Going on a cruise is a wonderful vacation experience that you will never forget. One of the great things about most cruises is that nearly everything is taken care of; there is no need to worry about anything. Still, cruise travel can be quite different from normal travel and certain things need to be taken into consideration. One common cruise question is, “Do you need expedited passport applications for cruises?”

The most common reason that a traveler would need a passport for a cruise is if they were heading to an international destination. Passports are never needed for domestic travel, but when borders are being crossed, everything changes. That being said, cruises sometimes have their own passport laws and it is better to be informed than to find out about something when it is too late.

First, it is important to stay up to date on passport law. As of June 1st, 2009, passports are required for all border countries. This is applicable to air, land and sea travel. However, there are different laws that relate specifically to cruise ships.

Obviously, anyone that is physically crossing the border into another country on a one way trip would need a passport, but they are also required in various other scenarios as they pertain to cruises. Even destinations that never required passports before are asking for them, but there are still some exceptions that can be noted.

Additionally, people who are traveling to a different country to start their cruise are going to need a passport. For instance, someone taking a cruise to Italy would not be leaving out of Miami. Because they may have to travel to Spain or Greece from the outset to get on their ship, a passport would be required to get into the other country and of course, to return home.

Currently, many cruise lines offer what are called “closed loop voyages.” Usually, a closed loop voyage refers to a cruise that starts and ends in the same port. However, in terms of the legal implications, a closed loop voyage can refer to any cruise that starts and ends in the same country. Closed loop voyages have a unique set of passport laws.

Passports do not always have to be obtained for a closed loop cruise. If the trip is going to the Virgin Islands, Bermuda or several other specific destinations, the passport may not be necessary. However, it may be a safe bet to carry one just in case. If this type of trip is being planned, just ask the travel agent or check the Internet for travel laws as they pertain to these specific destinations.

It is important to stay current on any passports law changes. Passports for cruises to border countries or certain Caribbean Islands were not always necessary but under the new laws, with the exception of closed loops, people without expedited pasports could be denied access. It certainly would not be any fun to be stuck on the boat, so it is always best to be informed and prepared.

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