Thinking about going on a cruise for this years’ family vacation? Cruises are great vacations. Everyone loves the exotic destinations visited during the cruise, the fun shipboard activities and all of the fabulous food. Boarding the ship tends to be the part that cruisers dislike the most. The one thing that makes boarding the cruise ship a nightmare is not having the proper travel documents.
Through the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), US citizens are allowed to sail/travel on cruises that begin and end in the same US port with one of the following approved documents:
- Valid U.S. Passport
- Original or suitable (notarized) copy of your birth certificate
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Passport Card
- Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)
- Trusted Traveler Program Membership Card (i.e. Nexus Card, Sentri Card or Fast Card)
Please note a government issued photo ID card is also required for all guests including children 16 and over. Cruise lines also suggest that you travel with a passport that is valid at least 6 months beyond the end of the cruise. Click here to apply for your passport.
Newlyweds, new brides especially…if you are taking a cruise on your honeymoon, do not book your cruise with your new last name. The name you booked your cruise in and the name listed on your ID and travel documents must match. If they do not you risk not being allowed to board the ship.
Blended families traveling with children with different last names, also have to present several travel documents to board without issue. The parent must present the child’s valid passport/visa/passport card and the child’s birth certificate (original or notarized copy). A clear link to the name of the parent and the child must be shown through legal documents.
It’s crucial to have all of the proper and valid travel documents with you while boarding and re-boarding the ship. If you fail to provide the proper travel documents, you will not be allowed to board the ship. Beware that cruise lines will not issue refunds to passengers who fail to provide the proper travel documents.
Make sure all of your identification is up to date and always check your cruise lines website for the most current list of accepted travel documents. Always remember to pack your patience; boarding a cruise ship is a tedious process but a lot of fun waits on the other side.
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BMWK, What is your favorite part of cruising?