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Car rental in Skagway


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We have a car rented in Skagway with the hope that our passports make it before we leave in 34 days…eekkk. If they don’t arrive is it still worth having the car if we can only drive to the border when our plan was going all the way to Emerald Lake? 

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The distance between Skagway and the Canadian border crossing is about seven miles.  If your passports don't arrive in time and your goal was to drive to Emerald Lake the answer is, for most of us, rather clear.

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On 5/26/2023 at 8:17 PM, Kat915 said:

No to renting car without passport.


I would also find out if you will have any issues boarding the ship. 


Good luck.


If they're sailing from Vancouver they won't be allowed to board

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Well the good news is that if OP @Haphhs01 was accurate in their timing of 34 days from the date of posting, and their other recent query on Carnival boards means that's who they sail with next month, that definitely puts them on Carnival Luminosa RT out of Seattle - so no passports required to board if they're US citizens, instead a birth/naturalization certificate and any state driving license would be enough, as would a NEXUS card.


There's even a chance they could continue with the car rental - can't tell where they are from as there's nothing in their profile, but if it's a state with Enhanced Driving Licenses then those work for land border crossings just fine, as would the afore-mentioned NEXUS cards...


But if you don't have some other WHTI approved land-crossing documentation, without your passports I'd cancel the car rental OP - stick to pootling around in Skagway itself. Walking ashore in Victoria for an hour or two during your terribly-short evening port visit will be the only chance on this cruise of visiting Canadian soil!

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Well, I'm no expert, but since Carnival ships are not US flagged vessels, they must stop in Victoria for a RT Seattle cruise, and passengers will have to go thru immigration/customs in Seattle when disembarking.  So wouldn't Carnival require a passport to board?

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13 hours ago, dd57 said:

... So wouldn't Carnival require a passport to board?

Nope - while some of the fancier lines demand passports from all pax regardless of government rules, mainstream lines don't want to cut off their income stream from passportless Americans (still the significant majority of your countryfolk). The Closed Loop exemption (last bullet point on linked page under Land/Sea documentation requirements) enables such folks to cruise Round Trip.


Perhaps @Ferry_Watcher - who works at a Seattle pier - might be able to give a ballpark assessment of how many folks cruise with just DL/Birth Cert rather than passport these days?



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3 hours ago, martincath said:

might be able to give a ballpark assessment of how many folks cruise with just DL/Birth Cert rather than passport these days?



For example, the latest Celebrity Solstice sailing of 2,900 passengers only 160 birth certificates were expected. 2,550 passengers were expected to arrive with passport books or passport cards.  


I know Carnival isn't Celebrity, but the majority of passengers do travel with passports, although a higher percentage of Carnival passengers will travel only using birth certificates than the other cruise lines.  


 One interesting bit of information that I found out when I was in Skagway earlier this month (5/23), is that the Canadian border officers at the border crossing White Pass via roadway - that they have information about passengers that have had a DUI conviction and they will deny entry into Canada to those people.

We took the train up / bus down tour and we were the only passengers on the shuttle van, and so we spent a bit of time chatting with the driver.  Because of my job, I asked the driver if he had ever had a passenger denied entry.  He told me that it has happened a few times when the Canadians would not allow someone (with a passport) to continue on the excursion which crosses the Canadian border, because something in the passenger's life alerted (like a DUI) when their name was run thru whatever data base CBSA uses.  He told me that the denied passenger has to leave the van/bus, the driver then calls the ship (port agent) or private company excursion office, and a car/van is sent to pick that denied individual up.  The rest of the van passengers continue on their excursion.


@Haphhs01, This driver also told me that if he doesn't make sure that each excursion passenger has the correct travel documents (i.e.,  passports), then the driver (not the company he/she works for) is liable for the 10K fine.



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I was asking about border control regulations on reentry, not really caring about individual  cruiselines. I assumed that you had to have a passport to renter the US after being in Canada; I had no idea WHTI existed until researching your answer.  Learn something every day from CC.

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