We have a cruise booked on the conquest to the western carib. in march.We were thinking of getting passports just in case we needed them, however we were told by the office that it could take up to six weeks to get them back after applying.Has anyone had any problems that they would'nt have had with a passport?
You can get a passport through a special service in as little as one day if you are willing to pay about $300. Or, you can go through normal channels and get an "expedited" delivery in 2 weeks for about $160. Just check the Dept. of State website.
I've traveled with and without a passport and never saw a difference--except the U.S. officials, upon returning, sometimes claim that it is better to have a passport. They can scan the passport and immediately see if you are an "evil doer" or not. With a birth certificate they have to do a name search which isn't as effective.
The only problems I have heard of with a birth certificate is when it doesn't have a "raised seal". If it is just a copy of a certificate with a raised seal you could have a problem.
I would get a passport for future travels. If you decide to go to any country outside of the Caribbean, Canada, or Mexico you will need one. If you get it at your leisure, and don't pay all the special service fees, it will only cost you about $85 and is good for 10 years.
I just got passports for my children. We're cruising in April so I just sent them through without paying an expedited fee. Got them in about 3 weeks. My TA suggested the passports since we travel outside the US frequently. Before this we always used their birth certificates and never had a problem.