Do I Need a Passport if I’m Sailing from the U.S.?


Yes!  I hear this question a lot.  I have all of my clients get passports for any sailing.  For most cruise lines, technically, if you are a U.S. citizen sailing on a closed loop itinerary out of a U.S. port all you need is your birth certificate and photo id.  There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea.  This past week with Hurricane Irene wreaking havoc, several passengers were stranded in San Juan, Puerto Rico (U.S. territory).  Those that could, flew on to the next port such as Barbados or Aruba.  Guess who was unable to fly to the next port to meet the ship?  Those that didn’t have passports!!  Sad, but true.  The small investment in a passport is worth not missing your much anticipated cruise vacation.  There are various scenarios where you might need to fly back to the U.S. from a port such as illness, injury or death in the family.   You need a passport for this.  You might miss your ship and need to catch up with it at the next port, you would need a passport for this as well.  One of the first questions I always ask my clients is “Do you have your passports?”  If not, I tell them to make sure and get them.   So far, no one has refused :)  Flying home from a foreign port or trying to get to the next port without a passport will be quite a headache and terribly time consuming.

For more information on your travel document requirements, please refer to

Happy Sailing!  🙂

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