Do You Need a Passport to Go On a Cruise?
One of the most common questions we get here, particularly from Americans, is whether or not a passport is required when going on a cruise. The answer to this question varies, and depends on where the cruise is going, its port of departure, and the nationality of the individual involved.
The following rules should be accurate with regards to the necessity of a passport. Nonetheless, they should be verified with the individual cruise lines prior to your departure.
- Americans who are embarking on a cruise that departs from a US port and stops only in Mexico do not require a passport. Photo ID such as a driver’s license will be sufficient.
- All Canadians require a passport, unless the cruise departs from Canada and only visits Canadian ports (though virtually no cruises exist that do this).
- Any non-American citizen requires a passport if the cruise is departing from a US port. This includes Canadians.
- Americans require passports if the cruise will be visiting islands in the Caribbean.
- Americans require a passport if the cruise departs from a non-US port, such as European cruises.
In general, if you are leaving your home country, you should obtain a passport. Passports are the only internationally recognized travel document. If you do not have a passport, and an unexpected event occurs (such as failing to return to the ship on time), you will be stranded and will have difficulty returning to the United States.
There have been multiple cases where cruise ships have become stranded in Mexico, and American citizens who embarked without passports encountered substantial obstacles when attempting to return home to the United States. While a passport may not be needed, it would be foolish to travel without one.