Cruise passport requirements vary depending on the type of cruise you take as well as where the cruise will be sailing. Generally speaking, however, for most international cruises you’ll need either a passport book or a passport card. The passport book is more expensive, but meets more of the cruise passport requirements for a larger set of destinations and circumstances.
Cruise Passport Requirements
If you’re taking a closed loop cruise (a cruise that departs and returns from the same U.S. port), you’re only required to travel with a birth certificate or a government-issued photo ID. But, it’s recommended that you travel with a passport card or passport book as well.
A passport card is more affordable than a passport book. And, because a passport card is less bulky (it’s similar in size to a driver’s license), it’s easier to carry more securely than a passport book. However, a passport card is only valid for land and sea border crossings between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. A passport book may be required in foreign ports on your itinerary, and is mandatory for international flights (in case of an emergency).
If you’re not on a closed loop cruise, you’re required to travel with a valid passport. Therefore, a valid passport book is the most dependable form of identification in all cases of cruise travel.
How to Get a Passport for a Cruise
Apply for a passport as soon as you know you’ll be taking an international cruise. The cost will be greater if you apply for a passport within two weeks of travel time and need an expedited application. You can learn more about the requirements and documents needed to obtain a U.S. passport at USA.gov.
So, Do I Need a Passport to Go on a Cruise?
In summary: If your cruise itinerary takes you outside of the U.S., then yes, you will need a passport to take a cruise. However, depending on your itinerary, you may only need a passport card instead of a full passport book.