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I don't know what to title this but hard lesson learned by 1st time cruiser

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Why leave the country without a passport makes no sense at all. Some people who use travel agents are lazy and the agents make them that way. Book your own travel do your own research and become an informed traveler. Alot of these so called agents are nothing more than MLM scams anyway. I know a "travel agent" without a passport and trust and believe there is nothing she could tell me I would not triple check. smh

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Having spent decades in the education field, I know there are always people who don't really listen (because they think they already know it all) and insist they heard (or did not hear) something. I doubt the TA failed to tell anyone they did not need BCs (Everyone  else had them, so they must have heard correctly.) 

I think this story is more about family dynamics. As someone mentioned earlier, not all family members make good traveling companions.

 

 

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10 hours ago, spiritkat090909 said:

FWIW...it isn't boarding that is the issue. 

 

For future cruisers the TECHNICAL detail: 

The birth certificate "copy" must be a STATE issued copy with the current seal (be it raised or colored).  Getting on the ship, you are dealing with cruise line employees.  Getting OFF the ship, you are going through Department of Homeland Security & CUSTOMS officials with the power of a real badge.

 

Just because someone can slip by once, doesn't mean everyone else will every time. That also goes for the previously mentioned bridging docs of marriage license with the driver license and certified birth certificate. Legality has a specific black and white rule.  The agent you luck out to go through may be a gray kinda person and ready to go to lunch!

 

When I first started cruising, I didn't use a passport.  I knew I wouldn't be going 'across the pond' and didn't see a need for the expense and TIME required to get said document. Although I have one now, I only got it because I could go through the shorter & faster line at disembarkation. I keep a pic of it on my phone in the event that I were to miss the ship, it would speed up re-issue at the nearest embassy.  If I leave my phone on the ship, I take a paper non-legal photo copy in my beach bag and my drivers license (as required by the ship with my ship card to re-board).

 

My experience suggests... get the passport if you intend to go on more than 2 cruises in your lifetime. It's just easier.

 

The cruise line can be fined quite heavily for accepting inadequate documents, that's why they deny boarding if there are any questions regarding the documents presented, so they would not accept a photocopy if that weren't an allowed document. As I said it is best to bring the original if at all possible but it is also helpful to know what the alternatives are just in case (I have read of many cruises being saved by the timely faxing of a birth certificate, including someone who lost their passport on the way to the ship). I've never spent that much time in line at disembarkation and saving a couple of minutes by having a passport is not a selling point for me (and I do recognize that others may feel differently which is absolutely okay). As for presenting documents to that person with the real badge by then the voyage is over and if they have any concerns about your documents they would send you to secondary inspection to have your information verified, but since your information was already verified while you were on the cruise I don't think that's very likely (and that verification is one of the reasons why they accept photocopies). 

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8 hours ago, Crusingdiva62 said:

Why leave the country without a passport makes no sense at all. Some people who use travel agents are lazy and the agents make them that way. Book your own travel do your own research and become an informed traveler. Alot of these so called agents are nothing more than MLM scams anyway. I know a "travel agent" without a passport and trust and believe there is nothing she could tell me I would not triple check. smh

 

People take closed-loop cruises without a passport because it's not required and, I'm guessing, many of them don't want to incur the added expense since they don't technically need it. Maybe they've never left the country before and aren't aware of the risks of traveling outside the U.S. without one. Whatever their reason, it's their decision. I think it's unfair to say people use TA's because they're lazy. Some don't know where to begin when taking a vacation they've never taken before, so they get help. I don't use one myself, but if someone has a good one that takes good care of their travel needs, I'm not going to slight them for it. I agree that people should research their vacations and inform themselves, but the fact is, many don't. Many of those get along just fine. That doesn't make them lazy. And that's one of the reasons forums like this exist...to help. Many people catch a lot of guff for coming here looking for answers instead of Carnival's site or searching elsewhere on the web. They, too, are accused of being lazy for not looking it up themselves. Then why is this forum here?

 

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4 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

The cruise line can be fined quite heavily for accepting inadequate documents, that's why they deny boarding if there are any questions regarding the documents presented, so they would not accept a photocopy if that weren't an allowed document. As I said it is best to bring the original if at all possible but it is also helpful to know what the alternatives are just in case (I have read of many cruises being saved by the timely faxing of a birth certificate, including someone who lost their passport on the way to the ship). I've never spent that much time in line at disembarkation and saving a couple of minutes by having a passport is not a selling point for me (and I do recognize that others may feel differently which is absolutely okay). As for presenting documents to that person with the real badge by then the voyage is over and if they have any concerns about your documents they would send you to secondary inspection to have your information verified, but since your information was already verified while you were on the cruise I don't think that's very likely (and that verification is one of the reasons why they accept photocopies). 

 

Sparks, you always seem to be on the front lines when the passport vs birth cert. debate comes up. 😜 For what it's worth, Carnival has changed the wording of their BC policy a few times in the last few years and that sure doesn't help matters. Once upon a time, their FAQ's stated a "certified copy" of a birth certificate from a government agency was needed. Then at some point, if I remember correctly, it changed to note that photocopies were acceptable. Now, it's back to saying, "...such as a birth certificate issued by a government agency." No mention of photocopies. To me, the current wording implies only a certified copy from a govt. agency works, not a photocopy.

 

Even on the State Dept.'s site, they only specify that photocopies are allowed under the section for children under the age of 16. When they make note of closed-loop cruises, they just say "birth certificate," and aren't specific as to what's acceptable. It's understandable that it confuses people. From the State Dept. site:

 

What types of documents are accepted for entry into the United States via land and sea?

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Passport Card; Enhanced Driver’s License; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or Form I-872 American Indian Card, or (when available) Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious group, or other youth group) need only present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. The birth certificate can be original, photocopy, or certified copy.

 

  • U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) are able to enter the United States with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

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My wife & I booked our first cruise on the Dream back in May. We knew about the D.L. and B.C. route, but didn't want to take any chances so we applied for and received in plenty of time a Passport Card, as opposed to a Passport Book. Although it saved us some money getting the ppc, I do regret not spending the extra bucks to get a full fledged Passport Book. So I guess we are going to have to eat the additional expense of getting a ppb for future cruises. Live and learn. But it was very convenient as it is the same size as a credit card. 

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53 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

Sparks, you always seem to be on the front lines when the passport vs birth cert. debate comes up. 😜 For what it's worth, Carnival has changed the wording of their BC policy a few times in the last few years and that sure doesn't help matters. Once upon a time, their FAQ's stated a "certified copy" of a birth certificate from a government agency was needed. Then at some point, if I remember correctly, it changed to note that photocopies were acceptable. Now, it's back to saying, "...such as a birth certificate issued by a government agency." No mention of photocopies. To me, the current wording implies only a certified copy from a govt. agency works, not a photocopy.

 

Even on the State Dept.'s site, they only specify that photocopies are allowed under the section for children under the age of 16. When they make note of closed-loop cruises, they just say "birth certificate," and aren't specific as to what's acceptable. It's understandable that it confuses people. From the State Dept. site:

 

What types of documents are accepted for entry into the United States via land and sea?

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Passport Card; Enhanced Driver’s License; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or Form I-872 American Indian Card, or (when available) Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious group, or other youth group) need only present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. The birth certificate can be original, photocopy, or certified copy.

 

  • U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) are able to enter the United States with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.

I've done a lot of research (including reading the proposed and final regulations) and want to share it. Here is what the regulations themselves say (emphasis added):

(2) When traveling entirely within the Western Hemisphere on a cruise ship, and when the U.S. citizen boards the cruise ship at a port or place within the United States and returns on the return voyage of the same cruise ship to the same United States port or place from where he or she originally departed. That U.S. citizen may present a government-issued photo identification document in combination with either an original or a copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department, or a Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before entering the United States; if the U.S. citizen is under the age of 16, he or she may present either an original or a copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department, or a Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; or

 

Now to be clear bringing the original (which is the certified copy you receive from the issuing authority) is best, but again I've read of many cruises being saved by the timely faxing of a birth certificate to the port (another reason that I post frequently on the topic, so people know what their alternatives are, just in case). One of the reasons that I presented a copy of my birth certificate was to put the debate to rest, but alas that didn't happen😂. The different websites all say different things (and what CBP's website says is absolutely horrendous and a disservice to travelers). I don't know why there is a resistance to the idea of presenting a photocopy, since CBP will be verifying everything during the cruise. That's actually one of the reasons DHS gave for not allowing adults to present copies of their birth certificate at land border crossings- it would simply take too much time to verify everything and the wait times at some crossings is already too high. And all of this follows on a key determination that DHS made when writing the regulations- a US citizen on a closed loop cruise (as defined) presents a low risk to the national security. Every traveler has different travel needs and should choose the travel documentation that works best for their situation.

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59 minutes ago, Joe817 said:

My wife & I booked our first cruise on the Dream back in May. We knew about the D.L. and B.C. route, but didn't want to take any chances so we applied for and received in plenty of time a Passport Card, as opposed to a Passport Book. Although it saved us some money getting the ppc, I do regret not spending the extra bucks to get a full fledged Passport Book. So I guess we are going to have to eat the additional expense of getting a ppb for future cruises. Live and learn. But it was very convenient as it is the same size as a credit card. 

But since you have a passport card you may apply for your passport by mail (like a renewal), so you save yourself the processing fee. From the State Department website:

You must submit your most recent passport with your application.
 

Please note:

  • Your U.S. passport book and/or card must meet all of the requirements listed at the top of this page.  
  • Your old passport book and/or card will be returned to you, but generally it will come in a separate mailing from your new passport.

 

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1 hour ago, Joe817 said:

My wife & I booked our first cruise on the Dream back in May. We knew about the D.L. and B.C. route, but didn't want to take any chances so we applied for and received in plenty of time a Passport Card, as opposed to a Passport Book. Although it saved us some money getting the ppc, I do regret not spending the extra bucks to get a full fledged Passport Book. So I guess we are going to have to eat the additional expense of getting a ppb for future cruises. Live and learn. But it was very convenient as it is the same size as a credit card. 

 

We were originally just going to do birth certs. to save money. Even went out and got new certified copies. Then we started thinking about the "what if's" and decided it was best to go the passport route. We considered just getting the passport card. The card is very convenient and much easier to carry than the book. I liked that. Just slip it in my wallet and go. But ultimately we went with the book instead for that "just in case" safety net.

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14 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

But since you have a passport card you may apply for your passport by mail (like a renewal), so you save yourself the processing fee. From the State Department website:

You must submit your most recent passport with your application.
 

Please note:

  • Your U.S. passport book and/or card must meet all of the requirements listed at the top of this page.  
  • Your old passport book and/or card will be returned to you, but generally it will come in a separate mailing from your new passport.

 

Wow! Thanks for the tip! 

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21 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

The different websites all say different things (and what CBP's website says is absolutely horrendous and a disservice to travelers).

 

This is my biggest beef. I'm not denying that photocopies are accepted. I just wish it was all written out clearly. On Carnival's site, with the State Dept., and CBP.

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3 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

This is my biggest beef. I'm not denying that photocopies are accepted. I just wish it was all written out clearly. On Carnival's site, with the State Dept., and CBP.

I agree wholeheartedly.

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It is very confusing.  My husband and I travel with passports that I keep in my purse until I put them in the ship's safe.  We also have certified copies of our birth certificates and a certified copy of our marriage license that I put in our carry-on bag.  And, just to make the over-kill complete, I have pdfs of everything.  If I had to print a copy of my birth certificate, I could easily do it from anywhere.  

Top that, people. 🤣

 

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34 minutes ago, TNcruising02 said:

And, just to make the over-kill complete, I have pdfs of everything.  If I had to print a copy of my birth certificate, I could easily do it from anywhere.  

Top that, people. 🤣

 

That's a darn good idea. 👍 I think I'm going to use that.

 

Would Guest Services let someone print something out if need be?

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On your boarding pass, there is a large gray shaded box in the middle of the page and in very dark bold letters it says:  IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.  Then it goes on to say exactly what you need, boarding pass, government issued picture ID, and citizenship documents.

 

I just don't see how it could be anyone's fault but her/his own.

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Why would you take a birth certificate if you have a passport? Much less also electronic form to have someone print out. There’s over-kill and there’s ..............

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4 minutes ago, 2wheelin said:

Why would you take a birth certificate if you have a passport? Much less also electronic form to have someone print out. There’s over-kill and there’s ..............

People have lost their passport on the way to the port. May not happen often, may not happen at all but having a copy of a birth cert along takes up little to no room (especially if it's on a phone or stored on a cloud) and prevents having to scramble to find someone at home that could obtain the BC and fax it.

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25 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

That's a darn good idea. 👍 I think I'm going to use that.

 

Would Guest Services let someone print something out if need be?

I don't know why they wouldn't, they allow them to be faxed to the port.

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On 7/29/2019 at 8:53 AM, 2wheelin said:

My drivers license which had my married name on it for 50 years was not adequate legal proof of my name (nor was my passport) when I attempted to get the enhanced license. I had to obtain marriage license. Different scenario of course but points out that sometimes common sense is not that common.

I have always read and heard that a passport trumps all other forms of identification. 

I’m shocked that it would need anything to supplement it. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 6:23 AM, mikenbon said:

I'm Canadian, and having a valid passport is a requirement for us to even travel into the USA. In my opinion, it's the best form of identification, and we always carry ours off the ship when we are in the ports. If one of us had an emergency or took ill and had to leave a port, having our passports on hand could really save time, stress and money to fly us to wherever we needed to go . I think of carrying our passports to be like insurance - better to have it and not need it. A passport may seem pricey, but worth the cost since it is the only form of identification accepted in every country and supersedes all other id.

Here in the UK we need passports even to fly internal flights

They are more or less needed as proof of residency for jobs and mortgages and just about anything...there are of course other methods for the last items , but a passport is the easiest 

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2 hours ago, jagsfan said:

I have always read and heard that a passport trumps all other forms of identification. 

I’m shocked that it would need anything to supplement it. 

You don’t live in MN where it also took 3 months to get my DL (enhanced—this the ID requirements). Believe me I argued with them about the passport being proof of BC after two months had gone by before they told me that.

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3 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

People have lost their passport on the way to the port. May not happen often, may not happen at all but having a copy of a birth cert along takes up little to no room (especially if it's on a phone or stored on a cloud) and prevents having to scramble to find someone at home that could obtain the BC and fax it.

We just take a copy of passport—which also goes ashore with us instead of the passport.

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One of the things to pay attention to is evolving requirements.  What was true 5-10 years ago isn't today.  For example, New Zealand just introduced a Visa requirement this month.  Now of course any cruise line will alert its guests but one must always keep up and not 'assume' anything. 

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9 minutes ago, jsglow said:

One of the things to pay attention to is evolving requirements.  What was true 5-10 years ago isn't today.  For example, New Zealand just introduced a Visa requirement this month.  Now of course any cruise line will alert its guests but one must always keep up and not 'assume' anything. 

We had already bought our plane tickets to Paris years ago...’86 maybe? and suddenly France required Americans to have visas issued. 

It didn't last more than a year.

Requirements sure do change! 

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32 minutes ago, jagsfan said:

We had already bought our plane tickets to Paris years ago...’86 maybe? and suddenly France required Americans to have visas issued. 

It didn't last more than a year.

Requirements sure do change! 

 

Like for instance.  I was 'sure' one needed a Passport to get into Canada now.  We were told they were 100% necessary on a recent Princess Alaska cruise and we were even told to bring them on an excursion to the Yukon.  We all 'presented them' to the border guard by holding them up as he walked the aisle on the tour bus.  Perhaps not according to some in this thread.  But I wouldn't go to the border without one.

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