There's an interesting take on the current passport confusion from an online travel agency that caters to airline crews and their families (most all of whom have passports, believe me).
They claim that all the confusion about who needs them now and for what has actually hurt cruise bookings, causing some lines to offer good bargains. While this agency only takes bookings from "qualified" airline people, I haven't generally found their prices to be any better than what I can get elsewhere. I haven't checked their claim about current bargains, but it's an interesting factoid if true. The cruise lines might have been a lot better off NOT fighting the passport requirement, letting the requirement go into effect at the same time for all forms of travel. The result would have been less confusion, and possibly a better overall outcome for them. It's usually better to get problems behind you as quickly as possible.
But I loved this agency's description of those who still refuse to get them. They call them "Passport Challenged." I think we should adopt that descriptor for all future questions that are posted that start with "Do I need. . ."
I admit, I struggled with the passport issue. However, I am not "passport challenged." I know what the issue entails. My struggle centered around the initial cost factor. Spending an extra $364 for our passports was not an expense I anticipated when we booked our cruise. I realize my husband's and my passport are good for 10 years and the kids' passports are good for 5, but the INITIAL cost is a signficant chunk of change to me and we work hard to save for vacations, etc.
I also struggled with the "don't HAVE to have it now, but will need it for sure in 2008" issue. But, like everyone else has said, "better to be safe than sorry, because you never know what will happen."
Therefore, we elected to bite the bullet and get passports. They are in process. And I do feel more at ease now. However, people need to realize it's not a black and white issue for everyone. There are other factors involved other than the confusion about when they will be required to travel by land and sea.
Passport challenged? NO ... Budget challenged? Who isn't? Get off your high horse and don't belittle those that are seeking advice from this forum. For the record, I object to use of the term "passport challenged."
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08