Passport Requirements When You Cruise

This can be a confusing topic for most travelers , so here is information which provides  you with guidelines and recommendations the next time you plan to cruise.

Basically, whether you are cruising the Caribbean and Bahamas on a popular ship like the Carnival Vista or taking a cultural European river cruise on the Rhine River with Avalon Waterways you SHOULD bring your passport.  On a Caribbean cruise you don’t necessarily have to have a passport but you MUST have a passport when you travel to and throughout Europe and other parts of the world.  Let’s explain:

U.S. Citizens on a closed-loop cruise, one that begins and ends at the same U.S. port, can use a driver’s license or government –issued ID card and a certified and/or notarized birth certificate, certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship.  Destinations on closed-loop cruises that permit passport-free travel for U.S.citizens include Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

So here’s the catch and why cruise lines and travel agents strongly recommend that all guests travel with a valid U.S. passport during their cruise:

  1. If you have a medical, family, personal or business emergency and need to fly back to the U.S. before your cruise ends a passport is required or you could experience significant delays and complications.
  1. If you need to fly to meet your ship at the next available port should you miss your scheduled embarkation in the U.S. port or if you miss a ship’s departure from a port of call. (i.e. too many margaritas in Cozumel and you just could not make it back to your vessel!)
  1. Some ports may have their own entry requirements. Each individual cruise line can provide this information if there are exceptions.

Keep in mind that if you are cruising outside of the Western Hemisphere you definitely need a passport.  If your itinerary includes ports of call in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Eastern Med, Australia or New Zealand you’ll need a passport.  Depending on where you are headed you may also be required to fill out additional visa or reciprocity paperwork.   For example, when cruising to the Baltics with a stop in St. Petersburg, Russia allows cruisers to enter without a visa as long as they remain on official shore excursions, but requires a complicated visa application for those who will tour on their own.  Another example is when individuals enter Argentina or Chile as part of a South America departure, they are required to purchase a Reciprocity Fee for the country they will fly into prior to traveling.

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So there you have it. Although it is acceptable to travel without a passport in some instances we highly recommend that you have your valid passport in hand.  Why give yourself added stress if you have an emergency and need to get home with only a driver’s license?   For more detailed information, passport applications and renewals you should visit https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html

One more passport travel tip:  Keep a copy of your passport separate from your actual passport in your hand-carried luggage, wallet, etc.  This applies whether you are cruising or taking a land-based vacation.

Keep Calm and Travel On!

How Do You Choose Your Next Destination?

Everyone has a destination, but we all have a different way of getting there.Muir Woods (2)

How you choose your next destination is not always an easy process although it can be wonderfully satisfying as you take the steps to decide.  We live in a special world which contains endless historical, beautiful and awe-inspiring memory-making places.  Whether you plan just one ‘vacation of a lifetime’ or are in the position to travel for pleasure often, planning the journey is many times ‘half the fun’!

You may not be aware of your travel ‘passion’ until you start experiencing the myriad of possibilities for travel.  Look at what you already know you like to do and then be open to additional suggestions, recommendations and options.  Talk with friends, family and co-workers, fellow-professionals, conduct online research.  Be open to most anything!

 

Relaxation

The ultimate in stress relief.  The destination is about relaxation, no schedule, no worries.  The destination takes care of you.  Think all-inclusive resorts, Hawaii, the Caribbean….

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Adventure

This type of travel  could be so many things, you just need your imagination, the drive and the energy.   Hiking, skiing, mountain climbing, trekking, canoeing, rafting, zip-lining, paragliding, mountain biking, diving and yes, the list goes on!

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World Wonders

A relative handful of mankind’s creations possess the enduring worth to inspire us – generations of us.  Most world wonders stand as icons to which we are drawn such as the pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu and the Roman Colosseum to name just a few.

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History & Culture

Explore the timeless treasures of Europe, from Italy’s art and architecture and the breathtaking scenery of Croatia and Iceland’s dramatic geological features to enjoying the festive music and colors of Spain and Portugal and the multitude of iconic sights and sounds of jolly old England.  Wear comfortable walking shoes, have your camera close at hand and dive into rich history and culture which may change the way you look at your world forever.

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Big City Immersion

The United States boasts some renowned big cities.  Some would argue that this would include only New York City and San Francisco, but others include Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles on the list.  And we can’t dismiss our cities with big personalities, like New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle.  No matter your preference, you can certainly become immersed in one of our big cities!

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Event and Festival Travel

A growing segment of the travel industry is Event and Festival Travel designed for the discerning traveler looking for unique and highly memorable experiences in some of the great cities of the world.  Would you like a bird’s high view of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona?  How about watching the Bastille Day festivities from your private VIP Penthouse Terrace for the Military Parade and a Private yacht dinner cruise on the Seine while watching the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower?  St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin?  Il Palio in Siena?

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River Cruising

If you seek to explore our world through local cuisine, exposure to local talent and way of life, river cruising may be a good fit. Unlike ocean cruising, river cruise ships are much smaller giving you a more personal, relaxed experience.  But don’t think you will be bored on a river cruise!  Up early and off to see one, if not two towns or cities with the tours included in your cruise fare for itineraries on the rivers of Europe including the Rhine, the Moselle, the Danube and Douro to name a few.  Visit Provence or Burgundy in France.  Many choices, many ships!

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In closing, we would like to say that travel and destination selection is a personal choice requiring insight, a thorough thought process and time spent on information gathering.  Yes, it can be enjoyable because there are so many amazing options but can also be overwhelming for the very same reason!   Plan, dream and travel on.

As Hans Christian Andersen wisely said, “To travel is to live.”

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