Are Passports Required for Cruises?

Do you need a passport for a cruise?

A cruise ship

Well… It depends. Nothing is worse than booking plans or getting surprised with a vacation only to find out you’ll need a passport to travel. What’s worse? When you need a passport but don’t have one, or find out it’s expired at the last minute! Well for cases like that, you can always contact The Passport Office– But what if you don’t need a passport?

While in most cases all international flights require a valid US Passport to be presented at the time of boarding, there is one method of transportation where this isn’t always the case.Cruises! Cruises are a bit different from a flight, considering you spend the majority of the time on a cruise ship in international waters after all. Depending on where your destination is, and where you board from, you might not need a passport to get past the port and onto your cruise!

Cruises which do not require passports.

For one, we can assume that if you are boarding a cruise that isn’t making any stops abroad that you won’t be needing a passport. A valid ID or birth certificate should work in this case. However, there are cruises that basically spend their time in US territory but will technically require you to have a passport because of where they begin. For example, many Alaskan cruises depart from Vancouver, Canada, and because Canada is very much not the USA you would be required to present a passport to make it to the gangway.

Closed loop cruises (Cruises that begin and end in the USA, but may make stops abroad along the way) oftentimes don’t require a valid US passport depending on the destinations. For example, while most Disney cruises go to international locations, these locations tend to be owned and operated by the Disney cruise line. That means that they are tightly secured and oftentimes on islands separate from the greater country you are actually visiting. Because of this, you won’t need to present a passport for most Disney cruises.

This is also true for most cruise lines that go to the Caribbean, though we always encourage everyone to check with your cruise lines to confirm! Policies can change at a moment’s notice, and this can be because of international law, US Department of State regulations, or even just cruise line policy! Even if a country or the US doesn’t legally require you to present a passport, a cruise line can always enforce stricter rules on their private property.

In the cases where a passport might be needed, oftentimes they are simply needed to disembark and re-embark. Meaning that as long as you don’t intend to leave the cruise ship until you return to your initial destination, you should be able to board and enjoy the cruise (just not the stops along the way).

Cruises that Require Passports

Cruises that begin in the USA but end in a port outside of the USA will require a passport in almost all cases. Alternatively, a passport card could be used if you are traveling to a country that accepts them. Other than that, as mentioned above, cruises can require a passport to be presented as an ID regardless if the country you are traveling to requires a passport. This could be for a variety of reasons, consider if there are rough seas, a ship might try to make an impromptu stop at a port not listed on your itinerary that might require a passport be held for every passenger!

What to do if you Need a Passport

If you’ve got plans booked for a cruise that does require you top have a passport and need that process sped up– Look no further! The Passport Office processing speeds as fast as 3-5 business days! Our Orlando Passport Office offers walk-in service for all those in need of an urgent passport.

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