Originally Posted by cruise_mom
We are taking our first cruise a western Carribean from New Orleans in September. Carnival and our travel agent say we only need birth cert. and pic ID's, but everyone I have talked to that has taken a cruise says we should get the passports. There are 5 of us traveling and I don't know if we will ever have occasion to use them again, so what do you experts think, should we bite the bullet and spend the $$$$ for 5 passports or just use what we have? Thanks for any advice.
US law, not Carnival law
, says that if a cruise is a "closed loop" cruise, no passport is needed by American citizens. A closed loop is a cruise that starts and ends in the same US port. So a passport is not required. However the reason it is not required should be noted. ALL the island, and mainland nations of the Caribbean do require a passport to enter their nation by any means. But all of them have 'waived' that requirement for cruise passengers only, that will spend less than 24 hours in their country. So the requirement is there, it is just on waiver. And if you have to leave the ship and will be in that country for more than 24 hours, you are now an 'illegal alien!:eek: If you need to fly back to the US, OR to another island to catch the ship you missed, YOU MUST have a passport to fly, period. The US Embassy will help you get a passport to return to the US. How much and how quickly they would help you get a passport to catch the ship, I don't know, but wouldn't count on a very quick handling of what they would see as a non-emergency. The passport is good for 10 years. Next year, 2 years, 5 years from now, a passport could be required to enter or leave the country[as is the case for all European travel of any kind] and the passport will cost more then.
Wisest to get the passport, even tho not required.