Do I need a Passport while on my Cruise? Technically, no. But here’s why you should get a passport for your cruise.
Technically, the answer is no, if your cruise is a closed loop cruise (example depart from Fort Lauderdale return to Fort Lauderdale) but should you still have one? Absolutely! A valid passport is a good idea as anything can happen while you are on vacation with your family or loved ones.
Passengers without passports take a chance at missing the ship. So many things could go wrong: you may have health problems, or you had an accident while tooling around the island, or any number of situations could arise where you find yourself stuck somewhere you were only supposed to be for the day. So many Americans get stuck in a Caribbean island without a passport. It happens all the time, believe it or not. However, emergency documents take an average of one week to get you on a flight home. Now do you think you should get a passport for your cruise?
The air also gets very expensive, all of it definitely more expensive than the cost of a 10 year passport. If you have an emergency, you have to have a passport in order to leave the (non-US) country you are in and you have to deal with US Embassy and Consular offices. Many are closed during evenings and weekends. They also very rarely assist, and many of the smaller countries in the Caribbean do not even have a US Consulate or Embassy. In this instance, you have to make many phone calls, write many emails and wait a painfully long time for documents to arrive.
There are so many horrible situations that can happen. Even if you are in great health, one small accident such as slipping and falling on an island and hitting your head. These sad situations arise all the time when passengers are having adventures off the cruise ship.
It’s even more difficult if you are traveling with children. Be safe and make your trip enjoyable by being prepared with a proper, non-expired passport whenever you travel on a cruise even if it is not required.