Certain Ports Require It
Some locations your ship will stop for a day trip require passports from all passengers, even if the cruise line doesnt require it themselves. Even closed-loop cruises arent excluded from this rule.
Some of the ports which have this policy include Costa Rica, the French West Indies, the Panama Canal, and more.
Do You Need A Passport For A Cruise To Bermuda
If you are cruising to Bermuda, then you dont necessarily need a U.S. passport book, but can use any of the following documents instead: U.S. passport card, Trusted Traveler card , or an enhanced drivers license.
If you take a closed-loop cruise to Bermuda, you can leave your passport at home and travel instead with a state-issued ID and an original birth certificate.
Regardless, we always recommend traveling with a U.S. passport book, in case there are any inconveniences during your trip.
Which Cruises Do Require A Passport
If a cruise begins at one port and ends in another port, even if theyre both in the United States, passengers are required to have a valid passport. Similarly, if a cruise starts or finishes in a foreign port, travelers must come prepared with a current passport.
Certain Caribbean nations require cruise passengers to have a valid passport in order to enter: Barbados, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St. Barts, St. Martin, and Trinidad & Tobago.4 If you dont have a passport, you still can sail on a cruise that calls on these islands youll just have to stay on the ship while its in port.
Of course, a valid passport is required for any cruise touring Europe, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, or originating in another country. You wont even make it onto the plane that will get you there without a valid passport.
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When You Dont Need A Passport For An Alaska Cruise
You can use a passport card to reenter the United States at sea ports of entry from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. However, if you are not able to return on the cruise ship for any reason , you will need a passport book to fly back to the United States.
Also, if you dont care about being able to go home to the United States, you can enter Canada with an official birth certificate and photo ID.
Should You Bring A Passport On Closed
While some cruises dont require you to travel with a U.S. passport book, we always recommend you bring one on your trip, even on a closed-loop cruise. If you need to fly back to the United States during your cruise, youll only be able to board a plane with a passport book.
If you happen to miss the ships departure time during an international excursion, it will be much harder to meet your ship in the next port without a passport book on you.
Also some ports of call may require a passport to enter even if you dont need one to board your cruise. Its always wise to research your itinerary and find out what kind of documentation each country requires of U.S. citizens in order to enter.
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Do I Need A Passport To Get To Alaska
U.S. citizens flying between another state and Alaska do not need a passport. However, those driving through Canada or traveling on a ferry or cruise ship with stops in Canada are required to carry one. All non U.S. citizens will need a passport and possibly other documents to enter. As with all travel, check with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration as you plan your trip.
Do You Need A Passport When Cruising To Alaska
For those taking a trans-pacific cruise, or trans-ocean cruise be sure to bring your passport! It is better to be on the safer side when traveling, so we strongly suggest that you travel with your passport and a picture ID on hand. Please be sure to review the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative list of compliant documents.
U.S. citizens traveling directly to Alaska and returning directly from Alaska are not required to show their passports, although it may expedite the process of gaining clearance on return. Non-U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent residents must ensure that they have the necessary travel documentation by contacting the appropriate authorities such as the U.S. Embassy, or U.S. Immigration office. U.S. permanent residents are required to travel with a valid Permanent Resident Card. Take advantage of Alaska Cruise Deals, and travel to Alaska for your next vacation.
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The Final Word On Bringing A Passport For Your Next Cruise
As a rule of thumb, you should plan to take your current U.S. passport when youre packing for a cruise. If you are traveling to U.S. territories or are taking a closed-loop cruise, your cruise line may not require a passport. However, youll need to show proof of citizenship and identification, and a passport is the simplest way to do both.
Dont have a passport yet? Heres our guide to applying for or renewing a U.S. passport.
Our final advice? Book your cruise and purchase travel insurance at the same time. Cruising should be all about peace of mind, and the extra security that travel insurance provides is icing on the cruise-shaped cake. Plus, it helps you to feel comfortable booking your cruise far in advance, which can help get you better rates and deals. Both steps could save you some major anxiety and travel headaches and relaxing is what a cruise is all about!
Do Kids Need A Passport To Go On A Cruise
Planning a family vacation can be tricky. There are so many components to keep track of, things to remember, and tickets to purchase. As you explore your options for where to take your family, you may encounter things you hadnt thought of before.
You may want to take a cruise with your kids, but where will you go? Are you leaving the country for international waters? Will you stop at foreign ports? While you may choose a destination within the United States, you may find yourself needing passports anyway.
Several factors determine whether you need a passport, so be sure to check directly with the cruise line you intend to purchase tickets from for the most up-to-date information and guidelines.
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How Do You Keep Your Passport Safe On A Cruise
The most popular way to keep your passport safe while on a cruise is to store it inside a money belt or passport necklace. A money belt is a soft pouch with a zipper that can fit your passport, some cash, and a couple of credit cards. The pouch is connected to a belt that sits comfortably around your waist.
A passport necklace is similar, but is worn around your neck and inside your shirt instead. Its not usually as discreet as a money belt, but is often more convenient and allows for easier access to your travel documents and money.
Traveling with a passport cover is also wise since it helps to keep your passport in pristine condition. Some countries wont accept a damaged passport in customs.
Norwegian Cruise Line Passport Requirements For Cruises
Passports are required for all travelers, including citizens of U.S. and Canada, who enter or re-enter the United States by air, land or sea.
Regarding Norwegian Cruise Line to destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda, there is a notable exception to this US passport rule, pertaining to land and sea crossings for US Citizens.
US Citizens on closed-loop cruises and travel to destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda are able to re-enter the United States with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card. Acceptable proof of citizenship includes an original or certified copy of a government issued birth certificate and a laminated government issued picture ID , Consular Report of Born Abroad Certificate, or a Certificate of Naturalization. NOTE: Baptismal records and certificates issued by a hospital are not acceptable.
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Do You Really Need A Passport
Because guidelines vary so greatly from country to country and cruise line to cruise line, the best preparation you can make for your family cruise is to ensure each family member holds a valid US passport that wont expire for at least six months after your return.
While obtaining a passport can be a cumbersome experience, so can finding your original birth certificate and getting a valid photo ID for your minor children. These documents are needed to obtain a passport anyway, so it makes sense to go one step further and get the passport.
Having a valid passport makes it easier to prove citizenship as you travel throughout your cruise stops because you only need to carry one form of identification with you.
While there are cruise options that do not require your minor child to have a passport, it makes things so much easier to have one.
Why Everyone Should Get A Passport
Regardless of what the minimum requirements are for travel, we highly recommend everyone get a passport. Passports do have an additional cost to them , but we feel the advantages of having a passport far outweigh the cost and work required to get one.
Simply put, having a passport makes traveling significantly easier and simpler. Having a passport on a cruise means not just an easier embarkation and disembarkation process, but it protects you against an unexpected situation that may occur during the course of a cruise, such as:
- Fly out of the United States to meet a ship at the next available port should they miss the scheduled embarkation in a U.S. port
- Entering the U.S. at the end of a cruise
- Needing to fly to the U.S. before their cruise ends, because of medical, family, personal or business emergencies, missing a ship’s departure from a port of call, involuntary disembarkation from a ship due to misconduct, or other reasons.
Certainly many guests will cruise without a passport and likely not run into any issues. The concern without having a passport is if an emergency occurs, only an official passport will allow you to easily and quickly fly from a foreign port to another port and/or back home.
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Passports For American Citizens On An Alaskan Cruise
The rules surrounding identification and border crossings can be hairy. Fortunately, for American citizens traveling on a cruise, there is a loophole designed to make it easier for people to travel without a passport.
Its called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the rule has a section for closed-loop cruises. These are cruises that begin and end at the same port. So if you sail from Seattle, head to Alaska and Canada, and then return to Seattle, you are on a closed-loop cruise.
U.S. citizens traveling on these cruises only have to show government-issued ID and a birth certificate to re-enter the country.
Heres what the Customs and Border Patrol says on the topic:
U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship , may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship .
Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.
There are a couple of important points on this. First, if you look at any Alaskan cruise, youll notice that there is almost always a stop in Canada.
Thats because laws state that foreign-flagged ships cant usually take passengers from one U.S. port to another without making a stop somewhere along the way in another country.
Where Else Can I Cruise Without A Passport
There are a few U.S. territories and other destinations that allow passport-free entry for U.S. citizens.
- Puerto Rico is a United States Commonwealth, and all U.S. citizens can travel there and to its surrounding islands, Vieques and Culebra, without a passport.
- Also in the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory thats fair game for passport-less American citizens. You can visit St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John just not the neighboring British Virgin Islands.
- In the Pacific, some cruises visit Guam, where, although U.S. citizens are required to possess a U.S. passport, on a case-by-case basis, photo I.D. and proof of citizenship may be accepted.3
- Cruises to Alaska and Hawaii dont require passports, because both are U.S. states. However, if your Alaskan cruise begins or ends in Canada, youd need your passport.
Take note: Just because you dont need a passport to visit these destinations doesnt mean you wont need any official documentation. Make sure you have a government-issued photo ID, naturalization paperwork, and/or birth certificate.
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Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Compliant Documents
When traveling to Alaska you will need to bring one of the below documents with you. U.S. citizens traveling to and from U.S. ports are required to travel with at least one Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative compliant document.
- Valid U.S. Passport
- Passport Card
- Original or suitable quality copy of a Birth Certificate and a government issued photo ID if 16 years of age and older.
- Original Certificate of Naturalization
- Trusted Traveler Program Membership Card, e.g., Nexus Card, Sentri Card or Fast Card
- Enhanced Tribal Card
- A Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Enhanced Driver’s License – only acceptable at land and sea ports of entry. It cannot be used for air travel outside the U.S. The word ‘Enhanced’ must appear on the driver’s license. The following five states currently issue an EDL: Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington.
Copies of U.S. passports and naturalization papers, hospital and baptismal certificates are not WHTI compliant documents, therefore, are NOT acceptable.
Can You Cruise To The Bahamas Without A Passport
Cruises that dont require a passport start and end in the same location. For example, you might start and end in Seattle to go on an Alaskan cruise. Or, you could start and end in Miami to cruise to the Bahamas. Starting and ending in the same place makes it possible for you to go the Bahamas without a passport.
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Exception: Closed Loop Sailings
Here’s the confusing part: Cruisers are mostly exempt from having to bring passports if they are on “closed loop” sailings — which start and finish in the same U.S. homeport and only travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. If you choose to travel without a passport, you still need to show a government-issued photo ID and proof of citizenship to get back into the U.S. after your trip.
Again, be sure to check the entry requirements of the cruise ports you plan to visit. Just because you don’t need a passport to return to the U.S. does not mean that you don’t need one to enter one of the foreign countries on your itinerary. For example, Martinique and Guadeloupe require cruisers show passports to enter the port, even on closed-loop sailings.
What’s the downside of cruising without a passport? If an emergency arises, only an official passport will allow you to fly home from a foreign port. But what will actually happen if — due to an unexpected injury or illness, or a mechanical failure on the part of your cruise ship — you end up stranded in another country with only your birth certificate and photo ID? The answer is you can return home — it will just take more time and effort to get the proper documentation to do so.
When Do You Need A Passport Book To Cruise
You will always need a passport book if you are starting and ending your cruise in different ports. Even if your cruise starts and ends in U.S. cities, you will still be required to have a valid U.S. passport book in order to board.
You will also always need a passport book if you are traveling on a cruise that requires you to take an international flight to get to your departure port, such as those cruises departing from Europe, South America, or Asia. You wont be able to board an international flight without a passport book.
If you are cruising to a destination not located within Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, you need to bring a U.S. passport book a passport card will not be allowed as a valid travel document.
Even if you are traveling on a closed-loop cruise to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, it is always recommended that you bring a passport book in case of an emergency or unforeseen situation that might require air travel.
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Do You Need A Passport To Go On A Cruise To The Bahamas
If you are cruising to the Bahamas from the U.S., the following documents are acceptable: passport book, passport card, Trusted Traveler card , or an enhanced drivers license.
If you are traveling to the Bahamas on a closed-loop cruise, which is a cruise that starts and ends at the same U.S. port, you may travel with a state-issued ID and an original birth certificate.
Children under 16 can also travel to the Bahamas on a cruise with an original birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship. Children under 19 can use these same documents only if they are traveling with a school, church group, sports team, or other organization with adult supervision.