Do I Need a Passport for a Cruise?

Travel Tips

by Passport Support, Staff

Sept 29, 2016

passport cruise requirementsWhy I decided to get my passport for a cruise.

When speaking with your travel agent or cruise line, they will assure you that it is acceptable to travel with your original birth certificate and a valid photo ID.  But you may be asking yourself: Do I need a passport for a cruise? Most cruises leave port from the U.S. and travel to numerous countries and return to the U.S. so technically they are correct you can travel without obtaining your U.S. Passport. This is also called a closed loop cruise. However, if there are any emergencies that come up, or you need to fly home early, you will need a passport. A smart traveler is a prepared traveler, so it’s highly recommended that all international travelers have a valid passport. The following post is a first hand experience from one of our clients that utilized our expedited passport service for their family vacation cruise.


Do I need a passport for a cruise?

Do I need a passport for a cruise? This past summer when planning my first cruise with my family, I was so scared bringing our daughter on a cruise and having that feeling of being stranded, so all of the “what if questions” started to pop in my head. What if there was an emergency? What if I wanted to get off? What if I miss the boat while in another country? What if we got hurt on one of the excursions? A million and one questions ran through my head and after speaking to some friends, I realized that if one day we were at an international port and something were to happen I could not fly home with just a birth certificate. So right then and there I decided I was going to get a passport for my family and I.

You have two options when cruising. You can get an actual passport book which is good for travel by plane, land & sea or a passport card. The passport card almost looks just like a driver’s license but is only valid for travel by land & sea. We decided to get both because the more Government IDs, the better! Now when getting on the boat they scanned our passports and were issued Cruise Line Credit cards that also doubled as our room keys as well as our ID’s to get on and off the ship. I put our passports away safely in the locked safe in our cruise room. Then getting on and off the ship at each international port I would scan my Cruise Card, when I scanned my cruise card my passport information and passport photo would pop up on the little kiosk. Now, even though I did not bring my passport into these countries (which I liked because I knew no one could rob me), I knew that if something were to happen that myself or fiance, we could rupassport card cruisen back to our ship, grab our passports and we could be out of there on the next flight to America! I just felt safer and at peace knowing I always had a Plan B. After all in the end, it only helps you to have your U.S. passport. So why not just do it?

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