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The Problem with Going on a Cruise without a Passport

Luckily, as a U.S. citizen, you can cruise without a passport! However, there are restrictions—you can only cruise without a passport on closed-loop cruises. So, should you cruise without a passport? 

What is a Closed Loop Cruise?

A closed-loop cruise is a cruise that begins and ends at the same U.S. port and only travels within the Western Hemisphere on the same ship. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as a US citizen, when you go on a closed-loop cruise, you don’t need a passport to cruise; all you need is your birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID. 

This exception only applies to U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. Citizens will need their passport and visa to cruise, and U.S. permanent residents will need their green card and passport to go on closed-loop cruises. 

It’s important to note that you may still need a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting. It’s best to check with your cruise line. 

Cruise without a Passport

Where Can You Cruise without a Passport?

You can go on many cruises without a passport. There are a lot of options since most cruises departing from U.S. ports are closed-loop cruises.

New England and Canada Cruises

You can go on cruises to Canada without a passport. These cruises usually depart from Boston, Baltimore, or New York cruise ports. These cruises are perfect for enjoying the beautiful fall foliage and colors. You’ll likely make stops in Maine, Halifax, and Quebec during your cruise.

Bermuda Cruises

Bermuda cruises are also closed-loop cruises. They typically depart from Boston, Baltimore, and New York cruise ports, making them convenient closed-loop cruises. These Bermuda cruises are so convenient.

I personally live near the New York ports and love that I can just take an Uber to my cruise and in no time, I’ll be unwinding by the pool and spending a few days on the stunning pink sand beaches of Bermuda.

Caribbean and Bahamas Cruises

Many Caribbean and Bahamas cruises are closed-loop cruises. These cruises depart from New York, Baltimore, MD, Charleston, SC, Norfolk, VA, Galveston, TX, New Orleans, and Florida. 

As long as you are departing and arriving in the same U.S. port, then, you don’t need a passport to go on your Caribbean cruise. The only exceptions are the cruises that visit French West Indies ports such as Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Martinique, and Saint Barth. For the French West Indies countries, you will be required to have a passport even if it’s a closed-loop cruise.

Mexico Cruises

You can cruise without a passport when you go on closed-loop Mexico cruises. These cruises depart from California cruise ports, Galveston, TX, New Orleans, and Miami.  

Alaska Cruises

Alaska cruises departing from U.S. ports like Seattle and San Francisco and returning to the same U.S. port do not require a passport. But, if you depart from Vancouver, which is in Canada, you will need a passport.

Cruise without a Passport

The Problem with Cruising without a Passport

The problem with cruising without a passport is that if you’re left behind by the ship and need to fly back home, you need your passport for international air travel. 

This is a nightmare scenario since you need your passport for international travel! Without it, you won’t be allowed to board the flight.

If you are on a closed-loop cruise without a passport, you really need to be extra careful. Avoid getting stranded at a foreign cruise port at all costs! Make sure that you don’t miss the cruise ship and find yourself stuck in a foreign country, with your only way back to the US being an international flight. 

Should You Cruise Without a Passport?

I personally don’t recommend going on a cruise without a passport, even if it’s allowed! It’s risky because what if you miss your ship? The only reason to cruise without a passport is if your passport has expired or is within 6 months of expiring and you just can’t get a new one in time or if you don’t have a valid one. 

If you choose to cruise without a passport, just be extra vigilant and make sure you don’t miss the ship since you will have a hard time getting back home! 

Before booking your cruise, always make sure you check with your cruise line to see if you are truly going on a closed-loop cruise and that there are no restrictions preventing you from going without a passport.

Free Cruise Toiletry Bag and First Aid Kit Packing List

Get Your Free Cruise Toiletry Bag & First Aid Kit Packing List

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it as a checklist to pack your cruise toiletry bag and first aid kit so you don’t forget anything! I hope you like it!

Cruise Toiletry Bag and First Aid Kit Packing List

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