How To Go On A Cruise Without A Passport – The Complete Lowdown

cruise without a passport

While some of the cruises on this list do not require a passport to let you onboard, you may need it at your destination to disembark.

You may be wondering, “How do I go on a cruise without a passport?” First off, you can go on any domestic closed-loop cruise.

A closed-loop cruise, also known as a no-passport cruise, is a voyage that ends in the port of departure, thereby forming a “loop” if its route is plotted on a map.

After searching the internet, we came to the conclusion that there is no hard and fast list for no-passport-required cruises.

We recommend always taking your passport with you if you leave the country, period. You may have friends or relatives who have taken cruises with no passport required, but not all cruises are the same. You don’t want to be stuck aboard at a dream destination port because your lack of a passport prevents you from disembarking.

This article is for very specific cases such as:

  • How to continue your cruise with a lost passport
  • How to go on a cruise without a passport (due to expiration)
  • How to go on a cruise without a passport (due to non-renewal)

Yes, points number two and three translate to different meanings, in terms of cruises at least. Read on to determine if you need a passport to embark on your dream vacation, or if you’ll be exempt from carrying it around.

Five Places Where You Can Cruise Without A Passport

Can you go on a cruise without a passport? Absolutely. We list several beautiful destinations that you can vist on no passport required cruises.

1. The Bahamas

Breathtakingly scenic, the Bahamas are one of the most popular cruise destinations for a reason.  If you want to go passport-less for whatever reason, any of the Bahama destinations will suit your needs.

If you are traveling to the Bahamas on a closed-loop cruise (a cruise that starts and ends in the same U.S. port), then you can use the following types of I.D. in lieu of a passport:

  • An Enhanced Driver’s License
  • An Original Birth Certificate
  • A NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST “Trusted Traveler” Card

If you do not want to use your passport on your closed-loop Bahamas cruise, you will need the enhanced driver’s license in conjunction with your original birth certificate.

Children under the age of 16 can also use these documents, or a certificate of naturalization/citizenship. Children under 19 can use the same documents if they are traveling with a school, church, or sports team.

2. Mexico

The Mexican Riviera is more stunning than any photos can ever do justice. If your cruise leaves from the West Coast, Mexico must feature on your itinerary.

Closed-loop cruises to Mexico are economical and quite fun. Mexico cruises are also the best bang for your buck when compared to other popular West Coast destinations like Hawaii.

Similar to Bahama cruises, if you embark on a closed-loop cruise to Mexico, you can display any state-issued I.D. alongside your original birth certificate and be granted entry.

3. Hawaii

The closest “exotic” getaway for most Americans. Hawaii is a U.S. state, and you can travel there without a passport — with some limitations.

If you are sailing on a there-and-back cruise from, say, San Diego, you won’t require a passport.

If you are sailing round trip from Honolulu, you also won’t require a passport, but flying to Honolulu may require you to display a passport card.

Only a few select cruise lines offer closed-loop cruises to Hawaii though. Government regulations require foreign-flagged ships to have at least one other foreign port of call before entry is granted.

Check your itinerary, and if you don’t mind missing out on the other foreign port, these could be the cruises for you.

4. The Caribbean

This place needs no introduction. Indeed, it has been a favorite vacation destination for the past century. Contrary to popular belief, the Caribbean is quite a large place.

It can be divided into three main zones: the Southern Caribbean, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Western Caribbean.

The Caribbean list of passport-free cruises is split neatly down the middle — half the ports allow it, and the other half do not.

The list of ports changes from time to time, so check with your cruise line before booking hastily. You do not want to end up being forced to stay onboard the ship because all of your Caribbean ports require a passport for entry.

5. Alaska

Alaska is a funny destination. We say this because although it is a part of the United States of America, the two places aren’t physically connected.

However, the bottom line is that Alaska is a U.S. state, so U.S. citizens can travel there with any valid state I.D. and original birth certificate.

The downside is that most Alaskan cruises begin or end in Canadian territory. If this is the case, you will most certainly be required to travel with your passport.

What Should You Do If Your Passport Gets Misplaced?

This could include any number of scenarios including theft, loss, or a defaced passport (cover or inside pages).

Step one would be to file a police report. Step two is informing your nearest consulate, high commission, or embassy.

The embassy may grant you residence for the duration of your passport, or if you have a valid visa for the port, you may be allowed to stay in a hotel.

The government officials will likely either get you a new passport or issue you an NOC (no objection certificate). The NOC will allow you to clear borders and customs so you can get home.

Once home, you will probably be instructed to present yourself at any passport registration center near you within 72 hours. Passport centers include courts, libraries, and post offices.

If you have an NOC, you will have to apply for a new passport. If you were issued a new passport, you will be asked to verify its authenticity. Don’t worry, all you’ve got to do is present the passport for inspection.

Depending on whether this is your first time losing a passport or not, you may also be hit with a travel ban. These “bans” are usually about a month in length and only apply to international travel.

In the majority of cases, you’ll probably be let off the hook with just a warning — even if this is a second offense.

Allow us to reiterate that you must carry your passport if going abroad. If you need to be evacuated in an emergency, your passport is literally your ticket out of there. A passport is pretty easy to lose, so be sure to keep it on your person at all times.

Nowadays, there are even special tools to help you keep track of your passport: RFID-enabled passport holders, neck gaiter passport hiders, and even some apps.

On a closing note

It is quite possible to go on a cruise without a passport. The only drawback is you have to choose from a limited number of destinations.

Purchasing travel insurance before you embark on your cruise trip is an essential step. If you encounter a medical emergency, travel delay, flight cancellation, or other unforeseen travel circumstances, your insurance policy may be able to provide you with the coverage to weather the storm with minimal financial damage.

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