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Documentation Required for Cruise Travel...

Proper travel documentation is required at embarkation and throughout your cruise.  It is the responsibility of the guest to bring all required travel documents.  Guests who fail to provide a cruise line with proper proof of citizenship and photo ID may be denied boarding and not receive a refund.  The easiest way to avoid any problems or to be denied boarding if the government quickly tightens it's requirements, is to obtain a valid passport now.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER... The information below is for reference purposes only and is subject to change at any time without notice. You are advised to contact the Department of Homeland Security for the latest requirements and if necessary the appropriate consulate, U.S. Embassy or U.S. Immigration office to inquire further about travel documents. Do not rely solely on the information provided below, as it could change.  For current policies, or for passport applications, locations to have passport photos taken, or locations to submit your application (such as post offices), see: or call 1-877-487-2778 for details.


PASSPORT/TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS For US Citizens, Effective June 1, 2009...


While the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires valid passports for land and sea travel, a ruling was

issued allowing leniency for "closed-loop" cruises, i.e., sailings that both originate and terminate in the same U.S. port...

U.S. citizens taking “closed-loop” cruises (beginning and ending at the same U.S. port) are not required to have a Passport and can use alternate proof of citizenship such as an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, a passport card, or enhanced driver's license (EDL)...along with a government-issued photo ID with the passenger's name and date of birth (such as a driver’s license).  A Passport meets both requirements.  A voter registration card or Social Security card are not considered to be proof of citizenship.  You can view the complete list of acceptable documents by clicking here or read more at:  Passengers may also need to provide a bridge document such as a marriage certificate, linking the name on the birth certificate to the name on the photo ID, if they the do not match. 


Note that the cruise lines highly recommend all guests travel with a passport valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel.  ...Although a passport is not required for U.S. citizens taking cruises that begin & end in the same U.S. port, traveling with a passport enhances your disembarkation experience, as delays may be expected upon your return to the U.S. if you do not have one.  

Children are also required to carry proof of citizenship, such as a certified birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport; and if over 16, a photo ID may be required as well (see additional information at the bottom of this page regarding photo identification for children).  

If a cruise begins and ends in different U.S. ports or begins and ends in a foreign port, a valid US Passport, Passport Card, or other recognized WHTI-compliant document is required.  A valid passport is also required if you are traveling on any Europe cruises.  All non US citizens must have a passport for air, land and sea travel. 

For more information, a complete list of WHTI-compliant documents, or to obtain a passport application, visit:

ALL guests need proof of citizenship in order to travel, and failure to present a valid document at check-in will result in denied boarding with no refund.  We encourage you to invest in a passport as the preferred document of choice for proof of citizenship.

If you FLY or DRIVE to and/or from a cruise port OUTSIDE the United States...
All citizens, regardless of age (including infants) are required to show a passport to re-enter the United States BY AIR from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Bermuda, the Caribbean and the rest of the World. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after sailing. Passengers who's Alaska cruise itinerary includes a port call to a Canadian city, or begins or ends in a Canadian port/city are required to have a valid Passport. You are responsible for having the proper documentation with you when you travel. In addition Visa's may be required to enter certain countries while on a cruise. Check with the cruise line for the exact documentation requirements for your cruise or cruisetour, well before leaving the country.  Failure to have the proper documentation (Passport, Visa, Health Vaccination Certificates etc.) as required may result in denied boarding and you will not get a refund for your cruise. Also note that while Enhanced Drivers Licenses can be used as proof of citizenship at land and sea ports of entry, they CAN NOT be used to travel by air outside the United States.

Visa Requirements For European cruises...Visa requirements vary depending on the passport under which you are traveling and the countries being visited...please consult your travel advisor or cruise line for any specific Visa requirements for your cruise.

We strongly recommend that all guests travel with a valid passport (valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates) or passport card, or enhanced driver's license (EDL) whenever you are leaving the United States by any means.
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 cruise 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, possibly due to a medical, family, personal or business emergency, or due to missing the ship's departure from a port of call, etc.  To make sure you are prepared at your departure port, visit for the latest and exact passport requirements.

Note that Your exact legal name (first, middle and last) must be shown on cruise tickets/documents, and this must match the name shown on your passport or drivers license.

For details on how to obtain a Passport: Visit, or call the U.S. National Passport Information Center: (877) 4USA-PPT; TDD/TTY: (888) 874-7793.  *If you need to obtain a passport quickly, you can contact ZVS at: or by phone at: 1-866-788-1100.  Carnival cruisers should mention that they are sailing on Carnival to receive discounted service fees.

Non-U.S. Citizens...
Citizens of countries other than the United States and Canada (Aliens) are required to present both a valid passport and an unexpired U.S. multiple re-entry visa (B-2 Visitor’s Visa) or a visa waiver. Resident aliens need both a passport and an alien resident card. Guests will need to contact the consulates of the islands/countries they will be visiting to inquire about necessary travel documentation. Immigrations determines the proper documents which guests must have available in order to sail.  For cruises that visit or transit in Canada, citizens of some countries may require a Visa. Guests must check with the Canadian Consulate for documentation requirements. This includes cruises to Canada (from New York) and Alaska cruises.

Parental Consent for Minors...
Minors (under the age of 18) traveling without parents or grandparents, (perhaps going with a friend and his/her parents) should possess a parental/guardian consent letter that authorizes the minor to travel, assigns temporary guardianship to the adult travelling with minor, and that further authorizes medical treatment in case of an emergency (a notarized statement is preferred, but not required by the cruise line*).  If only one parent is going on the trip, it is recommended that the other parent sign a release form.*  If neither parent is going, then BOTH parents should sign.*  In most cases, your travel agent can provide you with the cruise line document for parent signature.  (*Note that most cruise lines do not require a minor sailing with only one parent to have a document signed or notarized by the second parent, but it is recommended in case you should miss the ship or are detained in a foreign port... For example, Mexico may require a notarized affidavit signed by ANY parent not accompanying the minor. Furthermore, Canadian Entry Requirements stipulate that minors under the age of 18 traveling into Canada without
both parents must have in their possession a notarized letter of consent that includes the actual dates of travel and signatures of both parents, as authorization to do so.)

Your Responsibility
Without exception, it is the responsibility of the individual traveler to obtain passports, birth certificates, visas and other documents required for entry into a foreign country, and for embarkation and re-entry into the United States. You will not get a refund if you are denied boarding for lack of proper documentation. Foreign citizens especially should contact the embassy or consulate of any country to be visited and request a copy of its entry requirements.  (Note that requirements are often different for cruise travelers who are not staying overnight in the country.)

Great Rates Travel can not be held responsible for any loss, damage, inconvenience, delay, additional costs or any other irregularity caused by the traveler not obtaining proper documentation.

*Photo ID's May Be Required by some cruise lines for Children ages 16+...Most cruise lines require a Photo ID for all passengers 16 years of age and up.  A government-issued photo ID is recommended. Your local driver's license office can provide official Photo Identification Cards for persons who do not have drivers license IDs.  In some cases, a school photo ID or other ID card showing passenger's legal name and photograph may also be acceptable (check with the cruise line to confirm your required documentation). 

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