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A visa is special permission to enter a country. For some visas you have to get them in advance and they are stamped into your passport. For some countries you get them onboard and the cost in added to your onboard account. Most European countries do not require a visa but if you are going to countries in Africa or the Middle East you may require a visa. Your cruise line should let you know well in advance if you need to get any visas in advance.
Evangeline - Nassau - 1960
Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt - EB TA - 1962
Queen Mary - WB TA - 1962
Raffaello - Caribbean - 1968
MV Three Gorges - Yangtze River - 1988
Atlas - Nile River - 1995
Olympic - Aegean Sea - 1996
Constellation - Baltic Sea - 2005
Disney Fantasy - Caribbean - 2012
Queen Elizabeth - World Voyage 2014
Queen Elizabeth - Southampton to Fort Lauderdale - 2015
Westerdam - FLL to Seattle with the "Sail-away Gang" - 2015
Russia is the only European country we have needed a visa for. And that is only when you are either staying there or want to go off on your own. If you are just taking ship excursion or private excursions booked in advance the visa is taken care of.