting in Miami and ending in San Diego will require a passport. Longer trips, like big trips sailing round-trip from the United States but visiting countries outside of North and Central America will also require a passport.

Any travel where you need to fly to or from a foreign country, including Canada, will require a passport.

Are there any exceptions to needing a passport on a self-contained cruise?

Correct. Even if you’re sailing a closed circuit, certain islands in the Caribbean – Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts, Barbados and other islands – all require a passport for entry. It is your responsibility (not your cruise line’s) to find out the requirements of each destination you visit before traveling.

If you don’t have a passport and your ship stops at one of these islands, you will have to stay on the ship. If you want to travel without a passport, choose a cruise where you know you can disembark and enjoy a day in port.

Related: Shore Excursions: What New Cruisers Need to Know

To make things even more confusing, you can disembark at the port of Vancouver, British Columbia, during a trip. Alaska cruise don’t have a passport, but to get to the Canadian province by rail you will need a passport. You can visit Alaska on a round-trip Seattle cruise without a passport. However, if you want to book a rail cruise tour on White Pass and Yukon route, which takes you from Alaska to Canada, choose the shorter White Pass Summit tour; You will need a passport for longer trips.

Majestic Princess in Glacier Bay, Alaska. PRINCESS TOUR

There are also exceptions when you are traveling with children. Princess Cruises and Dutch America require at least one parent to carry a passport, even if you are on a closed circuit boat. Some lines require passports for all travelers, regardless of itinerary, including Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Azamara, Windstar Cruise, Silversea Cruise, Oceania Cruise And seaport. Also, please note that for any international travel, your passport must be valid at the time of travel. at least six months after the last day of the trip.

What kind of identification do you need to carry when traveling around if you don’t have a passport?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection states that if you travel without a passport, you will need proof of identity and U.S. citizenship in the form of a state-issued birth certificate. It also requires a driver’s license or government-issued photo identification with your name and date of birth.

Another option is passport card, a government-issued photo ID that proves your citizenship and authorizes border crossings by land and sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. (This card cannot be used for international air travel and therefore costs less than a traditional passport.)

ONE Enhanced driving license is another alternative you can use when traveling through land and seaports but does not apply to international flights.

If you do not have a passport, these documents may also be sufficient to present to customs officers on some Caribbean islands. For example, if you get off the train at St. Maarten (Dutch side) and then sail to Anguilla on a tour, you will need your passport, certified birth certificate and photo ID, passport card or enhanced driving license. St. Maarten does not require documents, but Anguilla does.

If you take a tour from St. Maarten to Anguilla, you will need a passport. BENJI STAWSKI/PRAYER POINT

It’s best to check the requirements for each island you’ll be sailing to, as well as additional destinations you might visit during a port call. They may require different documents for entry.

If you are travel with children under 16 years of age on a self-contained cruise, you will need to bring a certified copy of their original birth certificate for identification. They do not need photo identification.

No matter what type of documents you bring, you should make copies of them (paper copies or photos on your phone) when leaving the ship in case something happens and you lose your passport while you are on shore. Always carry some form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license, when you arrive at the port.

What happens in an emergency if I don’t have a passport?

If you have an emergency and are forced to deplane due to illness or other reasons in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, the Bahamas, Bermuda or Canada, you will need a passport to return home by plane. In the rare case of having to evacuate the ship or divert to another country to dock, a passport is also necessary to return home.

Related: Trip Wreck: 7 Ways to Prepare for Every Kind of Travel Disaster

If you find yourself without a passport but need one, you must find and contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and request an emergency passport of limited validity to fly home. This process requires explaining your emergency situation, completing an application, and presenting travel documents, photo identification, and proof of citizenship. You will also need to take a passport-sized photo and pay the required fees. Although this type of passport can be issued in as little as one day, it can take up to a week to receive.

Bottom line

Cruise lines recommend that all passengers have a passport when traveling, even on self-contained cruises when not absolutely necessary. It’s the best way to prove your identity and citizenship and is an essential item if you’re suddenly stranded abroad. It is also less cumbersome than carrying necessary documents and papers with you wherever you go.

There is no better time to apply for a passport than now. It can take six to eight weeks (fast turnaround is two to three weeks) to issue a regular passport, so you always want to plan ahead.

The cost to get a new passport is $165, plus the cost of taking a photo is about $17. The fee may be why many Americans choose to go without. However, an adult’s passport is valid for 10 years – and you can travel to most places in the world with just a passport and no visa.

While it’s possible to travel without a passport, you should have peace of mind knowing that you can get off the train and do what you want while on vacation and then be able to return home if something unexpected happens. happen. However, if you don’t have a passport or don’t want one, you can still travel – you’re limited only to North American cruises that sail round-trip from US departure ports .

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