You've purchased your cruise and are anxiously awaiting your departure date. Odds are that you did some planning before making your purchase, but your planning is not over. You need to make sure that you have everything in order for a safe, healthy, and worry free trip.
Click on one of the links above to begin your International Travel planning or consult the links below for specific topics of interest. This article covers documentation requirements, health, and safety.
Passports and Visas
We recommend that all guests carry a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the completion date of your travel. Having a passport will enable you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port in the event you miss your scheduled embarkation or to fly back to the U.S. if you need to disembark the ship mid-cruise due to an emergency.
New rules mandate that U.S. citizens entering the country by land, sea, or air must establish both identity and citizenship and therefore must possess one of the following: passport, passport card or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.
Travel document requirements vary based on cruise itinerary and whether international flights are required. For voyages that are scheduled to end outside the U.S., a passport that is valid for six months beyond the completion date of your travel is required. Passports or Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant documents are required for cruises to Alaska, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico and the Panama Canal. U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 16 and above may present one of the following valid WHTI-compliant documents:
- Passport (recommended travel document) (valid for travel by air, land and sea)
- Passport Card (valid for land and sea border crossings only)
- State Issued Enhanced Driver’s License (valid for land and sea border crossings only)
- Other documents approved by the Department of Homeland Security
U.S. citizens taking “closed-loop” cruises are not required to have a passport but will need proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID, such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and a driver’s license. It is still highly recommended that you travel with a valid passport.
See the Department of Homeland Security's Know Before You Go for more information on the changing travel requirements.
PLEASE NOTE: it is the passenger's sole responsibility to obtain and have available the proper travel documents that are necessary for your travel, including all costs related to obtaining proper documentation and costs to obtain entry to countries you visit and re-entry to your destination country. You’ve planned for this trip and want to be sure you aren’t denied boarding, nor do you want problems when entering or exiting any country during your trip.
We've included some useful links here so that you can be sure you have the proper documentation.
State Department - overview of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - see Travel page
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – see Crossing U.S. Borders page
Traveling Outside the U.S. Documents Needed - Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)/Green Card
Canada Border Services Agency - for travel to/from Canada
Get Help in an Emergency - list of emergency resources
Trusted Traveler Programs - expedited travel for pre-approved, low risk travelers through dedicated lanes and kiosks
Documents required for a foreign national or green card holder to enter the U.S.
Applying for a Passport or Visa
U.S. Dept of State - Passports (information about requirements and how to obtain a passport)
If You Need to Obtain a New Passport While Abroad (Hint: keep a photo copy with you)
Passport and Visa Services (passport & visa expediters)
Get A Passport in a Hurry - you can expedite your application
When traveling in a foreign country, it is wise to know about the location of U.S. Embassies
U.S. Embassies (Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions)
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) - register travel with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- Consult Entry Requirements on the Destination's Embassy or Consulate Website - see Web Sites of Foreign Embassies in the U.S. for list of appropriate websites.
- View the “Entry/Exit Requirements” section of the State Department’s Country Specific Information for each country you plan to visit.
- See all Travel Alerts & Warnings
Related Blog Posts
These pages are for reference only - links are out of date:
New Passport Rules Starting June 1st - Are You Ready (March 2009)
Reminder New Passport Rules Effective June 1st (May 2009)
Important Information - Land and Sea Travel (January 2008)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (advice about any health advisories here and abroad)
Traveler's Health - Travel Notices (CDC Travel specific topics)
Facts About Noroviruses on Cruise Ships - gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses can be prevented
Norovirus outbreaks, when they occur on a cruise ship, always make the news. The truth is these outbreaks can occur anywhere there are groups of people in a small area such as nursing homes, restaurants, catered events, hotels, and cruise ships.
Vessel Sanitation Program - prevention and control of spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships
Flight Related DVT (Flight-related Deep Vein Thrombosis -Economy Class Syndrome)
Airline Security Requirements
Consult your airline, airport, and TSA's website for air travel information including baggage restrictions and security information. Be sure to allow sufficient time to check baggage and not be rushed. International flights typically require check-in 2-3 hours prior to your flight.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA website - latest regulations and resources)
Secure Flight Program - program that streamlines the watch list matching process
Links are accurate at time of publication and are subject to change. Consult the home page of the appropriate governmental agency if the link cannot be found.
~ last updated Oct 20, 2017