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  • Writer's pictureKevin Oleson

Now you've booked a cruise... What's next - Part 1

For Cruises Leaving From a U.S. Port to the Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida, Bermuda, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Canada & New England, Pacific Coastal

On cruises that begin and end in the same US port and do not sail through the Panama Canal or to any South American ports, you are required to carry one of the below documents:

A Valid Passport


Proof of Citizenship (see below) AND Government-issued photo ID

State certified U.S. birth certificate

(Baptismal paper, hospital certificates of birth, and Puerto Rico birth certificates issued prior to 7/1/10 are not acceptable.)

Original certificate of U.S. naturalization

Original certificate of U.S. citizenship

U.S. Consular report of your birth abroad

Enhanced Driver’s License (enhanced driver’s licenses are only issued in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington)

A valid passport card

Photocopies or pictures of documents will not be accepted.

*A U.S. citizen under the age of 16 does not require a government-issued photo ID.

A valid passport is required on all sailings that begin in one US port and end in another US port.

Hawaii Cruises

There's no need for a passport when you sail on any Hawaii inter-island cruise. If the ship never sails beyond the islands of Hawaii, all you need is a government-issued photo I.D. which includes a passport or a valid driver's license with a photo.

Guests should take this into consideration when planning travels for their cruise.

Important Information for Guests Cruising and/or flying through Canada:

(Applicable for Alaska, Pacific Coastal, Hawaii & Canada New England Itineraries departing from a Canadian Port City – ie: Vancouver and Quebec City)

New Entry Requirements Effective September 29, 2016: Visa-exempt foreign nationals who enter Canada by air, must obtain and have in their possession a Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

The eTA is not required by the following:

US passport holders

Canadian passport holders

Dual citizens (citizens of Canada and a visa-exempt country)

Canadian permanent residents (Guests with permanent residency status granted by the Canadian government which are not citizens of Canada)

Passengers arriving in Canada by land or sea

Guests may be denied boarding by the airline carrier or Cruise Line without having proper documentation upon check-in.

For additional information regarding Canada’s new eTA requirement, please visit the following website:

Visa Restrictions for Canada

Based on Canadian entry requirements, some passengers may require a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in order to visit or travel through Canada.

Electronic Travel Authorization - for Citizens of Visa Waiver Program Countries (VWP) Entering the United States Per the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) requirements, all VWP travelers must obtain an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a travel carrier to enter the United States. This can be done by completing the online application on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website. Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. However, DHS recommends that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel.

Schengen Visas - for Entry to the European Union for Applicable Nationalities The Schengen Agreement (effective March 26, 1995) is an agreement between several member states of the European Union (EU) to remove immigration controls for travel within their collective territories. This creates a "borderless" region known as the Schengen Area, which changes the procedures for entering, connecting or traveling between any of the Schengen States. There are four types of Schengen visas; Type C is the one typically needed by passengers, which can be issued by any one of the Schengen states and is valid for all the others. Due to the type of itineraries in Europe, The Schengen Agreement maintains that certain nationalities require a visa to enter the EU zone. Guests who are not US, Canadian, or European nationals are strongly encouraged to contact the nearest EU-member country embassy to determine if a Schengen visa is necessary.

Some European itineraries require a Multiple Entry Schengen visa because the ship leaves and re-enters the Schengen Zone.

Panama Canal or Cruises Visiting Panamanian Ports

Valid passports are required to board the ship for all Panama Canal sailings. No passport cards, birth certificates or other form of proof of US citizenship will be accepted. Failure to present a valid passport at check-in will result in denial of boarding.

On cruises that visit a port of call in Panama but do NOT go through the Panama Canal, Panamanian authorities require all guests to have a valid passport in order to go ashore. Guests that do not have a passport will be blocked from going ashore in Panama on these sailings.

For Cruises Leaving a Non-U.S. port (Europe, Asia, South America, Australia itineraries)

You’re required to carry a valid passport, not expiring within six (6) months of the return of your cruise.

Specific visas may be required for entry into some European, Asian, Australian and South American ports. Some must be obtained in advance; some can be obtained onboard.

Check for visa requirements and info on obtaining visas.

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