Cruise Travel: Do you need a passport to go on a cruise?

by Pilar Dujan | July 4, 2023
Discover if do you need a passport to go on a cruise

Exploring the world on a cruise is always an amazing experience, a mix of comfort and adventure ideal for both short and long holidays. 

If you’re going on a cruise soon you may be wondering what kind of documents you need. Do you need a passport to go on a cruise? Do you need a visa? Discover it here. 

Do you need a passport to go on a cruise?

Yes… and no. The answer to “do I need a passport for a cruise” depends on the kind of cruise you’re taking

The closed-loop cruises depart and return to the same port, without visiting any foreign ports. If the departure port is in your own country, you will be able to board all closed-loop cruises without a passport

Keep in mind that not all closed-loop cruises have the same requirements for their travelers, some may ask you to bring a passport. Try to talk to the cruise company to make sure you have everything you need before boarding the ship.

Do you need a passport for a cruise as a minor?

Underage children can bring their birth certificate or citizenship certificate instead of a passport. If the adult accompanying them is not their primary guardian, they should also bring proof of consent from their parents/guardians

When do you need a passport for cruises?

If you’re not on a closed-loop cruise, which means that the cruise starts and ends in different ports, you’re going to need a passport, even if both ports are in the same country. 

You will also be obligated to carry your passport if your cruise involves some form of international air travel at the beginning or the end of the trip. 

Some cruises, closed-loop or not, have the specific requirement to bring a passport. You will have to ask your cruise line of choice if that’s your case.

Do you need passport to go on a cruise

Do I need any documents to go on a cruise?

Even though cruise companies can have different requirements for travelers, these are the most common documents you will be asked to bring:

  • Insurance: medical and emergency insurance is key to having a successful trip. Even if nothing happens, you can rest easy knowing you’re protected.
  • A visa: depending on the places you’re visiting on the cruise, you may need to get a travel visa. If the cruise line has scheduled stops in which you will need a visa, make sure to have it processed by the time you board the ship. Even if you end up not getting off on these stops, having an approved visa will ensure you have the possibility to do so.
  • A passport: it will be mandatory for cruises that end and stop in different ports. This also applies to any ports outside your country of origin. Even when not necessary, having a passport is a good failsafe in case of any emergency. 

Tips for traveling on a cruise

  • Keep all your important documentation inside a safe, and make some copies before boarding.
  • Always arrive at the destination port a day before the cruise starts. 
  • Pack your essentials in your carry on bag (including your swimsuit!). Also, avoid overpacking.
  • Avoid booking a room near the cruise’s elevators or nightclubs.
  • Stay up to date on any cruise ship travel updates in case of any weather or itinerary changes. 
  • Read about the vaccination requirements for the ports you’re traveling to as some places demand visitors to have specific vaccines and proof.
  • Carry with you the addresses and telephone numbers of the embassies and consulates nearest to the international ports you are traveling to.
  • Carry with you some medicine for seasickness just in case.
  • Have a plan in case you get stranded at any of the planned stops. It could come in handy!