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Lost Passport While on Cruise


iJET

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I am researching information for an article on passports and what to do if you lose your passport while on a cruise. I have searched and found some great information following older threads. I would like to hear some stories about anyone's experience of actually losing a passport and what happened. So, if it happened to you or you know a story of someone, please post it. Thanks!

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I see that you are new to CC.....welcome!

 

Just curious as to what type of paper you are writing the article for. A cruise forum seems to be an odd place to come for insight when the Department of State would be a better starting point in answering your questions.

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Our company provides travel safety & security information and advice. We provide information to virtually every travel publication - Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, NYT, Washington Post, etc.

 

I am looking for actual experiences with a lost passport while on a cruise.

 

The State Department, while helpful on matters pertaining to replacement of the passport, is not a good source for real world experiences. It is my hope, and from reading the threads, that this forum will provide these experiences.

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I agree with this wholeheartedly. We missed our ship in St. Thomas pre 911. We're Canadian. We only had our ship ID, a bit of cash and a Visa (with no knowledge of our PIN number to get a cash advance). I would recommend [carrying] your passport, credit card, ship card, cash and your driver's license. We couldn't even rent a car without one and had to get from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and wait for the ship to arrive back in port 4 days later! Don't take any chances - you never know!!!

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=16513422&postcount=54

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Actually, if you're a non-US citizen, your passport is taken and kept by the purser's office for the duration of the cruise. And on some lines, namely Crystal, Seabourn, Regent and Silversea, your passport is taken and kept regardless of your nationality. I've had Crystal take and keep my passport for an Alaska cruise and Seabourn took my passport for a New England/Canada cruise. So, losing your passport on those cruises would be impossible.

 

My cousin had his passport stolen from his pants pocket, and had to go to a US consulate and get an emergency passport. He was able to do this using another US citizen with a passport to vouch for him and his citizenship. It took 24 hours to get the temporary passport. He was told that even if he had a color copy of the information page of his passport, that would have been accepted as proof to get the emergency passport.

 

As an aside, I've spoken with numerous US Customs agents and asked if it were smart to take a passport off a cruise ship when going on tours and every one of them said it's better to keep your passport locked up and never take them off the ship, especially when you're going on tours to the beach or other water-related tours.

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iJet:

 

I've always wondered why people who get paid for giving supposedly expert advice expect others to offer their advice and experiences for free. Seems both anti-capitalistic AND anti-socialistic .. a rare daily double.

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If you lose your passport while travelling, you contact the closest US consular official to obtain a replacement, which typically takes 2-5 days. In emergencies, they may issue emergency travel documents, but most cases are not "life or death in 24 hours" issues.

 

If you happen to do this while on a cruise, AND you have appropriate alternative documentation that meets WHTI criteria, then you could choose to return home on the ship with your alternative documentation and report the passport lost or stolen.

 

Looking for recent experiences may be an exercise in futility, as border rules and requirements have had several recent (four since 2007) changes with respect to what is required to return home, including the upcoming June 1, 2009 final stage implementation.

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Actually, if you're a non-US citizen, your passport is taken and kept by the purser's office for the duration of the cruise. And on some lines, namely Crystal, Seabourn, Regent and Silversea, your passport is taken and kept regardless of your nationality. I've had Crystal take and keep my passport for an Alaska cruise and Seabourn took my passport for a New England/Canada cruise. So, losing your passport on those cruises would be impossible.

 

Actually, that is not universally true.

 

We are non-US citizens and have never yet had our passports kept by the cruise line. I would not be at all happy to go ashore in a foreign country without my passport. I wear it in a money belt.

 

Maybe it's true that some lines keep your passport, in some places, but not all do. We cruised Alaska and the Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean and they did not take our passports. When we cruised Australia and New Zealand with Celebrity, they kept our passports for one sea day, so that NZ immigration officials (who were on board) could look at them. We got the passports back the next day (still at sea), when we fronted up to immigration.

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If you lose your passport while travelling, you contact the closest US consular official to obtain a replacement, which typically takes 2-5 days. In emergencies, they may issue emergency travel documents, but most cases are not "life or death in 24 hours" issues.

 

That's fine, if you are a US citizen!

 

This is just a gentle reminder that not all members of Cruise Critic are US citizens.

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We're U.S. citizens and had to give over our passports when cruising Med with HAL. All guests, every nationality, had to turn in their passports for the duration of the cruise.

 

We carried photocopies ashore with us which are worthless except for providing passport number and date of issue if a replacement is needed.

 

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iJET

I posted the above before you explained your reasons/background. I would add that I search this board daily for passport issues and have only seen three posts specifically addressing lack-of-passport issues in the past two years although the search function was not operating for part of that time, so I could have missed something.

 

1. The (infamous) case of the Cortes family who was involuntarily removed from an RCCL ship in April 2008 due to illness of their small child. Family was travelling on BC/ID and had to obtain passports from the local consular official. They were removed on a Tuesday night at 11 pm, and were back home on Friday talking to the media. Price of passports was the standard cost.

 

2. As a result of the Cortes case, several threads asked questions similar to yours. One response was a report from a CC poster who told the story of his sister's ordeal having been left at a Caribbean port due to a delayed excursion, and who had a passport, but it was on the ship. After much communication between port agents, ships officers and overnight delivery services, it was arranged for her passport to be overnighted from the next port, but there were many unexpected delays. Long story short, she spent a week in the port at her expense waiting for her passport to make it back to her so she could fly home.

 

3. A regular poster here, who is also a ships staff member (Phillip) reported a case a few years back where two women fell ill on ship, had to leave the cruise to go to a hospital, and did not have passports. One died in the hospital, the other was deemed well enough to travel after a few weeks, had to get to the US border and cross by land and then fly home as she still did not have a passport. I note that even this less than desirable option will not be available after June 1 of this year.

 

As noted, there are no doubt more cases, but this is all that has been posted on CC that I have seen, and I do look.

 

This is just a gentle reminder that not all members of Cruise Critic are US citizens.
Ah, yes, guilty as charged...my apologies.
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iJet:

 

I've always wondered why people who get paid for giving supposedly expert advice expect others to offer their advice and experiences for free. Seems both anti-capitalistic AND anti-socialistic .. a rare daily double.

 

Because many people do not have the time or desire to search around the Internet, read hundreds of posts of people's opinion and individual experiences, talk with knowledgeable people from customs and immigration, and distill all of this down into practical knowledge vs raw information. This takes time, education and resources - all of which have value. So, that is the capitalist part.

 

Over human history, societies have looked to individuals to invest their life in the pursuit of study, research, and the accumulation of knowledge. These are the people the average citizen can turn to with confidence to answer questions. By not devoting their life to this pursuit, they can spend more time with their families, indulge in hobbies and generally do what pleases them. So, that is the socialistic part.

 

Hope that helps your wondering.

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My mother had her's disappear sometime between checking in at the Pier in San Juan to going through immigration at the end of the cruise. She looked everywhere for it and finally went down told the immigration officer that she simply didn't have it. He asked her if she could present two pieces of picture ID. Well the only two pieces of ID were her DL and her Costco card. The immigration said "good enough" and approved her. When we went through the check in at the airport we again explained that her passport was "missing" and told our story. She was told to report it stolen as soon as she got home and re-apply.

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My mother had her's disappear sometime between checking in at the Pier in San Juan to going through immigration at the end of the cruise. She looked everywhere for it and finally went down told the immigration officer that she simply didn't have it. He asked her if she could present two pieces of picture ID. Well the only two pieces of ID were her DL and her Costco card. The immigration said "good enough" and approved her. When we went through the check in at the airport we again explained that her passport was "missing" and told our story. She was told to report it stolen as soon as she got home and re-apply.

 

when was this and where did the cruise end? I totally believe you. I am just curious about when this was as the rules have changed greatly in the last two years.

 

Immigration officers ion the Candaian border used to be able to tell where you were born by your accent and didn't need any papers(my mother who was born in Poland didn't have ANY ID with her on the maid of the Mist but that was a long time ago.)

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We always lock our passports in the cabin safe and carry copies with us. Once, on the day prior to disembarkation, we could not find our passports. We were absolutely positive we had put them in our safe. I reported the loss to Guest Services, who immediately sent an officer and security detail to our cabin to do a thorough search, since of course, if they had in fact been stolen then they likely had a problem with one of their own crew. They literally tore the cabin apart, and lo and behold, we had simply misplaced the passports in a backpack during the embarkation process .

 

Of course I was totally embarassed since it was my own fault, and apologized profusely. The officer simply said, "Don't worry, this happens frequently."

 

As soon as you realize or think you've lost a passport, tell Guest Services about it. They are there to help, and will do so.

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

I carry copies of our passports -- have done so for years.

On one of our tours in Europe many years ago, a couple in our party -- the wife had her purse stolen in Rome -- they had copies of their passport back in the hotel -- all they needed to do was to go to the Embassy -- get new pictures -- passports were ready in a day.

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Were you planning on publishing the stories people told you here? Were you going to tell them you published them?

 

I don't know who ijet is but real reporters do read cc. I was contacted by a reporter from The Wall Street Journal several years ago based on something I posted on cc. She asked for my e-mail on line. She then sent me a note asking for permission to call me. We chatted; she sent me a release & then interviewed me. It was very professional.

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I don't know who ijet is but real reporters do read cc. I was contacted by a reporter from The Wall Street Journal several years ago based on something I posted on cc. She asked for my e-mail on line. She then sent me a note asking for permission to call me. We chatted; she sent me a release & then interviewed me. It was very professional.

 

It seems to me that the OP needs to identify either herself or the publication for which she is doing research. Just as the above noted about the WSJ.

 

Coming here to mine the boards to present a 'for profit' article without divulging who/what it is all about seems rather seedy and exploitational. Who knows...we might see this information at the supermarket check out. "Cruise passenger loses passport--now serving life sentence on Devils Island"

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On my only cruise two years ago I somehow lost mine getting back onto the ship at a port. Think I went to place it in my bag and must have dropped it somehow. I didn't realize that I lost it until the night before debarkation. Didn't have any other ID except my drivers license and they let me off the ship with a warning of "Next time it will take forever."

 

The worst part was paying $100 for a replacement when I had only had that one a few short months. Leaving for my next cruise in 21 days and trust me, that passport will be guarded carefully.

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I lost my passport once. Not on a cruise, but in the Australian outback. I didn't notice until packing the morning of my scheduled return home. Fortunately, I was able to get a temporary passport from the US Consulate in Sydney in time to make my flight.

 

One tip that you may find helpful, is to make a photocopy of your photo page, and carry that with you. Leave your passport itself somewhere safe.

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Wow, this is a tough group! Fortunately, I don't have a story for you. Hopefully I am not jinxing myself! : ) If I did have a story I think it would be cool if it made it into a news article!

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Were you planning on publishing the stories people told you here? Were you going to tell them you published them?

 

Right now I am getting a sense of the issue, how people are dealing with passports, and reading the stories. If one or more of the stories warrant further interest for publication, the person posting would be contacted and interviewed in more depth. Of course, their permission would be required!

 

Here is my take so far....

 

There is a wide range of opinions on whether you should leave your passport safe on the ship or take it with you when you disembark. From reading the CC site boards and reading about people’s experiences, the pros and cons are all over the map. To add to the confusion, the answer “it really depends” seems to be accurate. Each country has different rules and how the cruise lines comply can change from cruise to cruise and from port to port.

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Coming here to mine the boards to present a 'for profit' article without divulging who/what it is all about seems rather seedy and exploitational.
What a tough crowd! The poor guy (or lady) is just doing some research, no different than chatting with people at the grocery store or in a restaurant.
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