You will probably have to turn your passport over to the cruise line when you check in, to be returned the last day (usually after you've paid your bar bill). You will receive a magnetic card that serves as ship's ID, room key and credit card. The photograph is not universal since the card is usually made before you show up. The card serves as a Visa in the ports you will visit and insures you don't jump ship. With hightened security, you will probably need a photo ID (driver's license) in addition to your ship's ID to leave and reinter the ship. You can spend an obscene amount of money for an ID holder that hangs around your neck in the ship's store, or you can pick one up for pennies before you leave, or just keep the damn things in your pocket hoping you don't lose them.
Carnival does this. I don't know if this is only for non-US citizens and I am not bothered about that, they keep it save. You get it back the morning you get off the ship from a US custom agent at the onhuman hour of 06.45 am
On our first cruise we learned that we had no ID to carry with us on shore, like the US-cits have an ID-card and that gave a slight problem. So on our next cruise I made a photocopy of our pasports and it worked out well.
Now I read about the S&S card combined with a photo ID boarding the ship again, so I wondered if I have to bring my passport copy with me again.
You seem to have a misunderstanding of what a passport is all about.
It's not a walking-around document as a cruise passenger.
It's about moving through the Immigration system in the most efficient manner.
As in PASS PORT.
If you are in a foreign country, their Immigration officials let you in (unless you swam to shore or dropped out of the sky). Some countries require a visa which you should carry on your person at all times.
The immigration officials at the next country want your (ready?) PASS PORT. On cruise ships, they clear the whole ship at one time. That's why they hang on to passports.
It's different if you are doing a land vacation as opposed to a cruise vacation when the entire ship is cleared at one time. Those of us who choose to get local visas rather than being part of the herd are issued (and pay for) visas for the country if they are required And we don't leave the ship without them. The passports stay with the cruise line people so the ship can be cleared.
This is an extremely Byzantine deal. And too many people guess about it.
As a stunning example, many people don't know the difference between "Customs" and "Immigration."
The best news about having a passport is that is gives you the opportunity to look even goofier in your photo than you do on your driver's license.
Not to be contentious, but can you give me some cites of countries where I would be subject to arrest, as a cruise ship passenger on an official shoreX , if I were not carrying my passport?
I don't know of any areas IF you are a cruise passenger on an official shore excursion, as you said. But when we were on vacation in the mid-'90s in Germany, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslavia we were told our passport was required to be on our person at all times for inspection.
That's interesting about giving the cruiseline my passport. Do they also take the birth certificates of those who don't have passports? And do they do this only going to certain destinations?
We surrendered our passport in the Baltic Capitals, but only for the days we were in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. They returned them to us the evening we re-boarded in Copenhagen, about 11/2 days prior to debarkation in Dover, England. We were allowed to keep our passports in Germany, Estonia, and Russia. This had nothing to do with bar bills. They just had them stamped for us in the Scandanavian nations.
Boy it's going to be strange to actually use my passport as something other than a proof of my US citizenship when I cruise. Actually had to go down to the Brazilian Consulate, shell out $65.00, a REALLY homely passport photo and phtocopies of my flight coupons in order to get a Brazilian visa. Boy cruising is easy.