Do I Need a Passport for a Cruise?

cruise-passportThe Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires that must present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. In other words, you will almost always need a passport book or passport card to enter the United States of America. There are some exceptions, and we will go through them all here. There are certain passport requirements based on the type of travel you are doing, as well the specific company or cruise line you choose to travel with. Be sure to know the cruise passport requirements before you go! Traveling to Canada? Visiting Mexico? Cruise to Antarctica? Know the passport requirements and recommendations for each trip. No matter when you need a passport, we can help. We can even help you get your passport in one week or faster!


Do I Need a Passport to Travel by Air?

Any traveler, no matter their age, must have a valid passport book when traveling internationally by air. The passport card is not accepted for travel by air, so make sure you have the passport book. (More information the differences between the passport card and the passport book). There is no way around this requirement, which is why we often recommend having the passport book, as it is more versatile and beneficial.

Do I Need a Passport to Travel by Sea?

All adult U.S. citizens arriving by sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean must have a passport. The passport card can be used for travel by land or sea. The passport book is valid for land, sea, and air travel. It’s a bit more versatile, so again, we recommend the passport book over just getting the card (or get both). There are some times when traveling by sea that you may not need a passport. Read below on Passport Requirements for Cruises.

Do I Need a Passport to Travel by Land?

Yes. The land requirements are similar to the sea requirements. You can use a passport book or passport card. U.S. citizens under the age of 16 that arrive by land from Canada or Mexico may present an original or certified copy of his or her birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Certificate of Citizenship. Children entering or re-entering the U.S. by air are required to have a valid passport. Photocopies of required documentation are not acceptable in any circumstance.

Do I Need a Passport for a Cruise?

It depends. There are many cruises that require a passport, however there are some cruises that do not require any passport documentation. Passports are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from Hawaii or a U.S. territory, including Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Passports are required for cruise travel to all International destinations not mentioned above. This means if you plan to visit any foreign nation, you will likely need a passport. U.S. Passports should be valid for at least six months after the last day of your trip. This is also known as the Six Months Passport Validity Rule. We also recommend that you check with the US Department of State regarding passport requirements. There are some exceptions to the passport requirement for cruises. Read below for more information on Passports and Closed Loop Cruises.


Do I Need a Passport for a Closed-Loop Cruise?

A closed-loop cruise is a sort of “loop-hole” in the passport requirement for a cruise. A cruise that begins and ends at the same U.S. port is considered a closed loop. For example, if your cruise begins and ends at the same port in Miami, then you are on a closed loop cruise. Many cruises that have this itinerary may not require a passport. However, as we previously stated, having a passport any time you leave the country is a wise decision. Should something go wrong on your cruise, you won’t be stuck in another country or dealing with hassles overseas without proper documentation. Savvy travelers know you can never be too prepared.

Travelers planning to go on a closed loop cruise that are U.S. Citizens will be able to enter or depart the country on the cruise with proof of citizenship. Proof of citizenship is an original or certified copy of the birth certificate. If the traveler is 16 or older, a government issued photo ID will also be required.  If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, it may be permissible to use a hospital issued birth certificate.  The United States does not require you to have a passport. (A Consular report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State or a Certificate of Naturalization is also acceptable.)

Many cruise lines require a passport nevertheless. The reason is that one of the destinations on your cruise itinerary may require all travelers to have a valid passport. Additionally, cruise lines do not want to be help liable if you are denied entry to a destination on your cruise because you did not have proper documentation.


Do I Need a Passport for a Disney Cruise?

The following guidelines for Disney Cruises are based on government regulations, which are subject to change at any time. DIsney cruises often recommend their passengers all have valid U.S. passports. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to check with your travel agent, government agency, embassy or consulate to ensure that you have all the proper documentation to board the ship and enter each of the countries on the ship’s itinerary. Guests without proper documentation will be denied boarding.

Do I Need a Passport for a Princess Cruise?

Princess Cruise Line:Princess Cruises strongly recommends that all passengers are in possession of a passport. When minors are traveling with only one adult, Princess requires that all passengers have a valid passport. A valid passport is required for all non-domestic itineraries including Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, India, Central and South America, South Pacific and Tahiti.

For domestic itineraries, if your cruise requires air travel between the U.S. and the Americas, Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Mexico, you will be required to present a passport when departing from or returning to the U.S. by air. Without a passport, you will be denied boarding of your flight. For itineraries for which a passport is not required to sail, U.S. and Canadian citizens who do not have a valid passport must provide the following proof of citizenship: Naturalization certificate or an original certified birth certificate from the state/province of their birth (a hospital certificate will not suffice) together with a current and valid government issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license. U.S. citizens may also present a U.S. Passport Card or Enhanced Driver’s License. Neither oral nor written declarations of citizenship will be accepted. Although recommended, photo identification is not required for those 18 years and younger at the time of this printing. U.S. Resident Aliens are required to present, in addition to a valid passport, a current and valid Alien Resident Card. Canadian Permanent Residents are required to present a valid Permanent Resident Card in addition to a valid passport.

Do I Need a Passport for a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

Royal Caribbean International strongly recommends that all guests travel with a valid passport during their cruise. This greatly assists guests who may need to fly out of the United States to meet their ship at the next available port should they miss their scheduled embarkation in a U.S. port; guests entering the U.S. at the end of their cruise; and guests 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.

Do I Need a Passport for a Carnival Cruise?

Carnival cruise lines does not have an explicit requirement for travelers to have a passport, however they defer to the requirements set by the U.S. Dept of State and any foreign nations visited on the cruise. In other words, yes, bring your passport. Carnival assumes no responsibility for advising guests of proper travel documentation. Carnival assumes no responsibility for advising guests of proper travel documentation.

Proper travel documentation is required at embarkation and throughout the cruise. Even though a guest has completed registration using Online Check-in, it is still the responsibility of the guest to present the required travel documents at the time of embarkation. Guest should check with their travel agent and/or government authority to determine the travel documents necessary for each port of call. Any guest without proper documents will not be allowed to board the vessel and no refund of the cruise fare will be issued.

Carnival requires guests to provide proper travel documentation in order to travel. Carnival assumes no responsibility for advising guests of Immigration requirements.

It is recommended that all guests travel with a valid passport during their cruise.  It is also recommended that all guests travel with a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond completion of travel.

Do I Need a Passport for a Norwegian Cruise Line?

It depends on where you are traveling with Norwegian Cruise Line. A valid passport is required for travel to Europe and trans-Atlantic destinations. In some cases, a tourist visa may also be required. You will not need a passport when you sail on any Hawaii inter-island cruise. If your ship never sails beyond the islands of Hawaii, all you need is a government-issued photo I.D. which includes a passport or a valid driver’s license with a photo. A U.S. citizen under the age of 16 does not require a government-issued photo ID.

For destinations in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Or Canada & New England Cruises, you may sail with either a valid passport, proof of citizenship and a valid government-issued photo I.D. (driver’s license with a photo), or any other WHTI compliant document.

Note: If you miss your ship at its scheduled U.S. departure port and need to travel outside the U.S. to meet your ship, or should you unexpectedly need to depart the ship from a foreign port prior to the end of sailing, a passport would be required to leave or re-enter the U.S. by air. To that end, Norwegian Cruise Line strongly recommends all guests to obtain a passport for their voyage on any Norwegian Cruise Line vessel.

Which cruise lines require a passport?

Vacations To Go has a list of the following cruise lines that now require a passport for all sailings, regardless of destination or port of departure: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Hurtigruten, Oceania, P&O, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Star Clippers, Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Windstar. Please check with your cruise line to make sure you have all the proper and required documents. Remember, if you need a passport fast, we can help!


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