Do You Need a Passport to Go on a Cruise?

Published by Travel Visa Pro on Thu Sep 15 2022

Cruise vacations have become quite popular in recent years, with more Americans opting to cruise rather than travel by road or air. And who can blame them? Cruises offer a lot of value – not only do you get transport, but you also get accommodation, food, entertainment, various amenities, etc. It’s the all-in-one vacation perfect for solo travelers, families, couples – just about anyone. But do you need a passport to go on a cruise?


Do You Need a Passport to Go on a Cruise?

There are two types of cruises, and their passport needs differ. Let’s explore the two:

  1. Closed-Loop Cruises: When your cruise departs from and returns to the same port in the United States, that’s a closed-loop cruise. In that case, you will not require a passport to board the cruise. Instead, you can make do with other forms of ID such as a passport card, a state-issued ID, a birth certificate, etc. These forms of ID are integral to your journey as they will prove that you are a U.S. citizen, enabling you to gain entry into the country after the cruise.

Please note that closed-loop cruise requirements are not standard, and you may sometimes require a passport. In that case, you will need to confer with the cruise line about what you should carry.

  1. Cruises to And from Foreign Ports: If your cruise starts or ends in a port, not the United States, you will require a passport. However, you may find that your passport card can still suffice. E.g., if your cruise stops in Canada, you can use your passport card or a trusted traveler’s card to gain entry into the country.

When should you get a passport when going on a cruise?

  • When it’s a cruise requirement: The best way to determine if you need a passport for your cruise is to ask the cruise line. You might find that as part of the itinerary, you will take part in a shore excursion in a port where a passport is mandatory. Ask ahead so you can process the required travel documents before embarking on the cruise.
  • For safety reasons: While having a passport is not mandatory on some cruises, carrying a passport book is always good. Sometimes, you may have to return home due to an emergency. And without your passport book, you cannot take a flight back to the U.S., which would be inconvenient.

We always recommend cruising with a passport, even when you do not intend to use it. It is much safer and can help you act quickly when unforeseen circumstances occur. Cruise lines also advise the same procedures.

Get Your Passport Here


What Documents Do You Need to Go on a Cruise?

Depending on your type of cruise, you may require the following:

  1. A passport: This applies to cruises that start or end at ports outside the United States. It’s also good to have a passport book for emergency flights,
  2. Visas: If the cruise will stop in spots where visas are necessary, ensure you process the visas even if you will not disembark at those spots, and
  3. Insurance: Ensure you have medical and emergency covers to cater to any travel-related expenses. It’s always good to have supplemental insurance.

Keep your documents in a safe while on the cruise.


How to Prepare for a Cruise?

Besides packing for a holiday, we recommend taking the following precautions when embarking on a cruise:

  1. Mark all the embassies and consulates you can contact in the face of an emergency,
  2. Get a passport early enough before your cruise, even when the cruise line does not specifically ask for one,
  3. Be aware of any security concerns at all the stops in your journey,
  4. Get a medical assessment to ensure you are fit to take a cruise. If you are on medication, carry the medicines and their prescriptions,
  5. Plan how you can get home if you end up stranded at any of the stops, and
  6. Confer with your cruise line regarding what safety and medical measures they follow in case of an emergency.

Also, have an emergency contact on record with the cruise line.