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Passports on Excursions: To take or not to take


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12 minutes ago, anniejensen4 said:

My husband and I are going on our first cruise April 2021.  We are trying to figure out how whether or not to take our passports with us and how to keep them safe while swimming when/if we do.  Ports of call are Labadee, Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amalie, CoCo Cay

I have always been told to leave them in your safe in your room and take photocopies of them and your cruise cards.

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Assuming United States passports ... Two are private islands and two are tied to the United States, so they are safer in the safe.

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I have always been told to leave them in your safe in your room and take photocopies of them and your cruise cards.

I've done that in the past. Now, I even leave the copies in the safe (although having the ID# doesn't sound like a bad idea). Seapass card, state issued ID (Drivers License), insurance info and of course credit cards is all I take off the ship. It's been said, if something happens (missing ship), they will leave your belongings from the safe at the pier. 

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We are on the opposite end. We always take our passports on shore with us when in a foreign port, not the dedicated islands. There is no guarantee that the ship will pack and leave your cabin's contents at the dock if you miss the ship. That is all on you. If you are in an accident on an excursion and have to seek medical help there may not be time to go back to the ship and retrieve your documents. If you have to fly and "catch up" with the ship if you miss it you have to have the passport to fly. We keep ours in a waterproof pouch to keep them dry and we have never had a problem with them. Passport and pre-filled out insurance medical forms. But that is just us.

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I am a Team Passport and take it in foreign ports (not in RC islands). This is always a hot topic and you will get different views.  If you are American, you have 2 RC islands and 2 US territory ports so I would leave my passport in the safe.  Make sure you bring some form of photo ID like a driver's license and that will get you back to the US.    If from another country, then take your passports with you to Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.  People say that a photo copy is ok and it is better than nothing but you'd still have to deal with your embassy to get a real passport and get home.  If you have a passport in hand, you can get on any flight.

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I always take my passport off the ship in a foreign country. Like the Boy Scouts say, be prepared.

1 hour ago, anniejensen4 said:

Ports of call are Labadee, Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amalie, CoCo Cay

For these ports, I wouldn't actually take it off the ship for any port. Puerto Rico and St Thomas are US Territories, so I can fly home without a passport. 

Coco Cay and Labadee are foreign countries, but I think chances of being left behind at private islands is nearly non-existant.

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I would suggest keeping originals (Passports) in your room's safe and always keep a copy on your smartphone while also saving a copy to the Cloud (Google Drive, for example) in case you lose everything. You will only be a few Internet clicks away from accessing your key documents anywhere in the world.

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We bring ours off...in the Bahamas we were asked for or passports to get back on the ship so I'd assume is like that at the other ports (you do not need to bring them off for coco cay and labadee tho)

Invest in a nice backpack that will strap on to a chair then have the zippers locked so no one can I get in. Pac safe has backpacks as well as mini safes to keep valuables in while you can't attend to them. Or a waterproof fanny pack. Yes I've seen them loads of times at beaches. I was so worried in Bahamas. But locked my beach bag to my chair and went to the ocean. No one bothered my items 

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41 minutes ago, JimnKathy said:

I would suggest keeping originals (Passports) in your room's safe and always keep a copy on your smartphone while also saving a copy to the Cloud (Google Drive, for example) in case you lose everything. You will only be a few Internet clicks away from accessing your key documents anywhere in the world.

This is what we do.

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I’m afraid I don’t understand what good a picture of your passport would do although I do have a picture of everyone’s passport on my phone.  But the passports go with me when we get off the ship at a foreign port.  A picture isn’t getting me on a flight or helping me avoid a trip to a US Embassy or Consulate.  And I have yet to read first hand experience of someone missing the ship & having their passports left with a dock agent.  People say they’ve heard it’s what happens but has it actually happened to anyone here?

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18 hours ago, Matt said:

I always take my passport off the ship in a foreign country. Like the Boy Scouts say, be prepared.

This is what I do every time (excluding only private islands and US territories).

Sometimes I hear people say that if you leave your passports in the safe and you’re about to miss the ship, RCI will search your stateroom, find the passports, and then deliver them to the shore agent to hold. Personally, I’d never expect or rely on that. 

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We go back and forth on this. In general, if we are taking a Royal Caribbean excursion or plan to stay close to the port we leave our passports on the ship. We take them when we have organized an excursion by ourselves further from the ship. Its definitely a difficult decision but even with money belts etc in a lot of ports it feels safer to not have them with us especially in large tour groups that are easily targeted by thieves 

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  • 2 years later...

Sorry to revive this geezer of a thread, but I think what I'm reading here is that the always passport and never passport for port of call crowds seem to agree that on Labadee it should stay on the ship.  Is that current wisdom?

We're headed there and I would of course like to worry about losing the fewest things possible.  I'm good to just bring Seapass, Driver's License, and some cash?  Seems like no need for credit either?  Then just what I need for the day like sunscreen, swimwear etc.  Do they have a towel station there or should we schlep them?

 

Bill

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2 hours ago, Xaa said:

Sorry to revive this geezer of a thread, but I think what I'm reading here is that the always passport and never passport for port of call crowds seem to agree that on Labadee it should stay on the ship.  Is that current wisdom?

We're headed there and I would of course like to worry about losing the fewest things possible.  I'm good to just bring Seapass, Driver's License, and some cash?  Seems like no need for credit either?  Then just what I need for the day like sunscreen, swimwear etc.  Do they have a towel station there or should we schlep them?

 

Bill

No passport. I would take cash for gifts along with Seapass. Can't  remember towels.

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3 hours ago, Xaa said:

I'm good to just bring Seapass, Driver's License, and some cash? 

Cash for tips/souvenirs and SeaPass.  

3 hours ago, Xaa said:

Do they have a towel station there or should we schlep them?

They do have a towel station at the end of the ship pier if you forget to bring one off, but I'd just pick them up from the pool deck the day before and not have to worry about it.

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2 hours ago, Xaa said:

Thanks to you both.  Veering off passport topic but the towels need to be brought back regardless of where I get them right?  There's some kind of deposit is that right?

You scan your SeaPass card when you check out the towels and again when you turn them back in. No deposit, but a $25 charge if you fail to return them. You may also see a card in your cabin with a QR code where you can "order" towels.

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One of the main reasons you get a passport for cruising is to have it in case of an emergency.   Leaving it in your room is defeating that purpose.  Take it with you and protect it well.  The hoops you will have to jump through without your passport is not worth it.  If all the cruising you do is a closed loop cruise you would be better off saving the $200 for the passport if you don't take it with you.

 

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9 minutes ago, MikeK said:

One of the main reasons you get a passport for cruising is to have it in case of an emergency.   Leaving it in your room is defeating that purpose.  Take it with you and protect it well.  The hoops you will have to jump through without your passport is not worth it.  If all the cruising you do is a closed loop cruise you would be better off saving the $200 for the passport if you don't take it with you.

 

I agree with this logic. Recommending cruisers get passports to cruise (or travel) because they will be in a foreign country, and then telling them to leave it on the ship when you actually visit a foreign country never made sense to me either. 

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55 minutes ago, fireclan said:

I agree with this logic. Recommending cruisers get passports to cruise (or travel) because they will be in a foreign country, and then telling them to leave it on the ship when you actually visit a foreign country never made sense to me either. 

I agree.  

BUT--here is one logical reason for leaving passports on the ship (keep in mind that I am on Team Take-Your-Passport):

Theft is always a possibility in a foreign country.  Leaving passports on a ship, and IN THE SAFE, may alleviate any fears of passport theft.  In case you fail to make the on-board time at port, the Room Steward and whomever else are trained to go directly to your room and in the safe to retrieve passports for you to leave behind.  

Again, I don't agree with leaving passports on board, but I am all about trying to see both sides of the argument.

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I'm so torn on this.  I had our passports stolen (or I lost them) in the San Juan airport.  Thankfully we didn't need them to fly home.  However, if I take them off the ship in a foreign country and they get taken on an excursion or at the beach, I'm screwed trying to fly home.  However, if I don't take it, I am also screwed if I miss the boat.  So...no matter what I do, Murphy's law is it will be the wrong choice lol!  I will say that I have never had anything taken from my stuff on Caribbean beaches but I just may be really lucky and I stress every time we all go into the water.  Jane

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