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Our passports have been sent away for an India Visa. We are considering a cruise in Feb but our passports will not be back. It is a Carribean cruise, Has anyone done this and what was their experience? Thanks

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If your cruise meets the definition of a "closed loop cruise" under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) you can cruise if you have a valid birth certificate (one with a raised seal is normally OK but you should check with your specific cruise line) plus some kind of government issued picture ID (such as a drivers license).  Here is a link to the US Government info on this:

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/74/~/documents-needed-to-take-a-cruise

 

but we still suggest checking with your specific cruise line to avoid any confusion about the  birth certificate requirement.

 

Hank

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There was a post on CC a couple of weeks ago about this very subject, no passport, one of the ladies got sick & had to be put off the ship. With no passport they had a very big problem getting a flight back home. I would not travel with out a passport, you never know. 

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I was just going to comment about those two ladies.  The last I heard there was no way for them to be able to re-enter the U.S. without a passport.  Don't know what finally happened.  And I can't remember what cruise line they were on to check and see what's new with that story.

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Two suggestions; neither of value to the OP's current predicament.

1) U.S. citizens can now order -- for a small extra charge -- a passport card when they renew their regular passports. Although officially limited to land crossings of the Canadian & Mexican borders as well as cruises to the Caribbean (not Cuba), these cards are not only handy wallet-sized ID with a pic from the U.S. government but I know of instances where they have proved very useful in expediting the return to the U.S. of citizens who have lost passports abroad. Very useful in emergencies as well as convenient for their intended purpose. 

2) a high-quality colour scan of the passport's picture page carried separately can also be very useful in instances where the passport book is lost or damaged abroad. 

 

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Dec 18, 2018 - The pair have no passports and do not have the money to leave the ... Disabled Couple on Dream Cruise Ship Trek Stranded in Bahamas ... Doctors have now said that Johnson has an obstructed bowel and will need emergency surgery. ... not cover the cost of medical treatments outside of U.S. territories

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I thought of those two ladies, too. And, to tie into the recent thread on insurance, they didn't know that Medicare stops at the border. So they had double problems.

 

Whenever I send out my passport for renewal, I have this fear that there will be some fantastic once-in-a-lifetime last-minute cruise opportunity that I'll miss because I don't have my passport. It hasn't happened, but I still worry. 

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You can try to get a 2nd passport, which might be useful if  you think you'll have this problem again in the next 4 years.  You'd likely need to get the 2nd passport books expedited (or worth seeing if you can get the visa process expedited on your current book - no guarantee on that but never hurts to try).  One could even make the argument that if you qualify for a 2nd book (not everyone does), having two books is more useful than a book and a card.

 

I'm a big fan of having 2 gov't issue forms of proof of citizenship when going abroad, I carry a passport book and an enhanced driver's license while DW has a passport book and card.  Yes, cards aren't sufficient to fly under routine circumstances but it still proves citizenship if extenuating circumstances were to arise.

Edited by jb008

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It won't help for the current situation but for future flexibility if you live near the Canadian or Mexican border consider a NEXUS or SENTRI card.  Not only are they WHTi compliant documents but they also give Global Entry and TSA preCheck benefits at a lower cost than Global Entry.

 

Roy

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The regulations covering "closed loop" cruise only apply to leaving and reentering the U.S.A.  Depending on your itinerary, you may need a passport to enter certain foreign country's.  Check with your TA, or the Cruise Line, or the State Department.  Many others here have correctly given you great advice about always have your passport, you can never predict when you may need to fly home.

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If you choose that cruise and itinerary, you'll be visiting foreign countries, one of which you could (God forbid) find yourself stranded in; Please bring a passport or wait till you have them back, then go on a cruise

Edited by Copper10-8

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 Personally, I think in this case the OP would probably be fine going on a closed loop with the proper ID/Birth Certificate that is required by which ever line he chooses. 

 

  The biggest hurdle that the stranded couple had was lack of travel insurance, health travel insurance, & money.  

 

  The fact that the OP does have a passport, it's just not available right now means that he'd more than likely be treated the same as someone who lost their passport if there was an actual emergency of some sort.  

 

Life's too short.  Get some decent insurance, & go enjoy yourselves.  :)

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4 hours ago, rafinmd said:

It won't help for the current situation but for future flexibility if you live near the Canadian or Mexican border consider a NEXUS or SENTRI card.  Not only are they WHTi compliant documents but they also give Global Entry and TSA preCheck benefits at a lower cost than Global Entry.

 

Roy

Not sure if I'm misreading your comment or if someone else might . Nexus is not a substitute for a passport . It is an additional level of ID security . Forgive me if it's just me who wants to make sure nobody misreads your comment .  

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2 hours ago, richstowe said:

Not sure if I'm misreading your comment or if someone else might . Nexus is not a substitute for a passport . It is an additional level of ID security . Forgive me if it's just me who wants to make sure nobody misreads your comment .  

 

To clarify further, Nexus, Sentri, Global Entry, and Enhanced Driver's License/ID cards are WHTI travel documents that are sufficient proof of citizenship for entry into the US by boat, train, or ground vehicle.  They are better than a photo ID and a birth certificate imho.  However, they are not sufficient for international air travel (or at least routine international air travel), only a passport book meets that criteria.

 

Depending on the itinerary, I personally might be willing to go with good travel insurance coverage and a WHTI compliant ID but no passport in hand... it's really a question of risk tolerance vs. costs - I still would see about expediting the visas or look into a 2nd passport, but push come to shove you're 99% probability to be fine... it's the 1% low-probability issues that could come back to haunt you. 

 

What was the length of time needed for the visa though... are you really asking can you book the cruise without the passport, or are you asking should you book the cruise even though there's a small risk your passports won't be back in time?

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When I have sent our passports away for visas, the wait has been days, not weeks.  I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have your passports back by February.

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8 hours ago, jb008 said:

To clarify further, Nexus, Sentri, Global Entry, and Enhanced Driver's License/ID cards are WHTI travel documents that are sufficient proof of citizenship for entry into the US by boat, train, or ground vehicle.  They are better than a photo ID and a birth certificate imho.  However, they are not sufficient for international air travel (or at least routine international air travel), only a passport book meets that criteria.

Again for the sake of clarity, while NEXUS can not be used for most international air travel, it is sufficient for travel by land, sea and air between Canada and the US.

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Here's a story about a man that traveled w/o a passport and what happened when he missed the ship.  He was into four figures getting things like a replacement passport, hotels, flights, etc.

 

 

Edited by knittinggirl

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2 hours ago, Fouremco said:

Again for the sake of clarity, while NEXUS can not be used for most international air travel, it is sufficient for travel by land, sea and air between Canada and the US.

 

Thanks - I stand corrected.  I was using other WHTI documents standard rather than the special Nexus case.

 

The downside is that I'm not sure Nexus apps are being handled during the US Gov't shutdown - and the backup of applications will cause a further delay when things reopen.  I've been planning to get this for a while since we're near the NY - Ontario border, probably will do so this summer.

 

A good question to think about, if you fulfill the document requirements of the travel provider does travel insurance cover in the unlikely event you get in a pickle?  So for example, I cruise with just my Enhanced Driver's License (EDL), will my travel insurance bail me out if I end up having to disembark due to a medical emergency (and since I have a passport but not available how's emergency travel dealt with vis-a-vis no passport issued?).

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I called Holland to ask the question. The cruise we are looking at is a closed loop on the Statendam in Feb. I was told a passport is required! I am afraid to book until my passport arrives. The Visa is for India which is more time consuming than most others. At this point I will  wait for my passport and hope for last minute price reductions. Thanks everyone for their help.

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I think you have made a wise decision...... and for the record.... it is not impossible to get back into the US without a passport, but it is one "H" of an ordeal .... I would never, ever, leave the US without it.

 

Susan

 

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