Princess Cruises News Center
Cruising Article –07/12/2012
Passport 411: Documents to bring along on a cruise vacation
While taking a cruise to the world's most beautiful destinations, passengers will be required to show proper documentation, especially when traveling to international ports. As of June 1, 2009, the U.S. State Department has issued a set of guidelines for cruisers, requiring every seafaring traveler to have a passport (book or card) when traveling to specific locales.
Where cruisers need documentation
During a cruise to Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, passengers aboard any vessel are required to have a passport in concordance with U.S. law. Because of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), however, cruisers don't have to pack documentation if they're making their way to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. Because the latter cruise itineraries start and end in a U.S. port, they are considered "closed loop" voyages and fall share the same regulations asany domestic trip.
For those who travel on a closed loop itinerary, all they have to bring is a government-issued photo I.D., such as a driver's license, along with a birth certificate - which would be necessary for young children who do not yet have a driver's license. Of course, there are numerous U.S. territories - including Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa - that do not require a passport if travelers are U.S. citizens.
However, future Princess Cruise passengers should pay close attention to their itineraries. If they plan on flying to an international port to begin their vacation, they must bring along an up-to-date passport or else they won't even be able to board the plane. Additionally, if an itinerary starts in the U.S. but ends in another country, cruisers are required to bring proper documentation.
What's the difference between a passport and passport card?
While a passport book contains all of the necessary information for international travel, a passport card contains a sensitive chip that makes scanning easier at most U.S. points of entry. Cards are not, however, usable for air travel. Currently, passport books cost $100 for adults and are good for 10 years, while those for children under the age of 15 cost $85 and last for five years. Cards, on the other hand, are less than half of the price at $45 and $35 for the same age ranges.
Depending on where a cruise ship sails, some international destinations require travel visas to enter the country. While valid passports are necessary at all European and Asian locales, Russia, Turkey and Egypt also require tourist visas.
To be on the safer side, international travelers should bring a passport along to prevent any hassle while abroad.
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