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Passports in Ports of Call


John Tcsmokey
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A few weeks ago you covered the topic of whether or not to bring passports to Ports of Call.

A couple of years ago we departed out of Port Canaveral and a customs agent told us we would not need our passport for the remainder of the cruise.   At our stop at the Bahamas the Bahamian gov were not happy with us not having our passports.   For a short time my family along with about ten other people were led to believe we were not going to be allowed to re-board without the passports.    They finally escorted us to the ship and told us not to let it happen again.   We will never depart the ship in another country / island without our pasports.

 
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10 minutes ago, John Tcsmokey said:

A few weeks ago you covered the topic of whether or not to bring passports to Ports of Call.

A couple of years ago we departed out of Port Canaveral and a customs agent told us we would not need our passport for the remainder of the cruise.   At our stop at the Bahamas the Bahamian gov were not happy with us not having our passports.   For a short time my family along with about ten other people were led to believe we were not going to be allowed to re-board without the passports.    They finally escorted us to the ship and told us not to let it happen again.   We will never depart the ship in another country / island without our pasports.

 

We always leave our passports on the ship, but we instead bring a copy of our passports and/or our passport cards.  We've never needed them or been asked to show them but have always been told to take a copy (at the very least) off the ship.  

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47 minutes ago, dejavu21 said:

We always leave our passports on the ship, but we instead bring a copy of our passports and/or our passport cards.  We've never needed them or been asked to show them but have always been told to take a copy (at the very least) off the ship.  

I've never understood what good a copy would do, other than I guess help the consulate issue whatever temporary paperwork you need to go home. You can't fly out of a country with a copy.

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6 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

I've never understood what good a copy would do, other than I guess help the consulate issue whatever temporary paperwork you need to go home. You can't fly out of a country with a copy.

Yeah, not sure either.  I assume they would use the Passport # and look you up in the system and compare facial recognition?  Not sure but getting off the boat today and not having to pull it out allowed us to pass through customs in 15 seconds.  Hopefully all ports will add this feature soon.

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5 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

I've never understood what good a copy would do, other than I guess help the consulate issue whatever temporary paperwork you need to go home. You can't fly out of a country with a copy.

We take ours off the ship for this reason. If something happens, and we need to fly home for whatever reason, I think I would like to get there without delay. 

I don't remember which island (St. Maarten or St. Thomas), but we were asked for our passports before we were let back into the cruise port area on our first cruise. I remember the customs officer made a joke that he was going to have to detain us because we hadn't signed them. 

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Our 24 yr old daughter lost her passport during a trip to multiple countries. She had a photo on her phone and, at our insistence, a paper copy as well. She also had a paper copy of the addresses of all the embassies in the countries she was visiting. She was able to direct the cab to the embassy because she had the address. When she got to the American Embassy, she had to leave her phone outside the area. Without her paper copy, she would have had a much tougher time of it. With the paper copy, she was able to get a replacement in about 30 minutes and be out the door to catch her next flight. That’s why you should always have a paper copy on hand. Added bonus- she never questions her travel savvy parents’ advice anymore. 😂

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8 minutes ago, Salty Law Dog said:

Our 24 yr old daughter lost her passport during a trip to multiple countries. She had a photo on her phone and, at our insistence, a paper copy as well. She also had a paper copy of the addresses of all the embassies in the countries she was visiting. She was able to direct the cab to the embassy because she had the address. When she got to the American Embassy, she had to leave her phone outside the area. Without her paper copy, she would have had a much tougher time of it. With the paper copy, she was able to get a replacement in about 30 minutes and be out the door to catch her next flight. That’s why you should always have a paper copy on hand. Added bonus- she never questions her travel savvy parents’ advice anymore. 😂

That's good to know.  However, there are places (especially in Mexico - Yucatan Peninsula) where the trip to the embassy is over 6 hours away, so you'd still have to GET there before the paper copy would do any good.

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Hello, 

My girlfriend and I are going on our first cruise in 13 days to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, I do not have a passport, but I did see that I can still cruise with my birth certificate and driver’s license. One question I had about this is for a shore excursion (specifically Nassau and CocoCay), do I need a passport to get off and on the ship? Thank you! 

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There is risk of damage or loss when you take your passport off the ship unnecessarily.  I remember an excursion to Dominican Republic on Royal when my passport was almost ruined by seawater-- our small excursion boat was caught in choppy waters.  And we've had friends who were pick-pocketed in Barcelona and Rome (notorious for that).

Usually, the Cruise Compass indicates what the port requires to get back on the ship, and other members have reported that the Port Agent for Royal will retrieve key items from your safe if, due to medical emergency or such, you are unable to reboard the ship.  Having said that, we always have ID, even a passport card, when we go ashore.

Balancing the risks of being left behind (almost never happens) against the risk of being robbed, one makes a personal choice.  Some ports are more dangerous than others.  Some excursions are more problematic (how do you safely snorkel with a passport?).  Whatever you choose to do, I recommend a back-up of some sort!

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