USPPYOU NEVER KNOW!  You never know what may happen to you or a loved one in a foreign land.  It could be something that requires you to immediately fly back to your homeland, and in an emergency situation, the last thing you need is a hassle getting through those customs gates at the airport.

Many cruise lines (especially for U.S. Citizens on cruises that begin and end in the U.S.) offer an additional option (other than a passport) for boarding the ship.  The most common is an original (with raised seal) birth certificate (with your legal photo I.D.).  Cruise lines can do this because they have deals with destinations’ governing port authorities allowing them (to allow cruisers) to use legal photo I.D.’s with the Sail & Sign cruise I.D. cards, for us to exit and enter the port of call entrances. This is a nice option in a pinch, and would keep you from missing your cruise in the first place.  But…

…you’ve sailed on your cruise, you are in a foreign land, and an emergency requires you to fly home immediately, even with several days remaining on your cruise.  This is where it will become extremely difficult to enter back into your home country without your passport.  Be sure to play it safe, and think beyond the cruise, even with the gracious options provided by the cruise lines.

2 Thoughts on “Importance of a Passport – Even If Cruise Lines Give You Other Options

  1. I am glad that you mentioned this. On one of our cruises we brought our passports for ID without realizing that they had just expired. I was livid (at myself) when I found out at the time of registration.
    To my surprise, they assured me that I could register with an expired passport as long as the expiration was less than a year ago.
    I hate to think of what would have happened if I had to fly home in an emergency.
    I learned my lesson! Check expiration dates!

    UPDATE FROM ADMINISTRATOR: Called U.S.Immigration about usage of a passport, for a cruise, that expired less than a year ago. THEY SAID NO. So, the permission you received may have been cruise line permission (like their birth certificate deals they have with ports of call). Your expired passport would have made it difficult for you if you FLEW back home.

  2. Thanks for the information.
    We are in the process of renewing our passports now.

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