The Top 10 Paradise Cruise That Require No Passport
One of the most common questions among many potential first-time cruisers is a simple one: do you need a passport to take a cruise?
00:00 - INTRO
01:50 - CARIBBEAN
02:40 - BERMUDA
03:50 - THE BAHAMAS
04:40 - HAWAII
05:50 - ALASKA
06:46 - MEXICO
07:45 - CANADA
08:35 - BELIZE
09:35 - COSTA RICA
10:20 - HONDURAS
If you get the urge to cruise and your passport has expired, or you have made a last-minute decision to take the kids and they don’t have passports, you may be wondering, do I need a passport to go on a cruise? In select destinations, you do not need a passport to go on a cruise. Whether you should cruise without a passport is another matter (there are some risks that we’ll get into below).
To cruise without a passport, you need to stay in the Western Hemisphere and sail from the United States on a “closed-loop” itinerary, which means you leave from and come back to the same U.S. port. The rules for sea travel were established under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Canada, New England, Mexico, Bermuda, and Hawai‘i all fit these criteria.
Keep in mind the “closed-loop” bit. If your ship is not returning to the same port—for instance, if you are eyeing a one-way Panama Canal sailing from Los Angeles to Miami—you do need a passport. You will also be limited on some Caribbean itineraries, as select islands such as St. Bart’s and Martinique do require a passport, which means your cruise line will require a passport before you board the ship.
If there is a passport requirement, each person needs to have one, including infants and toddlers
All cruises everywhere else in the world that sail in destinations outside the United States require a passport.
What I.D. you’ll need instead of a passport
If you are on a closed-loop cruise that begins and ends in the U.S. and visits Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean, all you need to do is prove you are a U.S. citizen, and this applies to everyone in your party. Options here, in lieu of a passport, include an Enhanced Driver’s License, which is a state-issued driver’s license that provides proof of U.S. citizenship (currently available only to residents of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington); a government-issued birth certificate; or an official Certificate of Naturalization.
Note that the birth certificate can’t be the cute one with the baby’s footprints issued by the hospital; it needs to be issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where the child was born.
If you are age 16 and up, and without a passport, you will also need to present a photo I.D. such as a state-issued I.D. or driver’s license. The photo I.D. must include your photo, name, and date of birth.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides a detailed description of the requirements. If you have any questions, check with your travel agent or cruise line. You don’t want to be turned away at the pier for lack of proper identification.