Where Can You Cruise Without a Passport?

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Now that cruising has restarted, we get asked a lot: where can you cruise without a Passport? First and foremost, we always recommend getting a passport as that is the easiest way to travel. Additionally, having a passport opens up a lot of opportunities to travel abroad and from the U.S. 

For those who don’t have time to get a passport or don’t think they will use one, there are still a lot of cruise destinations to explore, such as

Keep in mind that the sailings where passports aren’t required must begin and end at the same U.S. port. For example, a 7-day Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Miami would be considered a “closed-loop.” It’s important to note, that just because a cruise is “closed-loop,” there may be ports of call on the itinerary which require a passport and would therefore make a passport necessary for that cruise. Always check with the cruise line or your travel agent as to the identification requirements for the cruise.

Identification Needed

U.S. citizens 16 years and older can cruise roundtrip (begin and end) from any U.S. port using the following:

  • Certified birth certificate or certificate of naturalization
  • A government-issued ID such as a driver’s license 
  • Cruise Boarding Pass

Be sure to check with the cruise line to ensure you have the proper documentation prior to boarding. If you are denied boarding due to insufficient documentation, you will NOT receive a refund.

More information on acceptable forms of identification for cruising without a passport can be found on U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Minors Traveling

Minors (under 16) traveling will need an original, notarized, or certified birth certificate and cruise boarding pass. The birth certificate must be the official one registered with the office of vital statistics.

How to Get a Passport

Obtaining a passport is easier than you may think. Simply visit your local post office or Application Acceptance location. You may also have to visit a second location (such as a printing center or drugstore) that offers services for passport pictures. While it may take several weeks to get your passport, an expedition service is available for an additional fee.

Get more information on obtaining a passport at USA.gov

Things to Know

If you decide to travel without a passport, know there is an inherent risk. For example, should you miss the ship in a port of call or have a medical emergency at sea or in port, you will need a passport for a flight from a foreign country back to the U.S.

Tip: Be sure to leave copies of the identification you will be using for the cruise at home with a friend or relative. Should you miss the ship or have an emergency in port and can't get to the ship for your documentation, a friend or relative will be able to fax or email the information to a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Bottom Line

Get a Passport! A passport in hand makes traveling so much easier and will give you peace of mind. A passport ensures you won’t be denied boarding for insufficient identification. Additionally, it will alleviate any headaches in case of emergency allowing you to fly back to the U.S. easily from anywhere in the world. 

Bonus: If you see a great cruise deal to Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, or anywhere else with a passport you can jet off at a moment's notice! 


Cruise deals are easy to find using on the Deals page which displays the largest price drops for the past 7 day period or Find a Cruise to search by your preferred destination, sailing month, cruise line, and more!

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1 Comment

Posted by Alisonf53

Ok so I had a passport BUT it expired during the dark days of Covid. I went to renew and was told it could take 4-5 months. Yikes......do I cruise without one?????

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