Passport Requirements for Cruise Travel

A lot of people don’t have passports these days and still want to go on a cruise. I got a question last night and it was a good one…

Can I cruise without a passport?


A common misconception is that you can’t cruise without a passport and if you ask 9 out of 10 cruise line agents they will tell you that you need a passport.  But the truth is, while it’s wise to have one anyway, you don’t always technically need one.  Hopefully this will clear things up for you.

EXCEPTION: U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port) and visit Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and/or countries of the Caribbean will be able to enter or depart the US with a birth certificate and government issued photo ID.

Examples of a closed–loop cruise would be:

  • JAX-JAX (visiting Bahamas)
  • FLL-FLL (visiting Caribbean and/or Bermuda)
  • BOS-BOS (visiting Canada)
  • TAMPA-TAMPA (visiting Mexico)

If you are doing a repositioning cruise ( Fort Lauderdale-New York), under the new passport rules, you WILL need a passport.  Returning back to the same port you left from, you will not need a passport.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that if you need to fly back to the United States for an emergency, not having a passport will delay the process significantly.

You should have a passport though. If you don’t, consider getting one.

2 Responses

  1. This is a great subject. Documentation. As a travel agent, one of the biggest questions I get is…”Do we need a passport?” The short answer is yes. In the unlikely event you get seriously sick in Cozumel, Nassau or somewhere out of the country…trust me…the ship won’t wait till you get better. You will have to catch a flight back to the good ole US of A. A birth certificate won’t cut it. You need a passport to regain entry, (unless you fly back from Puerto Rico). Be on the safe side! Get a passport. You won’t regret it.

  2. Great Topic!! I always get mixed answers when I ask about this. Thanks for clearing it up for me. So on the safe side just get a passport and be prepared in anycase.

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