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Passport Card for US Cruiser


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I did a search here and can't seem to find an answer.  And the US Passport site is confusing to me. Maybe someone here can shed some light?

I know a Passport book is good. But I have two friends who are not going to travel out of the US by air. This will be their first out of country travel. Sailing from the US port to the Caribbean. Like Bahamas or Cozumel

Also a Passport is $150 and a passport card is $65.  At this time they would like to get a Passport card and only sail to and from a cruise port in Florida.

My question is. Will a Passport card be acceptable for   a sailing. From Florida. To Bahamas and Cozumel

TIA for any replies

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37 minutes ago, Hangman115 said:

I did a search here and can't seem to find an answer.  And the US Passport site is confusing to me. Maybe someone here can shed some light?

I know a Passport book is good. But I have two friends who are not going to travel out of the US by air. This will be their first out of country travel. Sailing from the US port to the Caribbean. Like Bahamas or Cozumel

Also a Passport is $150 and a passport card is $65.  At this time they would like to get a Passport card and only sail to and from a cruise port in Florida.

My question is. Will a Passport card be acceptable for   a sailing. From Florida. To Bahamas and Cozumel

TIA for any replies

Given the still uncertain future of Covid’s impact on future travel (including the ever-changing travel restrictions/requirements of any and all governments), the smart move is to be prepared for anything. Get a passport!


For example, if the standard proof of Covid vaccination for international travel becomes a visa type entry in your passport book OR if something/anything happens abroad (like onboard Covid case ends the cruise or you have an emergency) and you need to fly home, you’ll be S.O.L. with only the passport card.

 

The only current value of a passport card is convenience if you regularly cross the Canadian or Mexican borders or if you don’t have a Real ID driver’s license or other acceptable government document necessary to fly domestically or enter federal buildings.

 

$85 difference? Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

The only current value of a passport card is convenience if you regularly cross the Canadian or Mexican borders or if you don’t have a Real ID driver’s license or other acceptable government document necessary to fly domestically or enter federal buildings.

 

$85 difference? Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

 

Absolutely correct.  get a passport.

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Try typing "what countries is a passport card good for" into Google.  Regardless of what that site says, get a real passport as it gives you more options if you get into trouble.  The passport card appears to be valid for the places that they are planning to visit.  However, what if they plan to visit a place where it is not good for in the next few years.

 

DON

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8 hours ago, Hangman115 said:

I did a search here and can't seem to find an answer.  And the US Passport site is confusing to me. Maybe someone here can shed some light?

I know a Passport book is good. But I have two friends who are not going to travel out of the US by air. This will be their first out of country travel. Sailing from the US port to the Caribbean. Like Bahamas or Cozumel

Also a Passport is $150 and a passport card is $65.  At this time they would like to get a Passport card and only sail to and from a cruise port in Florida.

My question is. Will a Passport card be acceptable for   a sailing. From Florida. To Bahamas and Cozumel

TIA for any replies

So far you have only gotten opinions. The fact is that under existing rules, neither is required if you have a birth certificate. There are reasons to have a passport for emergencies but thousands of people have cruised without a passport or card with no problems. Weigh the facts and choose according to personal situation. I do agree there is possibly more of a risk in the near future of needing a passport to return home, but even if that occasion arises, there are embassies to help you—with short delays.

And to those who say the cost is so insignificant that if you can’t afford it, you should not be cruising I say ignore them. I can easily afford $100 for a pair of shoes but I choose not to because I have a better use for my money. Saving $100 here and there is how I justify/afford vacations.

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10 minutes ago, 2wheelin said:

.....The fact is that under existing rules, neither is required if you have a birth certificate....

Wrong!

Pretty much every premium and luxury cruise line requires every passenger on every itinerary to have (and often surrender) their passport at embarkation. 

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3 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

If that $85 difference is a real problem, the individual is better advised to stay home -  he really can not afford to cruise.
 

You are correct. They are not rich in money. Most likely cruising is out of their league. But I want to give them at least one cruise on me before I die.

A few months ago I flew them from Florida to California. I am blind now and asked them to help me lay my wife to rest. For a couple weeks they drove me around. Helping me say, for possibly the last time in person; goodbye to friends and family of my wife and I.

 

In 2018 I began to lose my eyesight. In 2019 I was diagnosed as terminal with cancer. In 2020 the pandemic hit and elective surgery like eye surgery and cancer treatment surgeries were banned. Today, in 2021, my eye sight is almost totally gone. I cannot see the “E” at the top of the eye chart out of one eye and cannot see the wall the eye chart is on out of the other. So a few months ago these friends agreed to help me honor my wife’s dying wish and they accompanied me as we carried my wife’s body and laid her to rest in the hometown on the Pacific Ocean.

So as a Thank You to these long time friends of my wife and I. Before I die, I want to arrange their first ever cruise. I am paying for the cabin. The port charges, taxes and fees. Prepaying for the tips. Even putting money on their OBC account to pay for drinks and other treats. And I am even paying for their passports. This is just my way of saying Thank You for many years of friendship.

So yes the extra $85 is something they cannot afford. They cannot afford the cruise to begin with. And it may be years before they can ever go on a cruse again.

So is cruising out of their class. Possibly. Will they have fun on their first cruise. Most likely. Will I be around to enjoy with them their first cruise. The doctors say maybe not. But only God knows for sure.

 

So before I go totally blind. I would like to see their smiles as they walk aboard their first cruise ship. And if God will allow it. I would like to be on that ship with them. But if not. If I die before. They have agreed to carry my body and lay it to rest with my wife’s remains. That is my dying wish and I have set aside the money to cover the cost of these friends to honor my dying wish. Like they helped honor my wife’s dying wish a few months ago.
 

Thus my reason for thinking about costs of buying them a passport card rather than a passport book, to go along with the cruise I already bought them.

And yes. The picture here is me. Taken a few months ago. As we walked to the Pacific Ocean to lay my wife to rest.

 

live.jpg

Edited by Hangman115
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8 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

$85 difference? Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

 

When this subject comes up I always ask "what if...."  Get the passport please.

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9 hours ago, Hangman115 said:

I did a search here and can't seem to find an answer.  And the US Passport site is confusing to me. Maybe someone here can shed some light?

I know a Passport book is good. But I have two friends who are not going to travel out of the US by air. This will be their first out of country travel. Sailing from the US port to the Caribbean. Like Bahamas or Cozumel

Also a Passport is $150 and a passport card is $65.  At this time they would like to get a Passport card and only sail to and from a cruise port in Florida.

My question is. Will a Passport card be acceptable for   a sailing. From Florida. To Bahamas and Cozumel

TIA for any replies

 

If the ports are in the Bahamas or Mexico and the cruise begins and ends at the same US port then on most mainstream cruise lines a Passport Card or Birth Certificate will be allowed. As others mentoned the few bucks being saved could turn out to be a financial disaster if something happens. There were two ladies stranded in the Bahamas a year or two ago who did not sail with Passport Books. By the way someone else paid for their cabin....

Edited by Charles4515
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Most Caribbean islands and the Bahamas have agreements that allow closed-loop cruises from the US, for US citizens, using about any government-issued ID.  I have sailed with just a birth certificate and my driver license.  Was that wise?  Probably not, and I would not recommend it.

 

That does not mean all ports are part of this agreement.  I read, maybe a year ago, about one port-of-call that was going to begin requiring passports for US citizens at a set time in the future.  Also, a cruise line can set its own requirement that all passengers must present a passport to board its ships.

 

Of course, my comments are not authoritative, but just based on what I have read and experienced.

 

hangman115 , mainly I wanted to respond just to let you know that even in your grief and health, your attitude and example help me maintain my positive outlook on life.  Screw the news, focus on making someone else's day brighter!

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6 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Wrong!

Pretty much every premium and luxury cruise line requires every passenger on every itinerary to have (and often surrender) their passport at embarkation. 

Sorry, I missed the part where he said they were going on a premium or luxury line, Oh, wait.........

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2 minutes ago, 2wheelin said:

Sorry, I missed the part where he said they were going on a premium or luxury line, Oh, wait.........

Exactly my point: OP didn’t identify which line or industry segment. Yet, you made an overgeneralized industry-wide comment which is not true.

This may seem like no big deal to you. But,  issues discussions at cruise embarkations often can be overheard where a denied passenger insists (to no avail) “...but the ports on this itinerary don’t require a passport.”

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What wonderful friends you have, and what a wonderful friend you are.

 

The passport card is really a waste of money for cruising. It offers absolutely no benefit over a birth certificate and ID, and will not help you get home if you miss the ship or have an emergency.

 

The standard warnings have been issued about traveling without a passport book. So if you have read them and are still comfortable cruising without it, just double check with your cruise line that your line and your particular itinerary do not require the passport. As long as that is the case, just have your friends travel with BC/ID.

 

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20 hours ago, Hangman115 said:

You are correct. They are not rich in money. Most likely cruising is out of their league. But I want to give them at least one cruise on me before I die.

A few months ago I flew them from Florida to California. I am blind now and asked them to help me lay my wife to rest. For a couple weeks they drove me around. Helping me say, for possibly the last time in person; goodbye to friends and family of my wife and I.

 

In 2018 I began to lose my eyesight. In 2019 I was diagnosed as terminal with cancer. In 2020 the pandemic hit and elective surgery like eye surgery and cancer treatment surgeries were banned. Today, in 2021, my eye sight is almost totally gone. I cannot see the “E” at the top of the eye chart out of one eye and cannot see the wall the eye chart is on out of the other. So a few months ago these friends agreed to help me honor my wife’s dying wish and they accompanied me as we carried my wife’s body and laid her to rest in the hometown on the Pacific Ocean.

So as a Thank You to these long time friends of my wife and I. Before I die, I want to arrange their first ever cruise. I am paying for the cabin. The port charges, taxes and fees. Prepaying for the tips. Even putting money on their OBC account to pay for drinks and other treats. And I am even paying for their passports. This is just my way of saying Thank You for many years of friendship.

So yes the extra $85 is something they cannot afford. They cannot afford the cruise to begin with. And it may be years before they can ever go on a cruse again.

So is cruising out of their class. Possibly. Will they have fun on their first cruise. Most likely. Will I be around to enjoy with them their first cruise. The doctors say maybe not. But only God knows for sure.

 

So before I go totally blind. I would like to see their smiles as they walk aboard their first cruise ship. And if God will allow it. I would like to be on that ship with them. But if not. If I die before. They have agreed to carry my body and lay it to rest with my wife’s remains. That is my dying wish and I have set aside the money to cover the cost of these friends to honor my dying wish. Like they helped honor my wife’s dying wish a few months ago.
 

Thus my reason for thinking about costs of buying them a passport card rather than a passport book, to go along with the cruise I already bought them.

And yes. The picture here is me. Taken a few months ago. As we walked to the Pacific Ocean to lay my wife to rest.

 

live.jpg

God bless you.  We should all treat each other this way.

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11 hours ago, Denise72 said:

What wonderful friends you have, and what a wonderful friend you are.

 

The passport card is really a waste of money for cruising. It offers absolutely no benefit over a birth certificate and ID, and will not help you get home if you miss the ship or have an emergency.

 

The standard warnings have been issued about traveling without a passport book. So if you have read them and are still comfortable cruising without it, just double check with your cruise line that your line and your particular itinerary do not require the passport. As long as that is the case, just have your friends travel with BC/ID.

 


I agree. If they are US citizens traveling by closed loop cruise to most Caribbean ports, a passport card is a waste of money. Especially if they only plan to cruise once. All they need is a birth certificate and photo ID. While a passport book may be recommended, a passport card doesn’t offer any real benefits over the BC/DL route. If the $85 is too big a burden then I would recommend they save the $65 as well anc not bother.

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OP, under the current regulations on a closed loop cruise from the US and within the area covered by WHTI exceptions exist that allow passengers 16 and over to present proof of US citizenship (birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Naturalization Certificate) and a government issued photo ID. As mentioned some cruise lines have stricter requirements so it is always wise to check the cruise line's requirements. A passport card provides proof of citizenship and identity in one document and would be sufficient for a closed loop cruise for most cruise lines. Travelers need to assess their own risk in traveling without a passport book and their own tolerance of accepting that risk.

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Thank you for all your comments.  S

I contacted MSC which is who i booked my next trip with. They require a passport card or book. A birth certificate is not accepted. I also have a Real ID from the State of Florida. And that is not accepted to board the ship either.

 About 8 years or so ago, my wife and I took a few sailings. Was on Carnival, RCCL, NCL and one other line. Each 8 years ago demanded a passport, PERIOD. No usa birth certificate on any of those lines. We sailed a closed loop from Florida and visited Nassau, Freeport and Cozumel at that time.

A few months ago I was in san Diego, CA. Visited the border of Mexico at san Ysidoro, CA. Just wanted to walk across the border and visit TJ. used to do this for many yearts. All they needed before was a US drivers license or Birth cert. ButNOW they DEMAND a passport card or passport book. Just to walk into mexico and spend the day in Tijuana.

I have been on 108 sailings so far in about the last 45 years. Times change. requirements change.  Wish i could get on with just my birth certificate and my Florida real ID. But even to sail to Nassau it looks like Immigration DEMANDS a Passport card or book.  
 

Just more ways the US Government to get money so one can take one cruise in their life to nassau

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28 minutes ago, Hangman115 said:

But even to sail to Nassau it looks like Immigration DEMANDS a Passport card or book.  
 

Just more ways the US Government to get money so one can take one cruise in their life to nassau

That's incorrect. A birth certificate and drivers license is sufficient under US and Bahamian government rules for a closed loop cruise from the US to Nassau.

 

If any entity is requiring more it's the cruise line. 

 

By the way your comment on lines like NCL and Carnival requiring passports on the cruises you took several years ago is wrong. i don't know where you got your advice, but it was mistaken.

Edited by njhorseman
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Update to my post yesterday at 12:34 PM

 

Found the news story I referenced yesterday.  Apparently beginning November 2019, Martinique requires a passport for all visitors getting off a cruise ship.  I read a few different news accounts, and they all said that this is currently the only cruise port in the Bahamas and Caribbean that have such a requirement.  Of course, rules can change at any time.

 

As has been rightly mentioned before, each port can have its regulations for ships and their passengers, while each cruise line can mandate additional restrictions for passage.

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4 hours ago, Hangman115 said:

Thank you for all your comments.  S

I contacted MSC which is who i booked my next trip with. They require a passport card or book. A birth certificate is not accepted. I also have a Real ID from the State of Florida. And that is not accepted to board the ship either.

 About 8 years or so ago, my wife and I took a few sailings. Was on Carnival, RCCL, NCL and one other line. Each 8 years ago demanded a passport, PERIOD. No usa birth certificate on any of those lines. We sailed a closed loop from Florida and visited Nassau, Freeport and Cozumel at that time.

A few months ago I was in san Diego, CA. Visited the border of Mexico at san Ysidoro, CA. Just wanted to walk across the border and visit TJ. used to do this for many yearts. All they needed before was a US drivers license or Birth cert. ButNOW they DEMAND a passport card or passport book. Just to walk into mexico and spend the day in Tijuana.

I have been on 108 sailings so far in about the last 45 years. Times change. requirements change.  Wish i could get on with just my birth certificate and my Florida real ID. But even to sail to Nassau it looks like Immigration DEMANDS a Passport card or book.  
 

Just more ways the US Government to get money so one can take one cruise in their life to nassau

No, it's about the national security. I live on the Canadian border and for decades one didn't need any special ID to go to Canada and return. That changed post-9/11. The law has always required travelers to have passports, but CBP officers had a wide latitude about accepting other documents, particularly for such cross border traffic. When DHS was writing the current regulations (around 2008 or so) they determined that a US citizen on a closed loop cruise presented a low risk to the national security and included an exception for that travel needing a passport (they also included many other exceptions but they don't pertain to this discussion). It was also determined that there was ample time during the cruise to vet each passenger through a multitude of government databases. Everyone has different travel patterns and travel needs and while the passport is the gold standard of travel documentation some travelers in limited circumstances may travel with other documentation. 

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5 hours ago, Hangman115 said:



I have been on 108 sailings so far in about the last 45 years. Times change. requirements change.  Wish i could get on with just my birth certificate and my Florida real ID. But even to sail to Nassau it looks like Immigration DEMANDS a Passport card or book.  
 

Just more ways the US Government to get money so one can take one cruise in their life to nassau


https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-74?language=en_US

 

the US does not require you to get a passport card or book to sail to Nassau. MSC may require it but plenty of other cruise lines would let you sail without it. It isn’t required by the US government

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4 hours ago, njhorseman said:

 

 

By the way your comment on lines like NCL and Carnival requiring passports on the cruises you took several years ago is wrong. i don't know where you got your advice, but it was mistaken.

I got my info from different TA's. Also verified it with the cruise lines themselves. And third it was confirmed at the pier when we tried to check in. No passport. No Boarding allowed. We saw peole who had to stand on shore and watch the ship sail becaise they only had a US birth cert and State DL but no passport. 
 

Just details from personal experiences we had and saw.

 

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25 minutes ago, Hangman115 said:

I got my info from different TA's. Also verified it with the cruise lines themselves. And third it was confirmed at the pier when we tried to check in. No passport. No Boarding allowed. We saw peole who had to stand on shore and watch the ship sail becaise they only had a US birth cert and State DL but no passport. 
 

Just details from personal experiences we had and saw.

 

As a former travel agency owner I know that what you're saying is wrong.


 I can point to the websites of the three cruise lines you cited to confirm that you're wrong. As an example this is what Carnival says. Note the last section, which I've put in red  so you can find it easily.

Carnival: https://www.carnival.com/help

 

Domestic Cruises

For cruises that begin and end in a U.S port, the following WHTI-Compliant Documents are acceptable for cruise travel. These standard forms of documentation will enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler. If a picture I.D. is not affixed to the WHTI-compliant document, a picture I.D. is required (a valid, unexpired government-issued photo I.D. for all guests 16 years of age or older). If the cruise includes air travel to or from Canada, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is required.

 

  • U.S. Passport
  • Passport Card
  • State Enhanced Driver's License
  • Certificate of U.S. Naturalization
  • Native American Indians

For cruises that visit Martinique, guests going ashore are required to carry a valid, unexpired passport. .  

Also acceptable for cruise travel (for cruises that begin and end in a U.S port), U.S. citizens can show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate  issued by a government agency and accompanied by government-issued photo identification.

 

NCL and Royal Caribbean have similar statements on their websites. You can find them through these links:

 

NCL: https://www.ncl.com/freestyle-cruise/cruise-travel-documents#general-documentation

 

Royal Caribbean: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/what-travel-documents-are-required-for-cruises-from-united-states-ports

 

 

Edited by njhorseman
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