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Passport?


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We have our first cruise booked for November… we’ve never done anything like this and none of us (husband, myself, & two kids) have passports. I was told by a Royal Caribbean rep that we did not NEED them… we deport out of Ft. Lauderdale, sail to Cozumel and Costa Maya, and return to Ft. Lauderdale… and that all we needed was our birth certificates. Just wondering if anyone else has been in this same situation and did you have any issues at all with using just your birth certificate?

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Birth certificates are fine.....unless and until something happens in one of the ports that would cause you to have to fly home from that country.  You cannot return to the US without a passport (meaning you'd have to find your way to a US Embassy, which is very far away from Coz or Costa Maya).

Things like: medical issues or injuries that could occur on shore, problems with the ship that would cause passengers to not be able to continue sailing from a port of call (hasn't happened on Royal, but has happened to passengers on an NCL ship - those with passports could fly home the next day, those without had an absolute headache).

That being said, I'm not personally aware of what the new passport application turn around time is, so at this point it might be risky to try.

Enjoy your first cruise!  Chances are you will want more, and you might as well get a passport at some point in the  near future!

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You can cruise with ID and Birth Certificates. 

If it were me, I would get the passport. They are good for 10 years (Adult- 5 years for kids).

As stated above there are potential issues that could make you wish you had a passport. You have plenty of time to get them before November.

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If you go the BC route, be aware you and husband will also need a Government issued photo ID and, assuming your surname is different on the 2 documents, you will also need a copy of your marriage license.  So it is not JUST your “certified” birth certificate.  You may want to read the FAQs section of the Royal Caribbean website concerning this to be sure you have everything you need.

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There will be lots of people give you different answers.  I can tell you there are lots of people that cruise out of America with just a birth certificate (original).  I can also tell you there have been some that had issues when something happened, and they had to get back without the ship.  The first time me and my son (8 years old at the time) cruised we got passports.  It makes me feel secure when traveling and we have used them lots of time when on flights and cruises.  Hopefully your family loves the trip so much that you want to do it more.

Note:  If you like the ship, you might look at a trans-Atlantic cruise for your family.  It gives lots of sea days to take real advantage of the ship and exposes your kids to Europe.

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You have plenty of time to obtain passports.  I highly recommend traveling with passports.  Should you decide to travel with a birth certificate and a government issued ID that will work fine.  Remember the birth certificate should be a government issued birth certificate with a raised seal.  As others have said the BC and ID method works well unless you get stranded in a foreign country for some reason.  Good luck which ever you decide to go with.

Bill

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Timing update - I had to renew my passport.  I reside in Florida, sent it Texas via USPS Priority to obtain a signature. 

 

It arrived on July 7 and I received it back today also via USPS Priority.  So currently turnaround time for standard processing is/was 42 total days from the date they received it.  They have a simple, functional website where you can track the progress and after it was completed, they even included the tracking number.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Birth Certificate along with a state-issued Photo ID (Driver's License) works, but the BC MUST be a long-form certificate with a raised/embossed seal. Many (if not all) states also issue 'short-form' birth certificates that are not acceptable for obtaining a passport nor for traveling outside the USA. 

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