OK everyone..this might be a dumb question...but this is the first time we ever traveled with passports. Once we get on the ship, do we need to take them with us off the ship for excursions..or do we just keep them in our staterooms? Should we carry a copy of them when we get off the ship at ports? Thanks for your help!
We lock our passports in the safe in our room, you won't need them until you disembark. When you get off the ship at different ports, I take my Sail & Sign card/SeaPass and a photo ID (driver's license).
I always carry my passport. If an emergency arises and you cannot return to the ship before it sails, you will not be able to return to your home country or travel to a different country without it. Your only options would be to get the cruise line to go into your cabiin and mail it to you or get a new passport from your government (closest embassy). Not a good situation and not worth the risk to me.
I think its more of a risk to take your passport with you ashore. Chances are that nothing will happen, but theres an increased chance that you could be pickpocketed, etc (especially while youre swimming at the beach). We leave ours in the safe and take a copy, a drivers license, cash and a credit card along (and if swimming it goes in a water tight container with us in the water). We are also very careful about being back on board at least an hour before sailing. We enjoy sitting out on our balcony watching people scurry on board at the last minute!
You can do either what Jim and Lisa or what Cougar suggest. If you do run into trouble and miss the ship you will have less problems if you have the actual passport in hand.
In the Caribbean I just take a copy of my passport ID page with me. However with the changes in requirements, I personally am beginning to think differently. I don't think I would want to be stuck in Barbados or Belize without my hard copy passport. The chances of this happening are slim but it's better safe than sorry. You use care in not having your drivers license, credit cards, or money stolen. You should do the same with your passport. You won't be denied re-entry to the ship or the U.S if it is stolen. You should still have a copy of the identification page of the passport and have that in a separate place. Remember a passport is replaceable.
In many European and South American countries: Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Peru you definitely take your passport with you. I have also had merchants in Europe want to see a passport identification before accepting a credit card for larger purchases. A U.S. drivers license isn't a valid ID outside the United States. (On some cruises they do hold your passport for immigration purpose, so a copy is all you will have.)
So: I think with the way things are changing in the world, and with the way the U.S. and other foreign passport requirements are changing, I am probably going to change the way I handle my passport and begin to carry it more in foreign ports.
Whatever an individual decides is up to them but in either case the passport or a copy should be taken.
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I think we all agree that the actual risk of any incident is low, but I look at it like this: if you are pickpocketed and lose your passport, you can continue your vacation and make arrangements to get a replacement based on future itinerary. If you fall ill or break a leg and miss the ship and you passport is on it, you have an added worry on top of your misfortune -- getting the passport back or getting a replacement.
Mike is right: passports are replaceable at any embassy -- M-F during business hours in the case of the United States. Lost your passport Friday night? You will be spending the weekend wherever you are!
When we cruised in January on Carnival Valor,being Canadians ,our passports were kept by the crew until we disembarked at the end of the cruise.Is this still the procedure?
Aegean I Sept /01 Athens
Carnival Valor Jan /05 Miami
Carnival Valor Jan/06 Miami
Carnival Pride Jan/07 Long Beach
Splendour of the Seas Sept/09 Venice
Adventure of the Seas Jan/11 San Juan
Adventure of the Seas Feb/12 San Juan
Navigator of the Seas Jan/13 N'arlins
Mike's got it on the nose. People who travel internationally generally carry their passports with them. There are very good theft-resistant pouches that hang around your neck and under your clothing. Even cruise passengers in, say, St. Petersburg, will definitely be carrying them while they're on tour, because you have to present them to Russian immigration on the pier.
But for your typical Caribbean floats, you can always get away with leaving them on the ship, unless of course you happen to miss the ship, in which case you're going to have a bad couple of days. A photocopy of the data page will, as everyone notes, help a lot, so you should always carry at least that.
Finally, as Mike also implies, the sands are shifting under our feet as immigration requirements get tougher and tougher the world over. The day may well come when you have to have the actual document with you whenever you're outside the US, even at our laid-back Caribbean neighbors'.
When I returned to the ship in Mazatlan the security checkpoint (local police; not ship security) asked for our passports. I was glad I had brought it along with drivers license and ship id card. An extra measure I would follow in any foreign country.