Passports & Birth Certificates

The question gets asked over and over again about whether or not passports are necessary for cruising.  Well here is the 411 (is that still a thing?) on passports and birth certificates.

When taking a closed loop cruise passports are not necessary at this time, the government has the ability to change this at any time.  A closed loop cruise is when you depart and return to a United States port, i.e. Galveston, TX. In order to cruise you are required to have an original certified birth certificate and government issued ID. Now let’s say you are a child, Wyatt & the other Peebles children, obviously you do not have a state issued ID but you do have your parents with you so you are good to go!

Passport books are the most expensive yet recommended. Passport books must be valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel.  That means that your passport must be valid through at least June 17, 2018. There are pros and cons to having and not having a passport.

The Pros:

  • If you were to miss getting back on the ship from one of the ports you have a passport to use to get to the next port.
  • If something were to happen and you needed to get back to the U.S. immediately, you will need a passport for air travel.
  • Debarking on the final day of the cruise is easy and quick through the passport lines.

The Cons:

  • The cost of a new or renewal of a passport is $135 for people ages 16 and over $105 for people under 16 years of age.
  • In order to get a passport it averages 6 weeks processing time.
  • You have to make an appointment with the post office to get your paperwork & photo to be sent in.

Passport cards are an inexpensive way to have a passport. The same rule applies for a card as a book, it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of travel.

The Pros:

  • The cost is reasonable. $55 for people ages 16 and older $40 for people under the age of 16.
  • Debarking on the final day of the cruise is easy and quick through the passport line.

The Cons:

  • In order to get a passport it averages 6 weeks processing time.
  • You have to make an appointment with the post office to get your paperwork & photo to be sent in.
  • You cannot use a passport card for travel by air.  This card is only for use by land and sea.

Driver’s license and birth certificate are the other approved forms of identification. The best part of these forms of identification is you should already have them.  If you don’t then shame on you and you better get to getting!

The Pros:

  • You should have them and if not they are easily obtainable.
  • Super inexpensive way for children to travel for sure!

The Cons:

  • You cannot travel in a foreign county with these forms of ID.
  • You cannot fly back to the United States with these forms of ID.
  • Disembarking is slow moving and long lines at the terminals, expect delays.

As a side note, any guest without proper documentation will not be allowed to board the ship and no refund of the cruise fare will be issued. In other words, DO NOT FORGET YOUR DOCUMENTATION AT HOME! Anything else you need for the cruise like clothing or hygiene items can be purchased anywhere but your documentation cannot.  That should be the item that you don’t forget to pack and you should pack it on your person.  Don’t put it in your suitcase and then fly.  Suitcases get lost.

Categories: Family Cruise 2017 | Leave a comment

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