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I will be cruising alone with my 17 year old daughter, my husband (her father) will not be accompanying us.

 

I see on Royal's website the forms for minor children traveling without any parent or legal guardian. Do I need a notarized form in my circumstance as well? I ask because I was advised to do this for a past cruise, and they never asked to see the letter I brought. Of course, past experience does not guarantee future result.

Since we do have different last names, I understand I will need to bring her official birth certificate, which is OK. This FAQ implies that is all I need:

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/what-family-legal-documents-do-i-need-to-board

 

Does anyone know definitively whether or not I would need a notarized letter, and can point me to a website / FAQ with the policy? I don't want to risk getting denied, but I prefer not to go through the effort unnecessarily if I can confirm it is not required.

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3 hours ago, Host Jacquelyn said:

I will be cruising alone with my 17 year old daughter, my husband (her father) will not be accompanying us.

 

I see on Royal's website the forms for minor children traveling without any parent or legal guardian. Do I need a notarized form in my circumstance as well? I ask because I was advised to do this for a past cruise, and they never asked to see the letter I brought. Of course, past experience does not guarantee future result.

Since we do have different last names, I understand I will need to bring her official birth certificate, which is OK. This FAQ implies that is all I need:

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/what-family-legal-documents-do-i-need-to-board

 

Does anyone know definitively whether or not I would need a notarized letter, and can point me to a website / FAQ with the policy? I don't want to risk getting denied, but I prefer not to go through the effort unnecessarily if I can confirm it is not required.

I don't think there is a definitive answer to this.  It seems to vary depending on the embarkation port.  We've sailed from Tampa with our grandchildren and never got asked for a letter.  We also sailed from Venice and definitely had to show a notarized letter of consent.  Far better to have it and not need it than vice versa.

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2 hours ago, crazyank said:

I don't think there is a definitive answer to this.  It seems to vary depending on the embarkation port.  We've sailed from Tampa with our grandchildren and never got asked for a letter.  We also sailed from Venice and definitely had to show a notarized letter of consent.  Far better to have it and not need it than vice versa.

Agree. Was single Father sole custody, raising 3 kids, 2, 5 and 9. Cruised once a yr for 10yrs with them, just be on safe side always brought Notarized letter from their Mother. Was never asked for it, but always over prepared for anything. Even brought Court Papers which wasn't needed. But at times including with schools, Drs and such seemed to be questioned more then a Single Mother would have been...

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I'm sure that there is a big difference in Royal's eyes between a 5 year old traveling with an adult and a 17 year old. With traveling with a 17 year old I'm not even sure that you need to establish any sort of familial connection, only that you agree to be responsible for them while onboard. If you claim that she is your daughter and she as an almost adult confirms it who is to say differently? 

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I traveled with my daughter last april on Symphony from Miami.   It’s my notional understanding that because we have the same last name and address, I would not need paperwork.  (I was in a group with 3 moms with their minor children, no husbands/dads - none of us needed it)   I believe if you don’t share the same last name - you may need it.  

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The reason for the letter is really simple.  Some countries, are concerned that you might be abducting the kid.  The permission slip is not a USA required item if you are a citizen.  Just like the 6 month passport rule, RCCL and other travel companies, will tell you the safest thing to say to protect themselves in case you decide to blame it on them.  I know for awhile, Mexico required it.  I don't know now, but at one time, they did. 

 

So like everything else, don't listen to strangers (like myself) giving you advice on what to bring.  Use your own judgement, and if you picked wrong, RCCL warned you. 

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I cruised with my teenaged son (same last name plus he looks like me) without his father five times before he turned 18yo -- was never asked for the letter, but always had it.

 

I cruised twice with my son's teenaged girlfriend -- different last name, plus she looks absolutely NOTHING like me -- was never asked for the letter (heck, was never even asked if she was my daughter or not -- she could have been some kid I picked up on the streets for all they knew/cared!), but always had it.

You'll probably never need the letter, but it's totally worth typing one up and having the other parent take it to the bank to get it notarized. 

Edited by brillohead
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1 hour ago, Joseph2017China said:

The reason for the letter is really simple.  Some countries, are concerned that you might be abducting the kid.  The permission slip is not a USA required item if you are a citizen.  Just like the 6 month passport rule, RCCL and other travel companies, will tell you the safest thing to say to protect themselves in case you decide to blame it on them.  I know for awhile, Mexico required it.  I don't know now, but at one time, they did. 

 

So like everything else, don't listen to strangers (like myself) giving you advice on what to bring.  Use your own judgement, and if you picked wrong, RCCL warned you. 

This.

 

There are some countries (Costa Rica, for example) who have strict rules for identification of any child entering their country.

 

Even children with passports traveling with both parents will be questioned separately from their parents to make sure that  they are not being abducted.

 

It is better to have the letter and not need it than to need it and hot have it.

 

And for those who think a seventeen  year old is nearly an adult and will not be questioned, read up on the sex trade and trafficking.  A seventeen year old girl would be prime meat in the trade.

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My best friend is traveling with her son in the fall.  She is planning on having her ex fill out the form just in case.  

 

We cruised as a family on a disney cruise. My 14 years were in a cabin with their grandma.  The 3 of them check in without us at the check in counter.  

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OK Host Jacquelyn, no offense, you being a host on cruise critic should know better than to ask a question like this and expect to get a good answer.😃

 

BTW- i've traveled with my daughter and had a letter from my wife.  It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Edited by ATC cruiser
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I have heard that the cruise lines tend to be more lax than Customs. Here is the recommendation from Customs and Border Protection, from this link: 

 

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the adult have a note from the child's other parent..."

 

There is another article on the CPB website that talks about what the letter should contain, and it says, "having the letter notarized is not necessary but highly recommended."

 

 

 

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I cruised with my daughter alone at the holidays and no one ever questioned us. Granted almost every time I fly, she is asked her full name, who I am, my name, etc. So if you're flying to port, just keep that in mind. I keep the paperwork on hand, rather be safe than sorry. Never showed it, but think of it like making sure you have a passport in case of emergency.

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OK, I never cruised without my husband, but I flew  with the kids (and without DH) very often as they grew up.  I was told that a letter might be required when crossing international borders, so always went the better safe than sorry route.  I was only asked for it once (in probably 25 - 30 trips) but that one time US immigration asked both families on our flight with only one parent present.  I had the letter and we boarded---the other mother did not and was frantically trying to get ahold of her husband as we went onto the plane---that family never did board. . . .

 

Totally worth the very minimal hassel of getting the letter, just in case, IMO.

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Take the letter. I was asked for one when boarding a plane at an airport 4 hours from home (flying to Spain on Air Canada). If I hadn't brought a copy of a court order with me I would have been out of luck- not like I could quickly run home and get it. First time that has ever happened, but best to be prepared! My child has also always had a passport- easier to carry that as identification than a birth certificate that they may or may not accept. We have different last names.

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I contacted Royal Caribbean about this very issue and they gave me a letter from corporate that stated that I did not need any letter as long as I was a parent to the child traveling with me. I travel extensively around the world with my children and have never been questioned about their father or any paperwork regarding them traveling with me solely. I am a mother that travels with my kids quite a bit and to different continents and have never encountered any problems. It's up to you to have any necessary paperwork or requirements that will be needed for travel with the kiddos. Do what you feel is best for your family.

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10 hours ago, mommysoncruiser said:

I contacted Royal Caribbean about this very issue and they gave me a letter from corporate that stated that I did not need any letter as long as I was a parent to the child traveling with me. I travel extensively around the world with my children and have never been questioned about their father or any paperwork regarding them traveling with me solely. I am a mother that travels with my kids quite a bit and to different continents and have never encountered any problems. It's up to you to have any necessary paperwork or requirements that will be needed for travel with the kiddos. Do what you feel is best for your family.

Thanks everyone for the replies - I truly appreciate it!

 

Mommysoncruiser, do you recall how you contacted corporate? Do you have an email or phone? There are so many ways to contact RCCL, and so many different answers I can get, I don't want to get a runaround (haha, I know, good luck 😆).

 

I should have added that we will be cruising out of Barcelona, so not a US port. I am leaning towards getting the notarized letter, unless I am able to get a definitive reply.

 

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4 minutes ago, Host Jacquelyn said:

Thanks everyone for the replies - I truly appreciate it!

 

Mommysoncruiser, do you recall how you contacted corporate? Do you have an email or phone? There are so many ways to contact RCCL, and so many different answers I can get, I don't want to get a runaround (haha, I know, good luck 😆).

 

I should have added that we will be cruising out of Barcelona, so not a US port. I am leaning towards getting the notarized letter, unless I am able to get a definitive reply.

 

Why would you even risk it?  There are form letters available on line and you have to do is fill it out, print, and have it notarized.  Not being snarking, but I have never understood why people resist doing something as simple as this.  I believe in dotting i's and crossing t's - especially when traveling outside of the US.  Why not just have it with you in case?????

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6 hours ago, mek said:

Why would you even risk it?  There are form letters available on line and you have to do is fill it out, print, and have it notarized.  Not being snarking, but I have never understood why people resist doing something as simple as this.  I believe in dotting i's and crossing t's - especially when traveling outside of the US.  Why not just have it with you in case?????


^^^THIS^^^

You can spend hours online researching and calling/emailing corporate, etc., or you can spend fifteen minutes printing a document and getting it notarized.  

PARTICULARLY with a cruise from another continent and involving multiple different countries, I would not risk it.  

I had a friend who lived in Canada who flew down to visit with her son, who was a toddler at the time.  Her husband was deceased, and they almost didn't let her onto the plane to leave the country because she hadn't brought his death certificate with her (seriously, who carries their husband's death certificate with them everywhere they go?).  I think she was able to show them his obituary online and they let her on the plane.  

While ROYAL may not require any documentation, there's no guarantee that the immigration departments of the various countries involved won't want some sort of proof that the child hasn't been kidnapped.  

If you're not divorced/estranged from the child's father -- get the notarized letter.  If you are divorced/estranged, take your court orders that grant you custody and the right to travel out of the country with the child.  

 

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Not everyone can just get notarized letters from other parents when the other parent is deployed to the Middle East because they are special forces and never home or available to do anything. So I do what works for my children and I and have not had any problems in not having letters from anyone. There are many reasons why a person might not be able to just get a notarized letters stating whatever you think it is supposed to say. For me, I do have on file legal documents that state that I have the right to do this or that but I never bring that as I never have had to. I always look at what requirements are required or get in touch with whomever I need to in order to make sure that i have required documentation. So to the original poster, do what you feel you can or need to in order to enjoy your travel.

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`I haven't cruised with my kids on my own but I have traveled with them internationally on my own pretty frequently. Or sometimes I will be traveling with one or two kids and my husband with the other one or two. Or sometimes my oldest is traveling on her own.

 

In any case, we always have notarized paperwork giving permission from the other parent to travel. When my husband and I were in the military we always made sure we had a generalized letter giving permission to the other parent to take the child out of the country. In those cases, it was more general, for 6+ months at a time. We did that paperwork at the same time we did our POA paperwork so all our bases were covered if needed.

 

Honestly, I have never needed any of it entering or leaving any country. Sometime we have been questioned a bit by immigration officials. Nothing too crazy, they have just asked me or the kids a few things like "where are you headed" or "is dad waiting for you at home?" Or other questions that could easily just be small talk. I feel more comfortable being prepared even if I never need any of it. 

 

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This is from Royal's page:

 

"Should the last names of the parent and minor child traveling with them differ, the parent is required to present the child's valid passport and visa (if required) and the child's birth certificate (original, a notarized copy or a certified copy). The name of the parent(s) and the child must be linked through legal documentation.
 

Adults who are not the parent or Legal Guardian of any minor child traveling with them are required to present the child's valid passport and visa or the child's birth certificate (original, a notarized copy or a certified copy) and an original notarized letter signed by at least one of the child's parents. The notarized letter from the child's parent must authorize the traveling adult to take the child on the specific cruise, must authorize guardian to sign legal documentation/waivers for participation in any activities requiring them (i.e. Rock Climbing, Flowrider, Bungee Trampoline, Inline Skating, or Ice Skating) and must authorize the traveling adult to supervise the child and permit any medical treatment that must be administered to the child. If a non-parent adult is a Legal Guardian, the adult must present a certified certificate of Guardianship with respect to the child. "

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/what-family-legal-documents-do-i-need-to-board


Edited it to add:  A marriage license should have your maiden name on it, which should also be on the child's birth certificate, therefore linking the names since the child's birth certificate will also have a mother's maiden name on it.

It sounds like a letter is only need when the parent's last name is different than the child's.  

I am traveling with my grandson and the letter I had notarized only needed one of his parent's signatures.

 

Edited by TNcruising02
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I’ve been taking my daughter out of the country by myself for the last 15 years. I researched this issue heavily and the rule is that it is always required, but not always asked for.

 

The most specific instructions I’ve ever received was from the Mexican Embassy, who told me I needed documentation, in its original form (not a copy), notarized, translated into Spanish, and carried on my daughter’s person at all times. 

 

I’ve always followed those instructions just in case someone ever asked for it because it wasn’t worth running into trouble for not having it.  

 

That being said, we’ve been in 13 different countries (Mexico twice), and on 5 cruises and nobody has ever asked for it. Even with my experience, I’d never tell someone to take the risk of not having it, and I’d never take her out of the country without it. 

Edited by ARandomTraveler
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