Passport Requirements for Cruise Travel

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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.

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