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Cruising: Do You Need a Passport?

You’ve packed your bags, you’re headed out the door, and you hit the road because your ship has come in! You have everything you need to begin your exciting cruise vacation to exotic Caribbean countries except one critical piece of documentation—a passport.
 
You read on your cruise confirmations that a passport wasn’t required since your itinerary begins and ends in the same U.S. based port, so you decided to forgo that expense. Turns out, that was a costly mistake!
 
There are several reasons that I always highly encourage my clients to cruise with passports. Read on to find out why you should have a passport for your cruise vacation.

Why you should have a passport for your next cruise.

Flight Delay
I was recently on a flight to Miami seating next to a very sweet, yet frantic lady. Our flight was due to depart from Dallas by 7:15am and arrive in Miami around 11am. However, it was 11am Texas time, and our flight was just taking off. That meant we wouldn’t land in Miami until 3pm. So why was this woman freaking out? Well, she was catching a cruise to the Caribbean set to sail at 4pm—the same day! I’ll never know if she made that ship or not, but if I was betting, I’d bet the answer is no. So at this point she has a couple of options. 1) Forget the cruise, turn around and go back home. 2) Hop on a plane and catch the cruise at its first port. If she chooses option 2, she may need a passport to get to that first port. If it is another country, a passport is required to fly there. Without the passport her only option is option 1. 

Emergency
An emergency situation is another important reason to cruise with a passport.
Picture this, you’re sailing the ocean blue with a cocktail in hand headed for a sunny, tropical island paradise. Then you receive a call that an immediate family member has been in an accident, and you need to get home. You’ll arrive in a foreign port at 8am the next morning to catch a plane. One major problem, you don’t have a passport, and without it you can’t fly home. Your only option is to finish out the cruise and pray that your loved one will be ok without you.
Or perhaps you are on a beautiful Caribbean island, enjoying an exciting adventurous excursion, but something happens that lands you in the hospital. The doctors tell you that you cannot be released for 3 days. Your ship will be long gone by then. With a passport, you’ll be free to fly home once you are released. Otherwise, you’ll perhaps have wait for the next cruise ship bound for the U.S. to come.

​Missed Ship in Port
You think it doesn’t happen but believe it or not, it does—missing your ship in port is a very important reason to have a passport when you cruise.
You booked your cruise for one big reason—a bucket list excursion that would make you devasted if you can’t experience it. Turns out, the cruise line’s excursion for this adventure was sold out. So you decided to book with another tour operator. You have an amazing time and are thrilled to have marked this adventure off of your bucket list! Something happens, at no fault of the tour guide, and your bus is seriously delayed getting back to the ship. By the time you get to the dock, you see your ship sailing away, your luggage sitting on the dockside with a porter. Without a passport, what will you do? You’ll have to wait for another ship to come, and hope they’ll take you on. With a passport, you would be able to fly directly home or even fly to the next port to catch your cruise ship.

As you can see, there are many important factors to consider when deciding if you should get a passport for your cruise. I hope you’ll think about them carefully and heed my advice. When working with me for your vacation you get firsthand knowledge, advice, and tips just like this. Ready to get started? Let’s plan a trip!

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