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First time cruiser and passport holder here!  Do you take your passport when you go on shore excursions in Bahamas, St Maarten and St Thomas? If you do, how do you keep them safe from other people and dry while you're in the water? And If you don't take them with you, suppose you miss the boat without your passport on you? And the very big question, will I get my first passport stamp at one of these locations? :-D

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I have not cruise the Caribbean for a few years but in other parts of the World they collect your passport upon booking. Royal hands all the stuff with your passport in the ports and you do not see it again until the last port stop is completed. When you think about it really no other way to do it. Royal brings a ship with 4000 plus passengers into a small port that has 3 passport officers and you must stand in line to be cleared. Even at only one minute per passport the three only would clear 180 passports per hour if a 1000 passengers wanted off the ship it would take over 5 hours. And when you returned another 5 hours. If a port call is 8 hours many passengers could not even get off the ship.

 

So how can they clear several thousand passengers? Royal pays to bring the inspectors on board  at the port before the stop, gives them a cabin and they work all day or night while the ships travels port to port clearing the passports. This is the only way you can clear a large ship for a short port call. As I said maybe the trips started in the US are handled in a different way.

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I did that same cruise last year. No one took our passports we kept them in the safe all week. All you need to get off in coco cay is your sea pass card because royal owns the port. At st Thomas and st marten you are required to bring some sort of government ID we used Ontario drivers license. I'm not sure what would happen if we missed the boat and didn't have our passports... Maybe I will bring copies next time ?

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I did that same cruise last year. No one took our passports we kept them in the safe all week. All you need to get off in coco cay is your sea pass card because royal owns the port. At st Thomas and st marten you are required to bring some sort of government ID we used Ontario drivers license. I'm not sure what would happen if we missed the boat and didn't have our passports... Maybe I will bring copies next time ?

You mentioned coco cay... We are going to Nassau Blue Lagoon Island. Is that the same port?

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We always bring our passports and a credit on the islands with us, just in case. We usually try and get our passports stamped for some fun memories. Sometimes, however it really involves quite a hike. In St. Maarten, there's a small post office by the taxi line that will stamp your passport for free. As far as keeping our bags safe, we usually cover our bags with a towel and just keep an eye on them while in the water. We are never that far away and have always felt safe keeping our bags on shore. 

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I always bring my passport and at least one credit card with me.

 

The point of bringing a passport on a cruise is if you get stuck at a port and miss the ship, having the passport means you can easily depart that country and go home or meet up with the ship.

 

Without the passport, you will have to go to the US Consulate office and work on obtaining a visa. This is neither quick nor easy.

 

If you leave the passport on the ship while you go on shore, it will do you absolutely no good if you were to be stranded somewhere.

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I always bring my passport and at least one credit card with me.

 

The point of bringing a passport on a cruise is if you get stuck at a port and miss the ship, having the passport means you can easily depart that country and go home or meet up with the ship.

 

Without the passport, you will have to go to the US Consulate office and work on obtaining a visa. This is neither quick nor easy.

 

If you leave the passport on the ship while you go on shore, it will do you absolutely no good if you were to be stranded somewhere.

So if you go in the water where is your passport? I read that folks are always watching you for a chance to steal from the tourists or am I over worrying that part?

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I always bring my passport and at least one credit card with me.

 

The point of bringing a passport on a cruise is if you get stuck at a port and miss the ship, having the passport means you can easily depart that country and go home or meet up with the ship.

 

Without the passport, you will have to go to the US Consulate office and work on obtaining a visa. This is neither quick nor easy.

 

If you leave the passport on the ship while you go on shore, it will do you absolutely no good if you were to be stranded somewhere.

 

It appears the Caribbean Cruises are handled different from other cruises with Royal. But one thing I have always done and still do now I carry photos of my passport and current visas on my cell phone. It makes it very easy if you need to show. And while not legal for travel if you did lost your passport it makes replacement faster at a Embassy. 

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I have heard of a few things that have been done on a few of the cruises i've been on.  The one that sticks out the most and that I witnessed first hand was when several people  were not back on the ship at departure time.  Forgive me for not remembering the port but I do remember it was on Indy 8 nighter dec 2014.....

 

The ship, of course, has a list of all the passengers that have not boarded the ship as the time for departure from the port of call gets close.  In this particular case it was about thirty minutes past when we were supposed to leave and you could clearly tell by watching from the outer deck under the life boats that they were waiting for some people to see if they would make it back.  I'm always nosey and curious in weird situations like this so I started investigating of course.  There were several officers running around with walkie talkies so I inquired if we were waiting for passengers to which they confirmed.  So i pressed it a bit further and asked how long they would wait and what happens if they don't show up.  The response that I got was pretty cool..  They apparently, on this ship at least,  go into the missing people stateroom and see if the passports can be located and bring them down to the gangway...  (I know, crazy, I didn't believe it either.)

 

As i'm standing there continuing to watch as the time goes by literally 20 feet above the only gangway left on the pier, they had finally waited long enough and the ships horn sounded.  I then see the ropes being removed and pretty soon the gangway is being slowly pulled away.  At the very last possible moment, sure enough, a ship officer hopped off the ship handed about 4 passports to the port police, or whomever they were, and away we went!!

 

I was amazed that they went through all of the trouble for the passengers who were late, but would sure be appreciative if it were me for some reason.  I would never miss the ship unless laying dead somewhere but yeah haha... It was interesting needless to say.

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So if you go in the water where is your passport? I read that folks are always watching you for a chance to steal from the tourists or am I over worrying that part?

At the chair with the rest of my belongings.  Theft can occur anywhere, including in the USA.  The key is not to leave valuables out and keep an eye on it.  Heck, we even take turns going to swim.  

 

It appears the Caribbean Cruises are handled different from other cruises with Royal. But one thing I have always done and still do now I carry photos of my passport and current visas on my cell phone. It makes it very easy if you need to show. And while not legal for travel if you did lost your passport it makes replacement faster at a Embassy. 

You are right that a photo will help, but you still will need to go to the Embassy and deal with all of that ordeal, versus having a passport and going right to the airport and leaving at the first available time without hassle.

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Without the passport, you will have to go to the US Consulate office and work on obtaining a visa. This is neither quick nor easy.

 

 

A lot of people recommend this, this is actually the wrong advice. Depending on what country you're in, you're probably not going to be near to the Consulate. What you need to do if you miss the ship is seek out the Port Agent. There should be contact information for the Consulate, the Port Agent, etc on the top page of the Cruise Compass.

 

 

 

 

So if you go in the water where is your passport? I read that folks are always watching you for a chance to steal from the tourists or am I over worrying that part?

 

You can get waterproof pouches. The one I have are a bit pricey - they are Aquapacs. A quick Google search turned up lots of waterproof pouches if you wish to shop around. I once bought some logo brand ones from the ship. Hard plastic and bulky and one broke almost right away, I would not recommend those.

 

And no, you're not being overly paranoid about theft. I almost had a camera stolen from me by a fellow passenger! She took it off the xray screening belt while I was still on the other side of the metal detector.

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 In this particular case it was about thirty minutes past 

I was amazed that they went through all of the trouble for the passengers who were late, but would sure be appreciative if it were me for some reason.  I would never miss the ship unless laying dead somewhere but yeah haha... It was interesting needless to say.

 

I wonder how much "wiggle room" they have for delaying ship departure. I remember one cruise where we were waiting and I went down to deck 4 with a lot of other people hanging over the railing waiting for the last passengers. When they showed up, they weren't running, they just sauntered casually in, while a couple hundred people were yelling and booing at them. Do people like this get taken aside for a little "talk" telling them the importance of being back on time, I wonder?

 

My last cruise 4 of my tablemates were first time cruisers and one of them early in the week piped up "You don't have to be back on time, the ship will wait for you." I strongly corrected him on that, to his chagrin. Then again these were the people who thought it okay to be half hour late to dinner cause they hadn't finished gambling in the casino.

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I don't know the particular situation above, obviously, but probably these "sauntering" late passengers were associated with an RCI tour.  When an RCI tour is the cause of the delay, the ship MUST wait for them.

 

 

The advantage of buying a tour through Royal is that by contract they agree to return you to the ship and the cruise. If they did not wait they would be responsible for the cost of getting you back to the cruise, hotels, transportation, food. Because Royal & the passenger has created a legal contract. If you book your own tours (which) I do you are responsible for these costs. It is just business Royal tour it is cheaper for them to wait.

 

The interesting case here for me is what about if it is a penalty or taxed stop under US Law? You get on a ship in Miami and the first Port Call is Key West. If you want to get off and stay in Key West, the lines charges you a extra $300 dollars (paid to US Government). But if you get off and just don't return and the ship leaves, they left you. Can they still charge this tax as they created the tax situation by leaving? My guess is they would added to your account but if you disputed it with them they would remove it. Because much cheaper to pay $300 than to hold a ship.

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We always bring our passports and a credit on the islands with us, just in case. We usually try and get our passports stamped for some fun memories. Sometimes, however it really involves quite a hike. In St. Maarten, there's a small post office by the taxi line that will stamp your passport for free. As far as keeping our bags safe, we usually cover our bags with a towel and just keep an eye on them while in the water. We are never that far away and have always felt safe keeping our bags on shore. 

We always take turns swimming. We've been to dozens and dozens of beaches in the Caribbean and, this is not meant to offend, there are always people lurking around in the bushes (so to speak) waiting to steal from you.  My octegenarian dad tucked his cheap-o watch into his towel, dived into the surf for a few seconds, came back out and found his watch gone.  The beach was totally bare.  He never saw anyone at all.  We love the Caribbean and the people in the Caribbean, but there are thieves everywhere.  Miami, Malibu, Bermuda, Galveston, Tahiti, St. Thomas.  Don't leave your belongings unattended.

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Without the passport, you will have to go to the US Consulate office and work on obtaining a visa.

 

 

I came back to this thread to make a different comment and saw this and guess I misread Visa as passport but anyhow I boggled. Why do you need a Visa?

 

Okay I'm speaking from an American POV probably stranded in the Caribbean somewhere since that is what most people have been talking about. The US is one of the countries that has the most countries their citizens can visit with no Visa requirement - something like 160+. So there's a good chance the country you're in doesn't even require you have a Visa. We're talking a visitor Visa here.

 

Second one cannot obtain a Visa without a passport. This is going on the assumption that one is traveling with their picture ID and birth certificate in lieu of a passport. So if you find your way to the Embassy, it will be with the purpose of getting a passport with which you will use to fly back to the US since you must have a passport for International air travel. I suppose if you're in Cozumel it would be feasible to find a bus to take you back to the US border where you'll probably sit for a few days while they process the red tape to allow you back in the US with no documentation (unless you're carrying your birth certif with you).  At any rate since your main concern is leaving the country you're stranded in, again, you're not going to want to waste time obtaining a Visa.

 

Now if it's the current procedure for the ship personnel to go into the passenger's rooms (which it appears to be going by another article I just read) you'll have your passport and you have 2 options. Fly to the next port to try to catch the ship or fly back to the US. But going back to no passport.

 

My last cruise I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The US Embassy in Jamaica is in Kingston, that's doable. In Grand Cayman, it's in Georgetown. That's doable. If you're in Cozumel, the US Embassy is in Mexico City. That's problematic.

 

Which leads me to the afterthought I wanted to add. One way to tell that people are not back on the ship is close to departure time, they will call over the PA the names of people who have not made it back on the ship. If you know this, it gives you an indication how often people are late coming back to the ship. They were calling people my last cruise around 5pm in Cozumel. Cozumel is notorious for that from people going to the bars and getting drunk and is a good place for going out on deck and watching the pier for latecomers.

 

Anyhow, I tried to snag the URL of the article I just read but it locked up my browser so I'm not going to do that.

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