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chonk

Help! Need advice from seasoned sailors

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My family and I just booked our very first cruise. We are sailing on Carnival Freedom on April 12th for 7 days with Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios as our ports of call. We sail out of Miami.

 

Here is my dilemma.

 

One of the reasons we booked a cruise was that we do not have passports. Now after we've paid our cruise in full we've been told that if for any reason we miss our plane or don't make it to the boat, there is no way for us to meet up with the ship via a port - since we dont have passports to get into that country.

 

My wife is worried sick.

 

We've booked the air through the travel agent and through the cruise line.

 

I can try and get passports but it's gonna cost a fortune to expedite them and I'm still not sure we'll get them in time. Would flying into Miami a day earlier be smart? What about travel insurance? Does it even cover this kind of stuff?

 

I've already learned a ton on these boards over the last week, and have been excited about the cruise up until this point. We need some expert advise from all you seasoned pros's. If you were in my position knowing what you know, what would you do?

 

Thanks in advance

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If you have an emergency, you WILL be able to get back in the country! Tell your wife not to worry! You may have to jump through a hoop or two, but procedures ARE in place for such a situation.

So don't go spending the extra money on a "just in case" thing! Passports aren't required for cruise passengers to get into the Caribbean countries--only the US is requiring them to come home!

As long as you have your birth certificate and driver's lic., you'll be fine!

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I'm less worried about getting out of a country, but more so about an unforseen reason that we miss the boat.

 

I know I dont need a passport to CRUISE into a port - but what if I miss the boat and have to FLY into a port to "Catch Up"?

 

What would you do?

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Insurance is a good idea. Here are a few examples. Can you afford to lose the price of your cruise if: You or anyone in your travel group should get sick a day or two before you leave; if the unthinkable happens and you can't make the cruise; if someone in your travel party should get sick, fall and break a bone and have to be evac'd off the ship (medical evacuation costs anywhere from $9000 to more than $30,000---when my mom broke her hip on Celebrity, the 1/2 hour flight cost $9000). Check to see if your personal insurance covers incidents once you're out of the the country. Some private insurance will cover you, but most do not.

 

Passports make things easier, but they're not required. If you should miss the ship and have to fly to another island to catch the ship, without a passport it will be more difficult as you'd have to find a US Consulate and get emergency passports for your family, and that could take 24 hours, but if you make sure you don't miss the ship, you'll be fine.

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You don't say how many family members are cruising, but my suggestion would be to pay for the expedited passports. (Even with regular service you should probably get them before your April 12th cruise if you ACT NOW; however you may want to make certain by expediting them.)

 

Passports are going to be required for everyone shortly, and you are going to love your cruise and will want to cruise again....:D Might as well go ahead and get them.

 

Plus, even paying for expedited service is probably cheaper than rebooking air for everyone to arrive a day earlier (which would be my other recommendation). However, you may also want to consider arriving ahead of time IF you are a) traveling on a flight that isn't direct to Miami (any time connections are involved you increase the chances of delays, missed flights, etc) OR b) you live somewhere where weather may be an issue in early April (e.g., rain, thunderstorms, etc.)

 

Most people on these boards recommend flying in a day early. I've done it both ways, but usually only fly in the day of a cruise if I have a direct flight and a relatively long window of time in case of delays.

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Lack of a passport wll cause hassles if you have to fly home from a foriegn country in an emergency, but you will be able to get back.

 

The biggest potential problem is if you don't get to Miami in time to make it on the ship. In this case, you will not be able to fly from the US to a foriegn country without a passport. Flying in the night before will reduce the possibility of this happening, but it could still happen.

 

Is this your last trip out of the US? If not, when might you travel again. In the relatively near future, you will probably have to have a passport even to cruise. I would go ahead and get a passport now.

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Right now, the turnaround for passports is not that long. You should go ahead and get them.

I would fly into the port city a day early. You will be alot more relaxed to start your cruise.

Yes, trip insurance is well worth the cost.

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Now that the rush is over to get passports the turnaround time is short..I've known some friends who got theirs back in 3 weeks (did not expedite). Also I would get to Miami the day before the cruise. I have heard horrible stories with delayed flights, missed connections etc on the day of the cruise to know better then to fly in on the day of a cruise. I always book our airfare and hotel (usually I can do a lot better then what a cruise line will charge) and then either grab a cab or some hotels even have shuttles to the port. Enjoy your first cruise, I am sure you'll be booking alot more in the future. Letty

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JMO, but those who say one can travel without a passport these days from the Caribbean has not had to do so.

 

When one has an emergency and needs to get home fast, the Homeland Security issues are stressful and a burden. If one is sick or upset by a family death for instance, the last think you need is even more to deal with.

 

IMO, you should apply for passports this week and the turnaround time has been running 2-3 weeks.

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JMO, but those who say one can travel without a passport these days from the Caribbean has not had to do so.

 

When one has an emergency and needs to get home fast, the Homeland Security issues are stressful and a burden. If one is sick or upset by a family death for instance, the last think you need is even more to deal with.

 

IMO, you should apply for passports this week and the turnaround time has been running 2-3 weeks.

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My family and I just booked our very first cruise. We are sailing on Carnival Freedom on April 12th for 7 days with Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios as our ports of call. We sail out of Miami.

 

Here is my dilemma.

 

One of the reasons we booked a cruise was that we do not have passports. Now after we've paid our cruise in full we've been told that if for any reason we miss our plane or don't make it to the boat, there is no way for us to meet up with the ship via a port - since we dont have passports to get into that country.

 

My wife is worried sick.

 

We've booked the air through the travel agent and through the cruise line.

 

I can try and get passports but it's gonna cost a fortune to expedite them and I'm still not sure we'll get them in time. Would flying into Miami a day earlier be smart? What about travel insurance? Does it even cover this kind of stuff?

 

I've already learned a ton on these boards over the last week, and have been excited about the cruise up until this point. We need some expert advise from all you seasoned pros's. If you were in my position knowing what you know, what would you do?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Hi chonk,

 

As others have said there are other good reasons to get travel insurance. However, travel insurance doesn't cover you if not having a passport creates problems.

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I know it's a chunk of change (I got them for my kids before our August '05 cruise) but you will use them again and again and again.... You just don't want to have to deal with birth certificates, driver's licenses- why bother?

 

I know people miss the ship and have to fly to the first port, but I have never heard of that happening to anyone I know personally. It is very rare.

 

Fly in the day before- that, above all else, is a MUST. You will be sweating bullets otherwise. We are staying at a very reasonable hotel in FLL before our cruise-

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This past Christmas break I convinced my son to renew his passport. He did have a youth passport that had long since expired. Mid-January he went down to local Post Office (Connecticut, if that has any bearing) submitted application and pictures. I was shocked when passport arrived in 1.5 weeks.

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It is definitely a must to get the passports for the emergency contingency reasons above. However additionally, ALWAYS fly in the day before the cruise, no matter whether passports or not. I know too many horror stories of delayed flights and missed cruises.

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It has been so long since I've been on a flight (or group of flights) that wasn't delayed in some way ... if you can fly in the day before, do it. As for passports, they are a good idea.

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Get the passports. You won't need expedited service. The turnaround time has been very rapid since the agency added a large number of personnel to handle to rush, which has subsided.

 

As for flying in the day before. We consider it a must. There are a lot of things that can happen that are out of your control. Like snow storms, missed flights and cancellations. It is comforting to know you have an entire day to get there. Plus it is aggrevating going through security at the airport and then the port all in the same day. It wears on your sanity. Who wants to start a vacation dangling from there last nerve.:eek:

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Apply for your passports now. If you get within 2 weeks of departure and don't have them back, then pay the expedite fee. You can probably find a post office near you, but do check the hours as they don't do passport processing all day every day. You do not have to go together as the pp's are processed by person, not as a family group.

 

The peace of mind is priceless.

 

Definitely fly in a day in advance. On our first cruise, the plane coming to get us was delayed (by rain!), setting off a chain of events, with the result being a very long day in several airports standing in line at the Delta counter, a long limo trip to a hotel at midnight without luggage, and an early flight in a commuter plane to Nassau. It was good we booked air thru the cruiseline or it would have cost us a fortune for all those extra flights.

 

DO NOT RISK IT.

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About flying in a day early - We have done this for our last 5 cruises and it makes the cruise so much better. We are not stressed, nor tired when we get on the ship. Weather can play havoc with your flights, as can mechanical problems. Going in a day early gives you a big cushion of time. You can also get up, have a leisurely breakfast and then go to the ship. We get there early and can enjoy our extra time - it is like an extra at-sea day.

 

Passports are a great idea, but not required. Have fun deciding.

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The only real problem with flying in the day before when you are traveling with kids is that you end up throwing away big money on chicken fingers they don't want AND you need to pack additional clothes for that extra day. There is something about embarking on a cruise with a bag of dirty laundry that seems so WRONG...

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The only real problem with flying in the day before when you are traveling with kids is that you end up throwing away big money on chicken fingers they don't want AND you need to pack additional clothes for that extra day. There is something about embarking on a cruise with a bag of dirty laundry that seems so WRONG...

I don't have a problem with an extra day of clothes. If the dirty laundry is that big of a deal, one can avail themselves of the laundry services onboard.

 

Not concerned about one more day of food. Not sure where you're flying into where the chicken fingers are 'big money'??

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Most ships also have self-serve laundry rooms, too. Not that I want to do laundry on a cruise, but it does cut down on the packing, knowing I can use the onboard facilities, if needed.

 

Get the passports. I got mine in under 5 weeks in the middle of the summer. The turnaround now is much quicker (at least from some processing offices). The application also asks for the date of travel. Hopefully, they actually look at that and process those even without the extra expediting fee.

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Most ships also have self-serve laundry rooms, too. Not that I want to do laundry on a cruise, but it does cut down on the packing, knowing I can use the onboard facilities, if needed.

 

Just know that RCI and Celebrity have no self-serve laundry facilities.

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I can try and get passports but it's gonna cost a fortune to expedite them and I'm still not sure we'll get them in time.

 

Passport turnaround right now is about 2 weeks - if you are concerned about needing them for this trip - get one. No need to expidite them.

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I don't have a problem with an extra day of clothes. If the dirty laundry is that big of a deal, one can avail themselves of the laundry services onboard.

 

Not concerned about one more day of food. Not sure where you're flying into where the chicken fingers are 'big money'??

 

Well... I have five sons. When I took four of them (three of them teens) on Elation out of Galveston two years ago I paid for the Galveston hotel, which thankfully had an excellent breakfast buffet, and then lunch and dinner and snacks and on and on and on. Add it up. And it seems everywhere we go someone doesn't like something they ordered, and it's usually because the chicken fingers are "too spicy." So it's become kind of a joke- how much money I throw away on chicken fingers driving them to camp, etc. How many pounds of chicken fingers are removed from our collective restaurant tables because someone didn't want them. Same goes for too much sauce on items!!

 

You can easily spend- EASILY- 200 bucks a day on food for a family of my size when you are staying in a hotel. It's just a consideration. That's why we cruise!! Don't like the chicken? get something else!

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