I read a post on one of these boards that said starting in 2005, a birth certificate and photo ID will no longer be acceptable for boarding. That a passport will be required. While this was not a problem in the past, having used my passport for seven cruises, it expired last year, and I am leaving on the Valor in March. Does anyone know if this is true? I'm tending to think that it is not.
I hope you didn't read it on this website as that information is incorrect! As of right now for most cruises including all of the Caribbean you only need a original birth certificate or an original copy issued by the government authority in charge of records and a photo ID issued by some type of official instituation such as a Driver License. A Passport IS the best thing and solves any problems if you are stranded or and delays to check your BC and ID. It is highly recommended by the staff and Cruisemates itself as something that one should do and yes, I forsee in the future, maybe sooner than we think, that a passport will be necessary but as of this moment it is not.
Passports are the universally accepted form of identification. That's all you need
There are a few islands in the Caribbean that are now requiring passports, and the list will keep growing. The time will be fairly soon when a passport will be required to cruise.
The passport is the only ID you really need. It is however a good idea to have another official type photo ID such as a DL to bring ashore with you when you reboard after going ashore. You will need the ship's ID they give you and in some ports they also ask for a photo ID before they even let you near the ship. Better safe than sorry.
Plus you will need a DL if you want to rent a jet ski / boat or anything else driveable. Its also good to have in case they ask for id when paying with credit cards. Its a lot safer to bring a DL ashore than a passport!
As Mike said, yes this is correct BUT....don't try and use it as anything other than a Birth Certificate. It is no good in those countries that require a valid passport. I'm thinking now that Carnival is going to be in the Med do not try and use it for that cruise. <G>
The 10 year old passport will only work for most of the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada. Outside of there you need a valid, up to date, passport. Many countries will require that the passports expiration date be greater than six months from the date of travel, so pay attention to the expiration date.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Are you saying you don't need to take your Passport whe going ashore in Cozemel, Grand Caymen and Montego Bay? I was under the impression you should keep it with you when in a foreign country. We're first time cruisers next month.
No, you do not really need to carry it ashore and for safety reasons you shouldn't. If you are US Citizens you actually do not even need a passport to visit those islands. If you feel better then I suggest that you make a photocopy of the front page and keep that with you. (Actually we make photocopies and keep a couple of them in differant places such as luggage, cabin, home, etc.)
I always keep my passport in the onboard safe in our cabin, some people feel better taking a copy of their passports when visiting ports. Just make sure to keep your sign/sail card with you, you'll need that every time you get off and on the ship.
As a customs agent told me, in this post 9/11 world if you have a passport bring it with you. It is the most positive form of identification that you can have to get back into the United States. It's just a little extra insurance policy, but always be sure to have a copy of the face page that way should you have to replace while out of the country... particularly if you are on a cruise in belize, costa rica or panama or europe... the US embassies can replace your passport much more easily.