June 20, 2017
According to CruiseCritic.com, passports now are required for any U.S. citizen whose cruise embarks or disembarks in a foreign country, including Canada. You also will need a passport for certain shore excursions — such as Alaska’s White Pass and Yukon Railway train ride and day trips to smaller Caribbean islands — that cross a land or sea border into a foreign country. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check individual ports’ entry requirements, as you might need a visa as well.
Remember, many countries will no longer accept a passport that is expiring within six months so don’t wait until the last minute to check your documents! The good news is you can get a passport quickly—albeit at an extra fee, if needed. Check out the helpful blog Rush Passport Services that shows reviews of nationwide expediters, including Fastport Passport (877/910-7277), a family run operation based in Brooklyn who we’ve worked with. With the appropriate documents either sent overnight or hand-delivered, they can expedite a passport often within 48 hours, though that may cost a few hundred dollars on top of the Passport Agency Fees.
Cruisers are exempt from having to bring passports if they are on “closed loop” sailings — which start and finish in the same U.S. home port and only travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, CruiseCritic.com reports. If you choose to travel without a passport, you still need to show a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license) and proof of citizenship (a certified copy of your birth certificate or similar documentation) to get back into the U.S. after your trip.
But, CruiseCritic.com warns, if you or a member of your family has an emergency in a foreign port or something at home requires you to leave the cruise, only an official passport will allow you to fly home. You would need to obtain a temporary passport that might take a few days.
Here are some tips and resources from the U.S. Passports and International Travel office
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