Cruises and Ocean Liners
Passport Requirements

Do you need a passport to go on a cruise?

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April 05, 2012 7:08PM

US Passports on Cruises

It depends on your itinerary:
  • Cruises that begin at a US port and end at the same US port: No passport required
  • Cruises that begin at a US port and end at a different US port: Passport required
  • Cruises that begin or end at any foreign (non-US) port: Passport required

Always check with your travel agent or cruise line about identification requirements. When in doubt, bring your passport. It can't hurt to have it.

The US State Department released the newest cruise guidelines in June 2009:

"Effective June 1, 2009, the following rules take effect for cruise passengers:

U.S. citizens on cruise voyages that begin and end at the same U.S. port (closed-loop itineraries) must show proof of citizenship* and government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license). A passport will not be required for passengers that fall into this category.

*Proof of Citizenship documents include: Original or certified copy of birth certificate; Naturalization papers; Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by Department of State

All other passengers and/or itineraries (such as cruises which begin in one U.S. port and return to a different U.S. port or any cruise that begins or ends in a foreign port) will require a passport or other recognized document. For a list of accepted documents, see"

It should be noted the above only applies to US citizens. If you visit a country of which you are not a native, you should always bring a passport.

Further, it is recommended that you get a passport anyway. If for some reason (illness, other emergency) you must leave your ship and fly back home early, you must have a passport to do that. With passports being valid for 10 years (for adults), the cost works out to around $10 per year. Why would you want to take a chance and not have one?