getting ready to cruise soon. our travel agent said that we do not need passports, but do we need birth certificates for proof of u.s. citizenship?
Well, Fern is correct if (1) your cruise operates round trip from a port in the United States or (2) your cruise operates to/from ports in the United States, Canada, or Mexico AND you will cross the respective border on land. The U. S. Government now requires a passport for all persons entering the United States by air. To cross the border by air or by sea, you may use alternate documentation -- which must consist of BOTH proof of identity (driver's licence, voter identification card, etc.) AND proof of citizenship (birth certificate with official seal, naturalization certificate, etc.).
That said, I strongly recommend getting a passport before your cruise for two reasons.
>> 1. A passport will expedite your entry into both the United States, partly because it provides all of the required information in a single document and partly because the immigration agent can scan it rather than entering your information into the computer system manually.
>> 2. If you need to leave your cruise to return home from a foreign port due to an emergency, you will need a passport to enter the United States. U. S. embassies and consulates can issue temporary passports that are valid for one entry in an emergency, but the last thing that you need if there's an emergency requiring your presence at home is the delay involved in going to a consulate or embassy -- which, in the Caribbean, might be on an island linked to the island where you disembark by ferry service that operates only three or four days per week -- to obtain such a document.
IOW, do yourself a favor. Get the passport and be done with it.
It's actually very easy to get a U. S. passport if you are either a U. S. citizen or a U. S. national. First, go to a photo shop that does passport photos and get two passport photos. Next, take the passport photos, a photo identification issued by a government authority (driver's licence, voter identification card, etc.), and proof of citizenship (see above) to the passport window at your local post office during its passport hours, fill out the application, and present all of it to the passport clerk. The passport clerk will check your identification, collect the fees, assemble the package, and send it off to the passport office. The passport will arrive in the mail in six to eight weeks (or sooner, if you pay the extra fee for expedited service).
As I have posted before - get passports no matter what anyone else tells you and that will erase all doubts.
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93